MEDSCI 206 : Principles of Neuroscience

Medical and Health Sciences

2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The impact of neuroscience revolution on our understanding of human physiology and biomedical research is reviewed. Topics include: mechanisms of neurotransmission, learning, memory, sensory perception (vision, hearing, touch and smell) and application of gene therapy for treating neurological diseases. Special emphasis is placed on the integration and control of physiological function by the nervous system. Examples include control of movement and coordination, regulation of reproduction, blood pressure, breathing, appetite, body weight and sexuality. Developmental neuroscience is also considered. Laboratory exercises provide insight into neural structure and function and include application of neuroimaging technologies.

Course Overview

Medsci 206 is a core stage II course that further develops the understanding of neuroscience.

Physiology is a quantitative experimental science. It involves asking questions, designing and conducting experiments, analysing problems and interpreting experimental data. Acquisition of theoretical and experimental proficiency in the course are both important. Experimental practice and interpretation of experimental results are taught in the practical classes. 

Multiple lab report templates are provided and the tutorials assist in understanding and presenting content. A majority of the laboratory sessions require student participation where one student from each group acts as a test subject, making the labs particularly engaging. 

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 107, MEDSCI 142

Course Contacts

Course contact email: 

Associate Professor Julie Lim
Course Director     
Department of Physiology, FMHS, Grafton
Phone: 923 2591

Dr. Sally Rutherford
Course Coordinator           
Department of Physiology, FMHS, Grafton
Phone: 923 1690
Room: 505-102

Dr. Nishani Lim
Course Coordinator
Department of Physiology, FMHS, Grafton
Phone: 923 3142
Room: 505-102

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the general concepts of Human Brain development and different cell types in central nervous system. (Capability 1)
  2. Understand and explain the general concepts of synaptic plasticity, long term potentiation and depression in their respective role in synaptic transmission. (Capability 1)
  3. Understand and explain the general concepts of touch and proprioception, image and colour processing, auditory mechanisms and spinal sensory processing. (Capability 1)
  4. Understand and explain key concepts of memory and link to synaptic activity. (Capability 1)
  5. Understand and explain the key principles of control of movement and establish clinical context to neurological syndromes such as Stroke, Parkinson's and Huntington's. (Capability 1 and 6)
  6. Understand and apply key principles of pathogenesis of perinatal brain injury. (Capability 1)
  7. Create a basic understanding of development of Alzheimer's and newer techniques to promote neural repair. (Capability 1, 3 and 6)
  8. Identify, describe and analyse practical data to further cement basic concepts learnt in lectures and practical laboratory sessions. (Capability 2, 3 and 5)
  9. Explain and communicate scientific ideas clearly and succinctly. (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6)
  10. Effectively communicate via well developed oral and written skills. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Practical assessments 40% Group & Individual Coursework
Test 20% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Practical assessments
Final Exam
To pass Medsci 206, you are required to pass both the final exam and the internal assessments, while also meeting the practical requirements. This means:
1. Final exam: you need to obtain at least 20% out of 40%.
2. Internal Assessments: you need to obtain at least 30% out of 60% (made up of 40% practical lab activities and 20% module tests).
3. Practical requirements:
a) Attend and actively participate in the laboratory practical sessions.
b) Submit all the FIVE assessments (as above).
c) Receive a minimum mark of 20% out of 40% in the laboratory course component.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 6 hours of lectures, 3 hour laboratory session per fortnight which is 9 hours per fortnight in total. 

6 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 10+ hours (based on past student feedback) of work on lab assignments and/or test preparation per fortnight can be expected. 

It is a conceptual course which requires a student to think, understand and then apply. Hard work is definitely rewarded.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs/tutorials to complete and receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings.
The course unlikely to will include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the test/exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Course materials are made available in the course website located in the University’s learning platform CANVAS which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available). 

The course guide material alone does not replace attending lectures and reading the textbook.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Based on the SET feedback around the lab report assessments we have increased the weighing of this assessment to truly reflect the associated workload.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

The University cannot act as the “critic and conscience of society” (Education Amendment Act 1990) and play its role in adding to knowledge if its members do not adhere to the highest standards of intellectual honesty and scientific endeavour. The The Royal Society of New Zealand Code of Professional Standards and Ethics states:

“Members shall be intellectually honest.”

“Specifically, Members shall at all times:

not falsify results and fairly represent results as they honestly perceive them,
fairly record the intellectual, material and practical contributions of others to their work,
ensure joint authors of publications and reports share responsibility for their contents,
retain all types of records for as long as is practical and, where not commercially or personally sensitive, make them available for others to access,
not falsify results, qualifications or experience,
not allow or commit plagiarism,
be scrupulously honest in the application of science and technology and in the transfer of technology.”

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 03/07/2023 09:49 a.m.