MEDSCI 717 : Advanced Neuroscience: Neuropharmacology

Medical and Health Sciences

2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An advanced study of current research topics in neuroscience. Involves critical analysis of the literature within the context of a series of major research themes that encompass models from molecular through to systems level neuroscience. Themes will be selected from the following areas: neurogenesis, neurodegeneration and/or addiction.

Course Overview

This course is concerned with advanced topics including the chemistry, cellular and molecular biology of the normal and diseased brain and the mechanism of action of drugs (and other therapies) that interact with brain function. Students will be expected to critically analyse scientific papers within the context of a series of major research themes. Each theme will encompass research from molecular through to systems level neuroscience with aspects of clinical neuroscience introduced. It is assumed students taking the course are familiar with basic neuropharmacology as presented in the MEDSCI 307 Neuropharmacology course.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

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
Graduate Profile: University

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the current therapeutic options available for neurological disease and injury and identify their limitations. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  2. Understand the role and limitations of in vitro and in vivo disease models and the importance of appropriate model selection to address a particular research question. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Understand the requirement for animal welfare and ethics regulations in research. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 5)
  4. Identify and describe potential targets/strategies for disease-modifications for specific neurological diseases/injuries (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  5. Critically examine , review and discuss current literature in the field. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  6. Identify, evaluate and explore experimental hypotheses, and develop appropriate experimental design. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  7. Enhance presentation and writing skills (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  8. Demonstrate the ability to group work in a collaborative manner. (Capability 1 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Presentation 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Project 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 60% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Final Exam

Course Contacts

Professor Bronwen Connor

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 2 hours of lectures/tutorials, 5 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Digital 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.

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.

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 at

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.

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.

2019 SET Feedback
Thank you for taking the time to reflect on your experience in our course and complete the SET evaluation. I have considered all of the responses carefully.
Here’s what you said you liked about the course:
43.8% of you responded to the survey.
100% of you were satisfied overall with the quality of the course, in particular the assignments and the feedback provided.
100% of you found the course intellectually stimulating, and the course helped to develop your thinking skills.
Here’s what you said you would like to see improved:
The only improvement suggested was to have the student presentations the week after the lecture presentation to provide time for the students to better understand the articles being presented.
These are the changes I/we will make for the next delivery of the course:
I will restructure the lecture schedule and place the student presentations after the lecture session to ensure the students can best prepare and understand the articles being presented.

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 you may be asked to submit your 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. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 03/02/2020 03:17 p.m.