MSc Brain and Behaviour

Study mode

Full-time (1 year)

Start date(s)

September 2020

Tuition fees 20/21
Home (full-time, per year): £7,100
International (full-time, per year): £14,450
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About this course

Gain advanced knowledge of the neural, pharmacological and physiological mechanisms underlying behaviour and the approaches used to study them.

  • Explore brain and behaviour presented in a holistic and neuroscientific context, covering a broad range of topics
  • Study on a course taught by research-active staff who are experts in their field 
  • Gain practical experience with cutting edge neuroscientific techniques
  • Acquire skills, knowledge and practical experience directly relevant to a research career
  • Enjoy both research- and student-led learning methods
  • Conduct a research project covering the full ‘research arc’ from study conception to dissemination

Neuroscientific research aims to understand healthy brain function as well as disorders of brain and behaviour in both humans and animals. As a relatively new field of study, which has only been recognised in its own right since the 20th century, it has benefited greatly in recent decades from novel technologies and has diverse applications including education, law and artificial intelligence.

This Masters in Brain and Behaviour covers the true breadth of this multidisciplinary field, from ion channels to human behaviour. Through hands on experiential learning, you will gain a cutting-edge grasp of nervous system structure and function and an appreciation of the field's real life applications in the clinic and beyond.


You will develop key transferable skills in the design, analysis and presentation of neuroscientific and behavioural studies, equipping you with a strong foundation for pursuing a career in a range of research settings in both academia and the private sector.

You will study in state-of-the-art facilities, including psychology and neuroscience labs within the purpose-built Tom Reilly Building including: fNIRS; 64 and 128 channel EEG; psychophysiological measuring equipment, including Skin Conductance (SC), heart rate, electrocardiogram (ECG); Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS); Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS); TOBI eye tracker and fully equipped sensory testing laboratories. You will also be based in the Life Sciences Building, which features brand new, fully equipped molecular and cellular biology laboratories for conducting: gene sequencing and DNA expression analysis; protein expression analysis; metabolite analysis and tissue culture labs.

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Fees and funding


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2017) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

You will acquire acquire the skills to pursue a research career as a university academic or in research departments in the private sector, such as the pharmaceutical industry or consumer goods industry.

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Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

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Core Modules

Research Methods and Statistics
20 credits

On this primarily practical module, you will develop your knowledge and understanding of key research and statistical methods relevant to the study of brain and behaviour which are needed to become independent researchers.

Current Methods in Brain and Behaviour
20 credits

This module provides a grounding in neuroanatomy and related research techniques used to study the relationship between brain and behaviour in humans in health and disease. During workshops, you will receive hands-on experience running brain imaging (fMRI/fNIRS) and neuro-stimulation (neuro-navigated TMS and tDCS) experiments. Later, in practical sessions you will design, programme and conduct your own behavioural study.

Somatosensory Systems
20 credits

The aim of this comparative module is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the mammalian somatosensory system, from sensory transduction through to central representation in the brain and behaviours – in sickness and health. Teaching will comprise lectures, seminars and practical sessions.

Applied Neuroscience
20 credits

This practical module introduces you to research methods used in neurophysiology (EEG) and psychophysiology (ECG/fEMG). Lectures will be paired with practical sessions where students gain hands-on experience with apparatus and associated data. You will learn how these research methodologies are being applied in the real world in areas such as transportation, brain-computer interfaces and marketing.

20 credits

This comparative module covers the functioning of the endocrine system in health and disease. Combining problem-based learning and practical sessions you will cover topics such as reproduction, sleep, stress, depression and psychoactive substances.

Cognitive Neuroscience
20 credits

This module provides an understanding of advanced and state-of-the-art topics in cognitive neuroscience, within the context of healthy and disordered brain structure and function. Through lectures and seminars you will consider the neural basis of cognitive functions such as perception, memory and cognitive control and their malfunction in neuro-degenerative and mental-health disorders. 

Research Project
60 credits

On this student-led project, you will be encouraged to work independently under the expert guidance of a supervisor. You will develop your research, analytical and problem-solving skills by conducting an original research study in an area where you have a particular interest. Research will usually be conducted in the laboratory.


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

Teaching will be delivered between two and three days per week, according to the requirements of your practical sessions. It is recommended that you dedicate 35 hours per week to study, combining both scheduled sessions and independent study. You will lead on organising laboratory/computer work for your Research Project, in consultation and collaboration with your project supervisor.

Teaching methods

You will attend a wide variety of sessions, including lectures, seminars, journal clubs, workshops, laboratory practicals and computer practicals. In addition, you will have individual meetings with your supervisor for guidance and support.

Applied learning

You will have the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, using the latest computer software for data analysis and the internet and social media to communicate science.

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How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme. Assessment techniques vary from module to module to reflect relevant assessment approaches and the key learning points of each topic.

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Your progress will be assessed through practical reports, posters, exams, presentations, blogs and podcasts.

Course tutors

Susannah Walker

Susannah Walker

Programme Leader

Susannah is a founding member and Co-Lead of LJMU’s Somatosensory and Affective Neuroscience Group. As well as working in Academia, she has worked as a research scientist in industry, applying her knowledge to understand consumer behaviour. She is interested in the neurobiological basis of emotion and motivation, in particular how environmental stimuli acquire a motivational value and how these valuations are translated into behaviour. Susannah employs a range of neuroscientific techniques including: psychopharmacology, neurophysiology and behavioural tasks. Recently her research has focused on understanding clinical conditions such as Addiction and OCD, as well as testing the hypothesis that a specific class of nerve fibre, found in the skin of all mammals, has evolved to signal the rewarding value of social tactile interactions.

My research informs my teaching and I really enjoy sharing that with my students – seeing them enthused by the questions and topics that intrigue me and developing a desire to study the brain and behaviour further is hugely rewarding.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

This programme is based in LJMU’s City Campus at the Byrom Street site, which is located in the heart of Liverpool city centre. We offer postgraduates excellent laboratory and research facilities, a host of social spaces and easy access to the Avril Robarts library.

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Entry requirements

You will need:

  • a minimum 2.1 or above in a relevant scientific discipline, such as Psychology, Biology, Zoology, Neurobiology/Neuroscience or Animal Behaviour.  Must achieve a 60% or above pass mark in final year.


  • equivalent professional qualifications and experience

Additional information

  • International students will require an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.
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As well as meeting the academic criteria for this programme you will need to:

  • demonstrate sufficient knowledge to embark on the programme
  • display the potential to develop high level research skills
  • identify a research area which fits staff supervision capability
  • demonstrate the ability and commitment to work at postgraduate level 

All selection processes are conducted in line with the LJMU Admissions Code of Practice.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.
Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.

Important info about this course