MSc (Neuropharmacology)

College of Science

Course overview

Attempting to find new drug treatments central nervous system (CNS) diseases is a major global priority. This requires a collaboration between pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and academic institutions. It involves: 

  1. The identification of drug targets in the CNS disease state of interest 
  2. Discovery and preclinical profiling of substances acting on this drug target 
  3. The clinical evaluation for efficacy and safety.


The Discipline of Pharmacology and Therapeutics has been actively engaged in neuropharmacological research for over 30 years. In 1998, the MSc in Neuropharmacology was introduced to provide students with the skills necessary to develop a career in important area of research, and aims to provide: 

  • A sound theoretical knowledge of neuropharmacology.
  • Laboratory-based skills in various neuropharmacological techniques.
  • An appreciation of the regulatory issues associated with conducting neuropharmacological research.
  • The application of experimental design and statistics to neuropharmacological research.
  • A detailed understanding of a range of computer packages involved in data processing and presentation.
  • A research project which will allow these skills to be further developed.

Key facts

Entry requirements

Successful students will normally hold at least a Second Class Honours Level 8 degree (2.2 minimum) from a diversity of undergraduate disciplines, ranging from Chemistry through Life Science subjects to Psychology. Students are also considered who have a Level 7 degree and three years relevant work experience. IELTS score of 6.0+ (with not less than 5.5 in any one component) is required for students where English is not their native language.

Duration: 1 year, full-time

Next start date: September 2015

ECTS weighting: 90

Average intake: 15

Closing date: Please refer to the review/closing date website.

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

Programme content (subject to change)

The programme is divided into three trimesters (each of 30 ECTS) in the following manner:

Trimester One   (September–December)

Consists of lectures in General Pharmacology Central transmitters and signalling mechanisms, (Neuroscience, Neuroanatomy, Neurophysiology), and Research Methodology. Practical, Computing, Experimental Design, and Laboratory Safety programmes will also be delivered.

Neuroscience: 5 ECTS

Central Neurotransmission: 5 ECTS

Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology: 5 ECTS

Applied Concepts in Pharmacology: 5 ECTS

Experimental Methods in Pharmacology: 10 ECTS 

 

Trimester Two   (January–April)

Selected areas of Neuropharmacology are studied in depth, including receptor and behavioural pharmacology, drugs of abuse, and the development of drugs to treat the main CNS diseases (anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, epilepsy, Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, and stroke). This will be accompanied by a series of practical sessions which will cover a variety of methods available for experimentally evaluating psychotropic drug effects. 

Experimental Neuropharmacology: 15 ECTS

Current Topics in Neuropharmacology: 10 ECTS

Neuropharmacology & Therapeutics: 5 ECTS 

 

Trimester Three 

The Research Project (May–August)
 
Neuropharmacology Research Project: 30 ECTS

This represents an opportunity to undertake a substantial research project in an area of Neuropharmacology. This will be examined by thesis and poster presentation.

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.


Applicants, at the discretion of the selection committee, may be invited to attend for personal interview. Places are limited.

Requirements and assessment

A variety of different assessment strategies are employed including written examinations, laboratory practical, and mini-project reports, assignments, data handling computer exercises, experimental reasoning, essays; posters and a research project thesis.

Find out more

Dr Declan McKernan
T: + 353 91 493 826
E: declan.mckernan@nuigalway.ie 
www.nuigalway.ie/faculties_departments/pharmacology/

PAC code

GYS11

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,815 p.a. 2014/15 (inclusive of Levy)
 - Tuition: €6,591 p.a. 2014/15
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2014/15
Non-EU (Total): €13,750 p.a. 2014/15

Current students

Claire O'Doherty testiomonial

Claire O'Doherty

MSc Neuorpharmacology

"The material in this masters programme is specialised and focuses in an area which I personally find thoroughly fascinating. Beginning a masters allows a fresh start. It's a new and exciting experience and I was dedicated and focused from Day One. The course starts off at a basic level to account for students from all backgrounds. This conversion course builds a foundation for students equipping them with the basic scientific knowledge and skills. Once the foundations are in place, students are set various assignments to challenge and encourage them to learn and develop skills as  independent scientists.

I found NUI Galway to be a very friendly and welcoming environment. The lecturers in this course are very approachable and encourage students to ask questions and communicate their feedback."

Graduate profile


Sandra O'Brien

"I chose the MSc in Neuropharmacology at NUI Galway because, having completed my degree in Psychology, I wanted to learn more about the human brain and how drugs affect it. I found the MSc in Neuropharmacology to be a very interesting course where I gained lots of practical experience such as lab work, basic science skills, literary research and designing experiments. I would recommend this course to anyone. I learned great transferable skills, made great friends and coming from a non-scientific background there is always someone on the course to lend a helping hand. I found the lecturers so approachable and helpful. There is a great team spirit on the course as the class is small, and because everyone is from a variety of undergraduate disciplines there is great mix of people. Whatever your background, don’t be too apprehensive about the course, it starts at a basic level and you certainly won’t be left behind. I learned so many great transferable skills ... that I can utilise in any industry in [the future]”.

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