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.

Programme outcomes include:

  • Demonstrating a detailed knowledge of the principles and concepts of neuropharmacology
  • Demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of the recent developments and applications in the field of neuropharmacology
  • Demonstrating a high-skill level in a wide range of laboratory skills for neuropharmacological investigations
  • Communicating experimental findings in neuropharmacology effectively, using a variety of verbal, written and visual means
  • Designing, conducting, analysing and presenting their original laboratory‐based research.

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.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

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

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Successful students will normally hold at least a Second Class Honours Level 8 degree from any of a range of undergraduate disciplines, from Chemistry to Life Science subjects to Psychology. Students are also considered who have a Level 7 degree and three years’ relevant work experience. IELTS score of 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in any one component).

Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15

Closing Date

Please refer to the review/closing date website.

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

PAC code

GYS11

Course Outline

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

Trimester 1

  • 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 2

  • Experimental Neuropharmacology: 15 ECTS
  • Current Topics in Neuropharmacology: 10 ECTS
  • Neuropharmacology & Therapeutics: 5 ECTS

Trimester 3

Neuropharmacology Research Project: 30 ECTS

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Modules for 2017-18

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required PM208: Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module introduces students to fundamental pharmacological concepts of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. A combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops will be used.

Learning Outcomes
  1. describe the main drug targets
  2. interpret dose response curves for agonists, antagonists, inverse agonists
  3. calculate molarities, concentrations, volumes required in making solutions
  4. access and critically analyse and interpret pharmacological data
  5. describe the processes of absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion for specific drugs
  6. explain the effects of different routes of administration on absorption of drugs, and effects of food and drug interactions on drug disposition
  7. derive pharmacokinetic data and use them to predict clinical properties of drugs
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (30%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (70%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Pharmacology" by Rang, H.P., Dale, Ritter, Flower & Henderson
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
  2. "Principles of Pharmacology" by Golan, D.E., et al
  3. "Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology" by Harvey, R.A.
The above information outlines module PM208: "Fundamental Concepts in Pharmacology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM209: Applied Concepts in Pharmacology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module introduces students to autonomic pharmacology and drug discovery and development. A combination of lectures, tutorials and workshops will be used.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the process of adrenergic and cholinergic neurotransmission including receptors and transporters.
  2. Relate drug mechanism of action to autonomic neurotransmission
  3. Describe how new molecular entities are discovered and developed into drug candidates for human clinical trials
  4. Summarize the clinical trial process including adverse effects
  5. Derive dose-response curves for agonists and antagonists in the ANS
  6. Interpret clinical trial data
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (30%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (70%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Pharmacology" by Rang, H.P., Dale, Ritter, Flower & Henderson
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone
  2. "Principles of Pharmacology" by Golan, D.E
  3. "Lippincott’s Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology" by Harvey, R.A
The above information outlines module PM209: "Applied Concepts in Pharmacology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required SI209: Neurophysiology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

The module in Neurophysiology will provide students with a knowledge of the function of the brain and spinal cord. Topics covered will include organisation and function of cell of the central nervous system, motor and somatosensory processing, physiology underlying vision, hearing, sleep, learning, emotion, language, hunger, and thermoregulation. Theoretical learning and understanding of will be aided by laboratory practicals investigating the physiology of vision and hearing.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the principals of somatosensory processing and perception and apply this knowledge to explain acute pain processing
  2. Describe in detail the processes behind spinal reflexes and central control of movement
  3. Describe the physiological processes underlying vision, hearing, sleep, learning, emotion, language, hunger, and thermoregulation
  4. Compare knowledge of the normal CNS function and symptoms associated with pathophysiology
  5. Appreciate of the integrative nature of the CNS
  6. Competence in the practical assessment of aspects of the physiology of vision and hearing
  7. Integrate practical information with theoretical knowledge
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (15%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (85%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SI209: "Neurophysiology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM5101: Central Neurotransmission


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module introduces students to the concepts and chemicals involved in neurotransmission. It also provides students with the basis for pharmacological interventions in disorders of the central nervous system.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the major chemicals involved in neurotransmission
  2. Explain the process of neurotransmission
  3. Name targets that are used to intervene pharmacologically in CNS disorders
  4. Identify targets that could potentially be used for pharmacological interventions in disease states
  5. Describe the biochemical and cellular consequences of neurotransmission
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (50%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (50%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PM5101: "Central Neurotransmission" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM5102: Experimental Methods in Pharmacology


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

A practical-based module that aims to develop laboratory skills in conjunction with data analysis and interpretation using computer software

Learning Outcomes
  1. Be proficient in lab skills
  2. Construct graphical representations of data sets
  3. Interpret experimental data
  4. Analyse data using the appropriate methods
  5. Provide rationale for choosing appropriate statistical methods
  6. Critically evaluate scientific data in the literature
  7. Create experimental reports based on the analysis of data sets
Assessments
  • Department-based Assessment (70%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (30%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PM5102: "Experimental Methods in Pharmacology" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM5103: Experimental Neuropharmacology


Semester 2 | Credits: 15

This is a practical-based module with the aim of preparing students for their research project. This module consists of mini-projects in topics relevant to neuropharmacology research
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe and critically discuss advanced principles and concepts of ligand-receptor binding
  2. Observe and record behavioural changes following drug exposure
  3. Perform experiments to measure changes in molecular events following toxicant treatment in cells
  4. Anaylse, present and derive conclusions from scientific data
  5. Interpret experimental data
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (20%)
  • Department-based Assessment (80%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PM5103: "Experimental Neuropharmacology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM5104: Current Topics in Neuropharmacology


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This is a self-directed assignment-based module that aims to develop students' capabilities in data analysis, interpretation and presentation and to familiarise them with recent advances and controversial topics in the field of neuropharmacology.

Learning Outcomes
  1. . Evaluate the current efficacy and safety information for a named drug at various stages of its development
  2. Critically analyse the evidence and synthesise an opinion on a controversial topic in neuropharmacology
  3. Develop a research proposal and design experiments to address a project title
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PM5104: "Current Topics in Neuropharmacology" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required PM5105: Neuropharmacology & Therapeutics


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

This is a lecture-based module designed to further develop knowledge in drugs acting on the nervous system (e.g. psychiatric disorders, neurological disorders, pain and drugs of abuse) as well novel cell and gene therapies for the nervous system.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe and critically discuss the role of CNS neurotransmitters in psychiatric and neurological disease and in reward processes
  2. Relate mechanisms of drug action to management of psychiatric and neurological disorders
  3. Critically discuss the contribution that modern approaches to technologies for therapeutics have made (or may make in the future) to human health, specifically in the areas of cell therapy and gene therapy.
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Pharmacology" by Rang, H.P., Dale, Ritter, Flower & Henderson
    Publisher: Churchill Livingstone.
  2. "Principles of Pharmacology" by Golan, D.E
  3. "Illustrated Reviews Pharmacology" by Harvey, R.A
The above information outlines module PM5105: "Neuropharmacology & Therapeutics" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PM517: Pharmacology Thesis


12 months long | Credits: 30

Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PM517: "Pharmacology Thesis" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional SI503: Physiology Thesis


12 months long | Credits: 30

Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SI503: "Physiology Thesis" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional BI503: Biochemistry Thesis


12 months long | Credits: 30

Assessments
  • Research (100%)
The above information outlines module BI503: "Biochemistry Thesis" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional AN508: Anatomy Thesis


12 months long | Credits: 30

Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module AN508: "Anatomy Thesis" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional SY502: Psychiatry Thesis


12 months long | Credits: 30

Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module SY502: "Psychiatry Thesis" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PM311: Introduction to Toxicology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

A 5ECTS module developed to provide an introduction to Toxicology to third year science students who have an interest in poisons and a background in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Anatomy or Chemistry. The course involves lectures delivered over one semester and is assessed through continuous assessment and a 2 hour written examination at semester's end.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. use the language, terms, and definitions of toxicology
  2. describe the factors affecting toxic responses
  3. describe specific mechanisms of toxic action
  4. apply this knowledge to explain specific examples of target organ toxicity
  5. describe how toxicity assessed and the challenges of risk assessment
  6. collect toxicological information and apply toxicological principles to specific classes of toxicant and specific situations
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (40%)
  • Computer-based Assessment (60%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Casarett & Doull's Essentials of Toxicology" by n/a
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional
  2. "Principles of Biochemical Toxicology" by n/a
The above information outlines module PM311: "Introduction to Toxicology" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional PM5114: Screening Molecular Libraries


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

The module will provide training in high-throughput and high-content screening technologies to post-graduate students. The course delivers training through a mixture of lectures, practical classes, tutorials, assignments and a training workshop. Students will gain theoretical and practical knowledge of high-throughput and high-content screening and develop proficiency in a range of data analysis techniques. The course will be delivered through the Biomedical Sciences Screening Core Facility at NUI Galway. The facility is fully equipped to deliver all aspects of the course. The course will be open to research MSc students and PhD students in biomedical sciences (College of Science, College of Medicine and other relevant Colleges ) subject to capacity and approval of the Module owner.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the principles and concepts of screening.
  2. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the recent developments and applications in the field of screening
  3. Demonstrate a competency in a wide range laboratory skills relevant to high-throughput and high content screening activity
  4. Identify the key features important when designing new screens,
  5. Be able to conduct a screen proficiently and to appropriately analyse and summarise screening data.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (10%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (90%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module PM5114: "Screening Molecular Libraries" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The majority of graduates of the programme have entered the workforce either in technical or research roles within hospitals, universities or companies, mostly in Ireland. In addition, approximately one-third have embarked on PhD research following graduation.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,015 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€6,791 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,750 p.a. 2018/19
 For further information on postgraduate funding & scholarship opportunities please see here.