Postgraduate taught 

Behavioural Science MSc

Health Neuroscience (PGT Conv) PSYCH5095

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No

Short Description

This course offers a brief survey of the neural mechanisms that underlie health behaviours such as eating, drug use, and stress. Besides learning about neural mechanisms important across diverse health domains, students learn to examine a particular health behaviour in detail, not only understanding its underlying neural mechanisms, but using this understanding to develop future research. Lectures during the first 1.5 hr of each class session provide relevant background material about neural mechanisms, theories, methods, findings, and issues. During the remaining .5 hr of each class session, students meet in small groups to develop individual projects, receiving feedback from other students and from the instructor.


10 hours of lectures/seminars over a 5 week block

Excluded Courses



Students will write an individual final project report based on assignments and discussion, worth 100% of the grade (2,000 words, with an additional section on critical evaluation, 500 words). 

Course Aims

This course explores the neural mechanisms that underlie healthy and unhealthy behaviours. After learning about relevant neural mechanisms in health domains such as eating, drug use, and stress, students select a specific health behaviour to examine in depth. Over the course, each student develops an individual project that (1) examines relevant literature on their target health behaviour, (2) characterises its underlying neural mechanisms, along with supporting situational conditions, (3) identifies outstanding issues and directions for future research, and (4) develops a research proposal to increase understanding of relevant neural mechanisms.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ outline important neural mechanisms that underlie a variety of healthy and unhealthy behaviours

■ critically evaluate important theories and theoretical distinctions, along with relevant empirical evidence

■ critically assess and integrate relevant literature on the neural mechanisms that underlie a target health behaviour

■ reflect critically on the neural mechanisms that underlie this behaviour

■ identify outstanding issues and future directions associated with research on these mechanisms

■ develop a specific research proposal to better understand these mechanisms

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.