Skip to main content
Unit of study_

ANAT2010: Concepts of Neuroanatomy

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Students are introduced to the structure and organisation of the central and peripheral nervous system. The course begins with an exploration into the make-up of the individual cells, followed by an examination of the different regions of the nervous system. A final theme of the course touches on the organisation of various systems (sensory and motor), together with aspects of higher-order function such as memory and language. In essence, the subject covers general concepts of organisation, structure and function of the brain. The laboratory practical sessions offer students the special privilege to examine human specimens in the Anatomy labs and museum. Tutorial meetings will provide the opportunity to encounter topics in functional anatomy and histology of the brain using photographs, diagrams, models, animations and problem-solving. Topics in identification of central nervous system structure in typical magnetic resonance images will assist in reinforcing the theory of functional anatomy in a format students are likely to encounter in further study, in real-world situations and readings. This course will be of considerable interest to students studying anatomy and related disciplines, as well as those wishing to pursue further study in Neuroscience at senior levels.

Unit details and rules

Unit code ANAT2010
Academic unit
Credit points 6
ANAT2910 or BIOS1171 or BMED2401 or BMED2402 or BMED2403 or BMED2405 or BMED2406 or BMED2801 or BMED2802 or BMED2803 or BMED2804 or BMED2805 or BMED2806 or BMED2807 or BMED2808
6 credit points from BIOL1XXX or MEDS1X01 or CHEM1XX1 or CHEM1903
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Karen Cullen,
Lecturer(s) Karen Cullen,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Theory exam
Theory exam.
40% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Practical exam
Identifications on pictures, models and specimens, short function questions
20% Formal exam period 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Online quizzes
Untimed online quiz; matching, fill-in-the-blank, multiple choice questions
15% Multiple weeks 1-1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Tutorial quiz In-class mid-semester quiz
In-class anatomy lab quiz
10% Week 07 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Scientific e-poster or scientific review (adv)
Text & graphic presentation of current or historical topic in neuroanatomy.
15% Week 11 n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO8
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?

Assessment summary

Online quizzes: Three short online quizzes related to tutorial sessions and lecture material. 5% each. Spaced during the semester.

In-class mid-semester quiz: Held during tutorial sessions. The quiz will assess your progress in understanding the lecture and tutorial material. Questions closely resemble questions in the final exams.

For 2020, an online version of the in-class quiz will be used

ANAT2010 Scientific e-poster: You will be required to create a scientific e-poster on a research, anatomical, or clinical topic in neuroscience.

ANAT2910 Scientific literature review 1200-word review of core literature in neuroanatomical research.

Practical exam: The practical exam will consist of identification of CNS structures and short factual questions on core functions and connections. The material to be tested is covered in the practical notes.

Theory exam: This exam is sampled from each of the lectures. You will find the lecture notes and presentations provide the core material and help you gauge the level of detail you are required to embrace. Structure and function are central concepts in this examination.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

For written assessments (e-poster or literature review), a marking rubric is available on Canvas assessment pages. 

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

5% per day, including weekends. For online quizzes, no assessment can be accepted after 7 days.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to concepts in neuroanatomy Lecture (1 hr)  
The microanatomy of neurons - structure and function Lecture (1 hr) LO1
How neurons communicate- synapses Lecture (1 hr) LO1
The blood-brain barrier Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 02 Looking at neurons - neurohistology Composition of the nervous system Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Neurohistology module - online resource + live zoom tutorial Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Organisation of the mammalian nervous system Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Organisation of the peripheral nervous system Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 Organisation of the CNS including ventricles and meninges Practical (2 hr) LO2
Motor pathways 1 - general organisation Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Motor pathways 2 - Skilled movement Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 04 The spinal cord: general anatomy plus ascending and descending tracts Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Motor pathways 3 - demonstration of emotional systems Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Motor pathways 4 - autonomic nervous system Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 05 Brainstem 1 - general anatomy plus ascending and descending tracts continued Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Sensory pathways 1 - general organisation Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Sensory pathways 2 - details of somatosensation Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Brainstem 2 - cranial nerves Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Sensory pathways 3 - pain and perception Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4
Sensory pathways 4 - details of the visual system Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 07 Brain maps Lecture (1 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
The cerebral cortex Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Techniques in neuroanatomy 1 - tracing connections Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO3 LO7
Techniques in neuroanatomy 2 - imaging the brain in vivo Lecture (1 hr) LO7
Week 09 Techniques in neuroanatomy problems Tutorial (2 hr) LO6 LO7
Building a brain 1 - setting the plan Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5 LO6
Building a brain 2 - making connections Lecture (1 hr) LO5 LO6
Week 10 Diencephalon and the limbic system Practical (2 hr) LO2
Building a brain 3 - neuroanatomy of memory Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO3
Brain ageing and neurodegeneration - cognitive disorders Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO6
Week 11 Basal ganglia and cerebellum Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Brain ageing and neurodegeneration - movement disorders Lecture (1 hr) LO4 LO6
Week 12 Revision and practice spot test Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Wrap up and overview Lecture (1 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements


Students are expected to attend a minimum of 80% of timetabled activities for a unit of study. The Dean or the Head of School most concerned may determine that a student has failed a unit of study because of inadequate attendance.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings


Bear, M.F., Connors, B.W. & Paradiso, M.A. (2016) Neuroscience. Exploring the Brain. Wolters Kluwer Philadelphia 4th edition. Previous editions are okay.

Also recommended: Nolte, J. and J. B. Angevine (2013). The human brain in photographs and diagrams. Philadelphia, Elsevier/Saunders

Library resources – Neuroscience subject guides. Curated resource for e-books and online resources in the Neurosciences and other disciplines.

See your Canvas site for textbook readings for each lecture.

Articles and readings for your interest are linked to each lecture.


Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Identify the cellular components of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nervous system in photomicrographs and diagrams
  • LO2. Identify major features of the brain and spinal cord in prosected specimens, models, diagrams, and photographs
  • LO3. Describe the structural and functional relationships between major nervous system structures and apply this knowledge to basic clinical examples and to examples of neuroanatomical research
  • LO4. Identify and describe the fundamental organisation of sensory and motor systems in humans using in-depth examples of specific motor and sensory systems
  • LO5. Describe the major phases and mechanisms of nervous system development and relate to the basic structure of the adult human nervous system.
  • LO6. Apply concepts of the structure/function relationship of major brain regions and cytoarchitecture to mechanisms of brain development and neurodegeneration
  • LO7. Recognise and apply the core techniques - histology, in vivo imaging, experimental tracing studies, and pathology that form the basis of our understanding brain function at an anatomical level.
  • LO8. Apply fundamental principles of brain anatomy to a critical evaluation of the scientific literature, public media, and emerging technologies in a scientific e-poster or literature review.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This subject is evaluated by students through the Unit of Study Survey (USS) every year. All feedback is considered. We’ll make time for the UoS survey to be completed in class in the final tutorial session. Some changes that have been made since the last offering of this unit include more online formative quizzes and in-class formative quizzes, more specific guidelines for the E-Poster assignment and earlier release of topics and guidelines. An additional workshop to discuss independent projects has been added for voluntary attendance.

You must complete the Obligations Module before attending any online or face-to-face tutorial.

We will post information about face to face sessions as the semester begins.  

Work, health and safety

NOTE: these guideline apply for anyone attending face-to-face tutorials. At the time of this document (week 0 semester 2, 2020), not all students are able to attend classes in person.

HOWEVER, we will walk through the requirements for lab attendance, safety, PPE  for your education. ALL students enrolled will be required to understand these requirements in THEORY.

ALL students attending live classes will need to complete competency in lab guidelines before being permitted to attend. 

For attendance at anatomy tutorials, students must

  1. Wear solid covered shoes
  2. Closed lab coat – standard student lab coats or disposable gowns are acceptable
  3. Two gloves at all times
  4. Student IDs must be worn on your labcoat at all times in the lab
  5. Hair must be tied back so that it does not obscure vision or dangle into specimens
  6. Students must comply with all of the regulations required for working with human cadaveric material.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.