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Unit of study_

BIOS1171: Neuroscience

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit of study introduces fundamental concepts of nervous system organisation and function. Anatomy of the brain and spinal cord is studied using models to understand the cortical and subcortical pathways as well as integrating centres that control movements and posture. The physiology component introduces students to mechanisms of signal generation and transmission, basic mechanisms of spinal reflexes, the function of the sensory systems and autonomic nervous system and motor pathways. Case studies aimed at identifying simple neural problems associated with sensory and motor systems are specifically designed for students following professional preparation degrees. This unit includes a few laboratory classes in which human cadavers are studied. Successful completion of practical class pre-tutorial quizzes is compulsory.

Unit details and rules

Unit code BIOS1171
Academic unit Department of Medical Sciences
Credit points 6
BIOS2171 or BIOS2103 or ANAT2X10
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jin Huang,
Lecturer(s) Damian Holsinger,
David Mor,
Jin Huang,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final examination
Multiple-choice questions
60% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12
Online task In-semester self-test
0% Week 07 Variable
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
In-semester test (Record+) Type B in-semester exam In-semester examination
Multiple-choice questions
40% Week 08
Due date: 07 Oct 2021 at 08:00
1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Online task Final self-test
0% Week 13 Variable
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
Type B in-semester exam = Type B in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.



Explanation / Interpretation

High distinction (85-100)

Work of exceptional standard


Mastery of topics showing extensive integration and ability to transfer knowledge to novel contexts; treatment of tasks shows an advanced synthesis of ideas; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is very well presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an outstanding level



Work of superior standard

Excellent achievement, consistent evidence of deep understanding and application of knowledge in medical science; treatment of tasks shows advanced understanding of topics; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is well-presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a superior level



Competent work demonstrating potential for higher study


Confident in explaining medical science processes, with evidence of solid understanding and achievement; occasional lapses indicative of unresolved issues; treatment of tasks shows a good understanding of topic; work is well-presented with a minimum of errors; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a high level



Work of acceptable standard


Satisfactory level of engagement with and understanding of topic; some inconsistencies in understanding and knowledge of medical science; work is adequately presented, with some errors or omissions, most criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an adequate level



Work not of acceptable standard

Unsatisfactory achievement and engagement with the medical science discipline; inadequate understanding or fundamental misunderstanding of topics; most criteria and learning outcomes not clearly or adequately addressed or achieved; lack of effort/involvement in the unit

For more information see

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:

All assignments must be submitted by the due date and quizzes and exams attended when they are scheduled. Students are expected to manage their time and to prioritise tasks to meet deadlines. Assessment items submitted after the due date without an approved extension using a special consideration or special arrangement form or request will incur penalties. Failure to meet assessment deadlines will incur mark deductions of 5% of the maximum awardable mark available for every day past the due date (for electronic submissions, days late includes Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). These deductions will continue for 10 calendar days, until the solutions for the assignment are released, or marked assignments are returned to other students. At that point the mark awarded will be zero. For example, on an assignment given a mark of 70/100, the penalty would be 5 marks if submitted up to 24 hours late, resulting in a final mark of 65/100. If the assignment is submitted 6 days late, the penalty would be 30 marks and the final mark would be 40/100. If the assignment is more than 10 days late, submitted after the solutions for the assignment are released, or marked assignments are returned to other students, the final mark will be 0/100.

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 Basic structure Lecture (3 hr) LO1
Week 02 Spinal cord; Brainstem Lecture (2 hr) LO2
Membrane potential Lecture (1 hr) LO4
Basic structure Tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 03 Action potential; Synapse Lecture (2 hr) LO4
Cranial nerves Lecture (1 hr) LO2
Spinal cord Tutorial (2 hr) LO2
Week 04 Cerebral hemispheres; Sensory pathways; Cortical structure Lecture (3 hr) LO3 LO5
Brainstem, cranial nerves Tutorial (1 hr) LO2
Basic function 1 Tutorial (1 hr) LO4
Week 05 Somatosensation Lecture (2 hr) LO5
Pain Lecture (1 hr) LO6
Cerebral hemispheres Tutorial (1 hr) LO3
Basic function 2 Tutorial (1 hr) LO4
Week 06 Vision structure and function Lecture (2 hr) LO7
Auditory/vestibular structure Lecture (1 hr) LO7
Somatosensation Practical (2 hr) LO5
Week 07 Auditory/vestibular function Lecture (1 hr) LO7
Revision Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Stretch reflex Lecture (1 hr) LO8
Sensory pathways Tutorial (1 hr) LO5
Basic function 3 Tutorial (1 hr) LO4
Week 08 Multisynaptic reflexes Lecture (1 hr) LO8
Pain Tutorial (1 hr) LO6
Special senses: vision Tutorial (1 hr) LO7
Week 09 Motor unit; Posture 1 and 2 Lecture (3 hr) LO8
Special senses: auditory and vestibular systems Practical (2 hr) LO7
Week 10 Corticospinal; Blood supply 1 Lecture (3 hr) LO8 LO11
Reflexes Practical (2 hr) LO8
Week 11 Blood supply 2; Cerebellum 1 and 2 Lecture (3 hr) LO9 LO11
Blood supply Tutorial (1 hr) LO11
Motor control 1: spinal cord injury Tutorial (1 hr) LO8
Week 12 Cerebellum 3; Basal nuclei 1 and 2 Lecture (3 hr) LO9 LO10
Cerebellum Tutorial (1 hr) LO9
Motor control 2: stroke Tutorial (1 hr) LO8 LO11
Week 13 Basal nuclei 3; Autonomic structure and function Lecture (3 hr) LO10 LO12
Basal nuclei Tutorial (1 hr) LO10
Motor control 3: basal nuclei lesion Tutorial (1 hr) LO10

Attendance and class requirements

Lectures are not compulsory. Recordings will be avaialble as soon as possible. Please note technology does break down at times and it is your repsonsibility to keep up with the work.

Tutorial and practical classes are compulsory. Class attendance will be marked.

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

  • Crossman, A. R. & Neary, D. (2019). Neuroanatomy: An illustrated colour text, Churchill Livingstone.
  • Martini, F. H. Nath, J. L. & Bartholomew E. F. (2018). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology, Pearson.
  • Purves, D., Augustine, G. J., Fitzpatrick, D., Hall, W. C., LaMantia, A.-S., Mooney, R. D., Platt, M. L. & White, L. E. (2018). Neuroscience, Oxford University Press.

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 structure and describe the general functions of the components of the nervous system.
  • LO2. Know the components and understand the role of the spinal cord, brainstem and cranial nerves, and diencephalon.
  • LO3. Identify and understand the structure and role of the cerebral hemispheres and their development.
  • LO4. Describe and understand membrane potential, action potential and synaptic communication.
  • LO5. Understand the basic structural and functional organisation of the somatosensory system.
  • LO6. Describe the neural processes involved in pain and understand complications such as referred pain, neuropathic pain and hyperalgesia.
  • LO7. Identify the structure and understand the general functions of the visual, auditory and vestibular systems.
  • LO8. Understand and describe spinal reflexes, motor units, postural maintenance and the corticospinal system.
  • LO9. Know the basic structure and functional relationships of the cerebellum to other parts of the central nervous system.
  • LO10. Describe the basal nuclei, their role in motor control and common pathologies of these structures.
  • LO11. Identify the location and major branches of the blood supply to the central nervous system and describe major pathologies after loss in blood supply.
  • LO12. Describe the components of the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic and parasympathetic) and the general functions of each.

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.

Classes will be offered online where necessary. Provide more online resources. Provide more quizzes.

Work, health and safety

For wet anatomy tutorials, laboratory coats and fully enclosed shoes are required.


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.