Visual Neuroscience

Subject OPTO30007 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment 120 hours
Prerequisites: One of
Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects:

Students may only gain credit for one of

  • 655-361 Visual Neuroscience
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Prof Sagar Vidyasagar



Subject Overview:

The subject builds on students’ understanding of the basic principles behind the functioning of the nervous system, developed in the prerequisite neuroscience subject/s. It develops students’ understanding of the structure, function and development underlying the processing of visual information from the eyes to the further reaches of the brain. The subject provides a thorough understanding of the various levels of the visual pathway and the neural mechanisms that enable visual functions such as perceiving form, colour, depth and movement and how visually-guided action is executed. It will also explore the basis of higher brain functions, such as visual attention and reading and also how eye movements are controlled and vision is related to other senses such as balance, hearing and touch. The subject will provide a number of examples of how disorders of the neural processing lead to specific clinical syndromes.


On completion of this subject students should:

  • Have a thorough understanding of the structure and function of the visual system and how neural elements within different parts of the visual system interact to provide our visual percept and behaviour.
  • Understand the relationship between vision and the other senses.
  • Have a basic appreciation of the pathophysiology underlying neurological disorders associated with the visual system.
  • Be able to convey and explain this acquired knowledge to either a lay or science audience.
  • Have the necessary background knowledge and intellectual skills to engage in either postgraduate studies, or employment, related to visual function and its neurological basis.

Two written assessments of 30 minutes each, one mid semester (15%) and one late semester (15%); 3-hour written examination (70%) in end of semester exam period.

Prescribed Texts:

E R Kandel, J H Schwartz, T M Jessell, Principles of Neural Science, 4th Ed., McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Recommended Texts: J G Nicolls, A R Martin, B G Wallace & P A Fuchs, From Neuron to Brain, 4th Ed., Sinauer, 2001
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • The capacity for critical evaluation of complex issues
  • Problem-solving and communication skills
  • Improved capacity for seeking and evaluating relevant information.

This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

This subject is available for credit in the Bachelor of Biomedicine.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Human Structure and Function
Human Structure and Function
Vision Science

Download PDF version.