Neurophysiology: Neurons and Circuits

Subject NEUR30002 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, 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 contact hours: 36)
Total Time Commitment: 120 hours
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

This subject assumes a working understanding of the principles involved in the generation and conduction of action potentials in excitable cells.

Students wishing to take this subject without this background knowledge are advised to consult with the subject convenor prior to the commencement of the semester.

Although there are no specific 200 level prerequisites for this subject it is recommended that students should have completed at least one of the following 200 level subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc Prof Andrew Allen


Assoc Prof Andrew Allen:

Administrative Coordinator:

Subject Overview:

The subject aims to provide students with an overview of how neurons function, individually and in ensembles, to produce complex behaviours. We consider how the special properties of nerve cells enable information to be encoded and transmitted.

We will explore how nerve cells communicate with other nerves and cells. Finally we will explore how these properties lead to activity patterns that change the function of other tissues in response to physiological challenges, thus contributing to homeostasis.

  • To appreciate how protein-mediated passage of ions across the nerve cell membrane generates electrical activity.
  • To develop an understanding of how these electrical impulses are generated and integrated by the neuron to encode information.
  • To understand how nerve cells use different chemicals to communicate with neurons and other cells (e.g. muscles).
  • To examine how the connections between nerve cells leads to simple circuits that mediate reflexes and homeostatic control.
  • A computer-aided learning assignment (15%)
  • A 50 minute mid-semester exam (25%)
  • A two hour end of semester exam (60%)
Prescribed Texts: Purves et al., Neuroscience, 4th edition, 2008; Sinauer Associates.
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

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

On completion the students should have developed their skills in:

  • Independent and critical thought.
  • Approaches to understanding complex scientific problems.
  • Critical analysis and interpretation of data.
  • The extraction of principles from experimental evidence.
Notes: This subject is available to students enrolled in the New Generation BSc, BBioMed, pre-2008 BSc or BBiomedSc.
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Science
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Human Structure and Function
Science credit subjects* for pre-2008 BSc, BASc and combined degree science courses

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