Neuroimaging has emerged as a new important methodology in the study of the structure and function of the human brain in health and disease. In Neuroscience it is being increasingly used to study the physiological correlates of mental processes. In Clinical practice it plays a prominent role in the detection and diagnosis of neurological and psychiatric illnesses and in the evaluation of new treatments. The techniques are getting increasingly sophisticated and as a result there is a high demand for well-trained professionals.
Our Neuroimaging MSc is one of only a few programmes dealing with modern neuroimaging in the UK. It is exceptional in its focus on practical and biomedical aspects of Neuroimaging. The success of the program is reflected in the success of our students with 60% either in further higher education, or fully employed in the first year after degree completion. This figure rises to 100% within 3 years of the degree.
The Neuroimaging MSc is designed to provide students with the background knowledge and technical skills to design, analyze and evaluate imaging data. The Neuroimaging MSc focuses on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) based techniques, including functional MRI, anatomical imaging, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, and Spectroscopy. Imaging techniques will be discussed with reference to relevant applications.
The programme puts a strong emphasis on practical skills. In a dedicated computer lab, the students will learn and practice analysis and imaging techniques. Under supervision of our world-class academic staff, students will design their own imaging based studies, which will be run using the in-house 3T MRI scanner. Additional classes will provide students with a broad scope of professional skills.
The Neuroimaging MSc is especially suited for:
- students interested in pursuing an Academic career in the field of Neuroimaging;
- students looking to find a job as research staff in industry or academic labs involved in translational research;
- medical professional, looking to develop skills in a new emergent technology and research field;
- students with a background in physics, mathematics or computer science who want to move into cognitive or clinical neuroscience;
- students with a background in psychology or biology who want to improve your technical skills for a neuroscience career.
The core of the Neuroimaging MSc consists of two modules on Neuroimaging. The first module concentrates on methodological aspects. It includes an introduction to the physics of MR imaging, the physiological basis of functional signals, processing and analysis of imaging data and the design of research studies. The second module provides an in-depth introduction to a number of specialized imaging techniques used to understand the biology of brain function in health and disease. The latter module aims to illustrate the use of imaging in the context of translational and clinical studies of disease processes affecting the human brain.
Both modules combine formal lectures, and computer-based laboratories, in which students learn and practice analysis and imaging techniques. Weekly practical labs and programming classes are held in a dedicated computer laboratory available to all students. The work done in the lab sections constitute 50% of the grade in first module, and 30% of the grade in the second module. The latter also includes student-led discussion of published scientific and clinical research.
In the weekly Bangor Imaging Group (BIG) meeting, academic staffs, postdocs and students discuss current research. All MSc and PhD students propose their research here.
Additional optional modules provide an in-depth view of several content areas of cognitive and clinical neuroscience (see below). Students are also welcome to attend weekly review of clinical scans performed at the local hospital for the purpose of patient recruitment and a monthly neuroradiology conference where cases of clinical interest are discussed. Journal-clubs and research meetings concerning fMRI, EEG, and TMS methodologies are open to all students.
Students are also required to take at least one additional module in advanced statistics or advanced computing. The module Communicating Research completes the curriculum by training students in a broad scope of professional skills.
The Bangor Imaging Unit houses a state-of-the-art 3T MRI machine, available for student projects. Setups for the measurement of eye-movement, arm and hand movement, and physiological parameters are also available.
In the beginning of the year you will choose your academic supervisor. The supervisor will be responsible for helping you plan, design and draft your research thesis. From your project proposal you will review the relevant literature, and formally outline your study. In the weekly Bangor-Imaging Group meeting we learn about and discuss proposed, ongoing and completed studies and important new publications in the field. Moreover, all MSc and PhD students present their proposed plan of research in this forum. Thus, you are tightly integrated into the research environment at the Bangor Imaging Unit, and profit from interactions with older PhD students, post-docs, and other supervisors. Your final research project is conducted over the summer months, most likely using the in-house, research-dedicated 3T MRI scanner. The course ends with the successful submission of your research thesis
The Neuroimaging MSc consists of two parts. Part one comprises taught modules over two semesters. You are required to take the two core modules in Neuroimaging, which include a large component of laboratory work. You will also choose two 'content' modules, each designed to provide knowledge and promote understanding in a specific core area of neuroscience. You also take three 'skills' modules designed to hone your research skills. In addition, you will partner with one of the academic faculty in order to jointly develop a research proposal for your thesis. On successful completion of Part One, you'll proceed to Part Two (in the third semester), when you will carry out your research study and write your thesis.
Teaching, Learning and Assessment
Teaching occurs via lectures, Lab sections, seminars and tutorials given by research experts in the College. All teachers are actively engaged in research programmes. Assessment methods include written exams, essays, oral presentations and a research thesis.
The thesis is the 'crown' of the Neuroimaging MSc and is an intensive research experience conducted in collaboration with your supervisor that allows you to put your knowledge and skills into practice. In conducting your thesis project, you will develop new skills such as planning, co-operative working, and the academic skills essential to understanding and reporting findings to others.