joshlinskell
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i am in the lower sixth (year 12) and will have to make my uni applications later this year. i'm really set on neuroscience anywhere in england, however im doing biology, english language and economics for a levels. i only have one science so it already massively narrows my uni choices down to a few. i reckon i'd be able to learn and pick up the chemsitry needed for the course as its what i really want to do. if anyone could give me any information about neurosciene at uni, such as how difficult and enjoyable the course is, any advice or suggestions about it, etc. that would be great
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rebecca.nj_
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(Original post by joshlinskell)
i am in the lower sixth (year 12) and will have to make my uni applications later this year. i'm really set on neuroscience anywhere in england, however im doing biology, english language and economics for a levels. i only have one science so it already massively narrows my uni choices down to a few. i reckon i'd be able to learn and pick up the chemsitry needed for the course as its what i really want to do. if anyone could give me any information about neurosciene at uni, such as how difficult and enjoyable the course is, any advice or suggestions about it, etc. that would be great
Hi i am currently in year 13 and have actually received offers for neuroscience a few of my friends who have also applied are in a similar situation as you should probably consider a foundation year that still narrows your uni choices a bit however it still allows you to take on the course with a bit of extra support and asi do biology and chemistry you are already doing one of the hardest a levels (biology) and picking up chemistry will not be easy and doing 4 a levels you could put a lot of stress on yourself but if you feel like you will be able to handle the work load I would say go for it! hope this helped a little
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QuentinM
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(Original post by joshlinskell)
i am in the lower sixth (year 12) and will have to make my uni applications later this year. i'm really set on neuroscience anywhere in england, however im doing biology, english language and economics for a levels. i only have one science so it already massively narrows my uni choices down to a few. i reckon i'd be able to learn and pick up the chemsitry needed for the course as its what i really want to do. if anyone could give me any information about neurosciene at uni, such as how difficult and enjoyable the course is, any advice or suggestions about it, etc. that would be great
I'd look into the option of doing a foundation year, unfortunately most of that year will be spent doing essentially biology and chemistry A-level so they may not even let you apply if you are doing the biology anyway.

From what I've just checked, it doesn't massively limit your options, but it does cut them in half. So there's still plenty of chance you can do a neuroscience degree in the UK without changing your A-level subject choices at all.

I think a question that's worth asking before I talk any further about the course is-why do you even want to do a degree in neuroscience? What career aspirations do you have, if you have any yet (and by no means do you have to have everything planned out at this stage of your life)?
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joshlinskell
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(Original post by rebecca.nj_)
Hi i am currently in year 13 and have actually received offers for neuroscience a few of my friends who have also applied are in a similar situation as you should probably consider a foundation year that still narrows your uni choices a bit however it still allows you to take on the course with a bit of extra support and asi do biology and chemistry you are already doing one of the hardest a levels (biology) and picking up chemistry will not be easy and doing 4 a levels you could put a lot of stress on yourself but if you feel like you will be able to handle the work load I would say go for it! hope this helped a little
i actually meant I could pick up some of the chemistry needed for the course while I'm at uni- I think I would be capable of learning some of the concepts with some help but it's just a question of whether I would even be able to get into most unis for neuroscience without chemistry in the first place. What a levels did you do, and which unis did you apply for? (if you dont mind me asking)
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joshlinskell
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(Original post by QuentinM)
I'd look into the option of doing a foundation year, unfortunately most of that year will be spent doing essentially biology and chemistry A-level so they may not even let you apply if you are doing the biology anyway.

From what I've just checked, it doesn't massively limit your options, but it does cut them in half. So there's still plenty of chance you can do a neuroscience degree in the UK without changing your A-level subject choices at all.

I think a question that's worth asking before I talk any further about the course is-why do you even want to do a degree in neuroscience? What career aspirations do you have, if you have any yet (and by no means do you have to have everything planned out at this stage of your life)?
i am so sure that I want to do neuroscience and I am dead set on it- I love everything about it and find it so interesting. in terms of a career past that, i am not so sure- I was thinking I'd see where neuroscience takes me, as i have no idea where I'd end up. what is the most common place for neuroscience graduates to end up?
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rebecca.nj_
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(Original post by joshlinskell)
i actually meant I could pick up some of the chemistry needed for the course while I'm at uni- I think I would be capable of learning some of the concepts with some help but it's just a question of whether I would even be able to get into most unis for neuroscience without chemistry in the first place. What a levels did you do, and which unis did you apply for? (if you dont mind me asking)
yeah I mean if your set on it I'm sure you would be able to pick up the chemistry needed and there are a couple unis who accept just biology you just need to know where to look. Also I study Chemistry Biology and Philosophy and ethics and I applied to UCL, Middlesex, Keele, UCLAN and Southampton Middlesex and uclan actually offer foundation years in case you don't do all the subjects required and in your case that's chemistry so when you start looking I would definitely suggest those as potential options
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QuentinM
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(Original post by joshlinskell)
i am so sure that I want to do neuroscience and I am dead set on it- I love everything about it and find it so interesting. in terms of a career past that, i am not so sure- I was thinking I'd see where neuroscience takes me, as i have no idea where I'd end up. what is the most common place for neuroscience graduates to end up?
With all due respect, you didn't really answer my question of "why do you want to do neuroscience". If you were to use your first sentence there in, say, a personal statement, it wouldn't be effective at all in convincing anyone that you were interested in the subject. I'll give you my own reason for wanting to pursue a career in neuroscience research as an example. When I was roughly your age (which is a worryingly long time ago now ) I volunteered in a care home, and pretty much every patient I saw had some form of neurological disorder (stoke, dementia, Parkinson's disease, etc). When I researched them later I realised how little we knew about what causes some of these diseases, or how to effectively treat them. This sparked my interest led me to where I am now, researching new treatments for ALS.

It's not essential that you have some moment like this that you can use in your Personal statement, but often the people that answer my original question with their motivation to study, instead of just stating they have some motivation to study, tend to be more successful in their applications.

Saying you "love everything about" neuroscience also isn't the best thing for me to hear-as a neuroscientist, I can tell you I don't love everything about it! I could barely describe to you much of what a bioinformatician or computational neuroscientist does, unless it has some significant overlap with my specialty area, molecular neuroscience. This suggests to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you may be in the early stages of interest in the subject and may not have found a few specific areas that interest you more deeply.

Careers wise, I'd say the most "obvious" career a neuroscience degree could prepare you for is to research neuroscience in a lab or similar setting, either at a university or in industry (e.g. pharmaceutical company). Given how competitive this is (I can tell you first hand-VERY) most people would opt for other career paths. This is the reason I ask, I've seen a lot of people recently in their 2nd/3rd year who realise they don't even know what they want to do with their neuroscience degree and don't know what options exist for them. As I said, by no means do you have to know exactly what you want to do, but having some idea of what options exist certainly helps with the decision of "is this degree even worth doing". Personally, I wouldn't do a degree if I didn't plan to use it for at least some of my career-there just doesn't seem much point to me
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joshlinskell
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(Original post by QuentinM)
With all due respect, you didn't really answer my question of "why do you want to do neuroscience". If you were to use your first sentence there in, say, a personal statement, it wouldn't be effective at all in convincing anyone that you were interested in the subject. I'll give you my own reason for wanting to pursue a career in neuroscience research as an example. When I was roughly your age (which is a worryingly long time ago now ) I volunteered in a care home, and pretty much every patient I saw had some form of neurological disorder (stoke, dementia, Parkinson's disease, etc). When I researched them later I realised how little we knew about what causes some of these diseases, or how to effectively treat them. This sparked my interest led me to where I am now, researching new treatments for ALS.

It's not essential that you have some moment like this that you can use in your Personal statement, but often the people that answer my original question with their motivation to study, instead of just stating they have some motivation to study, tend to be more successful in their applications.

Saying you "love everything about" neuroscience also isn't the best thing for me to hear-as a neuroscientist, I can tell you I don't love everything about it! I could barely describe to you much of what a bioinformatician or computational neuroscientist does, unless it has some significant overlap with my specialty area, molecular neuroscience. This suggests to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you may be in the early stages of interest in the subject and may not have found a few specific areas that interest you more deeply.

Careers wise, I'd say the most "obvious" career a neuroscience degree could prepare you for is to research neuroscience in a lab or similar setting, either at a university or in industry (e.g. pharmaceutical company). Given how competitive this is (I can tell you first hand-VERY) most people would opt for other career paths. This is the reason I ask, I've seen a lot of people recently in their 2nd/3rd year who realise they don't even know what they want to do with their neuroscience degree and don't know what options exist for them. As I said, by no means do you have to know exactly what you want to do, but having some idea of what options exist certainly helps with the decision of "is this degree even worth doing". Personally, I wouldn't do a degree if I didn't plan to use it for at least some of my career-there just doesn't seem much point to me
a long term interest in psychology and the brain since the age of around 12/13 led me a few years ago to the topic of neuroscience. i've always been interested in how the brain works, and what makes people tick, however, for me the reason i moved away from psychology and started looking at neuroscience is because it has the tangible, physical aspect that psychology didn't, in the sense that what you learn can actually be seen, tested and proven. i also thought the childhood phrase 'you can change the world' was silly and naive, however i think joining the effort to cure of treat neurodegenerative conditions is certainly a step in the right direction. I wouldn't really say i've discovered a 'niche' within neuroscience yet, however my Grandpa suffered from Parkinsons and after seeing first hand the lack of power to control or change it, contributing to research for the disease would be something that really drives me and I would definitely like to pursue (however I could be a bit late for now, as a new treatment is planned for release in 2024). The reason I am so sure that neuroscience is for me is because, apart from the profound contribution it makes to society, every time i research the brain and neurological diseases, i discover a new term that interests me, and move slightly further down a rabbit hole of researching random brain functions and problems. I listen to many talks and podcasts about neuroscience (such as TED talks and the Oxford Podcast) and read many books around it (such as 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat' and 'phantoms in the brain').
Researching ALS seems to be along a similar path i currently wish to go down, so if you had any more tips, suggestions or just general information about what it is exactly that you do, and how you got there, that would be amazing
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QuentinM
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(Original post by joshlinskell)
a long term interest in psychology and the brain since the age of around 12/13 led me a few years ago to the topic of neuroscience. i've always been interested in how the brain works, and what makes people tick, however, for me the reason i moved away from psychology and started looking at neuroscience is because it has the tangible, physical aspect that psychology didn't, in the sense that what you learn can actually be seen, tested and proven. i also thought the childhood phrase 'you can change the world' was silly and naive, however i think joining the effort to cure of treat neurodegenerative conditions is certainly a step in the right direction. I wouldn't really say i've discovered a 'niche' within neuroscience yet, however my Grandpa suffered from Parkinsons and after seeing first hand the lack of power to control or change it, contributing to research for the disease would be something that really drives me and I would definitely like to pursue (however I could be a bit late for now, as a new treatment is planned for release in 2024). The reason I am so sure that neuroscience is for me is because, apart from the profound contribution it makes to society, every time i research the brain and neurological diseases, i discover a new term that interests me, and move slightly further down a rabbit hole of researching random brain functions and problems. I listen to many talks and podcasts about neuroscience (such as TED talks and the Oxford Podcast) and read many books around it (such as 'The man who mistook his wife for a hat' and 'phantoms in the brain').
Researching ALS seems to be along a similar path i currently wish to go down, so if you had any more tips, suggestions or just general information about what it is exactly that you do, and how you got there, that would be amazing
Ok that reads a lot more like a personal statement introduction (in a good way) and pretty clearly demonstrates your interest. I hope my first post didn't come across as that rude, its obviously a bit different reading stuff here whereas meeting face to face I could probably have seen your interest much clearer. Saying "I've always been interested in X" usually doesn't come across well in university applications though, so avoid it if you can. I didn't even consider it as an interesting topic until my undergraduate degree to be honest.

I wouldn't say it makes a profound contribution to society as a whole (but for my voluntary work I could have gone most of my life without any experience of neurological disorders), but finding new treatments can have a monumental impact on the lives of those with the disease and their carers.

My current project involves using patient-derived stem cells to make neurons, and investigate mitochondrial damage in the cells, as it seems pretty clear in ALS (and for that matter, Parkinson's and Alzheimers) that there are big differences in mitochondria and how they function in these diseases. I'll then be testing "drug repurposing", which is basically using drugs we already use to treat various diseases to see if it can help address this damage in a different disease, and hopefully help neurons survive. The aim being recommending new treatments for ALS-ones that could be trialled much quicker than developing whole new compounds.

In terms of how I got here, I did my BSc in Medical Science at Exeter, there's quite a bit of neuroscience on that course but since then they've made a dedicated neuroscience degree by changing some things from my old course. I followed this with a Masters degree at Bath to get more experience, and have done some work volunteering at labs in Mexico and at University of Sheffield, where I now do my PhD.

Most of the most important advice I can give is more relevant to people doing a degree right now who want to carry on with a career in neuroscience, for people before applying I'd say carry on doing what you have described here-reading books/articles of interest, watching ted talks, listening to podcasts etc with a view to getting some good stuff to add to your PS. I'd also say look beyond neuroscience courses, I didn't do a neuroscience degree specifically, you may find some degrees in biology, biological science, biomedical science (and other related degree names) that don't specifically require chemistry, but are still good courses that will prepare you for a neuroscience research career. Most of the people in my department haven't done a Neuroscience BSc before their research here, for example.

Any more questions feel free to ask here or PM me
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