NEUR3045/NEURG045 Visual Neuroscience

An interdisciplinary course on the Anatomy, Physiology and Psychophysics of Vision

This course will teach visual neuroscience from a broad, interdisciplinary point of view. Our modern understanding of vision and visual processing depends not only on the more traditional fields of anatomy, physiology and psychophysics, which remain centrally important, but also on the fields of genetics, molecular and cellular biology, ophthalmology, neurology, cognitive neuroscience and brain imaging.  In this course, we will present visual neuroscience as a multidisciplinary, yet integrated field of study.

Aims: The aim is to provide students with an understanding of the functional anatomy and neurophysiology of the visual system, and an understanding of how neural activity results in visual perception and in behaviours that depend on vision. Students will be introduced to a variety of methods for investigating visual neuroscience including molecular biology, psychophysics, single cell recording, electrophysiology, brain imaging, and the experimental study of patients with brain damage or genetic defects.

Summary of Course Content: The course presents a multidisciplinary approach to vision. It will cover anatomical, physiological, genetic, molecular and psychological approaches. The course covers the fundamentals of visual neuroscience from the visual input at the retina to visual perception.

Course Organiser

Andrew Stockman
Institute of Ophthalmology

11-43 Bath Street

London EC1V 9EL




Course Web site

Course lecturers

Dr. Tessa Dekker (Ophthalmology), email:

Prof. Mitch Glickstein (Anatomy), e-mail:

Dr. John Greenwood (Psychology), e-mail:

Dr. Peter Jones (Ophthalmology), email:

Dr. Andrew Rider (Opthalmology), e-mail:

Dr. Stewart Shipp (Ophthalmology), e-mail:

Prof. Andrew Stockman (Ophthalmology), e-mail:

Dr. Antony Vugler (Ophthalmology), e-mail:


Visual Neuroscience 2016-2017 Timetable

BLOCK G: 2-6 pm Tuesday.

Week 20
Medawar Building G01 Lankester LT
Tuesday 10th Jan 2-3 1. Course introduction/ Historical Introduction to Neuroscience. (AS/MG).
Tuesday 10th Jan 3-4 2. Physiological optics and the photoreceptor mosaic. (AS).
Tuesday 10th Jan 4-6 Demo 1. Optical demonstrations. (MG).
Week 21 Medical Sciences G46 H O Schild Pharmacology LT
Tuesday 17th Jan 2-3 3. Comparative anatomy of the eye. (MG).
Tuesday 17th Jan 3-4

4. Photoreceptors and phototransduction. (AS)

Tuesday 17th Jan 4-5 5. Introduction to the retina. (AV).
Tuesday 17th Jan 5-6 Tutorial: Neuroscience (MG/AV)
Week 22 IOE - Bedford Way (20) - 103 - Jeffery Hall
Tuesday 24th Jan 2-3 6. Advanced retina. (AV)
Tuesday 24th Jan 3-4 7. Fundamentals of psychophysics. (JG).
Tuesday 24th Jan 4-5 8. Visual psychophysics and sensitivity regulation. (AS).
Tuesday 24th Jan 5-6 Tutorial: Psychophysics. (AS/JG).
Week 23 Gordon Street (25) Maths 505
Tuesday 31st Jan 2-3 9. Achromatic & chromatic vision. (AS).
Tuesday 31st Jan 3-5 Demo 2. Colour vision demonstrations (SS).
Week 24 Gordon Street (25) Maths 505
Tuesday  7th Feb 2-3 10. Spatial vision. (JG).
Tuesday 7th Feb 3-4 11. Depth perception/Visual Illusions. (AS).
Tuesday 7th Feb 4-5 12. Central visual pathways. (MG).
Week 25 
Week 26 Medawar Building G01 Lankester LT
Tuesday 21st Feb 2-3 13. Multiple visual areas of cortex. (SS).
Tuesday 21st Feb 3-4 14. Hierarchical visual processing. (SS).
Tuesday  21st Feb 4-5 15. Motion. (AR).
Week 27 IOE - Bedford Way (20) - 802
Tuesday  28th Feb 2-3 16. fMRI and visual brain function. (TD).
Tuesday  28th Feb 3-6 Seminar 1. (NEUR3045). Seminars: session 1.
Week 28 Medawar Building G01 Lankester LT
Tuesday 7th Mar 2-3 17. The neural correlate of consciousness. (SS).
Tuesday 7th Mar 3-6 Seminar 2. (NEUR3045). Seminars: session 2.
Week 29 Medical Sciences G46 H O Schild Pharmacology LT
Tuesday 14th Mar 2-3 18. Visual development in babies and infants. (PJ)
Tuesday 14th Mar 3-6 Seminar 3. (NEUR3045). Seminars: sesssion 3.
Week 30 School of Pharmacy 228
Tuesday  21st Mar 2-3 19. Revision class.
Tuesday  21st Mar 3-6 Seminar 4. (NEUR3045). Seminars: sesssion 4.


Recommended text books for the course

Sensation and Perception by Jeremy M. Wolfe

Sensation and Perception by E. Bruce Goldstein

The First Steps in Seeing by R.W Rodieck

Visual Perception: Physiology, Psychology and Biology by Vicki Bruce, Patrick Green and Mark Georgeson

Recommended reference sources for the course

The Visual Neurosciences by Leo Chalupa and John Werner

Webvision at

Neuroscience: a Historical Introduction by Mitchell Glickstein
Neuroscience Mitch

Student seminars

Depending on student numbers, the seminars for NEUR 3045 will run in three up to 3-hour sessions (see timetables).

Visual Neuroscience NEUR3045/G045/M045 2017 Seminar topics

Seminar schedule 2017


General advice

The seminar should last 10 minutes. Marks may be deducted if your talk is shorter than 9 minutes or longer than 11 minutes in length.
Your main aim, in giving the talk, is to demonstrate that you understand what you are talking about. This means that you should try to make sure that what you say is fully comprehensible to your fellow students as well as the examiner, rather than relying on their previous knowledge of the underlying principles (or jargon).
Ideally, the talk should have a brief Introduction, and a conclusion (or provide an answer if the talk title takes the form of a question).
Some coverage of relevant material outside of the lectures is encouraged.
Make sure you can explain the content of complex diagrams, charts or experiments that you replicate from publications or textbooks.  
Make sure you reference your sources for diagrams, graphs and data in the slides with a brief acknowledgement.
How many slides you should have in the talk will depend on the detail in each slide, but try to avoid having too many slides with dense detailed information.
Make sure you rehearse to make sure your timing is right.
You will be marked primarily for:

  1. Talk content (scope & depth of sources examined);
  2. Presentation (quality of slides and organization of talk);
  3. Clarity of exposition.
Discretionary marks will be awarded for good verbal presentation skills, and originality of talk content, or originality in graphical presentation.

Please e-mail if there are any problems!

Graduate student journal club


Details to follow.

Past exam questions

Can be found here. Note that the exam syllabus changed in 2012 when the Advanced Visual Neuroscience course (NEUR3001) began and again when NEUR3001 ended in 2017. The earlier pre-2012 exam papers are from the Eye and Brain or Neurobiology of Vision courses, the syllabuses of which were slightly broader than the present course. In 2017, this course was slightly broadened again to include lectures on fMRI and visual development.

The invigilated graduate essay titles can be found here.

Lectures, lecture notes and references

Scroll up if the page looks blank!

Initially these are from the previous year and will be updated as the course progresses.

Tessa Dekker (new lecture for NEUR3045, previously NEUR3001)

John Greenwood

Mitch Glickstein

Pete Jones (new lecture for NEUR3045, previously NEUR3001)

Stewart Shipp

Andrew Stockman

Antony Vugler


Past lectures (which still might be of interest)

Keith May (pre-2017)

Tom Salt (pre-2017)

Undergraduate course assessment (NEUR3045)

Graduate course assessment (NEURG045/M045)