COGS1000 – Introduction to Neuroscience 1

2023 – Session 1, In person-scheduled-weekday, North Ryde

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor and Lecturer
David Kaplan
Email for appointment
Matthew Crossley
Email for appointment
Anina Rich
Email for appointment
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit forms a 2-unit sequence with COGS1005 and provides an intensive introduction to the fundamentals of modern neuroscience, with a focus on the structure and function of the human brain. Topics include neuroanatomy, neural signalling, sensory processing, neural control of movement, and higher cognitive functions. Practicals include hands-on research activities in which students will have the opportunity to act as both researchers and experimental participants.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Explain key terminology and basic principles of neuroscience.
  • ULO2: Describe the basic structure and function of the central nervous system with an emphasis on the human brain.
  • ULO3: Understand the core methods employed in neuroscience.
  • ULO4: Analyse and interpret scientific information and research in neuroscience.
  • ULO5: Demonstrate and apply basic experimental research skills to test hypotheses in neuroscience.

General Assessment Information

Grade descriptors and other information concerning grading are contained in the Macquarie University Assessment Policy.

All final grades are determined by a grading committee, in accordance with the Macquarie University Assessment Policy, and are not the sole responsibility of the Unit Convenor.

Students will be awarded a final grade and a mark which must correspond to the grade descriptors specified in the Assessment Procedure (clause 128).

To pass this unit, you must demonstrate sufficient evidence of achievement of the learning outcomes, meet any ungraded requirements, and achieve a final mark of 50 or better.

Further details for each assessment task will be available on iLearn.

Late Submissions

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, a 5% penalty (OF THE TOTAL POSSIBLE MARK) will be applied each day a written assessment is not submitted, up until the 7th day (including weekends). After the 7th day, a grade of ‘0’ will be awarded even if the assessment is submitted. Submission time for all written assessments is set at 11.55pm. A 1-hour grace period is provided to students who experience a technical concern. 

 For example:

Number of days (hours) late

Total Possible Marks


Raw mark

Final mark

1 day (1-24 hours)





2 days (24-48 hours)





3 days (48-72 hours)





7 days (144-168 hours)





>7 days (>168 hours)






For any late submissions of time-sensitive tasks, such as scheduled tests/exams, performance assessments/presentations, and/or scheduled practical assessments/labs, students need to submit an application for Special Consideration.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Weekly Online Quizzes 10% No Weekly
Final Exam 50% No S1 2023 Examination Period
Mid-Term Exam 25% No Week 5
In-Class Lab Activity Sheets 15% No Weeks 2,3,4,6,7,9,10

Weekly Online Quizzes

Assessment Type 1: Quiz/Test
Indicative Time on Task 2: 5 hours
Due: Weekly
Weighting: 10%


Short online multiple quizzes covering basic content completed before each class lecture. Designed to provide routine assessment and feedback. Graded on C/NC basis with 50% correct threshold for C. 10 quizzes in total; 10-20 MC questions; no make-up quizzes; students may drop 2 lowest quizzes without penalty.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain key terminology and basic principles of neuroscience.
  • Describe the basic structure and function of the central nervous system with an emphasis on the human brain.

Final Exam

Assessment Type 1: Examination
Indicative Time on Task 2: 50 hours
Due: S1 2023 Examination Period
Weighting: 50%


2 hr exam, conducted during the official exam period. Combination of multiple choice and short answer questions.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain key terminology and basic principles of neuroscience.
  • Describe the basic structure and function of the central nervous system with an emphasis on the human brain.
  • Understand the core methods employed in neuroscience.
  • Analyse and interpret scientific information and research in neuroscience.

Mid-Term Exam

Assessment Type 1: Examination
Indicative Time on Task 2: 25 hours
Due: Week 5
Weighting: 25%


1 hr multiple choice exam.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain key terminology and basic principles of neuroscience.
  • Describe the basic structure and function of the central nervous system with an emphasis on the human brain.

In-Class Lab Activity Sheets

Assessment Type 1: Lab report
Indicative Time on Task 2: 6 hours
Due: Weeks 2,3,4,6,7,9,10
Weighting: 15%


Short (1-2 page), highly structured lab activity sheets. 1 activity sheet per lab. Graded on C/NC basis. Students may miss 1 lab activity without penalty.


On successful completion you will be able to:
  • Explain key terminology and basic principles of neuroscience.
  • Describe the basic structure and function of the central nervous system with an emphasis on the human brain.
  • Understand the core methods employed in neuroscience.
  • Analyse and interpret scientific information and research in neuroscience.
  • Demonstrate and apply basic experimental research skills to test hypotheses in neuroscience.

1 If you need help with your assignment, please contact:

  • the academic teaching staff in your unit for guidance in understanding or completing this type of assessment
  • the Writing Centre for academic skills support.

2 Indicative time-on-task is an estimate of the time required for completion of the assessment task and is subject to individual variation

Delivery and Resources

As a student enrolled in this unit, you will engage in a range of face-to-face and online learning activities, including readings, lectures, etc. Details can be found on the iLearn site for this unit.


Purves D. et al. (Eds.) (2017) NEUROSCIENCE, 6th edition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. The hardcover version is available for purchase through Booktopia or you can rent the digital eBook from Oxford University Press. In addition, a number of copies of the hardcover textbook will be on reserve at the Macquarie University Library. 


You will need access to the internet to access the unit's iLearn page. Through iLearn you will be able to access the lecture recordings (Echo360), additional readings, and feedback and marks for the assessment tasks. You are also required to submit assessment tasks via iLearn, using the Turnitin submission tool. Please allow time to familiarise yourself with how to access iLearn. ​For further information, visit the iLearn student support page.


All lectures will be delivered face-to-face in 21 Wallys Walk - Macquarie Theatre, starting in Week 1. The officially scheduled lecture time is Wed 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Although attendance at lectures is strongly encouraged, all lectures will be recorded and made available for asynchronous viewing through Echo360. Lecture slides will be uploaded to iLearn just before the lecture time under the lecture link in the relevant week below. 

Due to space constraints in Macquarie Theatre, not everyone can enrol to attend lectures in person. (This is why there are two different lecture delivery modes that you can select from when you enrol.) Because seating capacity is limited, if you are enrolled to attend lectures in person, you are expected to show up to the lectures. If you are enrolled to attend in person, but have no intention of attending in person, please unenrol and re-enrol in online (livestream) lecture delivery mode. This will allow someone else to enrol to attend lectures in person.


All tutorials will be delivered face-to-face in starting in Week 1. Please check eStudent for the time and location of your tutorial. Changes to tutorials need to be made online via eStudent only (neither the unit convenor nor the tutor can make changes to your tutorial enrolment). After week 2, no further changes will be allowed unless supporting documentation about the reason for changing is provided and there is space in the tutorial you wish to enrol in. 

Face-to-face tutorials and lab sessions are an essential part of COGS1000 and these cannot be delivered online. All students are therefore required to come to campus to participate in these sessions and complete the associated in-class assessment tasks.  If you are unable to attend a lab session in person due to unavoidable reasons (quarantine, illness, etc.), you should apply for Special Consideration through AskMQ. Reasonable adjustments will be made for students with approved Special Consideration. 

Weekly Online Quizzes

This unit has weekly online quizzes designed to keep you on track during the fast-paced semester. Quizzes will be graded either as full credit or no credit; no partial credit will be given. To receive full credit on a quiz, you must correctly answer at least 50% of the multiple-choice questions. If you correctly answer less than 50% of the questions, you will receive no credit for that quiz. No make-up quizzes will be permitted (with the exception of officially approved Special Consideration requests). However, your 2 lowest quizzes will be dropped at the end of the semester.

As indicated above, quizzes must be completed online each week prior to the lecture. Each quiz will be open until 11:55 PM Tuesday night, the night before the relevant lecture. Only quizzes completed before this deadline will be recorded. These quizzes are open book, and you may take each quiz multiple times before the deadline, but only the first submitted attempt for each quiz will be counted. You will receive feedback as to your correct and incorrect answers at the completion of each quiz.  There are no quizzes during the week of the mid-term exam (Week 5), the mid-semester break, and the final exam review session (Week 13).

The quizzes are delivered through iLearn, so you need to have access to a reliable computer with connection to the Internet. Technical difficulties will not be accepted as a reason for special consideration.

Requests for extensions, medical leave, and/or special consideration

Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to notify the University of a disruption to their studies. All requests for extensions, medical leave and/or special consideration should be made prior to the due date for the assignment, are to be made directly via the University’s online Ask MQ system. Guidelines for Special Consideration can be found here

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central ( Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit Student Policies ( It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

To find other policies relating to Teaching and Learning, visit Policy Central ( and use the search tool.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct:


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit or if you are a Global MBA student contact

Academic Integrity

At Macquarie, we believe academic integrity – honesty, respect, trust, responsibility, fairness and courage – is at the core of learning, teaching and research. We recognise that meeting the expectations required to complete your assessments can be challenging. So, we offer you a range of resources and services to help you reach your potential, including free online writing and maths support, academic skills development and wellbeing consultations.

All students are expected to understand and adhere to the University's Academic Integrity Policy. If you are unsure about which activities count as violations of the policy, please see this list of "unacceptable academic activities". All forms of cheating including "contract cheating" are strongly prohibited and serious penalties will apply. In addition, the following behaviours associated with contract cheating also violate the University's Academic Integrity Policy. In some cases, these behaviours might also be against the law.

  • Uploading University-copyrighted teaching materials such as unit of study outlines, lecture slides and assignment questions to 'study notes' sharing websites.
  • Selling University-copyrighted teaching materials to private tutoring or ghostwriting companies, or sharing these materials on social media platforms.
  • Sharing or discussing information about the content of an exam (including exam questions and answers) with others including on social media platforms.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit

The Writing Centre

The Writing Centre provides resources to develop your English language proficiency, academic writing, and communication skills.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Services and Support

Macquarie University offers a range of Student Support Services including:

Student Enquiries

Got a question? Ask us via AskMQ, or contact Service Connect.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Inclusion and Diversity

Social inclusion at Macquarie University is about giving everyone who has the potential to benefit from higher education the opportunity to study at university, participate in campus life and flourish in their chosen field. The University has made significant moves to promote an equitable, diverse and exciting campus community for the benefit of staff and students. It is your responsibility to contribute towards the development of an inclusive culture and practice in the areas of learning and teaching, research, and service orientation and delivery. As a member of the Macquarie University community, you must not discriminate against or harass others based on their sex, gender, race, marital status, carers' responsibilities, disability, sexual orientation, age, political conviction or religious belief. All staff and students are expected to display appropriate behaviour that is conducive to a healthy learning environment for everyone.


In the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, professionalism is a key capability embedded in all our courses.

As part of developing professionalism, students are expected to attend all small group interactive sessions including clinical, practical, laboratory, work-integrated learning (e.g., PACE placements), and team-based learning activities. Some learning activities are recorded (e.g., face-to-face lectures), however you are encouraged to avoid relying upon such material as they do not recreate the whole learning experience and technical issues can and do occur. As an adult learner, we respect your decision to choose how you engage with your learning, but we would remind you that the learning opportunities we create for you have been done so to enable your success, and that by not engaging you may impact your ability to successfully complete this unit. We equally expect that you show respect for the academic staff who have worked hard to develop meaningful activities and prioritise your learning by communicating with them in advance if you are unable to attend a small group interactive session.

Another dimension of professionalism is having respect for your peers. It is the right of every student to learn in an environment that is free of disruption and distraction. Please arrive to all learning activities on time, and if you are unavoidably detained, please join activity as quietly as possible to minimise disruption. Phones and other electronic devices that produce noise and other distractions must be turned off prior to entering class. Where your own device (e.g., laptop) is being used for class-related activities, you are asked to close down all other applications to avoid distraction to you and others. Please treat your fellow students with the utmost respect. If you are uncomfortable participating in any specific activity, please let the relevant academic know.

Unit information based on version 2023.02 of the Handbook