I want to work in Neuroscience

Find out how you can start a career in neuroscience. Here we list potential job roles and some of the leading companies in that sector.

Job roles

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. Neuroscientists try to understand the cause and treatment for neurological disorders and neurological diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. There are genetic causes or risk factors for many neurological diseases: Parkinson's disease for example, is in reality about 10 closely related diseases.Neuroscience is primarily an research discipline.


Neuroscience, biomedical, biochemistry, psychology, pharmacology, physics, chemistry and computer science courses can equip students with some of the skills needed for a career in neuroscience. It would be difficult to gain entry to neuroscience masters course without having studied a science undergraduate degree.

The standard career route is via a PhD and then work as a post-doctoral researcher or to become a medical doctor and then to specialise in psychiatry or neuroscience.


To become a neuropsychologist you first need to be a chartered psychologist in clinical or education.You then must complete the British Psychological Societies Qualification in Neuropsychology.


Neural engineers use engineering techniques to develop devices to assist with neural disorders.



  • Government research centres e.g. the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit
  • Pharmaceutical companies: researching new drugs
  • Hospitals: neurologists, neurosurgeons. neurological nurses and neurotechnicians who assist with patient care and diagnosis in mental illness units. hospital research units
  • Universities - teaching and research posts
  • BNA Jobs

Cognitive neuroscience

Cognitive neuroscience involves the study of the biology underlying cognition with a specific focus on the neural substances of mental processes. It deals with how cognitive functions are produced by the brain. It has roots in both psychology and neuroscience and can also involve computational modelling to develop and research theoretical models of the brain. Studies of patients with cognitive problems that involve abnormal activity in brain circuits often caused by brain lesions are an important area of study. Illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, strokes, dementia and brain injuries caused by, for example car accidents are studied.
Methods employed include cognitive psychology, brain imaging, electrophysiology, cognitive genomics, psychophysics, and behavioral genetics.

Employers include

  • Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit The MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (CBSU) is an internationally renowned research institute with state-of-the-art cognitive neuroscience facilities, including a research dedicated 3T Siemens TIM Trio MRI scanner and 306-channel Elekta Neuromag MEG scanner.
  • Kings College, London. Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases clinical and translational neuroscience team. A clinical trials team is part of this team remit to improve the treatment of people with dementia.
  • Institute of Psychiatry. Department of Psychosis Studies. Neurobiological factors underlying the onset of psychosis. Multimodal neuroimaging project uses MRI and PET to investigate the relationship between brain dopamine, glutamate and hippocampal function in people who are at high risk of developing psychosis. Also aims to apply machine-learning techniques to data to determine whether neuroimaging measures can be used to predict the risk of later transition to psychosis.
  • Cambridge Cognition - company dedicated to enhancing cognitive wellbeing throughout life, and to enabling better detection and treatment of cognitive impairment. The CANTAB cognitive testing system is used by the pharmaceutical industry in developing drugs to treat CNS and non-CNS disorders, particularly dementia, ADHD, and schizophrenia. Scientific team provides consultancy to pharmaceutical companies on cognitive study design and interpretation - recommendations on the cognitive features of different disorders, likely psychopharmacological effects of investigational compounds, and statistical and psychometric considerations of cognitive assessment in clinical trials. 


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