Medical Neuroscience
Location: Sir Charles Tupper Building
5850 College Street
Room 13-B1
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax, NS
B3H 4R2
Telephone: (902) 494-2051
Fax: (902) 494-1212

The Department of Medical Neuroscience fosters research and training in neuroscience that advances the understanding and treatment of diseases of the nervous system. The Department is also the home for Anatomy at Dalhousie University, teaching gross anatomy, embryology and histology to Medical, Dental, and Health Professions students.

Course of Study

First Year Medicine

The Department of Medical Neuroscience provides instruction in anatomy, histology, and embryology during the first year of Medicine. Students are introduced to human gross anatomy and histology during Foundations and study the anatomy of the abdomen and pelvis during the Metabolism I (GONE) and Human Development Units, respectively. Students learn basic concepts through case-based tutorials with additional content provided during laboratory sessions, self-direct learning activities and a limited number of lectures.

Second-Year Medicine

The study of anatomy continues in the second year of medicine, beginning with head and neck gross anatomy and neuroanatomy.

Neuroanatomy is taught as an integral part of the Neuroscience: Central Nervous System and Special Senses Block, which is scheduled during the fall term of the second year. Neuroanatomical principles of organization and integration in the central nervous system are employed to analyze and explain the pathological processes described in the cases around which the block is built. The basic neuroanatomy from which these principles are derived is presented in a series of lectures and laboratory sessions that are arranged to complement the cases. Neuroanatomical topics are included in the written examination at the end of the block; as well, there is a practical examination of the material taught in the laboratory. In order to obtain an integrated understanding of the operation of the central nervous system in health and disease, neurophysiological, neuropharmacological, neurological, and psychiatric topics are also presented in conjunction with the neuroanatomy considered in this block.

Later in year two, the anatomy of the thorax and musculoskeletal system is taught as part of the Metabolism II and Msk/Derm Units, respectively.

Electives for Medical Students

The department participates in the elective program.

First Year Students: The Department offers a variety of essay topics covering areas of recent research interest, which enable students to become familiar with topical research in medicine. The facilities of the Kellogg Health Sciences Library are available to students for this purpose.

The Department also offers opportunity for short research projects under the direction of faculty members for medical students wishing to undertake basic or pre-clinical research or integrate basic anatomy with clinical projects.

Second and Third Year Students: The Department offers research projects under the direction of faculty members. The Department also offers electives in Head and Neck Anatomy and Neuroanatomy. An elective in Musculoskeletal Anatomy can be offered in conjunction with the faculty of the Division of Orthopedic Surgery.

Clinical Gross Anatomy Review for Residents

These anatomy review sessions are designed to re-familiarize the residents with gross anatomy that is relevant to the area they are specializing in and are essential for their residency training.

The sessions have a strong laboratory focus, using prosections, case studies and quizzes. Clinicians and anatomists take turns to demonstrate an area with various highlights of the gross anatomical structures and their relationships during the surgical procedures.

Graduate Studies

Students wishing to take courses leading to a MSc or PhD degree in Anatomy and Neurobiology should consult the calendar of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the departmental website:


Dentistry Students

Gross Anatomy/Neuroanatomy - The course is taught by the Department of Medical Neuroscience in the Faculty of Medicine and designed specifically for and restricted to first year dental students.

Gross Anatomy - It deals with detailed gross anatomy of the thorax, head and neck with minor emphasis on abdomen and upper limb. Lecture, laboratories with dissection, prosections, x-rays and clinical case presentations are used with special attention given to oral and dental structures.

Neuroanatomy - Dental students are provided with a comprehensive overview of the functional morphology of the human nervous system. The gross anatomy of the spinal cord, spinal nerves, brain and cranial nerves are described. This is followed by details of the spinal cord, brainstem, cerebellum, diencephalon and cerebral hemispheres and the systems of which they are comprised. Material is presented in lectures and laboratory sessions.

Health Professions Students

Lecture based instruction in introductory gross anatomy, microanatomy and neuroanatomy offered to meet the needs of students in nursing and special health education (ANAT 1010.03: Basic Human Anatomy), and recreation, physical and health education, kinesiology and dental hygiene (ANAT 1020.03: Basic Human Anatomy). A problem-based learning course in Human Anatomy is offered to Pharmacy students (ANAT 1040.03: Basic Human Anatomy for Pharmacy Students). A lecture and laboratory class in head and neck anatomy (DEHY 2852.03: Gross Anatomy of Head and Neck) is also offered to Dental Hygiene students. In addition, more advanced lecture and laboratory classes ANAT 5217.06: Functional Human Anatomy, ANAT 2160.03: Introduction to Human Histology (OCCU 6140/PHYT 6140: Neuroscience for Occupational Therapy/Physiotherapy Students.

The following courses are open with a limited enrolment to Arts and Science students: