Online course in Health & Psychology

Good Brain, Bad Brain: Basics

What do we know and what are we discovering about the form and function of the human brain? Find out with this online course.

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $69 Find out more
This course is part of the Good Brain, Bad Brain program, which will enable you to explore the human brain, for CPD or as a gateway to further study.

Understand your own amazing brain

We will look at what your brain is made of, how these components are organised and how they function.

This information is helping neuroscientists across the globe understand the brain - and how it is able to do everything from stopping you falling off your bike, to making you feel sad that your football team lost their game, to helping you learn how your brain works.

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What topics will you cover?

  • The cells of the nervous system: neurones and glia
  • Basic neuroanatomy of the brain and the concept of the relationship between structure and function
  • Basic properties of neurones, including an introduction to the action potential
  • A brief introduction to the functioning of the synapse
  • Examples of drugs (legal and therapeutic) that alter the function of neurones and synapses
  • Examples of brain disorders that illustrate how some functions are highly localised, such as the sensory systems, whilst others are distributed throughout the brain, such as emotion

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe the key features of the cells that make up the human nervous system that allow them to carry out their function
  • Explain how the arrangement of these cells within the human brain relates to brain function
  • Explain how drugs can impact on the normal function of neurones of the brain
  • Discuss how brain disorders can impact on the functioning of the brain

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out the fundamentals of how the human brain works. It assumes that you will have basic school-level biological knowledge.

You might be doing your A-levels and considering a neuroscience-related degree; a computer-scientist interested in neural networks; or in business and wondering how the workings of your employees’ brains influences the culture of your business.

Who will you learn with?

Alison Cooper

Alison Cooper

Alison Cooper is a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham, where she teaches neuroscience and pharmacology.

Who developed the course?

The University of Birmingham is a public research university, consistently listed as a leading UK university and ranked among the top 100 in the world.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.

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  • Access to this course for 5 weeks

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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
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  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
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