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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Medical Neuroscience by Duke University

2,575 ratings

About the Course

Medical Neuroscience explores the functional organization and neurophysiology of the human central nervous system, while providing a neurobiological framework for understanding human behavior. In this course, you will discover the organization of the neural systems in the brain and spinal cord that mediate sensation, motivate bodily action, and integrate sensorimotor signals with memory, emotion and related faculties of cognition. The overall goal of this course is to provide the foundation for understanding the impairments of sensation, action and cognition that accompany injury, disease or dysfunction in the central nervous system. The course will build upon knowledge acquired through prior studies of cell and molecular biology, general physiology and human anatomy, as we focus primarily on the central nervous system. This online course is designed to include all of the core concepts in neurophysiology and clinical neuroanatomy that would be presented in most first-year neuroscience courses in schools of medicine. However, there are some topics (e.g., biological psychiatry) and several learning experiences (e.g., hands-on brain dissection) that we provide in the corresponding course offered in the Duke University School of Medicine on campus that we are not attempting to reproduce in Medical Neuroscience online. Nevertheless, our aim is to faithfully present in scope and rigor a medical school caliber course experience. This course comprises six units of content organized into 12 weeks, with an additional week for a comprehensive final exam: - Unit 1 Neuroanatomy (weeks 1-2). This unit covers the surface anatomy of the human brain, its internal structure, and the overall organization of sensory and motor systems in the brainstem and spinal cord. - Unit 2 Neural signaling (weeks 3-4). This unit addresses the fundamental mechanisms of neuronal excitability, signal generation and propagation, synaptic transmission, post synaptic mechanisms of signal integration, and neural plasticity. - Unit 3 Sensory systems (weeks 5-7). Here, you will learn the overall organization and function of the sensory systems that contribute to our sense of self relative to the world around us: somatic sensory systems, proprioception, vision, audition, and balance senses. - Unit 4 Motor systems (weeks 8-9). In this unit, we will examine the organization and function of the brain and spinal mechanisms that govern bodily movement. - Unit 5 Brain Development (week 10). Next, we turn our attention to the neurobiological mechanisms for building the nervous system in embryonic development and in early postnatal life; we will also consider how the brain changes across the lifespan. - Unit 6 Cognition (weeks 11-12). The course concludes with a survey of the association systems of the cerebral hemispheres, with an emphasis on cortical networks that integrate perception, memory and emotion in organizing behavior and planning for the future; we will also consider brain systems for maintaining homeostasis and regulating brain state....

Top reviews


Jan 14, 2021

This course was a great opportunity for me to understand the world of neurology and helped me to clear all the ambiguities regarding the complex mechanisms that are happening in our beautiful brains.


Nov 21, 2018

I leant so much without even realising it until I got to the final exams and all this knowledge was making sense. Amazing lecturer with so much wisdom in the area. The course is very well delivered.

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1 - 25 of 763 Reviews for Medical Neuroscience

By Kierah R

Dec 21, 2016

I have not really taken any Neuroscience courses and I have to say this was very challenging with my already full-time load at school but I did it! Yay! I love Dr. White he is an awesome professor!

By Low W

Jun 19, 2018

A brief background: I am a social science (economics) student that have never taken any biology module since high school, but have taken a personal interest in psychology and I thought this course will help a little when reading papers that talks about neuroscience. It was an uphill struggle as you can imagine - more than half the time I pause to learn about simple things like what a cell life cycle is. With perseverance and the well laid out course, I managed, and took one firm first step into the world of neuroscience. I really appreciate Prof White for this, and I wish all future learners the best - there are many times you feel like giving up, but allow your (Core Concept #7) naturally endowed curiosity to push you further.

By Ademola A

Sep 20, 2020


Even though my brain almost exploded from trying to keep up, it was definitely worth it. I can proudly say that I gained more than I could ever have imagined from the course.

By Henry

Dec 29, 2018

Great course! Comprehensive and well organized. Video lectures are detailed and the supportive resources are useful. I found that some of the materials covered (particularly on the special senses) were very dense and most people will never need that level of detail in practice.

I recommend this course to most healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in this area. However, this is a tough course. If you have a weak foundation in basic biology and anatomy/physiology, be prepared to spend far more hours than recommended. But it is worth the time.

By R

Nov 25, 2016

While I greatly respect Dr. White's obvious immense knowledge of the neural anatomy, I feel taking this course did very little beyond showing me that perhaps medicine and anatomy wasn't for me.

By Al D A

Apr 12, 2018

I recently completed this course and I must say it is one of the challenging and rewarding academic experiences I have had in a long time. I was very impressed with the content and the format. I learned so much about the human brain and yet there is still so much to discover. This was a thorough course. and as a someone who has completed much of his undergraduate studies through distance education, I can safely say this ranks as challenging a course as I have ever taken. I did not know what to expect from Coursera, this being my first course with them, however, I was very impressed. Professor White has a calm and friendly delivery, so much so as it feels you are visiting with a friend. The videos were great and I strongly recommend you purchase the optional texts because they really cover the material in depth. The quizzes were difficult and the final exam was exceptional in bringing all the knowledge together using a clinical format. I cannot recommend this course enough, a very big thanks to Dr. White and all the contributors to this course! I would love to take an advanced follow up if it ever becomes available, they should consider making this part of a certificate program.

By S M J

Jun 27, 2017

I've always wanted to attend a course like this which offers such a detailed description of the fundamentals of neuroscience. Glad I found it and sure as hell recommended it to all my friends.

By Marina B

Jun 6, 2016

If you are looking to learn from a gifted professor, if you want to walk away with a lot of knowledge, if you need a new way of looking at neuroscience, or if you want to be hooked on the subject, look no further. The large international community of learners is really friendly and motivated, too, so as a bonus, you may find new friendships.

Dr. White (Len) needs to be a name as familiar to neuroscience as Dr. Goljan to pathology or Dr. Fischer to internal medicine, and you will see why when things just click in your head and when you finish with more understanding than from other courses; he is just such a great teacher. A glimpse of his brilliance as an instructor is when a learner walks away successfully with the knowledge of a medical student and can apply that to research or a clinical situation. The examples that Professor White lectures stuck in my head; the pictures he selects or the ones he draws are easy to recall. Neuroscience is a visual subject as much as it is knowledge-based, and this course stresses and utilizes both. Professor’s White unique talents are 1) to seamlessly repeat an important concept always in a fresh way and 2) to predict the learners’ struggles and confusions and address them. It is no wonder that students at his school honored Len with prestigious teaching awards. You can easily see Dr. White’s excitement for neuroscience and his passion for teaching. Simply a blessing that most of the world is free to learn from him.

Two other rare features stand out about this course: heavily involved teaching assistants, such as Ellen (look at the site she put together, and detailed unit notes. In summary, while this is the most demanding and lengthy course on Coursera (I felt the speed of the course was just right), it is also the most rewarding. Duke University has continuously proved to be a great school to take class via Coursera.

By Kalina T

Nov 22, 2018

I leant so much without even realising it until I got to the final exams and all this knowledge was making sense. Amazing lecturer with so much wisdom in the area. The course is very well delivered.

By John E

Jan 1, 2017

The vast majority of reviews for this course are glowing. Well done!

Coming from a non medical background I found this course very challenging. I hardly used any of the suggested readings or references as I found them too technical. I had to start at a more basic (high school) level and work my way up. After many hours of work, many failed first attempts and countless hours of eating comfort food, I eventually reached week 13. Did I feel ready for the final exams? I suppose it doesn't matter because I did pass and received my certificate.

By Bill F

Dec 13, 2017

A great course that is absolutely not for anyone with a mere interest in the field of study. You need a strong medical background (either as a student or practitioner). I do not recommend this course to anyone who is as such not qualified.

By Donny K T

Jun 13, 2016

13 weeks long? This is basically his class syllabus transferred to a MOOC! The first video was a ridiculous waste of my time. The videography was totally unprofessional. Shaky camera, this long walk and football kicking with a brain on the football field??? The audio is horrible... use a mic. I signed up for a neuro course, not an advertisement of the campus. This guy needed an Instructional Designer to help him condense and build this course into something digestible. This is MOOC, not a college course. I am horribly disappointed at the quality. I needed an overview of the main components of Neuro Medical Science.

By Tiago D

Jul 8, 2016

Absoultely Astoundishing. I will highlight the best points:

There is a companion textbook. This really helps to consolidate knowledge and sear for new information, although I should say that the tutorials are much complete.

There are tutorial notes given to the students. This is crucial. If one was to organize all the course content from just watching the videos it would be impossible. The tutorial notes give a great start for your own knowledge structuring.

This course is no light thing. My impression from some of other MOOC sites is that they are much superficial. Their courses seem a good joke at simulating college level education. Medical neuroscience is not like that. You should expect a standard college level neuroscience course.

Professor White is amazing. When you think he couldn't surprise you with his teaching methods, he plays music for you!

It is better than going to classes. Trust me. I had a neuroscience course in university and I couldn't stad attending classes. I wouldn't have passed wasn't it for Medical Neuroscience.

The course subject is just fascinating. Have you ever wondered that there are sensory labeled lines? Did you know that you cannot feel pain unless you have a specific receptor for it? Well, I don't know about you, but for me, that is simply magic.

This course will really make you have smarter conversations. Have you wondered launching a neuroscience topic during your date? "Well, did you know that no one really precisely knows how we can see? yes, because what your eyes "see" is just a pattern of light, and it is inverted horizontally and laterally!

This is simply the best course I have ever attended

What are you waiting for?

By Ricardo G

Mar 30, 2020

This is the best possible course on Neurosciences available in any online teaching system. I do appreciate the colossal effort and time spent by Dr Len White, and his Colleagues for the making of this project. As an MD specialized in ObGyn and Advanced Fetal Sonography (currently practicing in Venezuela) I feel more confident evaluating the developmental and anatomical details of the fetus along with the basis of CNS congenital anomalies. This great integral and extensive overview of the CNS will help me consolidate my imaginologic and functional view of the fetus. The last time I studied the CNS was in '95 while preparing myself for the USMLE/ECFMG Cerificate (Passed Successfully) and many things have changed since then, specially teaching resources such as those delivered with excellence by Dr White and his team. Not only I learned about Neurosciences but how to deliver great but humble presentations using several available resources. Mothers will benefit too not only because I better understand what is going on with their babies and better prevention practices but because I will deliver better insights on the many symptoms and complications related to normal and abnormal pregnancies

By Alix D

Apr 1, 2019

Dr. White presents this challenging material in an engaging, relatable way. The course is reasonably rigorous and absolutely fascinating. I cannot thank Dr. White and all of those involved in making this course enough. It is brilliantly organized and taught. The course book is equally excellent. It actually took me longer than expected to complete it because I became so enthralled in the topics that I began reading other textbooks alongside it. I am genuinely saddened that it's finished. However, without this course I'm not sure when, or indeed if, I would have discovered a genuine love and deep fascination with this subject. I'm currently pursuing higher education in Neuroscience as a result. Thank you.

By Greg P

May 20, 2019

This is one I have wanted to complete for a long time! I finally did it. One thing I would have liked would have been some lesion sessions, perhaps worked in reverse.... infarct happened here... this affects.... and take the case from there. Or more cases like the exam questions with details on an approach to figure out "where is the lesion(s)".

By Arun K

Dec 2, 2018

A great and challenging course to all fresh and experienced learners of neuroscience

By Vitalia K

Jul 4, 2017

I am a physicist, aspiring to work in neuroscience. I have some introductory notion in biology and neuroscience. I wanted to have a more systematic view on the nervous system. The beginning of this course is really great. The information is precise and clear, even if there are a lot of it. The lector seems really motivated by his work. In the later lessons there are sometimes too much general remarks, and the important information slides in too quickly and unnoticed. It would be great to cut the length of lessons in half, by omitting all the unnecessary phrases and to accentuate the crucial points. The quizzes are not very hard, but I think the course was not clear enough to give all the information, especially at the end, and I used a lot of supplementary sources, such as other universities online courses.

By Julie K R P

Apr 5, 2018

Excellent course. Very well structured and easy to follow, even though medical neuroscience is quite the challenge to learn. Professor White really is an excellent teacher, probably the best teacher i´ve come across. I´m a physical therapist from Denmark, looking to specialize in neurology and especially how to understand and utilize synaptic plasticity in neuro rehabilitation.

I can only recommend this course to any health professional looking for a complete, well distributed and rewarding course to establish a basic knowledge about medical neuroscience.

Julie Pedersen, Physical therapist, Denmark

By Daniel L

Jan 10, 2019

For anyone looking to understand some basic neuroanatomy and physiology, Dr Leonard White uses great skill to impart this sometimes complicated subject to his students. I have benefitted greatly and earning a certificate has definitely upgraded my CV.

By marjan g

Jan 15, 2021

This course was a great opportunity for me to understand the world of neurology and helped me to clear all the ambiguities regarding the complex mechanisms that are happening in our beautiful brains.

By Ignacio D G

Nov 26, 2018

A great course, very difficult but absolutely comprehensive. I would not recommend joining it without a basic formation in human neuro anatomy

By David A L C

Oct 1, 2017

Es un curso muy complejo por lo el nivel tan alto de la información. Requiere mucho dedicarle mucho tiempo. Muchas actividades no se realizan por falta de tiempo, como podría ser la participación en foros. A veces las unidades se encuentran sobresaturadas de información. Los videos en algunos casos son reiterativos y en otros divagan de los conceptos trascendentales del curso. Sin embargo es un curso muy completo, formativo, comprensible aunque requiere de leer y consultar referencias fuera de los documentos de apoyo propios del curso.

By Sofiia L

Jan 27, 2019

This is the best MOOC I've ever taken. It's very well structured, detailed, the lectures are both interesting and informative. You will also get a raft of additional resources to enhance your future learning and research and great study tips for each part of the course material. I loved it! Now I'm even going to take it once again to fill some gaps in knowledge and gain a better understanding of some topics.

By Gerardo B

Sep 29, 2020

Es el mejor curso de neurociencias que puedas tomar, solo advierto que es un curso que requiere de mucho de tu tiempo, para leer por tu parte y para tomar notas y hacer apuntes, tal y como si fuera una clase de la universidad. Vale mucho la pena tomar si te encuentras en alguna área de la salud.