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Physiology courses

Are you fascinated by the structure of living things and how the human body works? If so you may be interested in a biomedical science degree in either physiology or anatomy, although courses usually have a mix of both topics. Physiology focuses on how living things function and how different systems in the body interact. Graduate destinations include university or industry-based research, the pharmaceutical industry, lab-based careers in hospitals, medical sales or further study in medicine.

Studying physiology at university

Example course modules

  • The cell
  • Chemistry for the life sciences
  • Staying alive - adaptation in physiological systems
  • Epithelial physiology
  • Intergrative neuroscience
  • Cardiovascular physiology and pharmacology
  • Human endocrinology
  • Neurobiology
  • Experimental techniques in human physiology
  • Inherited disorders

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 69%
    Male : 31%
  • Mature : 15%
    School leaver : 85%
  • Full-time : 96%
    Part-time : 4%

What students say about physiology

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Chemistry
  • Biology

Useful to have

  • Psychology
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Anatomy and physiology graduates often take further study – usually moving on to a medical degree, whilst pathology graduates tend to go into work.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Therapy professionals

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Medical researcher
  • Physiological scientist
  • Exercise physiologist

Other real-life job examples

  • Retail pharmacist
  • Perfusionist

What employers like about this subject

A physiology degree will help you to develop subject-specific skills in understanding the mechanisms that underlie the function of the body in health and disease, and in pharmacology, biochemistry, neuroscience, genetics and anatomy. Transferable skills you can develop include excellent communication and reporting skills, problem-solving, research and numeracy skills. Physiology is a very specialist subject and many graduates go on to complete a medical degree after completing their physiology studies. Physiology graduates usually go to work in hospitals or universities after graduating, but other industries that recruit them include the life sciences, sports, retail chemists and the finance industry.