A guide to studying Physiology at university - including what to expect, reasons to consider the subject area, application tips and a careers overview.
Why consider studying Physiology at university?
Physiology is the study of how the human body works. It underpins health care professions such as pharmacology, pharmacy, medicine and nursing as well as sport, exercise and performance improvement.
In physiology, a number of assessment techniques are used to image and investigate various parts of the body, from a cellular level to determine changes in the cells and how these affect the tissues and organs and up to the whole body. Physiology may also include elements of pharmacology, the study of how drugs work and their effect on the body. Physiology is a holistic study of the human body from a cellular level to the whole person.Watch this section on the video from 01:00 to 02:37
What to expect if you study Physiology at university
Modules undertaken in the first year of a physiology course are quite broad and underpin the skills necessary to be successful in the study and application of physiological principles and testing. The second and third years will build on the skills gained and may look at how the environment, exercise, nutrition, diseases, ageing and pharmacological interventions affect the human body. Most courses build up to completion of a final year project.
Physiology degree programmes are research driven and very current, as physiology and health science generally, is a constantly evolving area of science with direct implications on health and medicine. Courses have an emphasis on practical skills, practicing and utilising relevant techniques in the field of physiology and medical science.
A physiology course will develop many transferable employability skills including project management, communication and analytical skills. It may be possible to complete work experience or placements in clinical laboratories and other scientific fields. Watch this section on the video from 02:37 to 09:32
Application tips for Physiology courses at university
It is important that prospective Physiology students research courses that are suitable for their interests and aspirations.
Courses may have focus dependant on research specialisms of staff and facilities; therefore, students should check that modules offered meet their requirements. Courses may also be professional society affiliated or accredited, for example Royal Society of Biology Degree Accreditation, British Association of Sport and Exercise Science Endorsement or links to the Physiological Society.
It is also important to investigate the ‘whole package’ that universities offer, such as career and well-being support, research that is being undertaken, facilities, accommodation provision and sporting opportunities when making your final decisions.Watch this section on the video from 09:32 to 13:45
What careers does studying Physiology at university lead to?
Careers that are available to Physiology students include:
- Medical research and research delivery
- Pharmaceutical industry – testing new drugs and interventions
- Medical liaison – with clinicians and sales
- Scientific writing – medical reports and journalism
- Public health
- National Health Service – clinical and management roles
- Health and well-being advisors within different industries
- Allied health profession training Watch this section on the video from 13:45 to 15:33
With thanks to the event speaker:
Dr Liam Bagley, Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University
Jon Cheek, Founder and Director, UniTasterDays.com