Physiological Science

Physiology explores how the body works and is one of the key disciplines that underpins medicine. Have you ever wondered how the body responds to conditions such as stress, high altitude or blood loss? Or how the air we breathe fuels our tissues, or how what we eat influences how our bodies function? All of these questions and more can be answered through the study of physiological science.

At Bristol, hands-on learning is at the forefront of your learning experience. Our outstanding teaching takes place in purpose-built teaching laboratories using online practical resources and state-of-the-art human simulators.

Why study Physiological Science at Bristol?

The School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience houses world-leading research groups in cardiovascular physiology, neuroscience and cell biology and you will benefit from teaching by our research-active staff right from the start of your course.

During your degree you will explore all the major mammalian body systems from a molecular level up to whole body responses. In the first year you will learn the physiology of how the body works, system by system, including in-depth exploration of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems. This enables you to take an integrated approach to physiology in your second year, such as understanding the demands of exercise and how we form memories.

In the first two years you will have the opportunity to study other subjects alongside physiology, including non-science subjects. Popular choices include:

  • pharmacology
  • anatomy
  • biochemistry
  • psychology
  • a modern language.

In your third year you will get to grips with the latest cutting-edge research, taught by staff who are internationally recognised in their research area, considering topics such as neurological and psychiatric disorders and the heart in health and disease. You will also have the opportunity to explore physiological topics of interest in greater depth by engaging in one of a wide variety of research projects.

Students on the MSci Physiological Science spend the majority of the fourth year focusing on an extended research proposal in a research laboratory environment while developing valuable science communication skills.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Physiological science suits those with a strong interest in how the body works, from cells to the whole body, and what goes wrong when disease affects the body. It attracts students interested in biology who would like to focus on the human and mammalian body systems.

You will be, or want to develop, the ability to investigate aspects of physiology from literature and have an interest in developing skills in experimentation and analysing data.

How is this course taught and assessed?

For each of the first two years you will typically have nine lectures a week supplemented by up to nine hours of practical work, depending on the units chosen.

Regular workshops will provide you with guidance in writing and communication skills and problem solving.

In the third year formal lectures are replaced by seminars and you will spend a total of 30 to 40 days on a research project.

The majority of the fourth year of the MSci is focused on an extended research proposal in a research laboratory environment.

Throughout the course you will be assessed via coursework, including regular online assessments and written assignments, as well as end-of-unit exams.

What are my career prospects?

Many of our graduates enter careers for which physiology is of direct relevance, including basic and clinical research, graduate medical, veterinary or dental courses and applied scientific or pharmaceutical careers.

Others enter teaching or a variety of careers that do not need physiological skills specifically, but for which physiology provides an excellent general education, for example in industry, accountancy, administration or management.

Physiology will help you develop skills valued by employers, such as data-handling and communication skills.

Read more about what graduates from the physiological science go on to do after graduation.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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