Physiological Science

If you're fascinated by how our bodies work and want to study the cutting-edge science behind global healthcare challenges, join our innovation-driven community.

Research-led teaching

You will be taught by staff who are leaders in their research fields, primarily in the areas of cell physiology, neuroscience, and cardiovascular physiology.

Highly regarded

Bristol is ranked 4th in the UK for Anatomy and Physiology (Guardian University Guide 2021).

Excellent facilities

Learn in purpose-built teaching laboratories with fantastic online practical resources and state-of-the-art Human Patient Simulators.

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Physiological Science at Bristol

Physiological science suits those with a strong interest in how the body works, from molecular to whole-body systems, and what goes wrong when disease affects the body.

The School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience is home to outstanding research groups in cell physiology, neuroscience, and cardiovascular physiology, and you will benefit from teaching by our research-active and teaching specialist staff throughout your course.

Explore our facilities with our virtual tour and hear from our current students about what life as a Physiological Science student is like.

The reason I chose Bristol is because of how balanced it is, I feel like you can find your niche wherever you go [...] Honestly Iā€™m so happy that I got the chance to grow in this University.

Karabo, BSc Physiological Science

Career prospects

Many of our graduates enter careers for which physiological science 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.

Our courses will help you develop skills valued by employers, such as data handling, analysis and communication skills.

Our MSci in Physiological Science offer you the chance to gain extensive research experience and is an ideal choice for those wanting to follow a research career and undertake a PhD after graduation.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

In the first year, you will study units on human physiology alongside an introduction to pharmacology. You can choose from a range of optional biomedical science units on topics including anatomical science, pharmacology, neuroscience, biochemistry and psychology.

Second-year units explore physiology in greater depth such as neurophysiology, exercise physiology and the response to extreme environments. A biomedical science skills unit covers employability, data handling and presentation skills, and you'll be able to choose from a wide range of optional units, including biochemistry, psychology or a modern language.

In your third year, you’ll engage with staff-led research seminars and workshops and carry out a research project. If you are on the MSci course, your fourth year will include an extended lab-based research project.

For MSci Physiological Science with Study in Industry, you will spend your third year on a placement and return to Bristol for your fourth year to complete a research grant proposal, alongside final-year units.

World-class facilities

Studying Physiological Science at Bristol gives you access to exceptional facilities, allowing you to advance your practical and technical skills. These include:

  • Bristol Biomedical Simulation Centre: use our state-of-the-art manikin-based Human Patient Simulators. We are leaders in the use of these for the study of biomedical sciences.
  • eBiolabs: access the world’s most comprehensive online laboratory resource for bioscience students, invented at and exclusive to Bristol.
  • Dedicated library: learn in our Biomedical Sciences Library with group and quiet study space, as well as a café and social space.

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 opportunities are 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 outstanding 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.

The MSci Physiological Science with Study in Industry degree includes the opportunity for an assessed year of study in a major pharmaceutical or research organisation either in the UK or abroad.

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 have 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 tutorials will develop your writing, communication and problem-solving skills.

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

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.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities ā€“ internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities ā€“ 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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