Physiology is an experimental scientific discipline of fundamental importance in medicine and related health sciences. It provides a thorough understanding of normal body function, enabling more effective treatment of abnormal or disease states.

We use innovative teaching methods to enhance our teaching. Practicals are run in well-equipped modern labs and incorporate eBiolabs, a newly developed online learning environment, and state-of-the-art human patient simulators.

Why study Physiology at Bristol?

Physiology is the study of body function - how cell tissue and organ function are integrated in the whole individual. It is an experimental, scientific discipline of general educational value.

The School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience houses world-leading research groups in cardiovascular physiology, neuroscience and cell biology, and from year one you will benefit from teaching from our research-active staff.

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

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

International students who are offered a place on courses within the School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience can apply for an Undergraduate International Scholarship.

What kind of student would this course suit?

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

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

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, Second year, LLB Law

How is this course taught and assessed?

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

Regular tutorials will provide you with guidance in writing and communication skills as well as problem solving.

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

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 not specifically needing physiological skills but for which physiology provides an excellent general education, for example in commerce, 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 department go on to do after graduation

Did you know?

  • Students from more than 180 countries study with us, and we share more than 150 exchange links with institutions worldwide.
  • Our Students' Union has over 200 student-run societies, and the Richmond Building, home to the Students' Union, is undergoing a £30-million renovation.
  • 11 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Subject leaflet

Download the Physiology leaflet 2017 (PDF, 282kB)


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