Physiology is the study of how the various tissues and organs of the body work to support life and grow. Some physiology researchers investigate the way the blood pressure is regulated during normal life and in health crises. Others study the way misplaced atoms in an ion channel protein in cells might cause a disease like cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy. This requires a vast array of experimental methods including molecular biology, electrical recordings of nerve signaling, advanced imaging techniques, as well as whole organism studies. the outcomes of physiological studies advance our understanding of how the body works and are often of practical relevance in clinical medicine.
Discipline of Physiology website
What do physiologists do?
Physiology graduates become professionals in a vast range of health-related roles. These include clinical practitioner roles, biomedical research, health promotion and medical journalism. Physiologists work in fields as diverse as conservation and wildlife biology to cancer diagnostics. Your career development depends upon your personal strengths and interests. Because the health and allied sciences are such complex and diverse fields, in most cases you will need to undertake further professional studies for which studying physiology will provide you with a good grounding.
What will you study?
You can study physiology in the Bachelor of Medical Science (through the Human Life Science units) or through the Bachelor of Science or Advanced Science degrees. Physiology is also an important part of the new interdisciplinary major in neuroscience.
You begin your physiology study in second year, after completing first year chemistry. We recommend you also study first year molecular biology and genetics, mathematics and physics.
In second year, your lectures have an emphasis on cellular neurophysiology; muscle; blood; respiration; the cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, endocrine, reproductive, sensory and motor systems; and principles of data analysis.
In third year, you can choose from eight options. You can choose two human cellular physiology units on the physiological mechanisms that underlie the growth and adaptation of tissues and their response to disease. There are two heart and circulation units that cover heart, regulation of blood pressure, cardiovascular endocrinology, hypertension, vascular biology and sports physiology. Or you can choose two neuroscience units on the structure and function of the brain, focusing on sensory and motor systems and cognitive processes and how the brain develops and responds to disease.