Find a Degree Undergraduate Physiology

Physiology is the study of how the body works. More than any other of the biological sciences, it involves using an understanding of biological process at the most basic level to explain how a whole organ or an entire body functions. It is this integrated aspect that puts Physiology at the centre of the biological and medical sciences.

Why Aberdeen?

  • Physiology has been taught at Aberdeen since 1593 and is now based within state-of-the-art Institute of Medical Sciences.This allows a high degree of integration both in research and teaching between the medically related sciences
  • Scientists at the University of Aberdeen have made major advances in physiological sciences. These include the co-discovery of insulin and the discovery that the brain produces its own morphine-like substances
  • The degree scheme includes a ten-week full-time research project in the Honours year that gives a good insight into the realities of top quality research


Study Abroad

Study Abroad Information

The Aberdeen Difference

The opportunity to take Enhanced Study options as part of your degree and participate in co-curricular activities. See for more information.

First Year

Students take level 1 courses in Medical Sciences and Chemistry for Life Sciences, plus additional courses selected from the science programme and other areas.

Second Year

Human Physiology courses commence. Two courses cover the Physiology of Human Cells and Physiology of Human Organ Systems. Parallel recommended courses include Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, combined with courses delivering key skills applicable to Physiology.

Third Year

Modules taken in the first half-session of the third year in Physiology build on the modules taken at level 2 by enhancing students’ understanding of the major physiological systems within the mammalian body. Modules taken in the second half-session will provide detailed insights into specific areas of mainstream physiology, a theme that is continued into the first half-session of the Physiology fourth year. A series of core Biomedical Science courses - Neuroscience and Neuropharmacology, and Integrative Neuroscience - are accompanied by specialised courses in Physiology which concentrate on the response of the human body to extreme environments,  cardiovascular physiology and epithelial physiology.

Fourth Year (Honours)

The options selected at level 3 are continued with advanced studies in Physiology. A large part of the Honours year is taken up with a full-time research project which may be laboratory or library based. This is where students get a feel for what a career in research is like and whether they are suited to it.

Teaching and Assessment

The Department provides attractive and up-to- date laboratories both on the King’s College Campus and the University Medical School. In the early years, teaching involves attendance at lectures, practicals and tutorials. In the later years a rather greater proportion of students’ time is taken up with private study involving writing essays and reports and also in laboratory or library work relating to specific projects. The final year incorporates the preparation and presentation of a research-based thesis.


A degree in Physiology has wide applications. Many students will continue in research posts, where the intensive project work in the Honours year provides particularly valuable experience. Others will go onto a more vocational medical related MSc in, for example, physiotherapy or dietetics. Alternatively, some students use the communication and analytical skills embedded in the course to apply for non-science jobs in the industry.

Finding your direction

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success.  The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us – from first to final year – and beyond.

Minimum Entrance Requirements

SQA Highers - AABB*
A Levels - BBB*
IB - 32 points, 5 at HL*
ILC - AAABB (B1 or B2 required)*
*Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/Science subjects.

Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers ABB, A Levels ABB or IB 34 points (6 at HL), including Biology and Chemistry, one of which must be at A-grade.

For further details of entrance requirements click here

Please click on the links below to find out more information on funding in your area.

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Further Information

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Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
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