Physiology Subject Area

Physiology is one of the key disciplines underpinning our knowledge of medicine, dentistry and veterinary science.


Physiology is the study of how the body works. More than any other of the biological sciences, it uses an understanding of biological processes 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.

Physiological studies of normal biological function provide the basis for understanding the abnormal function observed in human and animal disease and for developing new therapeutic treatments. The scope of physiology ranges from investigation of molecular actions in single cells to studying the way our body systems control our ability to think, eat, sleep and perform exercise. To achieve this, Physiologists must also use the related disciplines of anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, genetics and immunology.

5 year MSci degree

You have the opportunity to undertake a year's placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc.

Why Study Physiology?

  • This programme provides you with the scientific content of pre-clinical medicine plus the opportunity to study cellular processes from this whole-body perspective.
  • We are located within the Institute of Medical Sciences which allows a high degree of integration on this programme, 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 enkephalins and endorphins.
  • You will acquire core skills and knowledge vital to the modern workplace which will also provide you with the ideal training for progress to graduate programmes in medical research, medicine, dentistry and other healthcare professions.
  • You will receive training in both specialist and employment-related skills.
  • Excellent staff and teaching facilities; 92% of our students were satisfied with teaching on courses in the School of Medical Sciences, and 91.8% of our students were satisfied that staff made the subject interesting (2014 National Student Survey).

What You'll Study

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