Enhance your undergraduate degree with a year's placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment.
We are ranked 1st in the UK for Anatomy and Physiology in The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.
At a Glance
On Campus Learning
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.
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.
In your fourth year you will undertake a year's industrial placement and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc. Placements vary considerably but, in general terms, you will have the opportunity to do a placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment where you will be able to develop a breadth of practical experience to complement your degree programme and enhance your employability.
What You'll Study
A degree in Physiology is taught via a selection of compulsory and optional courses to enhance your learning and prepare you for a future career or further study. In each year you will take courses adding up to 120 credits. Depending on the number of compulsory and optional courses offered by your degree, you can also choose other eligible courses which fit your timetable.
This course covers the foundations of chemistry that underpin the life sciences at a molecular level and is suitable for students with different backgrounds including little or no previous study of chemistry. The basic concepts of quantitative chemistry will be covered, along with the different types of organic molecules, acids and bases, and the principles of kinetics and thermodynamics. The relevance of the course materials to life science is emphasised throughout.
Laboratory classes introduce important practical techniques, with experiments that reinforce and complement the taught material.
The course will allow students to continue with other chemistry courses as part of their enhanced study by providing discipline breadth.
• Cells are the fundamental unit of life – without them life could not exist, and as such understanding how they function is crucial to our understanding of biology and medical science.• This course provides theoretical knowledge in a diverse range of topics covering the fascinating world of cells, from molecules like DNA, to how different cell types function within our bodies.• All practical classes are research based and will provide theoretical knowledge and skills training in many areas of molecular and cell biology.• Employability skills will also be explored through a highly interactive enterprise session and our online mini course.
Chemistry plays a vital role in the life sciences, explaining the properties of biomolecules and how biological processes work at a molecular level. Organic reaction mechanisms give insight into how different types of molecules can be synthesised and methods of chemical analysis introduce other important topics linking the chemical and life sciences. The relationship between energy, entropy and equilibrium in driving reactions will be covered and the course concludes with a survey of the molecules of life – proteins, enzymes and sugars.
Laboratory classes complement lectures by consolidating learning and developing problem-solving and hands-on practical skills.
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.
Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.
Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.
this course will provide a comprehensive understanding of how genetic information is stored, how it is accessed by the cell to form functional proteins and how the release of this information is controlled to produce a healthy human child;
understanding this process is essential to understanding the basis of human disease and the course will examine how genetic differences affect disease susceptibility;
this popular, comprehensive and cutting edge course will equip students with the essential knowledge, skills and confidence in molecular biology required to progress on all courses undertaken in the School of Medical Sciences
understanding the fundamental workings of cells is important to a wide range of scientific disciplines;
this course integrates the key metabolic and biochemical processes that underpin human, animal and plant life in relation to health and disease;
this core knowledge prepares you for more advanced study in all areas of life sciences and has wide ranging applications;
you will also participate in an award winning practical series focussed on drug discovery which will build essential employability skills in experimental design, data analysis and practical laboratory skills
course cultivates literature research skills, building confidence in
team-working and communication through scientific writing and seminar
encourages student-led learning and organisation in researching a topic on
human health or disease of your own choice, with tutors providing guidance;
will learn to use online and library resources to search for information
from primary research articles and relay that information in the form of a
written report and a Powerpoint presentation to peers and academic tutors;
are all fundamental skills for scientific researchers, but are also
transferrable talents for many other career pathways
this course integrates
advanced physiological knowledge using examples from four different organ
systems to help explain how these systems interact in health and disease;
use of real-life clinical
examples, diagnostic test data and a literature-based research project
facilitates an enquiry and interest-based learning experience;
with an aging population
and ever-increasing number of people with complex diseases, you will appreciate
why understanding how organs interact is the key to improving the diagnosis and
treatment of various disorders;
classes measuring physiological functions delivers hands-on science and
clinically-related skills to develop professional preparation and knowledge-based
A pre-requisite for all students intending to apply for a year’s industrial placement.
This course covers the skills necessary to complete placement applications by exploring CV preparation, writing covering letters, completing application forms, identification of your skill sets and good interview technique.
The course will prepare you for the workplace by making you aware of general employability skills and by helping you identify your own transferable skills.
cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of
death worldwide. Using teaching informed by high-quality research this course provides
a comprehensive understanding of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology;
you will learn how the knowledge of physiological
processes is directed into identifying drugs targets for disease, which will improve
your understanding of drug discovery;
insight into the molecular and cellular action
of drugs in the cardiovascular system will prepare you for your final year
wider transferable skills include problem
solving, data interpretation and training in the ethical and safety aspects of recruiting
human subjects in research.
the course outlines structural and functional alterations
occurring in neuronal tissue during development, in the adult and in disease
the course aims to identify and explain the mechanisms
underlying these events and to provide an understanding of their functional
consequences by building on the expertise of neuroscience researchers;
you will gain cutting edge, in depth knowledge of nervous
system development, function and the pathology of specific disease states
affecting the nervous system;
wider transferrable skills will be gained, such as
scientific writing, problem solving, and practical assessment of nervous system
function, thus developing graduate attributes and skills for employability
an industrial placement allows students to experience workplace culture and makes them more effective employees following graduation;
placements vary considerably but in general terms, students are placed in an industrial, commercial or research environment where they obtain a breadth of practical experience to complement their degree programme;
students are employed by their host company and can expect to work a normal 40 hour week, possibly on a number of projects, over a full calendar year;
tutorial assistance from a member of the University academic staff is available via email and / or telephone throughout the year
The Honours year aims to explore in depth, specific aspects of physiology. An important feature is the ten-week research project, carried out in research laboratories at the University or in local research institutes.
the core professional knowledge you need, to be able to contribute to research-level biomedical science, especially in fields of pharmacology and physiology;
active research scientists explain the latest developments in our understanding of brain function in health and disease, hormone and steroid signalling systems, epithelial biology and cellular homeostasis;
small group practical classes in working laboratories introduce core research and data analysis techniques;
research scientists present in depth material on core research techniques â€“ transgenic animals, genome editing, biological imaging, patch clamp analysis and omic technologies
this course merges cutting edge developmental biology, neuroscience, and cellular physiology to describe how the nervous system arises and gets wired up;
the bewildering arrays of cells in the nervous system interconnect in highly specific ways. Here you will learn what dictates neuronal cell fate, how neurons find appropriate partners and how cells communicate to generate behaviour;
in addition to lectures from dynamic researchers this course will hone core skills for basic scientists and medics through group presentation work, independent library research and scientific writing
this course integrates
advanced physiological concepts across the continuum of life;
scientists meet with advanced clinical practitioners to facilitate an enquiry
and interest based learning experience;
with an aging population
and ever increasing number of children with complex health challenges, you will
be prepared to progress along a range of careers threads and understand the
dynamic interplay between individuals and their changing physiological, psychological,
pharmacological and biochemical needs for lifelong health and wellbeing;
state of the art practical
classes deliver hands on science and clinical skills to develop professional
preparation and knowledge based practice
You will be taught using a variety of methods and styles and we continually seek to make the teaching engaging, exciting and responsive to the latest research in your subject area. The research we carry out in the School directly informs and guides our teaching, particularly in the final Honours year. Our commitment to teaching is recognised by the range of University of Aberdeen Student-led Teaching Awards given to staff from our School.
As a student, your learning is supported by MyAberdeen, our virtual learning environment from which you can access the lecture Powerpoint slides, online practice tests, links to related reading, and tutorial support material.
We make innovative use of 'educational voting' handsets in class, remote control 'clickers' that allow each and every student to electronically respond in class by anonymous vote to questions posed by the lecturer.
Your academic development is supported from year 1 through to year 5 by an assigned personal tutor, who acts as adviser and mentor throughout your University career.
Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:
coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
Why Study Physiology?
You will spend the fourth year of your degree in paid employment and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc.
The 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.
SQA Highers- AAAB* A Levels- ABB* IB- 34 points, 6 at HL* ILC- 5H with 4 at H2 and 1 at H3, with H2 and H3 from Chemistry and another Science or Mathematics subject, OR AAABB including AB from Chemistry and another Science or Mathematics subject. The grading within band B must be B2 or above.*
*Including AB in two Science or Mathematics subjects.
Applicants who achieve AAAB or better over S4 and S5 are likely to be made an offer of admission. This may be unconditional or it may be conditional, dependent upon academic profile. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers may be required.
Highers at AB from two Science or Maths subjects required.
A minimum of 3 A Levels at ABB.
A levels at AB from two Science or Mathematics subjects.
A minimum of 34 points. 6 points at HL from two Science or Mathematics subjects.
Irish Leaving Certificate:
Five subjects at Higher, with 4 at H2 and 1 at H3. H2 from two Science or Mathematics subjects.
The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.
English Language Requirements
To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
EU / International students
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
Tuition Fees for 2023/24 Academic Year
Scholarships and Funding
Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.
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. Students also go on to pursue postgraduate studies in medicine and dentistry. Others will go on to a more vocational medical related MSc in, for example, Physiotherapy or Dietetics. Alternatively, some students use the communication and analytical skills embedded in the programme to apply for non-science jobs in industry.
Our degree programmes are built to enhance your employability and three flagship options give our degrees a distinctively different flavour from many others. All our degrees offer:
A 10-week full time research project in the final year which will provide you with valuable experience of working in a medical science research environment
Highly relevant and sought after experience in bio-business aimed at giving you an understanding of the commercialisation of scientific ideas and an opportunity to learn about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
Physiology At Aberdeen Since 1593
Physiology has been taught at Aberdeen since 1593! This heritage has given the subject incredible depth and excellence.
1st in the UK
We are ranked 1st in the UK for Anatomy and Physiology (The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023)
Top 20 UK University
The University of Aberdeen is ranked 13th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2023 and 19th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023
A Physiologist by trade, Prof. McEwan has interests within the broad field of membrane transport – particularly in the gastrointestinal tract. He has been working for the University of Aberdeen for over 20 years and has a wealth of experience in teaching at all levels.
You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
The Institute of Medical Sciences
Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.
Foresterhill Health Campus
The Foresterhill Health Campus is one of the largest clinical complexes in Europe which includes the Medical School, large teaching hospital, the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Rowett Institute.
Science Teaching Hub
Our state-of-the-art Science Teaching Hub provides students with a digitally focussed environment including advanced analytical tools, research-grade equipment and flexible laboratory spaces.
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Student Recruitment & Admissions University of Aberdeen University Office Regent Walk Aberdeen AB24 3FX