BSc (Hons)

Human Physiology

Undertake a fascinating journey into human body systems

B121UCAS code 3yrsfull time

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

Join us in exploring the medical science underpinning the functions of the human body and find out how environmental and behavioural factors influence physiological function. While exploring up to date research, you will develop an understanding of the complex nature and multiple factors which determine human health.

Accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, the course has a number of key features including a detailed study of human systems physiology, the development of practical skills in our wet/dry simulation laboratories. The course also incorporates a large emphasis on employability by promoting extra-curricular activities and offering optional placement opportunities.

During your studies you’re straight in to developing practical skills alongside your academic studies, building a firm foundation in systems physiology. In subsequent years, you will have the opportunity to specialise and develop your skills in placement / laboratories.

What will I experience?

On this course you will:

  • be supported by a team of lecturers who are academics and active researchers within the field of physiology and related health fields and have been voted for in the annual student-led teaching awards
  • engage in seminars and experience external lecturers to enrich the course curriculum
  • be taught by experienced academic / clinical health practitioners- many are members of clinical professional groups
  • select optional units, to match with your interests in key current specialist fields
  • use our modern laboratories and specialised facilities to enhance your learning

What opportunities might it lead to?

You’ll have the potential for a rewarding career in a range of scientific settings. Alternatively, you can enrol on a MSc and PhD programme to continue pursuing the academic interests developed throughout your undergraduate studies.

Graduates are eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the Society of Biology. This entitles them to membership benefits which include access to professional networks and attendance at conferences. Associate members are awarded the post-nominal letters AMSB.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • Career in Physiological Science:

- Neurosensory sciences (audiology, neurophysiology, ophthalmic and vision science)
- Cardiovascular respiratory and sleep sciences (cardiac science, respiratory and sleep science, vascular science, critical care science)

(Click here for more info about careers within Physiological Science)

  • NHS Scientific Careers training: (Click here for details about the NHS Scientist Training Programme)
  • Further study in medical school
  • Clinical Research
  • Teaching (click here for details about teacher training)
  • Mres/Masters




I have particularly enjoyed the cardiology unit so far since it fascinates me how complex a single heartbeat is.

Harry Messent, BSc (Hons) Human Physiology student 2015

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Key Facts

For 2016 entry only

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time
280-320 points to include 2 A levels, with 80 points from a relevant subject. See full entry requirements
We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,700 p/a**
2017/18 entry: full time: £13,300 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

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School of Health Sciences and Social Work
Programme specification
Accreditations & Endorsements

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Health Sciences and Social Work

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • The clinical and real-life learning approach that will equip you for your chosen career
  • Our simulated environments that mean you’ll gain and practise the skills you’ll need before entering the workplace 
  • Approachable lecturers, many of whom are teacher practitioners

Browse all courses in Health Sciences and Social Work

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

During your first year you’re straight in to developing practical skills alongside your academic studies. We’ll also examine and discuss the reasons and theories behind the purpose of ageing and theory of human origin.

Core units in this year include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Biological Cell and Systems Chemistry
  • Experimental Physiology
  • Health and Disease Prevention
  • Applied Systems Human Biology
  • Fundamental Topics in Human Physiology

Year two

This year involves further training in the examination and assessment of patients, while also covering the study of environmental factors and triggers on health.

Core units:

  • Cardiology and Respiratory Physiology
  • Clinical Assessment and Advanced Experiment Physiology
  • Altered physiology
  • Research Methods, analytical skills and planning for the future

Optional units:

  • Environment Physiology and Health
  • Language
  • Sport & exercise physiology

Year three

In your final year you will be looking at key areas of allergy, sleep, neurobiology and disease surveillance. You’ll study current literature, examine emerging scientific data and conduct a dissertation project in an area of your choosing.

Core units:

  • Project (double credit unit)
  • Critical appraisal of health, medical and scientific papers
  • Disease Modelling and Surveillance
  • Neurobiology of Sleep, Learning, Memory and Reorganisation

Optional units:

  • Biology of the mind
  • Physiological approaches to training and assessment

Teaching and Assessment

You’ll experience a variety of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, lab and experimental work, web-based learning and both individual and group work. We aim to provide a balanced structure of academic and practical learning, and you will also be asigned a personal tutor who will support you throughout the course.

How are you assessed?

Assessment takes various forms and is usually done at the end of each unit. Here’s how:

  • coursework
  • problem solving task
  • examinations
  • critical appraisal/analysis
  • presentations
  • lab practice assessments
  • project work
Dr Louise Turner

Tutor's view

Dr Louise Turner
Tutor and Course Leader Human Physiology

The BSc (Hons) program is designed to develop and inspire your interest in systems physiology. Through a mixture of lectures, workshops and practical experience, you will develop your knowledge and learning within core physiological themes. You will have opportunities to specialise your own area of interest from a selection of optional units in the second and third years of study. This course will provide an invaluable foundation for a wide range of science career opportunities.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Centre for Simulation in Healthcare

Our aim is to enhance your learning and experiences through the use of innovative learning technologies, allowing for patient-facing and physiological assessment. Our Centre can be used to practice procedures and observe the progress of body system physiology in health and disease. You can also explore the physiological effects of pathology with and without intervention without risk. You’ll get the chance to build physiological assessment skills and be taught through real-life scenarios using the course’s purpose made simulated learning sessions.

Specialist Software and Scientific Equipment

We have an outstanding array of facilities providing a safe and effective learning experience. Here’s a taste of what you’ll have access to:

  • hi-fidelity human patient simulators
  • a simulated ward and theatre
  • mobile simulators
  • electronic voting systems
  • an eye-tracker device

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

The Physiological Society

You will have the opportunity to join one of the oldest and largest societies as an undergraduate member for duration of your studies, giving you access to journals, grants, and society meetings.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

Upon graduating, you’ll enjoy excellent career prospects for both scientific and non-scientific careers alike. You can use your course as a springboard to medical, forensic or healthcare professions, as well as further study, research or academia. Your decision-making and leadership ability, along with your other transferable skills, will also be sought after by a variety of employers and can be applied to a range of career paths.

Your course offers a range of career opportunities including:

  • Physiological scientist roles including: cardiology, respiratory physiology, neurosensory and sleep sciences
  • Post graduate medical education
  • Clinical research
  • Science teacher training programmes
  • Postgraduate studies in medical, neurosciences and contemporary health science disciplines
  • Population health practise and research

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

How do you carry out a physical examination? What do you do when your patient’s condition is deteriorating?

Health-related careers can involve working in some of the most demanding and stressful environments. Therefore, preparing you so you know what to expect and how to react is one of our top priorities.

Our facilities give you the chance to get to grips with the equipment you may be using after you graduate. We teach you to safely and accurately use such equipment and train you in the necessary procedures on campus so you learn to effectively respond to clinical need. On completion of this course, you’ll be equipped with the relevant work experience to confidently venture into the medical environment.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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Our next Open Day is Saturday 8 October, 2016

Book now

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