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Medical Physiology BSc Honours

Gain a theoretical and practical understanding of normal body function with specialised clinical and research equipment.
October 2020
3 years full-time
4 years part-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£13,700 (INT) *
Course leader
Lesley Davies

We’re planning to teach through a flexible combination of online and face to face learning for the first few months of the new academic year. If you’re thinking about starting with us in autumn 2020 or spring 2021, check back for more detail on arrangements for this course in July and August, and see our current plans for teaching and learning.

This course is now available in Clearing.
Follow this link or call 020 8411 6565 for more info

Learn a wide range of techniques

Physiology is a scientific discipline that’s essential to medical practice and human health. Our degree will give you a theoretical understanding of bodily functions, from cells and tissues through to organ systems. You’ll be taught by a dedicated team of academics and clinical practitioners, using a wide range of learning styles. The course will focus on the diagnosis of disease, assessment of human fitness, and performance under difficult environmental conditions.

You’ll also learn a wide range of analytical techniques that are most often used in clinical settings and in research on body functions. Additionally, you’ll develop the skills to record and securely store data sets – all transferable skills employers are looking for.

Our specialist Hatchcroft Building is outfitted with cutting-edge facilities and you’ll have access to all the labs and equipment there. You’ll get the experience of working with the latest industry equipment from the very start.

How you’ll practice your skills

Using specialist equipment, you’ll have the chance to investigate and record electrical brain activity, monitor nerve pathways, and rhythm, rate, and functioning of the heart. Our expert tutors will be on hand to guide you through the process while helping you to develop technical and soft skills. You’ll also get the experience of designing your very own research experiments.

External specialists from related industries frequently visit our campus to give talks. We have excellent relationships with prestigious NHS trusts, such as Guy’s and St Thomas’, UCLH, College Hospital, and many more. We use these relationships to help you secure placements and gain exposure to the industry. We also give you the opportunity to take an optional placement year.

Past graduates from this course have gone on to roles like applied physiologist, exercise physiologist, clinical scientist, and many others. You can look forward to joining the armed forces, the NHS, research centres and pharmaceutical companies as the skills you’ll gain will be highly in demand.

Get the support you need

During your course, you’ll get personalised support from your Personal Tutor, Student Learning Assistant, and Graduate Academic Assistant. Their first-hand experience in your subject area means they understand how to best support you.

What will you study on BSc Medical Physiology?

Your studies will help you to acquire a sound understanding of the human physiology and how body’s physiological systems respond to extreme environmental conditions, such as extreme ambient temperatures and space.

In Year 1, you will review the basic sciences, covering cell biology, anatomy, human physiology and the physics behind the instrumentation and equipment used to record body functions. You will also learn about current trends and potential careers in the field of medical physiology.

In Year 2, you will explore common cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems, covering relevant anatomy, cell biology, genetics, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology and therapeutics. You will also learn techniques used to assess the functioning of the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous and musculoskeletal systems and acquire research and employability skills.

Finally, in Year 3 you will explore  the techniques used to assess the functioning of the cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous and musculoskeletal systems in much greater depth, with an emphasis on diagnostics and assessment of human performance. The effect of prolonged exercise, extreme ambient pressures and temperatures, stress, high altitude and the space environment on human performance will also be studied. You will be able to carry out your own research in an area of physiology.

What will you gain?

Upon successful completion of this degree you will have gained an awareness of the causes of and pathophysiology of diseases of the heart, lungs, musculoskeletal and the nervous systems, and have developed the practical skills and knowledge to assess the health status of an individual and to evaluate human performance. You will have an ability and understanding in recording, storing and analysing anthropological and physiological data, as well as an understanding of the importance of research in the advancement of scientific knowledge and evidence-based practice.

You will also gain skills and experience in:

  • Recording and evaluating anthropometrical and physiological data, to assess health status or human performance
  • Designing research experiments
  • Team-working, including both interpersonal and intrapersonal capacities
  • Developing effective communication skills, including advanced literacy and presentation skills
  • Problem solving and analysis
  • Independent, critical and creative thinking.


  • Year 1

    • Cell Sciences (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to provide you with an introduction to the classification, structure and function of cells and microbes and examples of disease that result from abnormal structure and/or function. Another key aim is to enable you to acquire laboratory skills required to study cells and microbes.

    • Human Sciences (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to provide you with the knowledge and understanding of human anatomy and physiology required to underpin your future learning. The unifying theme of homeostasis is used to show how a healthy structure and function are maintained and how failures of homeostasis can result in disease.

    • Professional Development (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module begins the process of developing the skills required by employers, to become an autonomous and lifelong learner and a scientist. You will also have the forum to explore current trends in medical physiology.

    • Clinical Technology and Mathematics (15 credits) - Compulsory

      The module introduces the basic principles of both physics and mathematics that are related to healthcare. You will gain a range of the mathematical and statistical skills that underpin the practice of healthcare science.

    • Physics and Measurements (15 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to provide an introduction to the physical and mathematical principles that underpin the concepts of instrumentation used in the Neurosensory Sciences and measurements.

  • Year 2

    • Research Methods and Professional Practice (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to provide you with the skills necessary to plan, implement, analyse and report project-based work, with the focus on preparation for the final year project module. You will develop core research skills fundamental to a scientific research design, irrespective of discipline. Specific research skills include analytical techniques appropriate to individual programme requirements.

    • Medical Instrumentation and Imaging (30 credits) - Compulsory

      The module aims to provide you with knowledge and understanding of principles and properties of measurement techniques used in carrying out physiological measurements.

    • Neurophysiology (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims provide you with a solid foundation in neurophysiological recording systems, theory and practice of electroencephalography (EEG) and visual evoked potentials (VEP).

    • Cardiopulmonary Science (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will provide you with an understanding of cardiovascular and respiratory systems from a molecular to a system level in health and disease. Additionally, you will gain an appreciation of the theory and practice of monitoring techniques used to assess cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

  • Year 3

    • Neurophysiological Assessment (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will give you the practical knowledge and skills of electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies (NCS) used to diagnose neurological and neuromuscular diseases and used in neurophysiological research. Additionally, you will gain an insight into interpreting test results.

    • Human Performance Assessment (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will provide you with an understanding of both the integrative physiological responses or adaptations to, and the limits of, human performance under challenging environmental conditions. Additionally, you will gain an appreciation of the theory and practice of monitoring techniques used to assess physiological changes induced by exercise or environmental stressors.

    • Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to provide you with the knowledge and understanding required to safely contribute to the clinical exercise testing and interpretation of patients with heart diseases, pulmonary vascular diseases, peripheral arterial diseases, and muscle disorders.

    • Dissertation (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will build on the skills you have acquired throughout the course and in past modules. Further development of analysis, critical thinking and scientific literary style will be promoted. You will be enabled to pursue areas of individual interest in the subject area appropriate to your target award and will have the opportunity of gaining increased theoretical and practical knowledge in a chosen specialist field. Individual research experience will be gained in an area that may provide future employment opportunities. Personal responsibility for own learning through self-directed study and supervised preparation will be fostered. This is an integral part of the degree programme, furthering the development of skills in critical analysis and reflection.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the BSc Medical Physiology taught?

You will be taught using a variety of methods:

  • Lectures will introduce you to key information and knowledge
  • Seminars will reinforce the knowledge provided in lectures by undertaking problem solving exercises and group discussions
  • Laboratory classes will help you acquire practical and research skills
  • Group or individual tutorials will be tailor-made sessions addressing specific subject areas as the need arises and helping you to develop communication, leadership and team-working skills
  • Individual projects will take place in the final year and all projects will be supervised by an appropriate academic and designed to help you develop your critical thinking and research skills.

A range of online resources will be used, designed to support the teaching provided by academics and practitioners.


Your knowledge and understanding is assessed by both summative and formative assessments, which include seminar presentations, written assignments including laboratory reports, portfolios, group project, dissertation, practical and theory examinations.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BSc Medical Physiology support your career?

Great emphasis is placed on ensuring that you acquire the graduate skills required by employers throughout your course and there is a variety of careers open to you once you graduate including:

  • Applied Physiologist
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Physiologist
  • Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing Practitioner
  • Clinical Scientist specialising in cardiac science or neurophysiology
  • Exercise Physiologist

Typical employers of medical physiology graduates include  the armed forces, NHS, health and fitness industry, research centres and academic institutions and, medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

Other courses

Neuroscience BSc Honours

Start: October 2020, September 2020: EU/INT induction

Duration: 3 years full-time, 4 years with a placement, Usually 6 years part-time

Code: B14A

Sport and Exercise Science BSc Honours

Start: October 2020

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

Code: C615

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