Faculty of Science - Leading creativity and innovation in the sciences

Undergraduate major in Physiology

Subject description


Physiology is a science concerned with explaining how living organisms work. Ultimately, understanding how living organisms work will allow us to understand what goes wrong in disease and provide a rational scientific basis for treatment of disease. Of the biological sciences, Physiology is highly quantitative and has close links with biochemistry, molecular biology, mathematical modelling, pharmacology as well as zoology and plant biology.

Since the sequencing of the human genome has been completed, the importance of physiology as a discipline has increased dramatically, since the next task is to explain how the inanimate proteins produced by the genetic code are organised and work at the cell and tissue level to enable life to exist. Thus, Physiology is an increasingly important field of study for students interested in any aspect of biology or biomedical sciences.



Bachelor of Science (BSc) - Physiology major

First or single major must include:

Second major must include:

*Please note that the course MEDSCI 308 is no longer available for new enrolments.

Stage I courses

While courses in Physiology are not offered explicitly at Stage I, the Department of Physiology makes a major contribution to introductory courses at this level. Students wishing to pursue a degree in Physiology (or closely related subjects) are strongly advised to complete the following Stage I courses:

Of the above, BIOSCI 107 and MEDSCI 142 are prerequisites for Stage II Physiology courses. The other courses will facilitate further study in Physiology (as well as other biomedical sciences) and the prospective student should also have competency in mathematics to NCEA Level 3. If this is not the case, taking an appropriate mathematics course is highly advisable.

Plan your degree with our Physiology planner

Career opportunities

Career opportunities which utilise a background in Physiology are as diverse as the discipline itself. Physiology is a foundation subject for the majority of programmes which offer training in the health sciences. A background in Physiology is also useful for a career path associated with servicing New Zealand's rapidly growing healthcare sector.

Finally, a research career in Physiology offers a range of exciting possibilities both here and overseas. As the emphasis of the human genome project is now shifting from gene sequencing to understanding gene function, the demand of the biomedical research community for scientists with a strong background in Physiology will ensure future employment opportunities for those with physiology training. Physiology, as a rigorous, experimental science, has always been important in medical research and drug development.


Help and advice

Staff at the Department of Physiology, located on Level 2 of Building 502 (Grafton Campus), can help you with general enquiries and refer you on to the relevant academic advisors. Their opening hours are 8.30am - 5pm.

Phone: +64 9 373 7599 ext 86720
Email: physiology@auckland.ac.nz


Further information