Physiology Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Physiology?

Physiology is the study of investigating animals and humans at the level of cells, tissues, organ systems, and the body as it operates as a whole. Physiology is the branch of biology that aims to understand living things and the mechanisms and functions of their bodies. Research in physiology helps us to understand how the body works in health and how it responds and adapts to the challenges of everyday life. It also helps us to determine what goes wrong in disease and allows for the development of new treatments and guidelines for maintaining human and animal health.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Physiologycourses in the following subject areas:

  • Anatomy & Physiology – Gain the knowledge, skill, and competence to understand the structure and function of the human body.
  • ITEC Level 3 Diploma in Anatomy & Physiology – Gain a thorough understanding of the Anatomy & Physiology of the body.
  • ITEC Diploma in Holistic Massage, Incl. Anatomy & Physiology – This course will train students to the highest level of Swedish massage, also equipping them with detailed knowledge of the Body Structures under which they work.
  • Diploma in Anatomy and Physiology of the Human Body – An incredible, comprehensive, and informative course designed to increase the understanding of the structure and function of the human body.

Studying Physiology in college

There are many Physiology courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a placement in a hospital department. This sort of experience is valuable when applying for clinical physiology posts. Some degrees offer this type of experience as part of the course, but you can always be proactive and arrange a placement yourself. Visit hospital departments, or make applications for placements in relevant departments and clinics.

Laboratory experience and knowledge of the range of techniques used can also be helpful, particularly for research posts. Any other part-time, vacation, or volunteering work that demonstrates your interest in your chosen field can also be useful. Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Physiology you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the anatomy of the human body and its functions.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a facility with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full time and you should have a flexible approach and expect to cover day, evening, night, and weekend hours depending on your position.

You will generally work as part of a team that can include healthcare science staff, doctors, and nurses. You may work in a laboratory using computers and hi-tech automated lab equipment. Although you won’t usually need to travel during the working day or spend time away from home, travel between sites may be necessary.

The major scientific employers of physiology graduates are research centers and academic institutions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, or in Health Services within specialist areas including cardiac sciences, audiology, neurophysiology, critical care science, respiratory physiology, sleep physiology, and gastrointestinal physiology.

Non-scientific employers may include management consultancies, law and accountancy firms, banks, and other financial institutions and retail companies.

Related jobs include:

  • Biomedical scientist
  • Clinical research associate
  • Clinical scientist, audiology
  • Clinical scientist, physiological sciences
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Research scientist
  • Clinical scientist, cardiac sciences
  • Medical sales representative
  • Physiotherapist
  • Science writer
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Therapeutic radiographer

Further study

After completing a course in Physiology you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as cellular pathology, clinical biochemistry, clinical immunology, cytopathology, hematology with hospital transfusion practice, histocompatibility and immunogenetics, medical microbiology, transfusion science or virology.


Why is Physiology important?

Physiology has great importance in medicine and related health sciences because it provides a thorough understanding of normal body function, enabling more effective treatment of abnormal or disease states.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Physiology?

Within the field of Physiology, it would be helpful to have skills in planning, researching, and interpreting scientific literature and the ability to communicate science to both peers and non-scientists.

You should also be adept in a wide range of skills sought by both scientific and non-scientific employers, such as analytical and problem-solving, using judgment, decision-making, and questioning, the ability to identify, select, organize and communicate information and data, attention to detail, planning, organization and time management, and team working and collaborating between groups.

Where can I study Physiology?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· Did you know that your kidneys process over 50 gallons (189.2 liters) of blood every day? That’s nearly double the amount the heart receives each day.

· Besides being the start of the digestion process, your saliva also prevents tooth decay and stops the tissues of your throat from desiccating. You produce 0.4 gallons (1.5 liters) of saliva every day. In your lifetime, you will produce enough to fill almost three 16 ft (5 m) swimming pools.

· It is possible to brush your teeth too aggressively. Doing so can wear down enamel and make teeth sensitive to hot and cold foods.

· Wisdom teeth serve no purpose. They are leftover from hundreds of thousands of years ago. As early humans’ brains grew bigger, it reduced space in the mouth, crowding out this third set of molars.

· If they were laid end to end, all of the blood vessels in the human body would encircle the Earth four times.


Mariza Halliday

Accounting and Finance
Physics: Physical Sciences Courses


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