Physiology is concerned with explaining how living organisms work. Ultimately, this will allow us to understand what goes wrong in disease and provide a rational scientific basis for treatment of disease. Since the sequencing of the human genome has been completed, the importance of physiology as a discipline has increased dramatically. This is because the next task is to explain how the inanimate proteins produced by the genetic code are organised at the cell and tissue level to enable life. Thus, physiology is an increasingly important field for students interested in any aspect of biology or biomedical sciences.

Areas of study

Physiology is an active and developing science, which will remain one of the most exciting biological disciplines for the foreseeable future. It offers a broad training in scientific and technical skills that naturally feed into other disciplines. However, physiology is an important subject in its own right. For example, neurophysiology and neuroscience are some of the fastest growing areas in biology.

You can study Physiology in the following programmes:

What you will learn

Physiology is concerned with how living organisms work – including what goes wrong in disease and how to treat disorders. Physiology depends on the acquisition of knowledge by observation, experiment, and interpretation. Physiology is one of the highly quantitative biological sciences, and it has close links with Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology, Mathematical Modelling, Pharmacology, and Zoology.

Career opportunities

Career opportunities 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.

The emphasis of the human genome project is now shifting from gene sequencing to understanding gene function. The resulting demand from the biomedical research community for scientists with a strong background in Physiology will ensure future employment opportunities.

Also, Physiology has always been important in medical research and drug development.

More information

For more information see Physiology.