Human Physiology

What is human physiology?

Human physiology is the study of how our body works in an integrated way. An understanding of physiology is fundamental to modern medical practice because physiological knowledge allows diagnoses and therefore determines appropriate medicinal treatments.

Why study human physiology?

An understanding of modern human physiology guarantees an almost endless array of possibilities for careers in biomedicine which can be combined with virtually any other area of biological science. This degree will provide you with an ideal opportunity to train in a medically orientated field of world-wide importance.

As a physiologist you will ask fundamental questions such as:

  • How does the body function during the normal demands of everyday life, and during stressful situations like exercise, or working in extreme environments?
  • How do body systems fail in diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure and neurodegeneration.

  • The School of Biomedical Sciences scored 96% overall student satisfaction with 94% of students satisfied with teaching on their course (National Student Survey, 2015).
  • 94% of our graduates are employed or in further study six months after graduation (DLHE 2013/14).

MBiol, BSc Biochemistry (Integrated Masters) has received interim accreditation by the Society of Biology. Find out more about MBiol BSc Accreditation (pdf download).

See also: Medical Sciences 


Course Overview

Our approach to Human Physiology is an integrative one, ranging from how whole organs work and interact to control body functions, down to the molecular mechanisms operating within cells. The table below gives a brief insight into the types of modules and topics your degree will cover.

  • Foundations of Biomedical Sciences
  • Basic Laboratory Scientific Skills
  • Biology of the Mind
  • Introduction to Pharmacology
  • Human Endocrinology
  • Basic Laboratory and Scientific Skills 2
  • Cardiorespiratory Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Neurobiology
  • Advanced Scientific Skills
  • Research laboratory or literature project
  • Advanced Topics in Physiology 1 and 2

Options for Human Physiology:

  • Medical Microbiology
  • Introduction to Genetics
  • Introduction to Immunology
  • Philosophy of the Mind
  • Psychology
  • Extreme Human Physiology

Plus any other elective from across the university that timetables with the core modules.

Programme options

  • Experimental Techniques in Physiology
  • Topics in Physiology
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Physiology of Absorption & Excretion


  • Exercise Biochemistry
  • Signalling In and Between Cells
  • Human Diseases
  • Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • Human Genetics
  • Medical Bacteriology
  • Medical Immunology
  • Medical Virology
  • Biomedical Nanotechnology


  • Integrative Biomedical Sciences
  • Systems Neurophysiology
  • Drug Development
  • Pre-Clinical to Practice
  • Inherited Disorders
  • Cellular Cardiology
  • History of the Body 1
  • History of the Body 2

Total Credits: 120

Total Credits: 120

Total Credits: 120

BSc Year 1 BSc Year 2 BSc Year 3

Course changes may occur given the fast-moving nature of the field and above is an indicative list only.

BSc year one

Year one will introduce you to the subject with an overview of how the different body systems function. Introductory modules in subjects such as pharmacology and neuroscience will enhance your understanding of human physiology, and practical classes will introduce you to a range of experimental approaches.

BSc year two

After year one has introduced you to the foundations of biomedical sciences, year two of your degree will see you focus in more depth on the key areas of human physiology. Through modules such as ‘Experimental Techniques in Physiology’ and ‘Exercise Physiology’, your knowledge will become more specialised, and your research skills will become more advanced.

BSc year three

In final year you have the opportunity to focus on your interests through a variety of modules that reflect the research expertise at Leeds, including modules in systems nuerophysiology. The main focal point for final year is an independent research project that you will undertake under the supervision of a field leading academic, further developing the transferable skills that will set you apart in the graduate job market.

MBiol year three and four

In year three of the MBiol, alongside your compulsory and optional modules you will study a research preparation module and undertake laboratory work that will expose you to the latest research methods and prepare you for your Masters study. Year four will involve an extended research project in an original topic, complimented with Masters level modules that will prepare you for a career in research as well as equipping you with the cutting edge expertise needed in the general graduate job market.

Please note that year one and two are the same as the BSc for the MBiol.

To find out more about this MBiol degree programme download our guide and our overview on MBiol programmes


Our degrees are delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals. The first and second year will see a focus on these three teaching methods, building your skills, understanding and knowledge for your final year research project, which will see independent research and learning complemented with the guidance of leading experts.

Typical timetable (3 year BSc)

  • A typical week in year one includes twelve hours of lectures, a three hour practical session in the lab, additional tutorial, workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study.
  • Year two consists of around eight to ten lectures per week, four hours in the lab either on a single practical or ongoing project, additional tutorial, workshop and seminar sessions, plus private study time.
  • In year three you will have around eight lectures per week and tutorial and seminar sessions (Semester One). Your research project will take around three days per week (Semester Two), you will also attend three to six lectures per week, plus private study time.

Discover more about our teaching.

The structure of your course will depend on the pathway that you choose:


Course Title



Human Physiology

3 years


Human Physiology with industrial placement year

4 years


Human Physiology with a study year abroad

4 years

MBiol, BSc

Human Physiology

4 years

MBiol, BSc

Human Physiology with industrial placement year

5 years

MBiol, BSc

Human Physiology with a study year abroad

5 years

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Key Information Set (KIS)

Human Physiology

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How to use Unistats

You can use Unistats to find out what previous students thought about the course, as well as to learn about the likely costs and the kind of jobs or further study  which students who completed the course went on to do. 

It is important to remember when you use Unistats that the information here is designed to give an indication of what it might be like on the course you select.  Obviously, the experience of each course will be different for each person, and will differ from year to year.

Some of the information on Unistats, for example on student satisfaction and employment outcomes, is retrospective - and some of it, like fee information, is for the next academic year.  You should be careful to make sure that you understand which year the data relate to.

Graduate Employment

Typical graduate destinations include medically-related careers such as graduate entry medicine or physiotherapy courses and paramedical training. Other graduates continue onto Masters or PhD study, academic research or teaching.

Data collected of graduate’s salaries 6 months after graduation shows that the average salary would be around £21,000 (DLHE 2012/2013). Careers through graduation of the Human Physiology course have been rather focused in their job specification, with the general healthcare of the public being a common denominator in recent graduate destinations.

Recent graduate destinations include:

  • Healthcare assistant, York Hospital
  • Trainee cardiac physiologist, NHS Scotland
  • Healthcare assistant, Brocklebank group practice

Careers Support

We take personal development and career opportunities very seriously and the Faculty has a dedicated Employability Officer who works closely with the careers centre. We offer a host of additional opportunities beyond core course content, including volunteering and placement opportunities.

We organise regular careers workshops designed especially for biological sciences students to help develop their career opportunities, including the annual Bioscience Careers Networking Event, offering a chance to meet bioscience employers, speak to alumni, attend workshops and get masses of information.

Careers Centre

The Faculty works closely with the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country. The centre provides high-quality professional support and advice for all our students and access to thousands of opportunities for graduate employment, placements and internships.