After completing a Physiology degree, around 20% of graduates choose to remain in education, working towards a further qualification so that they can go on to practise medicine or dentistry.
However, there are also numerous fascinating and vital career paths available to graduates immediately after finishing a Physiology degree, so read on to find out more about where a Physiology degree can take you.
What to do with a Physiology degree
A physiological scientist works directly with patients in hospital settings. With a relevant qualification such as a Cardiac Physiology degree or Clinical Physiology degree, a clinical scientist (or ‘healthcare scientist’) in physiological sciences is responsible for testing the function of patients’ internal organs and bodily systems. This role exists in departments such as cardiology, audiology, neuroPhysiology, vascular, ophthalmic, gastrointestinal, critical care, urodynamic, respiratory, and speech and language therapy.
If you prefer the sound of being a lab scientist over working directly with patients, consider a career as a pharmaceutical or biotechnology scientist, roles ideally suited to graduates with a Physiology degree UK. Biomedical scientists research diseases, while medical research scientists develop new medicines, and clinical research associates organise and run drug trials before they come to market. A pharmacologist studies the impact of medication on the body.
Healthcare is the major employment sector for Anatomy and Physiology degree graduates, including the job of clinical scientist in audiology.
This involves working with all age groups to assess and advise on hearing problems, balance issues or tinnitus. A clinical exercise physiologist (though this usually requires an Exercise Physiology degree), meanwhile, helps people with reduced mobility or chronic illness, while sports exercise physiologist works with athletes, specialising in how bodies respond to exercise, though usually requires a Sports Physiology degree. They support professional teams or competitors in their training, preparation and dealing with injuries. But wait! There’s even more than that.
Potential employment from this degree, as you would expect, are typically within the medicine and care sector.
What can you do with a Physiology degree?
A Physiology degree is excellent for getting you into a lab or clinical setting, but what other options are there? Plenty, as it happens! With your knowledge of medicine and the human body, you could become a medical sales representative, visiting organisations all over the country to sell your company’s products. This job would suit someone with excellent communication skills and a willingness to travel.
People interested in working with patients in a healthcare setting, perhaps with a Human Physiology degree, might be interested in the role of physiotherapist, or therapeutic radiographer. Alternatively, a perfusionist role, working in a team of professionals carrying out cardiovascular surgery, could be ideal for someone with a cool head and a cardiac Physiology degree.
In addition to all of those, there are also the options of becoming a retail pharmacist, a forensic scientist, a science writer, or - with a year’s teacher training - a secondary school or sixth form science teacher. More dramatic departures from the subject include careers in accounting, finance, banking or computing, all well-paid city jobs that often seek science graduates for their analytical and numerical skills.
Anatomy is interested in the structure of the internal body while Physiology is the study of how these internal body systems work, and pathology is the science of the effects and causes of diseases. Pathology also focuses on laboratory examination of samples of body tissue primarily for diagnostic or forensic purposes.
What A Levels do I need?
Prospective students should always check with their chosen universities prior to applying to ensure that they have the required qualifications and experience to be admitted.
What are my study options?
This area of study has many variations on offer, with students being able to complete bachelor degrees in science in anatomy, human Physiology, neuroscience and pathology separately. Universities may also offer students the chance to complete a joint honours degree programme with a mixture of the two above or even an online Physiology degree programs.
Students may find that they want to enter the world of work soon after graduating, where many different career paths are readily available to them.
What should I expect from studying Physiology?
Studying Anatomy, Physiology and/or Pathology (or even an Anatomy and Physiology degree UK) is not a walk in the park, and although it has been suggested it is not as hard going as studying medicine, is quite similar in areas that students study. Students who are interested in the anatomy of the human body, how it works and how it is put together will be best suited to degrees in these areas, even a Physiology degree online.
How will I be assessed?
Students may be assessed through written and spot-test exams as well as oral presentations. Dissection technique may also be assessed, and at some institutions, a dissertation could be used as means of an assessment, completed in the final year of study. Furthermore, the performance throughout the academic year during seminars and tutorials will also be noted.
What skills will I learn from studying Physiology?
Degrees in this area, especially Pathology offer students the ability to learn skills in connection with laboratory experiments, ethics and procedures.
It also gives candidates the option to learn dissection and certain health procedure techniques.
Students at university gain many skills during their time studying; from organisation and time management skills to presentation experience and social skills through group projects and assessments. University gives students the chance to grow as individuals as well as preparing them with valuable life skills that they can use later in life.
A clinical exercise physiologist helps people with reduced mobility or chronic illness
Why study Physiology?
Studying Anatomy and Physiology allows students who have an interest in Medicine and bodily functions to explore this area without enrolling onto a Medicine degree course. It also gives students an awareness of the complex nature of the body.
What happens after I graduate?
Students may find that they want to enter the world of work soon after graduating, where many different career paths are readily available to them. However, some students may feel that they wish to specialise in their studies and choose to continue to a postgraduate course (and you can search Physiology degree courses here).
Will it help me get a job?
Many graduates of Physiology find work within the health or care sector and are highly respected.
What jobs can you do with a Physiology degree?
There are lots of potential Physiology degree jobs potentially available.
Potential employment from this degree, as you would expect, are typically within the medicine and care sector. Career paths available for students include; Nursing, Pharmacy, Dietitian, and Physician Assistant. Although if a student chooses to continue their studies and complete a postgraduate course in medicine or dentistry, then these career paths are then open too.
A physiological scientist works directly with patients in hospital settings.
What can I study after Physiology?
There are many postgraduate options for students of anatomy and Physiology beginning with a Masters degree in Physiology, and then to complete a Doctorate in this area, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Physiology, as well as the two career paths, states above.
Certain universities offer a Medicine Conversion Course which allows the best and brightest graduates from similar courses (which can include anatomy, biology or Physiology) to enrol onto a medicine course. However, this conversion course is highly sought-after so that competition may be fierce, and an A-Level biology is also a prerequisite.