Physiology Degree Programs and Classes

Physiology studies how the body moves, works and functions. Learn about common courses in this field as well as career options for those holding a degree in physiology. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Physiology degree programs and classes provide students with a greater understanding of life functions in humans and other living organisms. A degree in physiology prepares students for a variety of careers in laboratory science or medical research. Students may find degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Degrees Bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees in physiology with several concentrations
Courses Biology, chemistry, anatomy, kinesiology, histology, scientific writing, molecular biology, neuroscience, biostatistics and more
Training Students can get training through internships at hospitals, clinics or research labs

What Degree Program Prepares Me For a Career in Physiology?

Depending on your career goal, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree programs exist with several concentrations or preparatory classes designed to help you start or advance in your chosen profession. You can find bachelor's degree programs that include medical training designed to segue into medical school. Both bachelor's and master's programs offer concentrations in exercise sciences if you plan on entering a sport, fitness or physical therapy vocation. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program develops your research methods, teaching you how to tackle cellular and biological problems that affect living organisms. A Ph.D. program also provides you with teaching experience to prepare you for a job as a college or university professor.

What Can I Learn in an Undergraduate Degree Program?

During your first year of an undergraduate program, you'll learn general biology and chemistry. The remainder of a 4-year program exposes you to natural and medical sciences, like anatomy, kinesiology and organic chemistry. The exact classes you'll take vary based on your chosen specialization and could include sport injury management, nutrition and conditioning techniques. You'll also complete an internship at a hospital, clinic or research lab, and some schools provide on-campus facilities that give you additional practice in clinical and research practices.

What Can I Learn in a Graduate Degree Program?

You'll participate in more research at the graduate level. Master's degree programs typically include lab courses and you might be required to complete an internship. Classes at the master's level include histology, scientific writing, gross anatomy, cell biology and oral communication.

You can focus your research at the doctoral level in areas such as endocrine and cardiovascular physiology, depending on your specific interests. Ph.D. curricula often take an integrative approach to physiology, allowing you to study the whole organism, as well as its parts. Class topics might include molecular biology, neuroscience and biostatistics. Some additional areas of study at the graduate level are listed as follows:

  • Human functions
  • Pharmacology
  • Bioinformatics tools
  • Elemental physiology
  • Mechanisms of body function
  • Fundamentals of physiology
  • Neurophysiology

Can I Earn a Degree Online?

Very few schools offer online degree programs in physiology. You'll usually find undergraduate degree programs and prerequisite classes more often than graduate studies, though some graduate certificate programs exist. You might be able to take preparatory coursework in medical physiology or general sciences designed to provide you with fundamental instruction.

Schools provide access to course lectures and labs through streaming video, visual and textual reading, virtual simulations or by sending course materials to your home. You'll be able to communicate with your instructors through e-mail or discussion boards, and you might need to visit the campus or enlist a proctor for exams.

What Can I Do With a Degree in Physiology?

With a bachelor's degree, you'll qualify for entry-level research and clinical jobs in hospitals, insurance companies, research labs and pharmaceutical firms. Depending on the focus of the program and the electives you choose, you might meet eligibility requirements to enter medical school. Additionally, you can pursue graduate studies in areas such as public health, laboratory science and education.

With a master's degree, you'll find career options available in physiology research and practice. The type of work you'll do relates specifically to what you studied in school. For example, earning a master's degree in exercise physiology qualifies you for jobs in sports and recreation, fitness, nutrition and rehabilitation.

If you've earned a Ph.D. in physiology, you can become a physiology researcher or you can work in academia. As a physiological scientist, you could find ways to prevent and control the spread of disease. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biological scientist positions, including those in physiology, were expected to experience an 11% increase between 2016 and 2026 (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated that exercise physiologists employed with the federal government earned an average of $69,730 in 2017.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

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  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Vanderbilt University

    Campus Locations:

    • Tennessee: Nashville
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • Cornell University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Ithaca