Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BSc Physiology

UCAS code: B120

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences

College: Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Study abroad

Introducing BSc Physiology

Physiology examines humans and other animals to learn how they function, grow and reproduce.

It studies how cells respond to changes in their environment and how cell functions are integrated in tissues, organs and living organisms.

The understanding of fundamental physiological principles is central to our ability to identify potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of diseases.

On this programme, you will study how information is sent from one cell to another through chemical or electrical signals. You will also learn about body systems such as:

  • nutrition
  • movement
  • respiration
  • reproduction

Our Biomedical Sciences programmes have a common structure in Years 1 and 2. This provides a firm grounding in the knowledge, understanding and skills needed for all of our specialist degree disciplines.

In Years 3 and 4, you will focus on exploring your chosen discipline in depth. You will have opportunities to transfer between honours disciplines at the end of Years 2 and 3.

Year 1

The main theme you will study is the importance of biomedical sciences to medicine and health. You will learn how biomedical science discoveries and breakthroughs have led to medical and scientific advancement.

You will take three compulsory courses covering:

  • biomedical sciences
  • medical biology
  • molecular and cellular biology

Plus others from a range of biomedical and non-biomedical courses. You are expected to take at least one course in biological chemistry.

Year 2

The theme of your second year is 'foundational understanding of biomedical sciences'. This includes essential learning in biomedical disciplines.

You will take three compulsory courses:

  • Biomedical Sciences 2
  • Microorganisms, Infection & Immunity 2
  • Cells to Organisms 2

You will also choose courses from a range of biomedical and non-biomedical options.

Year 3

You will study two compulsory courses:

  • Biomedical Sciences 3 - cornerstone to the theme of 'developing knowledge from experiment'
  • Physiology 3

You will also take a combination of compulsory and optional courses that broaden your understanding of your chosen subject.

Additionally in this year, you will develop key graduate attributes, including analytical and communication skills.

Year 4

The theme of your final year is 'research in practice'.

You will study the compulsory Physiology Core course, plus two option courses that cover cutting-edge topics in more depth.

With individual support from a supervisor, you will complete a major research project. This can involve original, laboratory-based research or library-based, literature analysis research.

Our facilities

Teaching takes place in the University's Central Area and on the King's Buildings campus.

In your final year, some teaching will take place in:

  • The Chancellor's Building at Little France
  • The Western General Hospital

All sites offer state-of-the-art lecture theatres and laboratory facilities.

Study materials are available online. You will have full access to the University's libraries and computer laboratories.

Study abroad

In Year 3, you will have opportunities to study in Europe, North America and Asia.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

We use a blend of learning and teaching approaches.

In-person teaching includes:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • discussion groups
  • workshops
  • laboratory work

This is blended with digital teaching using our virtual learning environment. Here you will find electronic resources, including:

  • video recordings
  • laboratory simulations
  • discussion boards
  • supplementary reading and reference material

This actively promotes a balance between teacher-directed learning and independent personal study, to enhance your student experience.

In Years 3 and 4, we increase the emphasis on self-directed study and discussion sessions with internationally renowned research scientists.

How will I be assessed?

We use in-course assessment and exams in all years.

Your degree classification will be based on your performance in Years 3 and 4.

The broad analytical, scientific and personal skills you gain on this programme will equip you for a variety of careers.

This programme will particularly appeal to those planning:

  • a career in biomedical research or a related area
  • a graduate-entry career in industry, management or the public sector

Previous graduates have been employed in science and non-science sectors, including:

  • teaching
  • marketing
  • accountancy
  • policy research

A large proportion of our graduates choose to go on to further study before entering successful academic or industry-based research careers.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAB - ABBB by end of S5 or AAAA - AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAB - ABB in one set of exams.
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL - 32 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 32 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: Biology and Chemistry at B. Higher Mathematics or Physics and Advanced Higher Biology and Chemistry are recommended. National 5s: Mathematics at B and English at C.
  • A Levels: Biology and Chemistry at B. Mathematics or Physics is recommended. GCSEs: Mathematics at B or 6 and English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: Biology and Chemistry, one at 5 and one at 6. Mathematics or Physics is recommended. SL: We accept both the Mathematics Analysis & approaches and Applications & interpretation pathways. If Mathematics and English Language do not form part of your IB diploma we will also accept GCSE, or equivalent, at B.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

For direct entry to second year the standard requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AB in Biology and Chemistry.
  • A Levels: AAB in one set of exams in include Biology and Chemistry.
  • IB: 36 points with 666 at HL to include Biology and Chemistry.

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

SQA, GCSE and IB

For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 6.0 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 23 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 169 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

Please apply for only one Biomedical Sciences degree. You will have the opportunity to switch between degrees in later years provided the required courses have been passed.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Physiology

Additional costs

No additional costs.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding