School of Biomedical Sciences

BSc (Hons) Medical Physiology

Commencing in 2019, BSc (Hons) Medical Physiology is a specialist course on how molecules, cells and organ systems integrate to maintain normal human living functions. The understanding of physiological function underpins every major medical breakthrough and this course will specialise in neuroscience; cardiovascular and respiratory science and pharmacology and therapeutics.

The course will use small group team-based-learning that will enable you to actively engage in the learning process. You will acquire an integrative understanding of human physiology with the ability to apply subject-specific knowledge and collaborative problem solving skills in your chosen career pathway.

Key features

  • Gain an advanced understanding of molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms of human physiology, and how this underpins medical and dental science as the key to the detection, prevention and treatment of disease. 
  • Apply conceptual knowledge to novel and authentic application scenarios. 
  • Using a skills development framework you will engage critical thinking and reasoning capabilities that will promote graduate and professionalism skills. 
  • Benefit from small group-learning in which you will actively engage in the learning process designed to promote student-centred, accountable and sustainable learning.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you immerse yourself in the team-based learning (TBL) environment that will engage critical thinking and reasoning capabilities. TBL emphasises three keys to effective active learning: 1) Individual and group accountability, 2) Need and opportunity for group interaction, and 3) Motivation to engage in discussion. In year one you will study six modules designed to provide an introduction to understanding core concepts and principles of medical physiology, provide foundation knowledge and to give the opportunity to test understanding of key concepts. A key aspect of all modules is that knowledge will be applied to authentic and relevant workplace problems.

    Core modules
    • BHCS1003 Human Metabolism

      This module offers an introduction to the biochemistry underlying human metabolism. In particular, the module explores the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the human body extracts energy from nutrients to sustain life. The significance of metabolic dysfunction in relation to human disease pathology and diagnosis is emphasised.

    • BHCS1011 Study skills and personal development

      This module supports the development of key study and learning skills. Timetabled tutorials will help promote self-reflection and provide a framework for personal development planning and careers.

    • BHCS1012 Introduction to Medical Physiology

      This module will introduce students to both the discipline of medical physiology as well as the active learning approaches to be encountered during the course. Using subject-specific material it will introduce the concepts of TBL to developing a sustainable knowledge-base and the ability to apply that knowledge in a meaningful way.

    • BHCS1013 Foundations in Medical Physiology

      TBL will be deployed to introduce an integrated understanding of molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms of human anatomy and physiology. Commencing with the integrated study of cell and tissue biology and the founding principles of structure, function, organisation, imaging and homeostasis it will culminate in the application of knowledge to authentic case and disease-based scenarios.

    • BHCS1014PP Introduction to physiological literature, reporting and measurement

      This module will introduce the learner to the scope and range of scientific literature, the reporting, measurement and analysis of data and the range of technologies and methodologies currently available within the physiological sciences.

    • BHCS1015 Foundations in Pathophysiology and Pharmacology

      This module will introduce students to the concept of pathology as a distinct discipline and to understanding of the impact of disease and inherent pathophysiological changes and processes on cells, tissues, and body systems. It will introduce the concepts of pharmacology and the concepts of how drug action affects the major organ systems of the body as well as drug effects on cell function.

    • BHCS1016 Foundations in Infection and Immunity

      This module introduces the student to infection and immunity and in particular to the interaction of microorganisms and virus' with human body systems. It will deploy a flipped classroom approach and explores concepts of gut organisms and interaction, infectious disease and the body's ability to resist and repel such disease via a range of innate immune responses.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you will continue to use TBL to focus on developing a deeper understanding of the three core course themes of neuroscience; cardiovascular and respiratory science and pharmacology and therapeutics. You will study four modules in which you will integrate relevant elements of physiology, anatomy, genetics, proteomics, immunology, cell biology, pharmacology and therapeutics. All modules will give the opportunity to test understanding of key concepts, and to apply the knowledge gained to relevant workplace problems.

    Core modules
    • BHCS2027 Placements and Employability

    • BHCS2028 Fundamentals of Medical Physiology (I)

      This module provides the learner with the theoretical and practical foundations in medical physiology, by introducing the underpinning biological principles of cardiovascular and respiratory physiology.

    • BHCS2029 Methods in Medical Physiology

      The module introduces key concepts associated with the planning and delivery of physiological research and development. In particular, it will explore the application of different types of research design and data analysis toward advancing experimental knowledge and understanding. TBL will be deployed to help broaden opportunity to test understanding of key concepts, and to help foster the development of valid and robust research techniques that permit testing of specific hypotheses.

    • BHCS2030 Fundamentals of Medical Physiology (II)

      This module provides the learner with the theoretical and practical foundations in medical physiology, by continuing exposure to the fundamental principles of neuroscience as an integrated subject.

    • BHCS2031 Fundamentals of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

      This module provides the learner with the fundamental principles of pharmacology and therapeutics in an integrated manner, which then can be applied to various situations in health and disease, and can result in a positive therapeutic outcome.

  • Year 3
  • You have the option to take up a work placement as part of your degree course. This is usually done as a 6 or 12-month placement at the end of your second year. Upon successful completion you gain the Certificate of Industrial or Professional Experience. Alternatively, you may choose to take a work-based learning module, working in a local host organisation, alongside your other studies.

    Core modules
    • BHCS3030 Biomedical Sciences: Placement

      This module provides an opportunity for professional training of at least 26 weeks duration with an approved placement provider or host organisation between Stage 2 and 4. While on placement, students will gain work experience related to their degree programme, be able to apply their knowledge and expertise, and learn further skills and relevant techniques.

  • Final year
  • In your final year you will put your experience of using TBL toward the spiral development of the knowledge base and will further broaden topics and concepts. You will study three core modules that cover advanced topics in neuroscience, cardiovascular and respiratory and pharmacology and therapeutics. A personal research project allows you to study an area of medical physiology of particular interest to you in detail.

    Core modules
    • BHCS3001 Personal Research Project

      The module requires students to perform a self-directed research study project that includes the design, implementation, collection, analysis and interpretation of scientific data. It also involves the evaluation and interpretation of scientific literature, evaluation of current issues and concepts and the ability to reflect upon continuing professional and personal development.

    • BHCS3031 Personal Development and Employability

      The module aims to provide personal academic support and careers guidance. It will provide a forum for students to discuss their achievements and develop plans to address potential areas of weakness and achieve future career goals.

    • BHCS3032 Advanced topics in Pharmacology and Therapeutics

      This module provides the learner with the advanced principles of pharmacology and therapeutics which then can be applied to industry and research.

    • BHCS3033 Advanced topics in Medical Physiology

      The module will provide an advanced level of understanding of molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms that lead to the understanding of neurophysiological mechanisms and an introduction to dysfunction. This module provides the learner with advanced principles of neuroscience which can be applied to industry or research. The module will deploy TBL and will give the opportunity to test understanding of key concepts, and to apply the knowledge gained to authentic and relevant workplace problems.

    • BHCS3034 Advanced topics in Pathophysiology

      The module will provide an advanced level of understanding of molecular, cellular and systems mechanisms that lead to pathophysiological imbalance. The module will integrate subject disciplines to undrestand dysfunction within selected organ and body systems. The module will deploy TBL to give the opportunity to test understanding of key concepts, and to apply the knowledge gained to authentic and relevant workplace problems.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Hons Medical Physiology Programme specification 4657

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

136

136 points

A level: Three A levels, including at least two relevant science subjects from biology/human biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics plus a third subject that can include environmental science, environmental studies, psychology, geography, geology, or applied science. General studies not accepted.

International Baccalaureate: 32/30 points including five at Higher Level biology plus five at Higher Level second science.

IELTS: Overall average score of at least 6.5, with a score of at least 6.5 in the listening and reading sections and at least 6.5 in the writing and speaking sections.

English language requirements 

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU To be confirmed To be confirmed
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Additional costs

  • The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis branding, or photocopying costs.
  • If/when you are on placement there may be additional costs incurred for subsistence and travel.
  • Failure to attend the requisite immunisation clinics at the times stated would result in you having to self-fund your immunisation schedule.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Our approach to learning: team-based learning

This innovative course in medical physiology will be delivered using Team-Based Learning (TBL).

Find out more about our approach

Our facilities

The School of Biomedical Sciences is based in a new, purpose-built building linked to the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at Derriford.

You will find some of the best undergraduate laboratories in the country.

Find out more about our facilities