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Physiology

What is it?

Study of living organisms. Physiologists are experts in determining mechanism of diseases at a molecular level. For example, the hormone calcitonin, an important hormone for bone metabolism, was discovered by Dr. Harold Copp, a renowned physiologist. Physiologists work in private or academic research centers or laboratories.

Academic Programs

Undergraduate programs are usually four years long. The first two years are general science courses. Students apply to the program at the end of the second year. Most programs are Honors programs very similar to other Honors Programs such as Pharmacology. MSc and PhD degrees are also offered by US and Canadian Universities.

The Good

Physiology is a useful pre-med degree as many of the courses taught in Medical School especially the Physiology module are covered in the Physiology Undergraduate Program. Physiology also provides a good learning experience for those interested in basic science experience in research for those.

The Bad

Many with an undergraduate degree in Physiology plan to apply to Medical School. Roughly around 50% are accepted the first time around. Physiology is more demanding than other science degrees. Many of the Physiology programs offered by North American Universities are Honors degrees and require more advanced science courses (Chemistry, Physics, Math) as prerequisites.

Career and Academic Opportunities

Career opportunities are limited at the level of undergraduate physiology training. Graduate degrees such as a PhD may create opportunities in academia and possibly the industry. The American Physiological Society is a great resource that provides information on careers in Physiology.

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