What is Physiology?
Physiology is the study of the function of living things. It spans the spectrum of Biology from molecular and cellular physiology through to the function of organs systems and ultimately the whole body – including how we survive in different environments and adapt to them. Physiology is the foundational biomedical science because it underpins translational and clinical medicine. Understanding physiology is essential to understanding ourselves and our health.
Do you enjoy...
- Studying how the body works?
- Investigating the functional changes that underlie illness and disease?
- Carrying out research and laboratory work?
Physiology: The course for you?
Physiologists study every aspect of the human body, from the function of individual proteins in cells, to the function of body systems such as the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems, all the way up to the whole-body level. The emphasis on integrating molecular and cellular systems and whole body function is what distinguishes physiology from other life sciences Physiology is at the forefront of research in biomedical science, because there are still so many things about the function of the human body that remain unknown. If we know more about our physiology we can use this knowledge to develop better treatments for various diseases.
Physiology at Trinity
The Physiology Department is part of the School of Medicine and has strong teaching and research links with other disciplines in the school, such as physiotherapy and clinical medicine, and with other schools in the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science. All of our lecturers run research laboratories and the major strengths of the department are in neuroscience, cell biology and exercise physiology. In Trinity, we recognise the vital importance of laboratory teaching. We encourage every student who enters the teaching laboratory to consider himself or herself as a research scientist from day one. This research training culminates in the individual Capstone research project each student carries out in the final year. We train students to design experiments that may help to solve some of the mysteries that remain about the function of the human body. We teach them how to make accurate measurements, how to generate data, how to analyse those data and how to draw conclusions based on the data. Using this hands-on approach, they gain a much deeper knowledge of the subject of physiology.
Graduate skills and career opportunities
You can use your general scientific training and specialised knowledge of physiology to find employment in a wide variety of jobs. You may pursue further training in physiology and become a research scientist in a hospital, the pharmaceutical industry, a government agency or a university. Some graduates undertake further study in health-related fields such as medicine or physiotherapy.
Your degree and what you’ll study
In the first two years, you will study biology, chemistry, and physics subjects common to all students in the Science programme.
You will study the Physiology of all of the body systems (cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, reproductive, digestive, and more) from the cellular and tissue level to how each system integrates with other systems. You carry out individual and group project work in the third year and there is a major emphasis on developing your science communication skills. You also have an opportunity to study complementary modules in other areas of Biology and you can take Trinity Elective modules in non-science subjects.
In Year Four you study advanced modules in Physiology that draw directly from the research ongoing in the department. You will also undertake an individual Capstone research project, where you work alongside a Trinity Professor in their research laboratory. Your project will be based in Trinity or in one of its associated hospital departments. Some typical recent research projects have looked at reprogramming stem cells to cure Parkinson’s disease, assessing the influence of premature birth on hypertension later in life, using exercise training to improve blood vessel health in diabetes and assessing biomarkers of brain health in athletes playing contact sport.
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Study abroad and internship opportunities
Many of our students undertake research internships in Trinity or other universities during the summer vacation. Our students have won scholarships from the Wellcome Trust, Physiological Society or Health Research Board to work in research laboratories between Year Three and Year Four.
Further information on student exchanges can be found at: www.tcd.ie/study/studyabroad/outbound/options
Study the Biological and Biomedical Sciences programme at Trinity
Biology is the study of life in all its complexity and diversity. In the Biological and Biomedical Sciences programme, we explore how life first arose; the properties that distinguish living organisms from inert matter; how living organisms function and how the vast diversity of life forms was generated; and how organisms reproduce themselves and how they interact both with each other and with the environment.
AwardsB.A. (Moderatorship) Honours Bachelor Degree (NFQ Level 8)
CAO InformationCAO Points 555 (2023) CAO Code TR060
To apply to this course, click on the relevant Apply Link below
Advanced Entry Applications
Read the information about how to apply for Advanced Entry, then select the link below to apply.
Choosing Physiology as my speciality through Science was the best decision I made. The course is very well organised and the small class size gives students the opportunity to work together. I felt so much support during my two years in Physiology; the department staff are very friendly and the lecturers are very approachable. The course structure and content give students an excellent range of both theory-led and practical-based learning opportunities. It helped me to develop a standard of learning to perform at Master's level. I am now in the final year of my M.Sc. in Physiotherapy.