At the Forefront of Medical Research

Physiology is an area of biology related to how the human body works. Physiologists are interested in how the cells and organs of the body operate and how their incredible array of processes co-operate to enable our bodies to function under normal and challenging circumstances. Physiologists are, therefore, at the forefront of medical research and the search for a better understanding of disease processes.

At UCD, Physiology students acquire a thorough understanding of the organs of the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, and how they function, interact and respond to the internal and external environment.

Course Features

  • Innovative, research driven curriculum
  • Delivered by experienced, expert staff
  • Small class group
  • Excellent career opportunities
  • State-of-the-art facilities

This is a sample pathway for a degree in Physiology. Topics include neurophysiology, metabolic biochemistry, membrane biology, respiratory physiology and cardiovascular physiology.

First Year

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Optional Science modules
  • Elective module

Second Year

  • Physiology
  • + 2 Other Science Subjects
  • Elective modules

Third Year

  • Physiology
  • Elective modules

Fourth Year

  • Physiology (includes a research project in a laboratory setting)

All Science courses are full time, with many student timetables running from 9.00am to 5.00pm or later. Depending on the subject choices, a weekly timetable can include lectures, practicals and tutorials.

Assessment varies with each module but may comprise continuous assessment of practicals, written exams and online learning activities.

Physiology students have spent time studying at the following universities:

  • San Jose State University, USA
  • University of Queensland, Australia

World-Class Research Environment

When you choose to study at UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, you choose a world-class, student-focused learning environment.

Supporting Translational Research

The School aims to create an environment which supports world class translational research by providing excellent laboratory and clinical facilities resourced with expert support staff that includes post-doctoral fellows, research nurses, laboratory technicians and data managers. 

Facilities at the Belfield Campus

Students have access to modern research laboratory space within the UCD Health Science Centre, the UCD Charles Institute and the UCD Conway Institute.  These facilities are in addition to undergraduate teaching laboratories and support teams pursuing fundamental biomedical research.

Comprising more than 2,000 full-time enrolments and representing 30 different nationalities, our large and culturally diverse student community is the heartbeat of the School. 


Physiology graduates go on to establish careers in the following areas:

  • Biomedical research in the university system or other government-run operations
  • Pharmaceutical industry-based research and development
  • Clinical trials
  • Pharmaceutical industry sales

Physiology graduates regularly gain places on graduate-entry Medicine and other allied healthcare degree courses. UCD provides opportunities for graduate physiological research at the Master’s or PhD level. Research into basic physiological mechanisms takes place but the research focus is on translational research, i.e. the research that enhances our understanding of human disease that leads to advances in the improvement of human health.

More information

For information pertaining to CAO and Admissions, please visit myUCD.


Key Information:

  • CAO Code DN200
  • CAO 555 (2023)
  • Duration 4 Years

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