Colleges with Physiology Programs: How to Choose

Physiology degree programs teach students how organisms function, including the chemical and physical aspects involved. Schools that offer education in physiology present a range of degree options, such as bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs.

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Many colleges include undergraduate physiology programs, which can prepare students for graduate-level studies in the field, as well as medical school, dental school or a graduate-level program in a related science.

Schools for Physiology

Students can study physiology at these schools:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,560 in-state, $36,360 out-of-state
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $11,403 in-state, $32,630 out-of-state
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $15,054 in-state, $30,214 out-of-state
University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,790 in-state, $22,210 out-of-state
University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $12,763 in-state, $37,471 out-of-state
Brigham Young University Provo, UT 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $5,150
University of Colorado - Boulder Boulder, CO 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $11,091 in-state, $34,125 out-of-state
Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,778 in-state, $20,978 out-of-state
University of Oregon Eugene, OR 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $10,289 in-state, $32,024 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

Here are some things to consider when choosing between programs:

  • Working professionals or those looking for flexible education may seek a program offering online or distance learning opportunities.
  • Students should look at the degree options available and choose a track based on their educational and career goals.
  • If the school does not offer a specific physiology program, find out if it is offered as a concentration within another major, such as biology or exercise science.

Bachelor's Degree in Human Physiology

Bachelor's degree programs in biology may include a concentrated major in physiology. Though only a high school diploma is necessary, students with an associate degree in exercise science or a related field may be able to decrease course load by transferring credit toward the bachelor's degree. Schools may offer entry-level career assistance, opportunities for continuing education or interdisciplinary learning in kinesiology, exercise science or biology.

Master's Degree in Exercise Physiology

Many master's degree programs in physiology allow students to choose an area of special interest. including health and exercise or sports science fields. Applicants need a bachelor's degree in any subject to enroll.

Candidates may receive practical experience through hands-on learning or teaching. These 2-year programs may offer thesis or non-thesis options. Some programs require prerequisite training in pathology or biological safety measures. Coursework may be medical, recreational or psychological in nature, taking an interdisciplinary approach to physiology studies.

Doctoral Degree in Physiology

Applicants to a doctoral program in physiology need to hold a degree in a related field of study, such as clinical exercise physiology. Programs often take 3-5 years, though some schools allow enrollment in part-time studies that would extend a program's length.

Specialized options for doctoral-level degrees in physiology include biochemistry, exercise science or cellular and molecular physiology. They often center on research and teaching, and students may be required to participate in teaching assistantships.

Through classroom-based coursework and hands-on training, undergraduate and graduate programs provide students with training in physiology.

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