Physiological Sciences BSc (Hons)

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If you are applying for this course from within the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

If you are applying for this course from outside the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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Pursue a broad approach to physiological sciences. Specialise in training that is suitable for NHS healthcare science practitioners. Choose your own path with this flexible course.

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Studying Physiological Sciences will broaden your knowledge of the important organ systems of the human body, including how they function in health and disease. You will develop specialist knowledge from a range of optional modules to suit your interests, which include pathophysiology and therapeutics, cardiac physiology, blood science and the physiology of sport and exercise. 

Depending on the availability of suitable placements, and subject to interview, you may be able to switch from a degree in Physiological Sciences to Healthcare Science, specialising in one of the following areas:

Cardiac Physiology: Healthcare Science Practitioners within this field are responsible for performing and interpreting a wide range of diagnostic tests including Electrocardiographs (ECG), ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate monitors, and exercise stress tests. Qualified staff also monitor patients during invasive tests such as coronary angiograms and percutaneous coronary intervention. They also ensure the optimal function of implantable devices such as pacemakers and implantable cardiovertor defibrillators (ICDs).

Audiology: Audiology is a challenging and expanding field involving the study of hearing and balance. As a healthcare profession, audiology involves assessment, management and therapeutic rehabilitation of people with hearing and balance problems, and associated disorders. If you have a particular interest in biological sciences, psychology, physics and electronics as well as speech and language development, you may find that audiology has a lot to offer.

The course includes a series of integrated clinical placements each year in an approved clinical training laboratory. If you would like to follow this route, then you would apply for BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences, then apply for one of the areas above when you start the course.

Why us?

  • The University has over 100 years of expertise in teaching science
  • Opportunities to undertake an integrated course which incorporates clinical placements in an approved clinical laboratory. You will have the opportunity to move onto BSc (Hons) Healthcare Sciences: Physiological Sciences
  • You will be taught by academic staff who are engaged in international research in a range of disciplines, as well as scientists working in the NHS
  • 'Hands on' approach to learning in our state of the art interactive learning facility 'The Living Lab' and modern biological science laboratories
  • Our Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology courses are ranked in the top 5 in the UK for Organisation & Management according to the National Student Survey 2019

Course structure

Teaching methods include lectures, practical work, seminars and group work. Assessment is via coursework and exams, in a ratio of roughly 40:60.

Your first year will focus on the normal function of the body, and as you move into year 2, you will be introduced to the concept of disease and how disease can affect the normal healthy function of the body. Year 3 will broaden your knowledge of how you can apply skills in laboratory or physiological testing to measure physiological functions. There is also a broad range of optional modules that allow you to build up your knowledge and skills to suit your area of expertise.

If you choose to apply for Healthcare Sciences and are successful at interview, as well as the teaching methods above, you will follow a series of integrated clinical placements each year in an approved clinical training laboratory.

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

  • These are equipped with wide-ranging facilities from proteomics to drug discovery. These include a MALDI-TOF mass spectrometer and nanoHPLC MALDI spotter both 2D-gel based proteomics and bacterial identification, a new BD Accuri bench top flow cytometer for cell based assays, and an imaging suite including facilities for light, confocal and electron microscopy. You will have access to the physiology laboratories equipped with specialist equipment and instrumentation to demonstrate a range of physiological mechanisms including cardiac, respiratory and autonomic mechanisms. We have a number of laboratories dedicated for final year projects where you will gain first-hand research experience.

    Bioscience laboratories
  • We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on pharmaceutical and biomedical science, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.
    Some of the most important sources for your studies include:

    • Embase: A complex database covering drug research, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, toxicology, clinical and experimental human medicine, health policy and management, public health, occupational health, environmental health, drug dependence and abuse, psychiatry, forensic medicine and biomedical engineering/instrumentation
    • PsycARTICLES: Includes information about the psychological aspects of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, sociology, pharmacology and physiology
    • PubMed: Contains life science journals, online books and abstracts that cover fields such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine and health care
    • Science Direct: Offers more than 2,000 full-text journals published by Elsevier
    • Web of Science: Covers a broad range of science areas
    Library Services - sciences
  • Our Patient Diagnostic Suite is a multi-professional facility featuring a range of near patient testing/point of care resources for audiology, cardiology and laboratory medicine assessment and diagnostics including consultation areas for simulated patient assessment and feedback.

    Patient Diagnostic Suite
  • Map and directions


Sunderland's exceptional facilities include excellent laboratories and cutting-edge equipment thanks to a multi-million pound investment.

This includes a human anatomy resource, a new state of the art clinical skills suite and bioscience laboratories and a patient simulation suite/theatre.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • GPA 3.0 or above from High School Diploma along with one of the following at the required grade - SAT I and SAT II, ACT or Advanced Placement

which must include Biology or Chemistry.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language we will require an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall score of 6.0 and at least 5.5 or higher in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking. An alternative approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) can also be considered if the applicant's element scores are equivalent to those required for IELTS.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £12,000 if you are an international student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

City Campus by night


NHS salaries for staff working in healthcare science range from around £21,000 to around £80,000 per year. At entry level, the work involves obtaining diagnostic data from patients and working as part of a multidisciplinary team that also includes doctors, nurses and radiographers.

BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences

Healthcare Science practitioners with a specialism in physiology are skilled professionals who help medical staff to assess patients’ health and manage disease and disability. Potential employers include the NHS, academic research institutions, clinical laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, molecular biology companies and other organisations where a strong science background is an advantage. The broad range of scientific, analytical and personal skills you will develop will prepare you well for a wide variety of science related careers. Many of our graduates have progressed on to further postgraduate study in several areas including teaching, medicine and Physiotherapy.


BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science - Audiology

If you choose this degree you will be well-prepared to apply for roles as a healthcare science practitioner within the NHS, with a specialism in audiology. Audiology professionals can work in a variety of settings including hospitals and carry out a wide range of duties including assessment and rehabilitation of people with hearing loss or balance disorders.

As a healthcare profession, audiology also involves assessment, management and therapeutic rehabilitation of people with hearing and balance problems, and associated disorders. This work involves patients of all ages, from children to adults and elderly people.

New and exciting opportunities exist in this expanding field. Audiology is a fast-evolving and varied discipline. A desire to work with and help people is essential and forms an important component of both training and the job. There are excellent employment opportunities within NHS clinical practice. 

BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science – Cardiac Physiology

This degree will prepare you for a role as a healthcare science practitioner within the NHS, specialising in cardiac physiology.

Healthcare is changing and similarly the role of Healthcare Science Practitioners within cardiac physiology is changing to offer patients the best possible experience. Technology is constantly developing with equipment becoming increasingly portable, meaning many tests that at one time could only be performed in hospitals, can now be performed within GP surgeries or community clinics. The development of wireless technology now allows monitoring of patients with heart rate monitors and implantable cardiac devices without the patient having to visit hospital departments.

The main role of a Healthcare Science Practitioner is to help perform, analyse and interpret tests to provide a clinical report that assists with diagnosis of disease. Newly qualified staff will develop the core skills gained at university and learn to work independently without supervision and eventually look to specialise within one of two areas, Echocardiography or Cardiac Rhythm Management. Beyond this, staff are regularly encouraged to develop their skills to take on additional responsibilities such as patient education, training staff from other disciplines, mentorship, or service development.  

Qualities of an Audiologist/Cardiac Physiologist are:

  • Ability to communicate well with all types of people
  • Good problem solving skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • A caring and understanding attitude
  • Good manual dexterity
  • Analytical skills

Meet the students

  • As a result of my course, I was able to secure a graduate job in the Freeman Hospital.
    Samuel Ndaa Small

    Samuel Ndaa

Meet the team

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