Physiological Sciences with Integrated Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

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Course starts: 14 September 2020Apply now

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This is a four-year version of our BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences course with an integrated foundation year. 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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The course focuses on the study of body function, particularly how cell, tissue and organ function is integrated in specific systems such as the nervous, respiratory and cardiovascular systems in health and disease. You will develop specialist knowledge and have the option to personalise your learning to suit your interests with our range of optional modules.

Why us?

  • Opportunities to undertake an integrated course which incorporates 50 weeks of clinical placement over three years. You will have the opportunity to move onto BSc (Hons) Healthcare Sciences: Physiological/Life
  • 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
  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience
  • The University has over 100 years of expertise in teaching science
  • '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

Depending on the availability of suitable placements, and your choice of options, you can work towards one of three possible degree titles: BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences, BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology), BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Audiology).

Teaching methods include lectures, practical work, seminars and other forms of group work. Assessment is by continuous assessment of coursework and by examinations, in a ratio of roughly 40:60.

Foundation Year

The Integrated Foundation Year for Biosciences includes five modules:

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Practical Numeracy Skills (20 credits)
  • Foundations of Biosciences (40 credits)
  • Foundation Project (20 credits)
  • Physiology for Biosciences (20 credits)


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

BSc (Hons) Physiological Sciences

Year 1 (national level 4)

Core modules:

  • Fundamental Principles in Biomedicine (20 credits)
  • Human Physiology (20 credits)
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology (20 credits)
  • Microbes and Host Defences (20 credits)
  • Clinical and Professional Practice (20 credits)

Optional modules (choose one):

  • Introduction to cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep science (20 credits)
  • Introduction to the practice of cardiovascular, respiratory and sleep science (20 credits)
  • Principles of sport and exercise physiology (20 credits)
  • Applied Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology of neurosensory systems (20 credits)
  • Applied Physics and measurement (20 credits)

Year 2 (national level 5)

Core modules:

  • Research Methods and Analytical Skills for Biosciences (20 credits)
  • Pathophysiology and Therapeutics (20 credits)
  • Pathophysiology of Common Cardiovascular and Respiratory Conditions (20 credits)

Optional modules (choose three):

  • Molecular and Cellular Analysis (20 credits)
  • Infection and Immunity (20 credits)
  • Blood Science (20 credits)
  • Biosciences Literature Review (20 credits)
  • Sport and Exercise Physiology I (20 credits)
  • Pathophysiology of hearing and balance (20 credits)

Year 3 (national level 6)

Core modules:

  • Bioscience Research Investigation (40 credits)

Optional modules (choose four):

  • Cellular Pathology (20 credits)
  • Clinical Biochemistry (20 credits)
  • Haematology and Transfusion Science (20 credits)
  • Human Genetics and Genomics (20 credits)
  • Clinical Immunology (20 credits)
  • Medical Microbiology (20 credits)
  • Sport and Exercise Physiology II (20 credits)
  • Nutrition of Sport and Exercise (20 credits)

BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology)

Year 1 (national level 4)

All core modules:

  • Human Physiology (20 credits)
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology (20 credits)
  • Microbes and Host Defences (20 credits)
  • Clinical Practice and Professional Practce for Healthcare Science* (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Cardiovascular Respiratory and Sleep Science (20 credits)
  • Introduction to the Practice of Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Sleep Science (20 credits)
    *Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 10-week work placement in your first year

Year 2 (national level 5)

All core modules:

  • Research and Analytical Skills for Biosciences (20 credits)
  • Instrumentation, Signal Processing and Imaging (20 credits)
  • Pathophysiology of Common Cardiovascular and Respiratory Disease (20 credits)
  • Cardiac Physiology: Electrocardiography (20 credits)
  • Cardiac Physiology: Ambulatory Monitoring and Exercise Electrocardiography (20 credits)
  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Sciences 1* (20 credits)
    *You will also be required to undertake a suitable 15-week work placement during your second year

Year 3 (national level 6)

All core modules:

  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Sciences 2* (30 credits)
  • Healthcare Science Research Project (30 credits)
  • Applying Cardiac Physiology: Development and Disease (20 credits)
  • Applying Cardiac Physiology: Patient Centred Care and Provocative Testing (20 credits)
  • Applying Cardiac Physiology: Invasive Cardiology (20 credits)
    * Here you will be required to undertake a suitable 25-week work placement in your final year

BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Audiology)

Year 1 (national level 4)

All core modules:

  • Human Physiology (20 credits)
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology (20 credits)
  • Microbes and Host Defences (20 credits)
  • Clinical Practice and Professional Practice for Healthcare Science* (20 credits)
  • Applied Physics and Measurements (20 credits)
  • Applied Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology (20 credits)
    *You will be required to undertake a suitable 10-week work placement in your first year

Year 2 (national level 5)

All core modules:

  • Research and Analytical Skills for Biosciences (20 credits)
  • Applied Physiological Measurement and Instrumentation (20 credits)
  • Processes of Audiological Rehabilitation (20 credits)
  • Pathophysiology of Hearing and Balance (20 credits)
  • Fundamental Principles of Audiological Assessment (20 credits)
  • Vestibular Assessment (10 credits)
  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Sciences I (20 credits)
    *You will also be required to undertake a suitable 15-week work placement during of your second year

Year 3 (national level 6)

Core modules:

  • Professional Practice and Work-Based Training in Physiological Science 2* (30 credits)
  • Healthcare Science Research Investigation (30 credits)
  • Psycho/Social Aspects of Hearing Loss (30 credits)
  • Advanced Principles of Audiological Assessment (30 credits)
  • 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

The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.

Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.

Eligible entry qualifications:

1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent ), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth using the UCAS Tariff calculator.

If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!

** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.

Depending on availability of places and subject to interview, you may be able to apply to transfer to our MPharm Pharmacy course following successful completion of the foundation year of a Pharmaceutical Sciences Integrated Foundation Degree. You must aim to achieve 70% in the foundation year, and any offer will be subject to the discretion of the Pharmacy admissions tutor.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

For more information about Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

If you join us in September 2020, the foundation year will be £5,000.

For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250 but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the full-undergraduate course.

In addition, you may receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region and a University of Sunderland StudyPLUS Card loaded with additional offers up to the value of £200, plus a bundle of study skills books worth £80.

If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.

Please note, this course is not available to international students.

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.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

Scholarships calculator

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

Employment prospects are very good for Sunderland graduates in subjects allied to medicine.

Potential employers include the NHS, medical research institutions, clinical laboratories, drug companies, molecular biology companies and other organisations where a strong science background is an advantage.


BSc (Hons) Healthcare Science (Cardiac Physiology/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 cardiac physiology or audiology.

Our course provides significant amounts of work-based learning, with unpaid placements amounting to 10 weeks in year 1, 15 weeks in year 2 and 25 weeks in year 3.


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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