• For Entry: September
  • Duration: 4 years
  • Award: BSc (Hons)
  • Study Abroad: Yes
  • Study Mode: Full Time

Physiology is the science of living systems. Learn how cells, organs and tissue function in our bodies, as well as how they adjust to change.

TEF Gold - Teaching Excellence Framework
Royal Society of Biology Accredited Degree

Physiology is about the functions of living organisms, such as the circulation and function of the heart, food and digestion and the energetics of muscle contraction. Its scope ranges from understanding events at the molecular level to the integrative physiology of organs and systems and how they are regulated and adjust to change (e.g. in response to exercise and to environmental extremes such as the microgravity of space flight).

On a molecular level, understanding ion channel properties and what controls where and when they are placed in the body brings us closer to developing novel therapeutic strategies for pain control and the treatment of life threatening conditions such as cystic fibrosis.

Nutrient transport across membranes of tissues plays a key role in body fuel metabolism. Integrative physiology shows how whole body metabolism is regulated and how the body adapts to altered fuel intake and use, and how muscle can adapt to changes throughout life e.g. growth, ageing and functional alterations such as exercise.

Flexible course pathways

Physiological Sciences is available as a single Honours degree programme and can also be combined with several other disciplines, in the Anatomical & Physiological Sciences degree, or combined with another subject e.g. pharmacology, in a Biomedical Sciences degree.

YouTube Poster Image (Cached)

Undergraduate student Rachel from Malaysia talks about the Biomedical Sciences BSc at the University of Dundee

Degree flexibility

Our flexible choice of modules means you'll get to study a wide variety of topics. This broad exposure gives you the time to develop your understanding of biomedical science. You can then choose to specialise or graduate with a broad biomedical sciences degree.

YouTube Poster Image (Cached)

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

Courses starting 2019
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher AABB at Higher including biology and chemistry, plus mathematics (Standard Grade at 3 or National 5/Intermediate2 at C) AB at Advanced Higher including biology and chemistry, plus BB at Higher in different subjects, plus mathematics (Standard Grade at 3 or National 5/Intermediate2 at C)
GCE A-Level ABB (minimum) - AAB (typical) including A-Level biology and chemistry, plus GCSE mathematics at C / 4 ABB (minimum) - AAB (typical) including A-Level biology and chemistry, plus GCSE mathematics at C / 4
BTEC BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma can be considered for the Foundation Year in Life Sciences. Level 2 Entry is not possible with this qualification
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma 30 points at Higher Level grades 5, 5, 5 to include biology and chemistry, plus Standard Level mathematics at grade 4.
A combination of IB Certificate plus other qualifications, such as A-Levels, Advanced Placement Tests or the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), will also be considered.
34 points at Higher Level grades 6, 6, 5 to include biology and chemistry, plus Standard Level mathematics at grade 4
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC) H2H2H3H3 at Higher Level including biology and chemistry, plus Ordinary Level mathematics at O2 Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
Graduate Entry
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit with appropriate Science units A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit and 120 SCQF Credits or A relevant HND with grade AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 / National 5 (grade C) Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 / National 5 (grade C)
SWAP Access Relevant science subjects with AAA grades to include Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6 Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
Advanced Diploma Applicants with this qualification would be considered for Level 2 entry Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C / 4 Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C / 4
European Baccalaureate 70% overall with 7 in Biology and Chemistry 75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry
Other Qualifications
Notes

 EU and International qualifications



Courses starting 2020
Qualification Level 1 Entry Advanced Entry to Level 2
SQA Higher/Advanced Higher AABB at Higher including biology and chemistry, plus mathematics (Standard Grade at 3 or National 5/Intermediate2 at C) AB at Advanced Higher including biology and chemistry, plus BB at Higher in different subjects, plus mathematics (Standard Grade at 3 or National 5/Intermediate2 at C)
GCE A-Level ABB (minimum) - AAB (typical) including A-Level biology and chemistry, plus GCSE mathematics at C / 4 ABB (minimum) - AAB (typical) including A-Level biology and chemistry, plus GCSE mathematics at C / 4
BTEC BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma can be considered for the Foundation Year in Life Sciences. Level 2 Entry is not possible with this qualification
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma 30 points at Higher Level grades 5, 5, 5 to include biology and chemistry, plus Standard Level mathematics at grade 4.
A combination of IB Certificate plus other qualifications, such as A-Levels, Advanced Placement Tests or the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme (IBCP), will also be considered.
34 points at Higher Level grades 6, 6, 5 to include biology and chemistry, plus Standard Level mathematics at grade 4
Irish Leaving Certificate (ILC) H2H2H3H3 at Higher Level including biology and chemistry, plus Ordinary Level mathematics at O2 Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
Graduate Entry
SQA Higher National (HNC/HND) A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit with appropriate Science units A relevant HNC with grade A in the graded unit and 120 SCQF Credits or A relevant HND with grade AA in the graded units with appropriate Science units
Scottish Baccalaureate Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 / National 5 (grade C) Distinction with AB at AH Biology and Chemistry. Mathematics at SG (grade 3) or Intermediate 2 / National 5 (grade C)
SWAP Access Relevant science subjects with AAA grades to include Chemistry and Biology/Human Biology at SCQF Level 6 Level 2 entry is not possible with this qualification
Advanced Diploma Applicants with this qualification would be considered for Level 2 entry Grade A with ASL-A Level Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE C
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C / 4 Pass with A-Levels in Biology and Chemistry at AB. Mathematics at GCSE grade C / 4
European Baccalaureate 70% overall with 7 in Biology and Chemistry 75% overall with 7.5 in Biology and Chemistry
Other Qualifications
Notes

 EU and International qualifications



English Language Requirement

For non EU students

IELTS Overall 6.0
Listening 5.5
Reading 5.5
Writing 6.0
Speaking 5.5

 Equivalent grades from other test providers

 

English Language Programmes

We offer Pre-Sessional and Foundation Programme(s) throughout the year. These are designed to prepare you for university study in the UK when you have not yet met the language requirements for direct entry onto a degree programme.

 Discover our English Language Programmes

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

The University of Dundee has been given a Gold award – the highest possible rating – in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Read more about the Teaching Excellence Framework

How you will be taught

We use a variety of teaching methods, with lectures and practicals forming the core. In addition, we use

  • workshops
  • tutorials
  • computer-based learning
  • media / video exercises

as appropriate to each module.

How you will be assessed

All modules are assessed by a combination of in-course and end-of-course assignments. Regular in-course assessments (e.g. practical reports, computer-based exercises, essays and data processing exercises) provide feedback on your progress and help you prepare for end-of-module examinations.

Online assignments are used extensively at Levels 1 and 2, with access on or off campus. Peer assessment is used to promote teamwork and group learning.

Level 1 entry

With highers, A-levels, Irish Leaving certificate, IB Diploma, HNC, etc

Level 1

Life Science core theory and practical modules.

You can also study subjects from other schools such as languages

Advanced entry (to level 2)

With advanced highers, A-levels, IB diploma, HND, etc

Level 2

Semester 1: Core theory, practical and outside subject

Semester 2: Biomedical or biological modules

Level 3

Choose to specialise in the subjects that excite you in Biomedical or Biological Sciences

Graduate BSc

Bachelor of Science (Ordinary Degree), Biomedical Sciences, or Biological Sciences

Year in industry

Opt to have a year in industry or study abroad

Level 4

Research project on current research in Life Sciences.

Graduate BSc Hons

With named specialist degree

Level 5

Extend research projects, research seminars in your chosen area, research skills and planning.

Graduate MSCi

in a specialist subject

What you will study

Typical course structure

The modules are running during the 2016-2017 academic year. We refresh our modules every year to keep our courses up to date, so your modules may be different.

Levels 1 and 2

All Life Sciences degree programmes share common core modules at Level 1 that provide a general introduction to the life sciences through an integrated programme of lectures, tutorials, practical work and field excursions.

Level 1 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will broaden knowledge and understanding of atomic and molecular structure, enzyme function, energy and thermodynamics that can be applied to the Life Sciences.

Topics include:

  • molecular structure and biochemical properties (to include organisation and charge/polarity) of nucleotides,  lipids and phospholipids, carbohydrates and amino acids
  • protein structure (primary to quaternary)
  • biological enzymes and their importance in the catalysis of biochemical reactions
  • energy and thermodynamics relating to biochemical reactions

Credits: 10

Semester: 1

Natural selection has favoured structures whose shape and composition contribute to their function. This module aims to broaden knowledge and understanding of the evolution of animal, plant and microbial cell structure and function, including organelles and membranes.

Topics include:

  • cellular evolution
  • interpretation of phylogenetic analysis
  • evolution of organelles
  • membrane structure and transport
  • key features of life and death of animal, plant and microbial cells

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will start with a mandatory introduction to health and safety, basic lab skills and equipment. There will be one field excursion (Botanic Gardens, Perth Road, Dundee) and a series of practical classes that will cover techniques of isolation and culture of microorganisms and gram staining, isolation and identification of terpenes from plant material, enzyme kinetics, thermodynamics and PCR.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will extend and develop the generic skills introduced in BS11003 with specific emphasis on health and safety and basic laboratory practice. The ability to work effectively as part of a group will form a significant part of this module. You will extend your information literacy skills by locating and accessing scientific resources to support your learning.

To support the group lab project, you will receive guidance on lab book / record keeping, experimental design and project planning, in addition to interpretation of data and presentation of project results. You'll also be encouraged to reflect on and evaluate your own learning throughout the semester, identifying areas for development and consolidation.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

This module aims to broaden knowledge and understanding of the flow of genetic information (DNA to mRNA to protein), cell division (to include mitosis, meiosis and binary fission) and the cell cycle. 

Topics include:

  • cellular reproduction (DNA replication, mitosis, meiosis and binary fission)
  • an introduction to the cell cycle
  • an introduction to genes and gene expression
  • an introduction to ribosomes and their function
  • multigene, polygene inheritance of traits
  • an introduction to population genetics
  • genetical theory of natural selection

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

Physiological functions are often compartmentalised into different cells, tissues, organs and systems which have structures that support specialised activities. This module aims to broaden knowledge and understanding of the development of systems (e.g. neural, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and excretory) with reference to model organisms (e.g. nematodes, Drosophila, zebra fish, chick, mouse).

Topics include:

  • an introduction to the development of an organism, with reference to the germ layers (ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm)
  • an overview of the key features of the body plan
  • model organisms commonly used in scientific research (e.g. nematodes, Drosophila, zebra fish, chick, mouse)
  • developmental origins of the following systems (with reference to the selected model organisms covered previously): neural, cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, dermal, gastrointestinal and excretory

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

This module will extend and develop laboratory and research skills introduced in semester 1 of Level 1

  • Optical techniques – Students will use a spectrophotometer to produce a standard absorbance spectrum, apply the Beer -Lambert Law to derive unknown concentrations from known values of absorbance and perform a Bradford Assay
  • Protein purification – Students will experience two techniques that are commonly used to separate mixtures of proteins: size exclusion chromatography (SEC) and SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS PAGE) 
  • PCR - In conjunction with its associated workshop, this laboratory exercise aims to give students a basic understanding of the practical application of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and the use of agarose gel electrophoresis for the analysis of DNA samples.
  • Enzyme kinetics – Students will gain practical experience of a typical enzyme assay procedure.
  • Digital skills – online scientific literature searches
  • Protein expression – Students will learn how to purify and analyse a recombinant protein.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 10

This module will extend and develop the generic skills introduced in BS12003 with specific emphasis on data presentation, interpretation and analysis. The ability to work effectively as part of a group and the  application of peer support and peer-assessment will form a significant part of this module. Students will extend their information literacy and scientific writing skills by researching and presenting an area of current research in poster format, giving due attention to scientific writing protocols. Students will be encouraged to reflect on  and evaluate their own learning throughout the semester, identifying areas for development and consolidation and setting appropriate targets.

Level 1 - optional modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 20

This module introduces the application of the physical sciences and mathematics to the biological and biomedical sciences. The module covers aspects of biophysics, inorganic and physical chemistry and the introduction to and use of numeric and scientific literacy. The use of technology to support and enhance application within the biological and biomedical sciences will form a significant part of this module, which will be both theoretical and practical in delivery.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 20

This module offers a science based optional module which may be of particular interest to those who intend to specialise in later years in either pharmacology or drug discovery. The module will look at several classical English texts in which poisonings play a pivotal role in the plot. After examination of the text, the symptoms will then be unpicked, and possible poison molecules identified along with their source. You will be able to explore the darker side of pharmacology and look at the importance of dosage and how molecules used to cure can also kill.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 20

The module examines academic discourse in the life sciences, and the significance of the philosophical framework within which the work is developed. Likewise, it covers how this has impacted upon the direction of scientific thought and progress. The moral and ethical implications of scientific research, work and development are analysed within traditional and contemporary contexts. The philosophical and logical reasoning behind modern scientific discovery. The role of the media in shaping society’s opinion, and interpretation of science, is discussed in relation to the public understanding of science.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 20

The purpose of this module is to inspire students to think beyond their programme of studies and plan their own business/research idea. This module will consist of:

  • Inspire Dundee - lectures from inspirational members of staff who run their  own companies.
  • Intellectual Property - discovering what people want to think about when protecting their own ideas, an overview of patent law.
  • CV Writing skills
  • The Money Pot - where to obtain funding and how to write a successful proposal.  
  • The Plan - writing business plans and discovering how much money is needed to set up a business/run a lab.

Semester: 2

Number of Credits: 20

You will gain knowledge and understanding of the properties and reactivity of the most common functional groups within small organic molecules. You will be able to describe how atomic orbitals combine to form molecular orbitals and predict reaction mechanisms. This module will consist of:

  • lectures: The main functional groups, their properties and reactivity will be presented
  • workshops: You will work through a series of organic chemistry problems based on the lecture material
  • lab practical: You will set up an organic chemistry reaction and interpret its outcome using different spectroscopic methods (e.g. IR, NMR)

Level 2 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

An introduction to statistics for the biosciences, bringing you up to speed on the structure of datasets and how one infers differences. This will include an introduction to the design of experiments, concepts of randomisation and blocking. Regression and Multiple regression; ANOVA (including posthoc testing); principle tests of signal versus noise. You will also be introduced to appropriate graphing and representation of data. You will be expected to complete a substantial piece of coursework related to a component of the indicative content.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

To introduce and broaden knowledge and understanding of key inter- and intra-cellular communication mechanisms with reference to selected examples of relevance to both biological and biomedical contexts. This module will provide you with an overview of inter- and intra-cellular communication mechanisms (e.g. paracrine, endocrine, hormonal and neural) and subsequent cell responses.

On successful completion of the module you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • key extracellular signalling molecules, receptor types and cell response (e.g. changes in gene expression and protein modifications)
  • the general modes of action of steroid and peptide hormones
  • neurotransmission (e.g. compare and contrast with hormones)
  • nitric oxide signalling in the cardiovascular system
  • plant cell signalling
  • regulation of the cell cycle

Skills:

  • access and use a range of defined and self- selected (with guidance) learning resources to further your studies
  • evaluate own learning, identifying strengths and weaknesses within criteria largely set by others
  • use the knowledge gained to solve a set of typical problems in the biological sciences
  • work individually and in groups to extract pertinent information from the scientific literature

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will broaden and strengthen both your practical, laboratory research and generic skills by building on your Level 1 or other previous experience (direct Level 2 entrant students will have an opportunity to learn skills and techniques at the start of Semester 1).

  • an introduction to basic lab techniques and the use of commonly-used lab equipment
  • interpretation of experimental data through use of basic descriptive statistical analyses and graphical  representation (using R)
  • introduction of the concepts of osmolarity and tonicity
  • retrieval of sequence information (genetic, cDNA and amino acid) from internet databases and to use this information to perform basic sequence alignments
  • comparison of kinetic and thermodynamic control in protein folding and application of the concept to a series of problems during a work shop session
  • the broad use of antibodies in Biological Sciences
  • use of aseptic techniques through handling of bacteria

Semester 1

Number of credits: 10

Students will carry out two laboratory projects which will allow them to gain experience in the use of laboratory equipment and techniques.  The projects will cover basic organic synthesis of biological molecules and also a forensic chemistry investigation.  These projects will allow them to improve their experimental planning, risk assessment, report writing and data analysis skills.  Group work will involve oral and written presentation skills and provide team building experience.

Module not available to non-Life Science students except forensic anthropology and anatomical science students

Semester 2

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the physiology, pharmacology and anatomy of specific topics within the Biomedical Sciences, including:

  • Nerve and muscle: the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), muscle contraction and body movements
  • Cardiovascular system: heart function and integrated control of blood pressure
  • Pharmacology of NMJ and cardiovascular system
  • Respiratory system: mechanics of ventilation and factors influencing gas exchange

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to give you a sound foundation in biomolecular mechanisms and processes. This module will study the main mammalian metabolic pathways and their control including the molecular processes involved. The module will also look at current topics in microbiology including disease and resistance and introduce immunology and virology.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to broaden and strengthen both the practical and generic skills of students by building on experience gained at level 1 and semester 1 of level 2.

The module will expand on techniques and skills introduced in earlier practical modules.  Practicals will be accompanied by data handling and manipulation workshops.  Basic concepts in ethics in the Biosciences will be introduced in a workshop.  Careers and employability exercises will help students to decide on their future career paths.  Generic skills will be reinforced by updating students’ PDP.

Module not available to non-Life Science students except forensic anthropology and anatomical science students

Level 2 - optional modules

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module will consist of one tutorial session every  week covering: 

  • A recap on the fundamentals of molecular orbital theory, acids and bases and  physical chemistry as applied to Biology
  • Inorganic chemistry with particular reference to metals in biology such as iron,  copper and zinc and chelation therapy.
  • Trends in the periodic table will be looked at in-depth.
  • Organic chemistry content will focus on fundamental mechanisms, molecular struc ture, stereochemistry, and functional groups with a focus in  carboxylic acids.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This  module  will  provide  a general introduction to  statistics with specific examples for the biosciences, bringing students up to speed  on the structure of datasets and how one infers differences.  This will include an  introduction to the design of experiments, concept s of randomisation and blocking; Regression and Multiple regression; ANOVA (including posthoc testing); principle  tests of signal versus noise. Students will also be introduced to appropriate graphing  and representation of data. Students will be expected to complete a substantial  piece of coursework related to a component of the indicative content.

Semester: 1

Number of credits: 10

This module focuses on the development of basic  programming skills using Python 3 for use in Life Sciences applications. The intention  is to provide a basic understanding of programming. This will be achieved by a  comprehensive hands-on experience of the use of these languages. The course is intended to provide a hands -on introduction to programming in Python  3. The expectation is that the skills acquired will provide a basic competency that will  enable the development of Python scripts that may be embraced in problem solving  and data analysis beyond this module.

Semester: 1 or 2

Number of credits: 20

This module will consist of:

  • Theoretical concept of an entrepreneur – introduction to the current theory of what makes an entrepreneur.
  • Research techniques – how to complete market research in order to evaluate the feasibility of a business proposal and market the business proposal once developed, and how to conduct interviews in order to evaluate the entrepreneurial characteristics of an individual.
  • Developing the business idea – Taking a basic business idea and adding flesh in the form of determining the market, refining the processes, and understanding the key components of the business model.
  • Numbers count – an introduction to key accounting models such as costing and break-even analysis to allow you to financially evaluate their proposals.
  • Business Risk – how to evaluate and mitigate the business risks relating to individual business proposals.

At Levels 3 and 4 you will study a combination of modules appropriate to your chosen degree subject within the biomedical sciences theme.

If you are reading for a single Honours degree in one of these subjects you will take modules in your main subject combined with modules in other subjects in this group, or combined with appropriate modules in a biological sciences subject.

Physiological Sciences levels 3 and 4

Level 3 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide the student with an understanding of the regulation of normal membrane function and the physiological principles underlying this, show how our current understanding of membrane function has been arrived at using examples from current literature, provide an understanding of some basic cellular and molecular physiological and pharmacological techniques and their application to investigate membrane function and enable the acquisition of skills, attitudes and techniques useful in the pursuit of modern biology.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

This module provides practical training in a range of techniques that are fundamental in biomedical research including assessment organ-bath assessment of ligand-receptor interactions, radioligand binding assays, diagnostic applications of enzyme kinetics, history and design of structure of clinical trials, systematic review approaches and meta-analysis. The practical component of this module is complemented by a series of journal club workshops which provide an opportunity to explore wider application of advanced biomedical techniques in the literature. This provides essential preparation for those of you intending to progress towards honours study.

After successful completion of this module, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of receptor pharmacokinetics, pre-clinical methods used in drug screening and development, enzyme-linked diagnostics, clinical trial structure and the systematic, statistical evaluation of clinical trial data.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide a good understanding of the physiological and pharmacological regulation of body systems for maintaining homeostasis. After successful completion of this module, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how key body systems are regulated by physiological and pharmacological agents in the maintenance of processes such as blood sugar, calcium balance, obesity/appetite/satiety and reproduction.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module provides a solid understanding of the physiology of human epithelial physiology beginning with an overview of epithelial cell structure and organization followed by an exploration of epithelial function in skin (integumentary), renal and gastrointestinal systems. Through a series of lectures, workshops and disease-themed case studies (cystic fibrosis, epidermolysis bullosa, plus renal and gut diseases) you will learn key principles of physiology relating to pathogen defence, acid-base balance, regulation of body fluid composition and nutrient digestion and absorption. An understanding of how epithelial systems maintain normal human body function, and the defences they mount in response to disease, is essential for anyone with an interest in biomedical research and the medical professions.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide an opportunity to acquire a good understanding of the physiology and anatomy of systems that govern sensory perception and motor function.

After successful completion of this module, you should be able to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of how nervous systems, in particular the motor and sensory systems, are built and function, using examples from all stages of neural organization (at the molecular, cellular, circuits and systems levels). The module will emphasize the basic principles required for sensation and action and will build upon the neuroscience content introduced in the core curriculum at Levels 1 and 2.

Level 3 - optional modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to introduce specific topics within the area of Biochemistry and Cell Biology that will underpin the more specialised areas that you will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4. The module also aims to strengthen your skills in critical analysis of scientific literature, in science communication and in self-directed learning.

Topics covered in the module are separated into four distinct themes: Core Biochemistry (including how proteins function at the molecular level, energy metabolism and photosynthesis); Core Cell Biology, From Tissues To Cells (including cell adhesion, the extracellular matrix and molecular motors); Core Cell Biology, Cell Signalling (including metabolic and developmental signalling pathways); and Systems & Synthetic Biology (including new ways of working and applications of synthetic biology).

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to introduce you to specific topics within the area of Gene Regulation and Expression that will underpin the more specialised areas, which you will encounter in Semester 2 of Level 3 and in Level 4. This module will focus on the principles underlying the following fundamental processes: transcription, RNA splicing, RNA modification, chromatin and epigenetics, DNA replication, chromosome segregation, DNA recombination and repair. You will come away with a fundamental understanding of these processes in molecular biology in relation to cellular function and will be able to apply this knowledge to explain mechanisms in biomedically relevant disease states.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 15

This module will explore the responses to glucose/insulin and toxic insult by experimentation on cells in culture. The module will provide the you with an understanding of the various ways in which cells respond to their changing environment, show how our current understanding of cell biology has been arrived at using examples from current literature and via replicating classical in vitro experiments, and provide familiarity with some basic biochemical and microscopy techniques as applied to the investigation of cellular biology. It is expected that the module will enable the acquisition of skills, attitudes, techniques and knowledge useful in the pursuit of modern experimental biology.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module is to introduce students to the specialist area of study of developmental biology building on their core curriculum in levels 1&2 and Semester 1 of Level 3.  To give the student an understanding of the stages and processes involved in the development of organisms. Topics include: Morphogenesis, patterning embryos, patterning tissues, morphogenetic movements, development and diseases stem cells.

Students will be able to explain broad aspects of the development of vertebrates and invertebrates and what happens when these processes go wrong and will develop their literature review skills, and group working and ways of presenting information in an informative manner.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to build on the basics of cell signalling introduced during years 1 and 2. It will cover methods of cell-to-cell communication, signal transduction pathways, key proteins in signal transduction and downstream effects. You will also hone skills in data handling and analysis; oral presentation of work; essay writing; literature analysis; and personal reflection and self-assessment of skills.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide you with a broad understanding of key topics in immunology. This module will underpin more specialised areas of immunology that you will encounter in your Level 4 laboratory projects and in Semester 2 of Level 4. You will explore central concepts in the field of immunology and relate this to protection against infectious disease. The module will cover innate immune mechanisms that sense and eliminate pathogens, processing and presentation of antigenic material to drive immune responses, antibody-mediated protection, development and activation of B and T lymphocytes, lymphocyte function, mucosal immune defences, immunological memory and vaccination, immunity to viruses, immunodeficiency diseases, autoimmune diseases and immune hyperreactivity.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide you with a good understanding of the quantitative aspects of pharmacology including mathematical descriptions of drug/receptor interactions and the handling of drugs by the body (pharmacokinetics).

After successful completion of this module, you should be able to demonstrate receptor theory, including basic mathematical descriptions of receptor occupancy and the nature and diversity of allosteric interactions within receptor complexes, the area of pharmacokinetics and drug disposition within the body and the drug development process.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide you with knowledge and understanding about chemical transmission within the central nervous system and how this may be modulated by pharmacological agents to achieve therapeutic benefit in several disorders of nervous system function. It will teach methods in behavioural neuroscience used to study preclinical and clinical drug effects. The module will include teaching contributions from a pharmaceutical industry biochemist to help you understand the challenges of drug discovery in the central nervous system. You will undertake observation and analysis of neuropharmacology data from a rodent experiment and learn how this would be analysed, presented and interpreted. There will be an emphasis on study of up to date literature to understand current methodology and ideas, along with technical and clinical advances in neuropsychopharmacology.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide an understanding of the fundamental principles of molecular pharmacology, from drug-receptor interactions to the activation of intracellular signalling cascades.

After successful completion of this module, you should be able to demonstrate and explain the basic principles of receptor pharmacology, the signalling cascades and cell/tissue function influenced by G protein coupled receptor and nuclear hormone receptor activation. The lecture content emphasizes these receptors and their pharmacology in the nervous and immune systems.

Semester: 2

Credits: 15

This module will provide a firm grounding in key molecular mechanisms and pathways underpinning proliferation and survival relevant to the development of cancer and other disease-related themes at Levels 3 and 4. Additionally, to provide an insight into the experimental approaches that have advanced the field of cancer biology.

After successful completion of this module you will develop a knowledge and understanding of cancer-relevant signalling mechanisms including their modulation of gene expression, underlying the control of cell proliferation, cell cycling and programmed cell death.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 15

During this module you will develop a deep understanding of the application of statistics to biological and biomedical datasets that is relevant to your further studies and research project work. On completion of the module you should be able to assess and use a range of defined and self-selected learning materials. You will also be able to assess quality of data, develop an analysis workflow and interpret and present results.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 15

Bioinformatics is the management, analysis and modelling of biological data. As modern biological research becomes ever more data rich, the skills required to ask new questions and rapidly filter and process these data should be a part of the biologist’s toolkit.

This module takes you from being an end user of bioinformatics applications to one who is developing the skills required for successful manipulation and processing of biological data. We start with data management skills using the Unix operating system – a common base for bioinformatics applications. The bulk of the module is taken up with getting started with programming in Python, probably the most common language in use in biology after English. Finally we introduce good record keeping and version control. In other words electronic record keeping so that our analyses are reproducible.

This module is predicated on you wanting to solve problems, and equipping yourselves with the tools to do so. It is mostly self-driven – lectures and problems delivered via video with on-line labs. These are supported with a weekly face to face tutorial. Assessment is a mixture of coursework and a problem solving timed assessment under open book exam conditions.

If you choose this module, you need to be self-motivated, curious and tenacious. One of the key skills is learning how to find the resources to use for successful problem solving. Successful completion will give you a useful tool set for application to many other areas, not least data analysis projects, and a skillset that is attractive to employers.

All the software used is open source and available to run on Mac, PC and Linux desktops.

Semester: 2

Number of credits: 25

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the concepts and history underlying the field of science communication. The content covered in the module will underpin more practical elements of science communication that you may encounter in Level 4 Science Communication Honours projects. Additionally, the skills learnt will be applicable across a broad range of Level 3 and Level 4 courses. The module aims to strengthen your skills in data presentation, communication and critical analysis of texts and other media.

Level 4 - core modules

Semester 1

Number of credits: 40

Building on your project experience at Level 3, you will expand your research experience by participating in a semester long research project based around one chosen area of the current world-class research in Life Sciences.

Depending on the type of project chosen, you will learn advanced practical techniques and/or enhance your data interpretation skills, analysis of current literature, scientific writing and communication skills. All students will enhance their skills in planning and time management.

Main types of projects available:

  • individual lab based research - you will carry out research into a current topic allied to and within a research group in School of Research School of Life Sciences research complex, James Hutton Institute or Medical Research Institute at Ninewells.
  • group lab based research - In groups of no more than four, you will plan and carry out investigations into a current area of research. You will work cooperatively to carry out investigations and produce data but write individual reports.
  • dissertation with Data Analysis - A review of the latest scientific literature accompanied by analysis of a relevant data set. Typical types of analyses can include meta-analysis, bioinformatics and statistical approaches.
  • science communication - In conjunction with Dundee Science Centre or the communications team in the School of Life Sciences or the School of Medicine, you will prepare materials to communicate current research topics and techniques to a public audience
  • bio-business – you will work on a project relating to a biological or biomedical topic, exploring commercialisation, entrepreneurial or business development aspects. This project can include collaboration between an academic group in the School of Life Sciences or the School of Medicine and the Business School or Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Semester 1

Number of credits: 20

The aim of this module is to use the vibrant research environment of the School of Life Sciences, James Hutton Institute and Medical Research Institute at Ninewells to expand your experience of current research and give you the opportunity to be part of the wider research culture. Students likewise can engage with science communication, group research and data analysis projects. You will gain knowledge of the current leading areas of research in Life Sciences; enhance your scientific communication skills through writing; and gain experience of grant proposal writing.

You will prepare a grant proposal in relation to your own research project which will then be presented to and assessed by a panel of current researchers. Following attendance at seminars, you will be able to produce abstracts summarising the subject of at least two of these seminars.

This semester culminates in a research symposium which takes place in the final week of the semester.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

Certain nutrients are potent regulators of cell function alongside their essential role in metabolism. Endocrine and nervous systems of higher animals are often regarded as having the dominant role in regulating the responses of tissues to altered nutrient availability, but there is mounting evidence that particular nutrients (perhaps acting through specific receptor or “sensor” mechanisms) have the capability to initiate cell-signalling events and regulate gene expression independently of hormonal influences. Several dietary factors (including glucose, amino acids, fatty acids as well as micronutrients such as iron) have now been implicated as direct regulators of cell signalling and gene expression events in animal cells.

This module will provide a physiological perspective on the ways in which nutrients (here including fuels) modulate both cellular responses and endocrine/neuropeptide function in mammalian cells with particular emphasis on how such modulation is essential for normal physiological homeostasis and how its dysregulation can contribute to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, autophagy and metabolic dysfunction, which are commonly associated with clinical conditions such as morbid obesity and Type II diabetes.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module will provide you with an understanding of the physiological control mechanisms in the heart and peripheral circulation as an integrated system, as well as the role of novel signalling pathways (i.e. risk factor pathways) involved in the development of cardiovascular disease and how this can lead to a variety of acute and chronic clinical complications. This will also give you a knowledge base in state-of-the-art biomarker techniques for research in cardiovascular medicine.

You are expected to develop an in-depth, integrated and critical understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of cardiac muscle and the sino atrial node, the cellular basis of new and evolving therapies, central and hormonal control of cardiac output in health and disease, physiology and pathophysiology of microvascular and macrovascular function and regulation and advantages and disadvantages of current biomarker techniques for evaluation of endothelial function and arterial stiffness.

Level 4 - optional modules

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide you with an in-depth understanding of a variety of major topics in immunology and to strengthen your skills in problem solving, critical analysis of scientific literature, and in self-directed learning. Topics in this module cover areas such as antibody biology and engineering, lymphocyte function, inhibitory receptors, cytokine receptor signalling, inflammatory mechanisms, and intracellular immune protection.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to provide a specialised insight into advanced cell and developmental biology, through the prism of stem cell biology. This module will extend and build on your knowledge gained in Level 1 -3 and will provide plenty of opportunities for you to engage in, as well as critically appraise and evaluate, cutting edge research in highly topical cell and developmental biology subjects in normal and disease physiologies.

You will cover the basics of what stem cells are: The molecular mechanisms required to maintain them or allow them to differentiate into different lineages. In that context we will cover embryonic and adult stem cells in both endogenous and disease states.

Example lectures: Introduction to stem cells Embryonic stem cells, Epigenetic regulation in stem cells, Reprogramming/iPS cells Asymmetric cell division, Tissue stem cells Stem cells during development.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the psychopathology and treatment of a range of common psychiatric conditions including drug addiction. The module will specifically promote an appreciation of the role of experimental studies of behaviour and neuroimaging of the brain in understanding psychiatric disorders, knowledge of drug treatments available for psychiatric disorder and the rationale to their use, an understanding of the neurobiology and mood disorder schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and addictions, awareness of current research upon drugs of abuse with emphasis upon cannabinoids and the debate regarding the use of such drugs for medicinal purposes.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

You will be exposed to advanced aspects of cardiovascular pharmacology. The module will specifically promote knowledge of: the role of the endothelium, with special emphasis on the role of endothelium-derived vasoactive chemicals, in the intracellular control of vascular smooth muscle tone, detailed understanding of neurohumoral mediators of vascular smooth muscle tone.

The module will also provide a comprehensive understanding of the cardiac action potential and the membrane conductances that underlie it, understanding of cardiac ischaemia and the phenomenon of ischaemic preconditioning as a protective mechanism and a knowledge of common cardiac dysrhythmias and their treatment by drugs.

Finally the module will consider how the sympathetic nervous system controls cardiac performance, the causes and consequences of heart failure, and current and evolving therapies for the management of heart failure, hypertension and lipid disorders and anti-thrombotic therapy.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

You will be introduced to the pathology of nervous system function, neural disease and neurodegenerative disorders. The module will specifically promote knowledge of the relationship between abnormal structure of nervous system disease, knowledge of the mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer, Motor neuron, Parkinson and Huntington disease, and appreciation that abnormal protein aggregates are a common feature in neurodegenerative disorders. Current therapeutic strategies available for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and the potential for the development of novel treatment strategies will also be addressed.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

Imagine undergoing major surgery without a general anaesthetic. How do these drugs, within seconds of injection, render us unconscious? How does morphine produce rapid relief from pain, but in some patients may hijack our reward circuitry leading to addiction? Rapid advances are being made in our understanding of how such drugs influence specific neural circuits to produce their dramatic effects on our behaviour. This module will promote an understanding of the mode of action of analgesic and general anaesthetic drugs at an advanced level, specifically it will:

(i) relate the complex state of general anaesthesia (sedation, analgesia, cognitive impairment, unconsciousness) to the modulation of specific transmitter-gated ion channels expressed in particular neural circuits

(ii) describe how neurosteroids, synthesised in the brain and spinal cord, act as endogenous analgesics, sedatives anxiolytics

(iii) investigate how local anaesthetics and morphine act on specific, but distinct targets to produce their effects on the “pain pathway”.

(iv) identify emerging targets for new analgesic agents.

(v) Finally, prior to, during and after surgery the patient will be managed by multiple drugs. To illustrate the complexities of modern anaesthesia, involving such polypharmacy, a workshop will investigate drug actions on a simulated anaesthetized patient.

Semester 2

Number of credits: 15

This module aims to provide you with advanced research-led teaching of key topics in the clinical pharmacology of treatment of Obesity, Diabetes, Fatty liver Disease and metabolic diseases of the brain. This module will build on specialised areas of physiology, biochemistry, molecular cell biology and genetics that you will have encountered through the core modules taken during Semester 1 of Level 3, and during BS42014, which must be taken alongside this module.

Following successful completion of this module, you will be able to explain and critically appraise central concepts in the field of the pharmacology of treatments for metabolic diseases and the associated health complications. Clinical aspects of the diseases and their treatments will be covered to ensure you appreciate the ‘real-life’ aspects of dealing these diseases.

You will understand the principles that underlie:

  • glucose Metabolism and Different types of diabetes
  • pathophysiology of the different types of diabetes
  • current approaches to treatment of metabolic diseases
  • medical Complications of diabetes and their treatment
  • mechanisms of action of commonly prescribed diabetes drugs
  • diabetes pharmacogenetics
  • personalised medicine for diabetes
  • molecular and clinical aspects of Fatty Liver disease and Hepatitis
  • metabolic diseases of the brain
  • important aspects of Clinical Trial design
  • new treatments on the horizon

 

MSci Integrated Masters Programme

Develop your own research project and work for five months in a lab with our MSci Programme.

The MSci Programme takes students coming from the Biological or Biomedical Sciences streams.

RSB Advanced Accredited logo

This programme provides an additional year of study in the indicated specialisms that is designed to increase your practical ability and employability, giving you focused training in laboratory research that results in the award of a Masters degree.

Based from the outset in one of our internationally renowned research laboratories, you will build on your Level 4 experience but go well beyond it: you will develop your own research project that you will write up in the form of a grant proposal, receive training in a variety of research skills and carry out a 5-month, full-time project in your host lab based on the proposal you have written.

In addition to enhancing your laboratory skills you will develop your ability to think critically and analytically, learn how to formulate new ideas and research hypotheses and develop skills in data analysis, interpretation and communicating scientific information.

Entry to the MSci Programme will be by interview and you must maintain a B3 average at first attempt across your Life Sciences Modules throughout Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 to be eligible.

Specialisms available:

  • MSci Biomedical Sciences
  • MSci Neuroscience
  • MSci Pharmacology
  • MSci Physiological Sciences
  • MSci Biological Sciences
  • MSci Biological Sciences (Plant Sciences)
  • MSci Biological Sciences (Bioinformatics)
  • MSci Biochemistry
  • MSci Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
  • MSci Molecular Biology
  • MSci Molecular Genetics
  • MSci Microbiology

For more information contact:

David Norman
d.g.norman@dundee.ac.uk
+44(0) 1382 384798

As a graduate in physiological sciences you will have an excellent grounding for a career in, or further training for, biomedicine and related fields including biochemistry, pharmacology and physiotherapy.

Many of you will contribute to a better understanding of the basis of human performance, taking higher degrees and then going on to careers in biomedical research.

You will also be welcomed into applied research and development in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Some of you will go on to teach in schools and universities. We also have a good record of postgraduate entry to medicine.

A broad spectrum of employment is available to graduates in any discipline and your training in communication and transferable skills will be recognised and valued by a wide range of employers.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fees for students starting 2019-20

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2019-20
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study
Rest of UK students £9,250 per year of study See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £20,950 per year of study

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed not to increase by more than 3% per year, for the length of your course.

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your education at the University over and above tuition fees in an academic year.

Examples of additional costs:

One off costOngoing costIncidental cost
Graduation feeStudio feeField trips

*these are examples only and are not exhaustive.

Additional costs:

  • may be mandatory or optional expenses
  • may be one off, ongoing or incidental charges and certain costs may be payable annually for each year of your programme of study
  • vary depending on your programme of study
  • are payable by you and are non-refundable and non-transferable

Unfortunately, failure to pay additional costs may result in limitations on your student experience.

For additional costs specific to your course please speak to our Enquiry Team.


Unistats data set (formerly the Key Information Set (KIS) Unistats data set - formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)

  Degree UCAS Code Unistats Data
Apply NowPhysiological Sciences BSc (Hons)B100