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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered byDepartment of Physiology
School of Science
Campus(es)Clayton, Sunway
Course coordinatorAssociate Professor Igor Wendt (Department of Physiology)


  • At Sunway campus only a minor sequence is available in this area of study.


Physiology is the study of the way in which the body functions normally, and in dysfunction and disease. It is a core discipline of the biomedical, medical and life sciences. A program of study in physiology provides an ideal cornerstone for students wishing to pursue future studies in medical or allied health areas. Physiology provides the answers to questions on how the body works, on what happens when we are born and develop, on how our body systems adapt when challenged by stresses such as exercise or environmental extremes, and on how body functions change in disease states. From nerves to muscles, from the brain to hormones, physiologists are concerned with functions at all levels. This spans from the molecular and cellular to the organ and body systems levels, to ultimately provide understanding of the integrated function of the whole body.

In all units, emphasis will be on human body function. There will be study of both normal function as well as of common examples of adaptation to unusual environments (eg high altitude) and of dysfunction (eg heart disease, infertility, ageing) as appropriate to the unit and level of study. The aim is to provide students with greater insight into body function and an understanding of the basis of many common dysfunctions.


On completion of the major sequence in physiology students will:

  • have achieved a broad understanding of the mechanisms that make up normal body function, at the levels of body systems and the cells, tissues and organs involved
  • have developed a deep understanding of the systems that regulate normal healthy body functions, and their interactions with our environment
  • have understood in depth the research base of modern physiology, including the approaches needed in the 21st century to understand the exciting complexity of the human being
  • have developed abilities to integrate knowledge, from the molecular level through to the whole body, and an have gained an appreciation for the value and limitations of physiological genomics in understanding the human being
  • have gained an understanding of the effects of disturbances of the body's normal systems, leading to malfunction and disease
  • have gained proficiency in the use of physiological techniques to understand body functions, including an appreciation of the challenges involved in studying the intact mammalian organism
  • have gained proficiency in assembling the findings of laboratory based learning into written accounts, in accord with scientific principles and norms
  • have developed, in the context of the discipline, the graduate attributes of effective communication, quantitative literacy, information and communication literacy, inquiry and critical thinking, and ethical, social and international understanding
  • be prepared for research at the honours level in areas of research at the forefront of international knowledge, through involvement with leading research groups and individuals.


Level two

  • PHY2011 Neuroscience of sensation, brain and movement
  • PHY2021 Body systems physiology
  • PHY2032 Physiology of human health

Level three

  • PHY3012 Integrative neuroscience
  • PHY3072 Muscle and exercise
  • PHY3102 Nutrition, metabolism and body weight
  • PHY3111 Sensation and movement
  • PHY3171 Clinical and experimental cardiovascular physiology
  • PHY3181 Sex, reproduction and society
  • PHY3990 Action in physiology research project

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in physiology (24 points)

Major sequence in physiology (48 points)

  • a minor sequence in physiology
  • 24 points from level two or three PHY units, with at least 18 points at level three

Requirements for honours in physiology

  • 24 points of relevant level-three units, of which normally 18 points are physiology units

Additional information

Level two

There are no prerequisites for any level-two units. To be able to take any of the level-three physiology units, students must have passed any two of PHY2011, PHY2021 and PHY2032.

Students planning to complete major sequences in both physiology and pharmacology must take all three level-two physiology units and PHA2022.

Level three

There are three level-three units available in semester one and a further three in semester two. Students wishing to major in physiology normally take two units in semester one and another two units in semester two, however students can take these units in any combination. Less than fours units can be taken by students not wishing to major in physiology, and all six can be taken by students with a special interest in physiology.

The level-three units can be paired to follow related themes e.g. PHY3111 with PHY3012, PHY3171 with PHY3072. They do not, however, indicate prescribed paths that must be followed, and students are free to take these units in any combination that they wish.


In addition to the requirements listed above, students must meet the entry requirements for the Science honours program relevant to their course of enrolment. See the entries for:

  • 3520 Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours
  • 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
  • 2188 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)

Full details regarding the course structure for honours in this area of study are outlined in course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.

Graduate entry studies

Some PHY units may be accepted as prerequisites for certain graduate entry programs. For example PHY2011 plus one of PHY2021 or PHY2032 are accepted as meeting prerequisite requirements for the graduate entry Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery program at the University of Melbourne. Students intending to apply for admission to graduate entry programs should ensure that they check with the relevant university as to the acceptability of Monash PHY units as prerequisites for their programs.

Relevant Courses

Single degrees

  • 0050 Bachelor of Science
  • 3520 Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours
  • 1120 Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)

Double degrees

  • 0530 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
  • 3537 Bachelor of Arts (Global) and Bachelor of Science
  • 1469 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science
  • 3517 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • 3711 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 1633 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education
  • 3278 Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Bachelor of Science
  • 3282 Bachelor of Mechatronics Engineering and Bachelor of Science
  • 0085 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering
  • 0086 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Laws

Honours degrees

  • 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
  • 2188 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program)