Monash University

Undergraduate - Area of study

Students who commenced study in 2013 should refer to this area of study entry for direction on the requirments; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your area of study.

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This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. Any 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 Applied Sciences and Engineering
School of Science
Campus(es)Clayton, Gippsland, Sunway
CoordinatorDr Julia Choate (Clayton); Ms Jenny Mosse (Gippsland) Dr Kumaran Nayaranan (Sunway)


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • 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 (e.g. high altitude) and of dysfunction (e.g. 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.

Learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad knowledge of the mechanisms that make up normal healthy body functions, at the levels of body systems and the cells, tissues and organs involved
  • develop abilities to generate and integrate knowledge, from the molecular level through to the whole body, and have gained an appreciation for the value and limitations of physiological genomics in understanding living organisms
  • demonstrate an understanding of the effects of disturbances of living organisms that lead to malfunction and disease
  • gain proficiency in the collection, organisation, analysis and interpretation of physiological data, using appropriate experimental and mathematical tools
  • communicate physiological information, data and concepts effectively to a diverse audience utilising a range of formats
  • work and learn in both individual and collaborative ways, with others of diverse abilities
  • demonstrate an ethical approach to physiological research.


All students must complete the requirements as outlined below for the campus at which they are enrolled.

Clayton and Sunway


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 Hormones and reproduction
  • 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 formal prerequisites for any level-two PHY units, but students must have successfully completed at least 36 points of units at level one before they may enrol in any science unit at level two. 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.



Level one

Level two

  • BIO2721 Human development and genetics
  • BIO2752 Principles of physiology*

* These two units are divided into two streams: the human/medical stream or the animal/veterinary stream; students select the stream appropriate to their study program and interests.

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in human physiology (24 points)

Requirements for honours in physiology

  • 24 points of relevant level-three units, of which 18 points are normally physiology units. Level three physiology units and an honours program in physiology are only available on the Clayton campus.

Additional information

The physiology minor sequence combines well with the applied microbiology and applied biochemistry sequences.

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)