Physiology opens doors to many careers in science and healthcare, with employers such as the NHS, pharmaceutical companies or research institutions

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

It's useful to find work experience in an area related to the career you'd like to enter. A placement in a hospital department is valuable when applying for clinical physiology posts. Some degrees offer this type of experience as part of the course but if not you can make speculative approaches yourself to local hospitals and clinics.

If you can't get a full placement, work shadowing or a day visit to a relevant department to find out more about your preferred role is also useful and will help you to build up professional contacts.

Laboratory experience and knowledge of the range of techniques used can also be helpful, particularly for research posts.

Any other part-time, vacation or volunteering work which demonstrates your interest in your chosen field, is also useful.

The NHS Health Careers site has some useful information on getting experience.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

The major scientific employers of physiology graduates are:

  • research centres and academic institutions
  • pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • the NHS - specialist areas include cardiac sciences, audiology, neurophysiology, critical care science, respiratory physiology, sleep physiology and gastrointestinal (GI) physiology
  • private sector hospitals, medical centres and healthcare organisations.

Further employment opportunities can be found with scientific and medical publishers, educational settings such as secondary schools or colleges - as a science teacher, and with scientific sales and marketing companies.

Non-scientific employers include:

  • management consultancies
  • local government
  • law and accountancy firms
  • banks and other financial institutions
  • retail companies.

Find information on employers in healthcare, science and pharmaceuticals, teaching and education and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Physiology teaches you how the human body works and is fundamental to medicine and the understanding of healthy functions as well as diseases.

Through your degree you develop skills in planning, conducting/evaluating experiments, and researching and interpreting scientific literature. You also develop the ability to communicate science to both peers and non-scientists.

You gain a range of skills sought by both scientific and non-scientific employers, including:

  • analytical and problem-solving skills
  • using judgement, decision-making and questioning
  • the ability to identify, select, organise and communicate information and data
  • computing, statistics and numeracy
  • attention to detail
  • planning, organisation and time management
  • teamworking and collaborating between groups
  • persistence and resilience to retry experiments.

Further study

There are many opportunities to continue your study after your physiology degree, including:

  • Completing a second undergraduate degree such as medicine or dentistry. There may be fast-track options available in these instances, due to the previous study completed.
  • Joining the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) to go on to become a clinical scientist in a choice of areas such as audiology or physical sciences.
  • Completing a physiology postgraduate qualification such as an MSc, MRes or PhD in physiology. In academia, a PhD is generally required to obtain a lectureship. In industry, some large employers, such as major pharmaceutical companies, may sponsor a relevant part-time Masters or PhD.
  • Completing a different postgraduate qualification such as an MSc or diploma in a related subject like forensic science or toxicology or in a completely different field such as law or computing.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in physiology.

What do physiology graduates do?

The top five jobs reported by physiology graduates include caring personal services (10%), other health professionals (10%), health associate professionals (7%), science, engineering and production technicians (5%) and natural and social science professionals (4%).

Further study20
Working and studying13.9
Graduate destinations for physiology
Type of workPercentage
Childcare, health and education9.7
Business, HR, finance8.8
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what physics graduates are doing after graduation, see What do graduates do?

Graduate Outcomes survey data from HESA.

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