Employment: The physiology degree is intended primarily as preparation for graduate or professional study. If supplemented with several laboratory courses as well as laboratory experience, the B.A. degree may be adequate for obtaining an entry level position such as a laboratory technician or research assistant. When combined with a degree in fields such as chemistry, electrical engineering, or computer science, the B.A. in physiology could be helpful in obtaining positions in the biomedical industry.
Graduate Study: The undergraduate major is flexible enough to allow the student to prepare for post baccalaureate study in Physiology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Cell Biology, and other areas of biomedical science.
Professional School: The major is often chosen by students planning to continue their education in health fields including, but not limited to, medicine or dentistry. There is considerable overlap between the requirements for the physiology degree and the admission requirements of many professional schools.
Notes for Physiology Pre-Meds
- Is medicine the right career for you?
Find out about medicine as a career and make a decision to apply to medical school based on your informed interest.
At a minimum, you should enjoy biology and have a real desire to be involved in the treatment of human disease. Clinical medicine involves dealing with people, often in situations that require great discipline but may sometimes lack glamour or even intellectual challenge. Medical schools will look for evidence that helping people with health and other problems is a natural part of your life. This is important not only for the quality of the contribution that you can make to medicine, but also for your own satisfaction with the career.
- Do you qualify for medical school?
Develop excellent academic credentials. You must make very good grades. Take your courses very seriously from the beginning of your undergraduate experience. You should also structure your undergraduate program to include certain courses. There are two reasons for this. First, medical schools expect these courses to be on your transcript. Second, you need appropriate background to do well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) . The coursework required for the physiology major is essentially a subset of "pre-med" courses, making the major an excellent choice for students who are interested in medical school.
Keep in mind that when you apply to medical school, you will also need letters from individuals who know you well and who can strongly support your application. Begin early to develop relationships with people who can provide this support. The best letters will come from well-respected individuals who are in a position to evaluate you critically and fully, who strongly believe in your potential, and who have experience and skill in writing letters of reference. A good example would be a class professor with whom you also did a special laboratory or library project. The longer and the more extensive your relationship, the more valuable his or her letter will likely be.
- Have I done all I can do to prepare myself?
Get complete advice from the right sources as early as possible in your academic life.
Health Science Resources:
The Health Careers Center offers a variety of ways to help you put your best foot forward when applying to medical school or another health professional program. Resources include: online workshops to help with preparing for medical school, writing your personal statement, and developing interviewing skills; courses to guide you in learning more about becoming a physician, gaining relevant experience, or simply finding a health career that is a fit for you; a resource library; and much more! We have a helpful staff ready to answer your questions and provide you with the information you seek. Contact us at HCC@umn.edu or visit us online at www.healthcareers.umn.edu (2-565 Moos Tower, 612-624-6767).