Want to know what makes you tick?
Physiology is a rapidly advancing and exciting subject area. Just how important is physiology? It’s the only biological science for which you can win a Nobel Prize!
- Undergraduate, NZQF Level 7
- 3 year(s) full-time. Available part-time.
- Available for international students studying in NZ
Note: This programme may have an on-campus or in-person requirement and therefore requires that students submit a current My Vaccine Pass on enrolment.
Ever wondered how your diet influences the skeleton, or how the stomach and intestines process food, or even how climate change impacts the survival ability of penguins? Your teachers are at the forefront of research like this. They’ll use it in their teaching, so what you learn is relevant and engaging.
Physiology explains how cells, tissues and organs work together to maintain normal body function. It is the basis of modern medicine, connecting science and health, so we can recognise and understand problems, helping us develop new treatments for disease.
You will gain a broad understanding of the functions and integration of the major organ systems of the body, progressing to more in-depth insights as your study progresses.
Follow your interests
You can choose from a wide variety of courses to complement your physiology study at Massey. That could include anything from agribusiness, psychology or human nutrition to environmental science, zoology or sport and exercise.
Topics you’ll learn about include:
- adaptive human physiology
- animal welfare science
- cell physiology
- environmental physiology
- metabolic physiology
- human lifecycle physiology
- physiological control systems
- physiological strategies for survival
- physiology of mammalian organ systems
You’ll also learn skills that will be useful, no matter what field you end up working in, like critical thinking, planning, analysis and communication skills.
Careers and further study
Physiology is key if you want to work in human or animal health sciences.
Wide variety of options
Can you picture yourself conducting vital research in universities, Crown Research Institutes or pharmaceutical or biotech companies? If you really want to go far, you could even be a research physiologist in outer space, discovering how the body adapts to zero gravity.
What about working in one of the world’s growth industries - healthcare? You can specialise in nutrition, toxicology, pharmacy, radiography, physiotherapy, nursing, or public and environmental health. How about teaching in schools or hospitals? Or you may fancy a career in the medical, veterinary or food industries, a job in medical writing, or in the active world of sport science, exercise and recreation.
A 2017 Ministry of Education publication, The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, agriculture, technology, computer science, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study compared to the national median. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates.
New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.
Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.
As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.
All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.
There are no specific entry requirements for this programme, outside of university admission regulations. However there is some expected background knowledge.
Expected high school preparation
Knowledge gained in the following NCEA subjects (or the equivalent in Cambridge International Examinations, International Baccalaureate, or similar) will give you the expected background knowledge to take this major.
- At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Biology
- At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry
English language requirements
To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.
To be successful in your studies we recommend that you also have the following NCEA subjects (or equivalent). These will help your study in this major but are not essential.
- At least 16 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics from the following list of standards: 91256, 91257, 91258, 91259, 91260, 91261, 91262, 91269
If it’s some time since you have studied mathematics at school you can find out if you have the required background by taking this maths quiz.
Prior learning, credit and exemptions
For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:
- review the Recognition of Prior Learning regulations
- contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
If you do not have the entry requirements
If you are unsure whether you have the right background/subjects to study this programme, our tool will help you to figure out what you might need to do before starting your qualification.
English language and foundation courses
If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and qualifications that may help.
If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.
Courses and planning
- Core courses – 90 credits
- Major courses – 120 credits
- Electives from the Schedule – 30 credits
- Other electives – 120 credits
Ensure that overall, you have:
- Not more than 165 credits at 100 level
- At least 75 credits at 300 level
You could replace some electives with a minor.
Courses for this specialisation
200-level courses (60 credits)
|122202||The Dynamic Cell||15|
|194241||Physiological Control Systems||15|
|194242||Physiology of Mammalian Organ Systems||15|
Compulsory course selection
|194243||Physiological Strategies for Survival||15|
|214201||Human Bioscience: Impaired Body Function||15|
300-level courses (60 credits)
Compulsory course selection
|117332||Animal Welfare Science||15|
|194348||Adaptive Human Physiology||15|
|194350||Human Lifecycle Physiology||15|
Planning your programme
If you study full-time, in your first year, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.
If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.
The first year structure is designed to provide you with a broad knowledge and skill set which will equip you to go on to more advanced courses in the second and third years.
You must pass at least 90 credits from the BSc Schedule A, including any compulsory courses, in your first 120 credits of study towards the Bachelor of Science.
Physiology has similar first year core courses to several other majors available in the Bachelor of Science, allowing students to change their major before their second year. Changing your major may incur an increase in completion time.
Take these in any order:
- 247.113 Science and Sustainability for Science
- 161.111 Applied Statistics or 161.122 Statistics
- 124.103 Biophysical Principles or 160.101 Calculus or 160.102 Algebra or 160.104 Introductory Mathematics for Science or 160.105 Methods of Mathematics
- 214.101 Human Bioscience: Normal Body Function
- 162.101 Cell Biology or 214.102 Applied Sciences for Health Professionals.
Take these in the order shown:
Plus choose one 100 level elective course. This can be from a subject area other than Science.
200-level courses in the major
- 122.202 The Dynamic Cell
- 194.241 Physiological Control Systems
- 194.242 Physiology of Mammalian Organ Systems
- 214.201 Human Bioscience: Impaired Body Function.
300-level courses in the major
- 194.342 Cell Physiology
- 194.346 Metabolic Physiology
- 194.348 Adaptive Human Physiology
- 194.350 Human Lifecycle Physiology.
Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.
A minor must be in a different subject from your major.
A Bachelor of Science (Physiology) with a minor
You may choose a minor from any University undergraduate degree that has recognised minors. If the minor is from another undergraduate degree, the regulations of that programme will apply.
Some BSc minors that are particularly compatible with physiology include those shown below. Timetabling will prioritise these combinations to minimise clashes.
- Exercise and Sport (Courses: 234.121)
- Human Nutrition (Auckland only) (include 214.131 in your first year)
- Molecular Cell Biology
- Psychology (Course: 175.102)
- Zoology (include 199.103 and 196.101 in your first year)
A Physiology minor (for students who are studying a different degree)
If you are not studying a Bachelor of Science (Physiology) and wish to complete a Physiology minor see the BSc regulations for the requirements of this minor.
Fees and scholarships
Fees and finance
Fees, student loans and free fees scheme
Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.
There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.
- Get an estimate of the tuition fees for your qualification
- View a list of non-tuition fees that may be payable
Already know which courses you're going to choose?
You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.
Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme
You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.
The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.
Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.
A good fit if you:
- like biology and chemistry
- are curious about how the body works
- want to work in human or animal health sciences.
Meet our students
My studies have taught me that you don’t need to be a veterinarian to help animals; Physiology is a broad degree with many possible routes which all have a focus on improving the health of humans and animals.” Sophia Holdsworth
Accreditations and rankings
Massey University is ranked by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) as one of the top 400 universities in the world for biological sciences.
Key information for students
Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.
Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.
Applying and enrolling
Applying for the programme
Check you are ready
If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.
Choose your programme and click on Apply now
You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.
Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.
Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place
You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.
Enrolling in courses
You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.
When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:
- prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
- corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
- restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
- location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.
Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.
More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.
You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.
We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!
If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.
What are courses and credits?
What are courses and credits?
Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).
You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.
Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.
There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.
- See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
- Courses search
Understanding course numbers
The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.
The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:
- sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
- undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
- as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study
|Subject area||Level||Course ID number|
Electives are courses that are not compulsory. Certain guidelines are usually provided on courses you may take. Elective courses contribute to the programme, but not to your major or specialisation.
Workload and time management
Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.
If you started the BSc programme before 2020 you may be completing the programme under the previous regulations, which are listed in Schedule C in the Regulations for this programme.
In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.
Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.
Scholarships and awards
There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.