A degree in human physiology provides an excellent preparation for careers in the health professions and/or biomedical research. Students examine human physiological systems at all levels, from molecular and cellular to the organism as a whole. This area of study uses basic science to measure human responses to internal and external stimuli and applies this knowledge to promote human health.
This is an ideal degree program for students who plan to pursue advanced degrees in medicine, dentistry, optometry, physician assistant studies, physical therapy, or podiatry.
Why Study at Iowa?
Degree programs in the Department of Health and Human Physiology consistently rank among the top of their kind nationwide. They are versatile and designed for students with widely varying academic objectives. The department's students are highly motivated and do well academically. Many of them graduate with honors.
Faculty members place a high priority on teaching and research. Their areas of expertise include sensorimotor mechanisms, environmental stresses, movement control, thermoregulation, mechanical factors that regulate blood flow, blood flow in cardiovascular disease, aging, stem cells, and monitoring and tracking physical activity across lifespans and in relation to health outcomes. Many of them collaborate with faculty members in the university’s Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health. Also, undergraduates in human physiology can pursue laboratory-based original research under the mentorship of faculty.
The department also offers a BA in Health & Human Physiology for students who want to work in wellness programs.
Admission to the Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program is selective. The curriculum includes foundation courses in biology, mathematics, statistics, chemistry, and physics, plus courses in anatomy and physiology. Elective courses provide in-depth study across a broad range of topics in human physiology, including those related to health and disease.
See Human Physiology in the General Catalog for more details about the curriculum and graduating with honors.
Minor in Human Physiology or Physical Activity & Nutrition Science
See Human Physiology in the General Catalog for more details.
Admission to the degree program is selective and based in part on grades earned in foundational science and math courses, such as biology, chemistry, and calculus. If you are an entering first-year student with an ACT composite score of 27 or above (or combined SAT critical reading and math score of 1210 or above) and a cumulative high school GPA of at least 3.70, you may be admitted directly to the program. Students not admitted directly are required to complete Principles of Chemistry I.
Admission Requirements Tabs
Faculty, Facilities, and Resources
The department’s proximity to the university’s health sciences campus and faculty connections with the Carver College of Medicine give students access to facilities affiliated with several of Iowa’s biomedical sciences departments. These departments include anatomy and cell biology, internal medicine, neurology, orthopaedic surgery, and free radical and radiation biology.
Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs.
Students in human physiology often continue their studies in health professional programs to become physicians/surgeons, physical therapists, physician assistants, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, or similar professionals. Others pursue graduate degrees in the biomedical or physiological sciences to prepare for careers in research and/or college teaching. Students who choose not to pursue advanced degrees are well qualified for employment in research or clinical laboratories.
Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, declaring a human physiology interest as your major for advising assignments and assistance with course selection upon admission.