This area of study uses basic science to measure human responses to internal and external stimuli (such as changes in activity levels, varying environmental conditions, and disease processes) and applies this knowledge to the promotion of human health.

A degree in this area prepares you to work in a hospital or corporate wellness program, or for nonprofit health agencies, commercial fitness enterprises, and federal and state health promotion agencies.

Why Iowa?

Degree programs in Iowa's Department of Health and Human Physiology are versatile and designed for students with widely varying academic objectives.

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, behavioral medicine, 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 the College of Public Health.

The department also offers a BS in Human Physiology for students who intend to pursue graduate study in the health sciences, such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, physician assistant, physical therapy, or podiatry.

Admission Requirements

Students interested in this major need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Students may earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in health and human physiology or a Bachelor of Science degree in human physiology, but not both. 

Students who major in health and human physiology may not earn the minor in human physiology or the minor in physical activity and nutrition science.


Health and Human Physiology
Exercise Science
Health Promotion
Health Studies
  Honors Courses
  Four-Year Graduation Plan
Admission Process

Careers and Outcomes

Iowa graduates have a 95 percent job/grad school placement rate within six months of graduation. Our  Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships an jobs. 

Student Opportunities

In addition to more than 500  student organizations, Iowa students choose from more than 100  study abroad  programs and multiple  undergraduate research opportunities


The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college. 

The Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid are great resources for students seeking scholarships.

Course Work

The BA in health and human physiology requires a minimum of 120 s.h., including work for the major, which varies by track.

The health promotion track is a good choice if you are interested in careers that promote wellness in the community or the workplace through changes in lifestyle and environment.

You should consider the health studies track if you would prefer to have a versatile health science background.

The exercise science track is designed for students who have a focused interest in physical fitness, physical activity, and sport conditioning, including their relationship to health and performance outcomes.

All tracks offer flexible options in the high-demand area of bio-behavioral health. Whichever track you choose, you'll complete a set of common requirements plus requirements specifically for your track.

Students in all tracks take these required courses:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Fundamentals of Human Physiology
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Physical Activity and Health
  • A course in biology
  • A course in chemistry
  • A course in mathematics or statistics

Health promotion track students also complete these:

  • Health promotion core: five courses in health behavior and health promotion, health management and administration, health communication and coaching, health assessment, and health interventions
  • Health promotion electives: three additional courses in Health and Human Physiology

Health studies track students also complete these:

  • Health studies core: three courses in Health Services; Understanding Human Disease; and Policy, Environmental, and Social Determinants of Health 
  • Health studies electives: four additional courses in Health and Human Physiology

Exercise science track students also complete these:

  • Exercise science core: six courses in exercise physiology, psychological aspects of sport and physical activity, sport and exercise nutrition, exercise testing and prescription, and biomechanics
  • Exercise science electives: two additional courses in Health and Human Physiology

In addition to course work for the major, students must complete the requirements of the GE CLAS Core.   

See Health and Human Physiology in the General Catalog for more information about course requirements for the major and graduating with honors.