Physiology

What is Physiology?

Physiology, the study of organismal function, represents the convergence of various disciplines, approaches, and perspectives in modern biology. Physiologists seek an understanding of functional mechanisms and their regulation, the adaptive significance of these mechanisms, the ecological factors that influence organismal function, and the evolutionary processes that have shaped them. In pursuing this understanding, concepts and approaches from a wide variety of scientific fields, covering levels of biological organization ranging from individual molecules, organelles, cells, tissues, organs to whole organisms are used. The tools and techniques of physics, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, and various other areas in biology are brought to bear on physiological investigations that might range from the effects of light on visual systems at the level of cell membranes, breathing in ants, metabolism during running in lizards, to the hormonal control of reproduction in fishes.

All students interested in any area of the biological sciences, including Physiology, enter UCSB as pre-biological sciences majors. Pre-biology majors share a common core curriculum, typically completed during the freshman and sophomore years, consisting of introductory biology with laboratory , general chemistry with laboratory, mathematics, physics with laboratory, and for many of the majors, including the Physiology major, organic chemistry with laboratory. After completion of key preparatory coursework, students may petition to declare the full major. The B. S. in Physiology requires completion of 48 upper-division quarter units including three courses in endocrinology and regulatory biology, two terms of biochemistry, one course in the areas of genetics, cell biology, and neurobiology. In addition to these major requirements, students choose electives in consultation with faculty advisors.

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