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Department of Physiology

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Molecular, Cellular and Systemic Physiology Undergraduate Program

An Undergraduate Degree in Physiology

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program is designed to provide a solid foundation in the physical and biological sciences, as well as substantial knowledge of the structure and function of the human body, and includes both lecture and laboratory courses. Most students who major in physiology go on to professionals schools, including: medical school, dental school, nursing school, pharmacy school, and training programs for medical technology, physician’s assistant, etc. The remaining graduates usually obtain other advanced graduate degrees (M.S. or Ph.D.) and thus, pursue careers in academia and/or biomedical research in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and government laboratories. Please visit the College of Science website for additional information. To declare a major and for programmatic academic advisement please email for information. Preprofessional majors should contact Liz Saunders ( for advisement. More information for incoming freshmen or transfer students interested in pre-health majors can be found here

Courses available in Physiology are listed in the Southern Illinois University.undergraduate catalog

Physiology 491, 492

As an undergraduate student majoring in Physiology, you are strongly encouraged to undertake laboratory research under the supervision of departmental faculty. It is suggested that you initiate this research activity early in your undergraduate career. In this way, you will have several semesters to exploit the techniques that you have learned. Many of our students have made such significant contributions that they have been listed as authors on scientific publications, and have even attended scientific meetings to present their results to a national audience.

PHSL 491 Students enrolled in the University Honors program may register for PHSL 491 (Independent Research for Honor) listing and may count up to 8 hours towards their degree requirements and the required 14 hours of Physiology 300 or 400 level electives.

PHSL 492 Students may register for PHSL 492 (Special Problems in Physiology) and can count up to 8 hours of credit towards their degree requirements, 3 hours of which will be credited towards the required 14 hours of Physiology 300 or 400 level electives.

Students are responsible for contacting faculty members to determine if they are willing to function as their research supervisor and how many credits to register for. Most faculty will consider 3-4 hours per week in the lab working to be worth one credit hour and some will require a written report at the end of the semester. Do not register until you have found a faculty member willing to function as your supervisor.

Videos highlighting undergraduate research

Please watch the following video links for some information from faculty and students about their undergraduate research experiences

Dr. Buck Hales undergraduate research supervisor

Current Physiology Undergrad Grace Lehnhoff

Former Physiology Undergrad Kara Starkweather