Medical Physiology and Therapeutics BSc


Fact file - 2019 entry

BSc Hons Medical Physiology and Therapeutics
UCAS code
3 years full-time
A level offer
AAB-ABB (some offers of BBB may be made to applicants from a widening participation background)
Required subjects
B in biology or chemistry at A level. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. We do not accept citizenship studies, general studies, critical thinking or global perspectives. GCSE English language and maths at grade 4 (C) or above are also required.
IB score
34-32 (5 in biology or chemistry at Higher Level) 
Course location
Course places


Providing you with a broad range of subjects within the medical sciences, this course opens up extensive employment opportunities in scientific and clinical fields.
Read full overview

Highlights of medical physiology and therapeutics at Nottingham

  • Study a wide range of subjects within the medical sciences, opening up employment opportunities in many scientific and clinical fields
  • Adapt the course to your interests with a choice of optional modules in years two and three
  • Have access to an anatomy suite with prosected human cadavers
  • Study in a purpose-built medical school with modern facilities

Our innovative degree allows you to combine the study of an expansive range of subjects within the medical and health sciences.

Topics include anatomy, histology, molecular and cell biology, pharmacology and physiology. 

Ideal for those with a broad interest in the medical sciences, you will experience working at the forefront of scientific research and practice. The curriculum provides a firm base for further study in a variety of allied subjects, including graduate entry medicine.

Yearly overviews

Year one 

During the first year you will study the major body systems that will build the foundation of your knowledge. You will begin by taking an in-depth look at body systems in health and disease states. Topics may include:

  • learning how the body defends itself against infection and disease
  • an overview of human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry
  • study of the musculoskeletal and nervous system

Alongside your scientific knowledge, you will develop core study and academic skills.

Year two

In the second year you will continue core modules which may cover:

  • an overview of the anatomy, physiology, molecular, and cognitive features of the nervous system
  • human reproduction, including pregnancy, birth and treating infertility 
  • drug action and the treatment of disease, covering common diseases such as diabetes, renal disease and cancer

You will also begin to expand your knowledge of areas that interest you through a choice of optional modules which may include:

  • cancer biology
  • cardiovascular disease
  • skeletal muscle in health and disease
  • respiratory disease

Year three

In the final year, the focus moves to enhance your research skills. Half of the year will be spent in a research environment. You will design, plan and execute your own research project, supported by expert academics from the school’s and faculty’s research groups.

Other topics covered may include:

  • key skills in research design and methods
  • developing employability skills and researching careers or further study

There are additional special study modules for you to choose from so you can tailor your studies to your individual interests. Typically you can study:

  • The Cellular Basis of Disease
  • Skeletal Muscle Physiology and Metabolism in Exercise, Health and Disease
  • Clinical Cases in Endocrinology and Diabetes 
  • Rehabilitation and Long Term Conditions
  • Diagnostic Histopathology and Imaging


You will be based in the modern, purpose-built facilities at our Royal Derby Hospital Centre in Derby. The centre is based on-site of one of the biggest hospitals in the East Midlands. Graduate entry medicine and graduate entry nursing students also study here, creating a multidisciplinary community. There is a free hopper bus service that runs on a continual circuit between the Royal Derby Hospital Centre and main campus, University Park, throughout the day, every day (except bank holidays). This gives you the option of living in Nottingham or Derby.

The University of Nottingham at Derby (UNAD) Committee represents all students at Derby and works hard to ensure your experience is the best it can be. That means organising events and activities such as barbecues, nights out and sports days. They also provide support, putting forward any ideas or concerns you might have studying in Derby.


Learning and assessment

You will take part in innovative classroom and practical sessions, including access to prosected human cadavers.

A blended curriculum of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory sessions will develop your academic and practical skills. For some modules there may be opportunities to visit external organisations to aid learning, such as the Cancer Imaging Centre at the University of Oxford.

A range of assessments will be employed for each of the modules including:

  • essays
  • exams
  • group work
  • oral presentations
  • portfolios
  • poster production
  • practical write-ups
  • research dissertations

Find out more about our teaching methods, including an example first-year timetable


Student support

All students have a personal tutor who will review your academic progress each semester and are also available to help with any personal matters. Your personal tutor will act as a gateway to the wider student support and development provision of the University. 

Mature applicants

We encourage applications from mature applicants. You should apply in the normal way through UCAS. There is various support available to you including peer mentoring and the Mature Students’ Network which organises social events throughout the year. Find out more on our  mature students website.

EU and international applicants

We welcome students from all over the world, providing dedicated guidance and advice for EU and international applicants.


Student profile



Alumni profile


Entry requirements

A levels: AAB-ABB, including B or above in biology or chemistry at A level. A pass is required in science practical tests, if assessed separately. We do not accept citizenship studies, general studies, critical thinking or global perspectives. GCSE English language and maths grade 4 (C) or above is needed. 

Foundation courses

Science Foundation Certificate 
International students only

International students (non-EU) who do not have the required qualifications or grades to go directly onto an undergraduate degree course, may be interested in the Science Foundation Certificate delivered through The University of Nottingham International College. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met. 

Science with Foundation Year 
Home, EU and international students

If you have achieved high grades in your A levels (or equivalent qualifications) but do not meet the current subject entry requirements for direct entry to your chosen undergraduate course, you may be interested in our one year science foundation programme. Applicants must also demonstrate good grades in previous relevant science subjects to apply. You are guaranteed a place on selected undergraduate courses if all progression requirements are met.

English language requirements 

  • IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)
  • Warwick English Language Test CCC
  • Warwick HE Foundation Programme 50% 

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


Infection and Defence

This module provides an overview of medical microbiology and immunology to give an understanding of how the body defends itself against pathogens. You will study the pathogenic mechanisms of infectious disease and will learn how the immune system responds to foreign agents and pathogenic organisms. Exploring the epidemiology, aetiology and the principles of treatment of selected systemic infections will help to place the subject matter in a medical context which is further consolidated by the basic theory underlying immunisation and anti-microbial strategies. This module is delivered through lectures and lab-based practical sessions.

Body Structure, Body Function

This module will introduce you to the study of organ systems, including an overview of human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry, in the context of the biomedical sciences. A strong emphasis is placed on the acquisition of transferable skills through early laboratory experience and an introduction to the study of science at undergraduate level. This module comprises lab work, anatomy classes (using human cadavers in our dedicated anatomy suite), tutorials and workshops.

Study and Academic Skills

The aim of this module is to give you a good foundation in transferrable academic and study skills, numeracy skills and statistics to build upon as you progress in the course. It introduces essential aspects needed for research including good experimental study design, ethical consideration and communication skills as a broad base for future research. The need to develop full academic potential is encouraged through independent-learning, and reinforced via formative assessment activities and personal tutor input. 


In this module you will get an introduction to the study of musculoskeletal and nervous systems in the context of medical physiology and neuroscience. The module will cover the normal anatomy, physiology, and cell biology of skin and connective tissue, types of muscle and bone, before moving on to discuss joint structure, biomechanics, the nervous system, and the control of locomotion. This module is delivered through a mix of lectures, lab work, anatomy workshops, and group tutorials.                      

Supply and Demand 1

The aim of the module is to introduce you to the fundamental biomedical disciplines of haematology and biochemistry. The haematological content will provide a basis for understanding aspects related to diseases affecting blood. Basic knowledge regarding nutrition, metabolism, and digestion will allow broad understanding of the relationship between diet, production of energy and health, and appreciation of factors affecting metabolic balance and whole body homeostasis. You will have lectures, tutorials and lab-based practical sessions for this module.  

Supply and Demand 2 

This module aims to provide a detailed understanding of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, associated pathologies and investigative techniques, to underpin further study at subsequent levels. Transferrable skills are also introduced at an early stage to strengthen the development of core academic skills.


Supply and Demand 3

The aim of the module is to provide an introduction to the organisation, structural features and functions of the endocrine system and renal system and to describe the homeostatic role of these systems in health. The content enables the exploration of the biological effect of select common disorders affecting growth and development will be used to introduce a knowledge and understanding of human pathophysiology and to develop problem-solving and inquisitive skills in healthcare science. 

Typical year two modules



This module aims to further develop your understanding of human neurobiology from modules taken in year one. The module provides an overview of the anatomy, physiology, molecular, and cognitive aspects of nervous system function. The pathology of nervous system disease and injury is taught alongside a wide range of practical neurodiagnostic techniques; both current and developing therapeutic approaches are considered. This module is made up of lab work and taught classes, including some problem-based learning exercises. You may also share a large number of your lectures and undertake problem-based learning sessions with our medical students. This is especially useful if you are considering applying for graduate entry medicine after your degree in medical physiology and therapeutics.


In this module you will examine the core concepts in human reproduction. The emphasis of the module will be on physiological and biomedical mechanisms that underpin both male and female reproductive function, including pregnancy and birth. You will also learn about factors contributing to infertility and the main pathophysiological mechanisms implicated. Options available for treating infertility and the impact of the environment on reproductive outcomes will also be discussed. This module will consist of lectures and tutorials and scheduled problem-based learning sessions.

Contemporary Insights and Skills

This module aims to enhance and consolidate study and academic skills, demonstrate how the interplay between science, society and individuals impacts on health, and expand awareness of contemporary areas in medical physiology and therapeutics. Diverse topics spanning academic, practical, sociological, biological, statistical arenas are included in readiness for undergraduate studies and future employment. Practical application of information is essential as is involvement in group discussion and debate.

Pharmacology and Therapeutics

This compulsory module provides an overview of pharmacology (drug action) and therapeutics (the treatment of disease using drugs and other non-pharmacological methods) to help underpin study in other modules in years two and three. In addition, through seminars from clinical academics and case studies, you will learn about the principles of the therapeutic approach in a range of common diseases (e.g. diabetes, renal disease and cancer). Assessment of learning in the module includes use of an innovative ‘integrated therapeutics’ essay, in which you are able to demonstrate in-depth scientific understanding of the modern multi-pronged approach to treatment of disease.



There are a number of optional modules from which you can choose two. Current modules include:

Skeletal Muscle in Health and Disease 

This module aims to equip students with a strong foundation in human skeletal muscle physiology and have an understanding of the principle state of the art analytical methods and techniques used in the research of musculoskeletal health (muscle metabolism/ muscle function) and related parameters (body composition/ cardio-respiratory performance). Students are also expected to develop a number of transferrable skills such as group working, literature critique and written presentation skills in addition to academic knowledge. By the end of the module students should be able to describe, in detail, the major approaches and techniques in skeletal muscle research for the assessment of muscle protein turnover/ metabolism, muscle function, body composition and cardio-respiratory fitness, including the scientific (physiological) basis for these techniques and their strengths and limitations.  

Respiratory Diseases 

This module extends basic understanding of respiratory physiology. You will develop an understanding of the biomedical basis for a range of common respiratory diseases in the UK (e.g. occupational, chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer), and the means by which they are investigated and diagnosed. Principles of management will also be discussed. You will also develop a wide range of clinical skills for diagnosis, including: percussion and basic palpation of the chest wall and thorax, auscultation of the breath sounds. The core anatomy and physiology will be delivered alongside applied teaching which focuses on the acquisition of clinical diagnostic skills in practical classes. The module facilitates the development of group work and written communication skills and requires you to apply your knowledge to mock clinical cases and write a detailed case study report.

Cancer Biology

This module will provide you with an overview of cancer, considering the concept of cancer, risk factors for cancer, molecular level changes that occur in cancer, cancer treatment and the prevention of cancer. The laboratory techniques currently used in the diagnosis of cancer in medical practice and in cancer research will be highlighted throughout. Multiple session practical classes that provide the opportunity to develop laboratory based skills used in the detection and diagnosis of cancer will be undertaken and you will analyse data and compare data to the current peer-reviewed knowledge base.

Cardiovascular Diseases

This module aims to teach the major methods for diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the cardiovascular system. Core anatomy and physiology is delivered alongside applied teaching focused on the acquisition of clinical diagnostic skills including, palpation, sphygmomanometry, auscultation, and electrocardiography. This knowledge will need to be applied to mock clinical cases and a detailed report on the findings of the diagnostic tests from one of these cases will be assessed. This module will allow students to develop generic clinical skills, consolidate previous learning, and develop group work and written communication skills.


Typical year three modules


Research Design, Research Methods and Statistics

In this module you will learn specific methods for carrying out your own research in the medical and biomedical sciences. It will prepare you for research project work in a variety of settings covering topics such as literature searching, compiling bibliographies, advanced medical statistics, scientific writing, evidence-based health and clinical trial and design among others. You will study via lectures and workshops.                    

Personal and Professional Development

This compulsory module has two main aims: to help you to develop ‘employability’ skills and skills for lifelong learning such as reflective practice. The module is delivered by academic staff in the school, with the help of advisers from the University’s Careers Service, external speakers and Nottingham alumni. Speakers come from a range of disciplines, including laboratory research, clinical research, physiological measurement commercial/government organisations as well as medical school graduates talking about their careers. By the end of the module, you will have learned about your strengths and weaknesses and reflected on these in a meaningful way, preparing you for life after graduation. 

Research Project/Audit

This module will fully immerse you in the research environment providing you with direct experience of contemporary research in the biomedical and clinical sciences. This enables the development of the practical and organisational skills needed for a career in scientific or clinical research. You will undertake a project that reflects the research activities of the School of Medicine by designing, planning and carrying out a research project under the guidance of an academic supervisor. The form of the research project will vary and can include laboratory-based work and/or clinical, patient-based studies. 


Special study modules

There are a number of optional Special Study Modules from which you can choose two. Current modules include:

The Cellular Basis of Disease

This module will introduce students to core concepts related to aberrant cellular signalling and diseases. The content will focus on several diseases, such as cancer, dysfunctions of the CNS, cardiovascular disease etc., and consider the symptoms, basis of the pathophysiology, and therapeutic treatments. Practical methods used to investigate the diseases will also be taught, and combined with complementary laboratory practical classes and tutorials.


Skeletal Muscle Physiology and Metabolism in Exercise, Health and Disease

This module will introduce you to central role of skeletal muscle in health, ageing and disease and how muscle mass is regulated by nutrition, exercise and hormones. Everyone will be aware of the ability of muscle to grow bigger and stronger through resistance exercise e.g. bodybuilders and also that muscle mass and function can be easily lost in disease conditions i.e. cancer. You will discover the biochemical mechanisms underlying these phenomena and also ways in which we can prevent or minimise these changes. We are now investigating ways of regulating muscle mass in man, using nutritional interventions (including nutraceuticals), exercise and drugs. In this module, initially, you will learn the basic physiology, anatomy and biochemistry of muscle, an insight into why muscle changes occur in health and in disease. Through a series of lectures and associated practicals, you will have the opportunity to learn about and gain practical skills of the state of the art approaches and techniques (e.g. molecular biology western blotting and PCR, mass spectrometry using stable isotope labelled compounds) that are currently available in our laboratories to understand the regulation of muscle mass and function.


Clinical Cases in Endocrinology and Diabetes 

This module has a strong problem-based learning approach to investigate endocrinological disorders. Initially, the axes of the endocrine system will be reviewed to consolidate previous learning about the normal physiology and pathology of the major endocrine systems before clinical cases are used to describe the importance of dynamic function testing in endocrine disorders. You will gain experience in interpretation of laboratory results to aid the diagnosis and become familiar with the use of reference ranges. Furthermore, your will gain an insight into factors that may confound diagnostic interpretation. A main focus will be on the common endocrinological dysfunction, diabetes mellitus. Not only will you learn about the major forms and causes of diabetes mellitus in society, but how international policy is directing laboratory testing for the diagnosis and monitoring of the condition. This module incorporates opportunities for visits to the Endocrine Clinic in the local NHS trust to place the content in a clinical perspective.  


Rehabilitation and Long Term Conditions

This module will introduce you to some of the evidence which currently underpins rehabilitation and the management of long term conditions.  Rather than discussing a variety of diagnoses, you will focus on a neurological condition which affects young adults and use this from which the group can discuss common clinical problems and the contribution of different rehabilitation services. Initially, lectures will provide you with an overview of the condition and the underlying pathology. This will enable a review of knowledge of neuroanatomy and physiology and allow you to consider the action of different prescription drugs. Through a combination of lectures, small group discussions and workshops, you will gain an overview of the challenges which patients, relatives and members of the multi-disciplinary team experience when treating or living with a long term condition which has a marked impact on mobility and other activities. You will obtain an understanding of the secondary consequences and risks of a long term condition and the variables which can impede or facilitate rehabilitation. 

Diagnostic Histopathology and Imaging

The aim of the module is to provide students with the theory and practical skills needed in a diagnostic laboratory environment. You will be introduced to a wide variety of microscopical techniques and the range of preparation options available. You will learn to choose options and techniques relevant to diagnostic/research questions and critically, to interpret and report on their findings. You will also cover the principles of general pathology. This module consists of lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical classes complemented by laboratory visits. 



As a graduate you will have obtained a broad range of skills valued by employers in scientific and clinical research, the NHS, and a diverse range of graduate employers across the public sector. Examples of just a few of the professions that our graduates can enter as trainee practitioners/scientists include:

  • pharmaceutical and clinical research and clinical trials
  • respiratory or cardiac physiology
  • biotechnology
  • haematology
  • histopathology

Medical physiology and therapeutics students also work closely (and share some teaching) with our graduate entry medical students in the school and are therefore well placed to undertake further study in graduate entry medicine and other postgraduate study (e.g. MSc, PhD).

Average starting salary and career progression

Availability for employment and salary data for this course is not attainable due to a small sample size.*

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Our Careers and Employability Service can also work with you: assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our medical physiology and therapeutics careers page for an overview of employability support for current students and guidance on career paths.


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

Additional financial aid

Nottingham Potential Bursaries

These provide an additional £1000 a year for students who meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Entering via an Access route or with vocational qualifications and with a residual income figure of up to £42,600
  • Students with children or adult dependants and with a residual household income figure of up to £42,600
  • Students under the age of 25 years who are currently or have been in public care for a minimum time period of three months
  • Students who have fulfilled special conditions through participation in the University's Widening Participation outreach activities (e.g. through our summer schools)

Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine scholarships

Up to three scholarships worth £1,000 each (payable in the first year of study only) are also available from the Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine.

Candidates must be registered on year one of the BSc Medical Physiology and Therapeutics (B121) course at the University of Nottingham, and a personal statement must be completed, demonstrating an interest in science.

This will form the basis of an initial assessment for the Medical Physiology and Therapeutics Scholarship (three scholarships worth £1,000 available).

Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities. 

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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