3 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
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About this program

BSc (Human Physiology)

Physiologists study the mechanisms by which the body functions from the molecular and cellular levels through progressive differentiation to tissue, organs and systems, and eventually the integrated interactions and control of body functions. This core knowledge is applied in research undertaken to investigate normal and abnormal life processes.

During the first year of study for this degree, students are exposed to a generic range of subjects from the biological and agricultural sciences. In the second year they study physiological systems, which include the neurophysiological, haematological, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, nutritional and digestive, endocrinological and reproductive systems), with biochemistry as a compulsory subject. The study program for the third and final year includes a selection of integrated physiology modules, such as exercise and nutrition physiology, cellular and developmental physiology, applied and pathophysiology, higher neurological function and industrial physiology. At the third-year level, students have an opportunity to select elective modules in the program. The BSc (Human Physiology) program will appeal to scientifically minded students who are inquisitive by nature.

Research is undertaken in cooperation with medical teams in private and government research laboratories at, for example, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Medical Research Council (MRC), the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), pharmaceutical firms, universities, veterinary and industrial institutions, state departments (for example the Department of Health) and health farms. Physiologists also make contributions in the fields of education (as teachers, lecturers and instructors), sports physiology, biostatistics, bioengineering, industrial hygiene, journalism, medical technology and, in the industry, as representatives of pharmaceutical firms.

Admission requirements

  • The admission requirements apply to students who apply for admission to the University of Pretoria with a National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Independent Examination Board (IEB) qualifications.
  • Applicants with qualifications other than the abovementioned should refer to Brochure: Undergraduate program Information 2022: Qualifications other than the NSC and IEB/
  • Citizens from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens) should also refer to Brochure: Newcomer’s Guide 2021.
  • School of Tomorrow (SOT), Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) and General Education Development Test (GED): The University of Pretoria no longer accepts qualifications awarded by these institutions.
  • National Certificate (Vocational) (NCV) Level 4: The University of Pretoria may consider NCV candidates, provided they meet the exemption for bachelor’s status criteria and the program requirements.

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Program content

Curriculum: Year 1

Fundamental modules

  • Academic information management 111
  • Academic information management 121
  • Language and study skills 110
  • Academic orientation 102

Core modules

  • Biometry 120
  • Plants and society 161
  • General chemistry 117
  • General chemistry 127
  • Introductory genetics 161
  • Introduction to microbiology 161
  • Molecular and cell biology 111
  • Physics for biology students 131
  • Mathematics 134
  • Mathematics 165
  • Animal diversity 161

Curriculum: Year 2

Core modules

  • Introduction to proteins and enzymes 251
  • Carbohydrate metabolism 252
  • Introductory biochemistry 257
  • Introductory and neurophysiology 211
  • Circulatory physiology 212
  • Lung and renal physiology, acid-base balance and temperature 221
  • Digestion, endocrinology and reproductive systems 222
  • Molecular genetics 251
  • Genetic diversity and evolution 261
  • Curriculum: Final year

Core modules

  • Higher neurological functions 327
  • Cellular and developmental physiology 330
  • Exercise and nutrition science 331
  • Applied and pathophysiology 332

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please visit the university website for more information.


Undergraduate Tuition fees per faculty in 2022

  • 1st year: 49 000 - 62 000 + 15% VAT
  • 2nd year: 53 000 + 15% VAT
  • 3rd year: 34 000 - 44 000 + 15% VAT


Total credits: 430

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About this institute

University of Pretoria - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

The pandemic has allowed us to re-imagine what a university should look like and how it should conduct its core business of research, teaching and learning, and community engagement. We have moved away from emergency online teaching, and we are...

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Why study at University of Pretoria - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Our excellence in teaching and research is recognised by our large number of partners outside of academia. We work together with several companies, non-profit organisations, industry bodies, and government departments, which means that the qualification you receive from NAS gives you a unique edge for employment. The excellent research and teaching you are exposed to during your training, combined with valuable real-world experience, will make you a sought-after candidate for employment.

We are known for our expertise in forestry and agriculture, the life sciences and mathematical and statistical sciences—all supported by genuine scholarship and excellence in the basic sciences. We offer some unique degrees (in Meteorology and Nutrition, for example), and even though there may be similar offerings elsewhere, we have attractive double major options (and even a unique triple major in Human Physiology, Genetics and Psychology). Food- and water security in Africa, which are two of our many focus areas, can be approached from many angles: climate change, biotechnology, crop development, breeding, data science, agricultural economics, insurance risk, consumer behaviour, indigenous crops, pests and diseases, carbon cycling and environmental change, to name but a few.

Contact info

University of Pretoria - Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

cnr Lynnwood Road and Roper Street
South Africa

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