Physiologists are constantly trying to answer key questions in areas ranging from the functions of single cells to the interactions between human populations and our environment here on earth, on the moon, and beyond.


Physiology is a branch of biology that focuses on the functions of organisms. Through interaction with our faculty, students receive robust foundations in anatomy and physiology and cellular and integrative physiology, as well as in cutting-edge investigational techniques that characterize modern day physiological research.

Why Physiology is in Demand:

  • Changes in the health care landscape are leading students to prepare for careers that were less common only a few years ago, such as a physician assistant (PA). We have designed our B.S. in physiology program with this in mind, making it an excellent pathway for students seeking careers in modern healthcare.
  • Our physiology curriculum also is excellent preparation for a wide array of traditionally popular professional programs, including medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry and physical therapy. All of the course requirements for these professional schools can be met within our 120 credit curriculum. 
  • Our physiology program prepares students to pursue master's and doctoral degrees in areas like Comparative & Human Physiology, Exercise Science, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Environmental Adaptation and Physiological Effects of Aging and Gender. 
  • Undergraduate research opportunities provide students with real-world experience, lab proficiency and technical skills to apply in a variety of job settings.

Is it for me?

  • Are you interested in cutting-edge careers in the biomedical arena?
  • Are you curious about the body's response to exercise or environmental challenges?
  • Are you interested in knowing how other species face challenges in their own environments?

Five Reasons to Choose Scranton for Physiology

Active learning.   Students are participants in the learning process. Faculty believe that “the best way to learn is to do.”
Small class size.   Classes are limited to 35 students for individualized instruction and personal attention. Upper-level laboratory courses are limited to 16.
Students co-author papers and present at international conferences.   Working on research projects with our faculty gives students the opportunity to learn outside the classroom and interact with scientists from across the world.
Integrated and interdisciplinary curriculum.    We believe in fostering collaboration with students and faculty in other science majors for a broader perspective.
Jesuit education.   We treat students as individuals with a holistic concern for their well-being both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Preparing You For Personal & Professional Successplus or minus

    You'll learn how to:

    • Apply your mastery of content across the breadth of physiological sciences, including in the area of laboratory expertise
    • Critically evaluate biological data
    • Effectively apply the scientific method to topics of inquiry
    • Effectively communicate physiological information in writing
    • Effectively communicate physiological information orally

    Students work hand-in-hand with faculty research mentors. Students are also encouraged to attend and participate in local and national scientific meetings and conferences, allowing them to hone their scientific communication skills and network with other students and scientists from around the globe.

    Every physiology student is assigned a faculty advisor in their sophomore year who not only helps with course selections but becomes an extension of a student’s support system. They ask questions like 'How are things going?' or 'What do you want to do after you’re here?' Faculty advisors are there to help you understand your goals – and yourself – better.

    – Terrence Sweeney,
    Professor and Biology Department Chair

  • What You'll Learnplus or minus


    The B.S. in physiology is a lean, 120-credit major that provides a strong foundation in physiology while offering the flexibility for the student to tailor his/her degree to suit a variety of specializations. Integrated into the major are both the broad elements of the biological sciences and the foundations of anatomy and physiology. The curriculum includes an advanced Cellular and Integrative Physiology lecture and laboratory course and a new seminar-style course highlighting cutting edge investigative techniques in physiology. Finally, with a broad selection of upper-level courses spanning the breadth of physiology, the curriculum prepares the student for a vast array of continuing and emerging career paths in the biomedical arena and the physiological sciences.

    All physiology majors begin with a full year of General Biology lecture and laboratory, which provides an introduction to fundamental concepts in molecular and cellular biology, genetics and organismal form and functions.

    In the sophomore through junior years, students take 21 additional physiology credits from a diverse menu of choices including Advanced Human Anatomy, Cellular & Integrative Physiology and Experimental Approaches in Physiology.

    Two years of chemistry, a year of physics and mathematics through calculus are also required.

    Click here to see the curriculum. 

    Research Projects

    There are numerous opportunities to help faculty with their research as part of the Faculty/Student Research Program. Learn more about research opportunities in the Biology Department.

    Loyola Science Center

    Imagine learning in one of the most innovative science buildings in the country. Our Loyola Science Center has 22 classrooms and 34 glass-walled laboratories as part of a 200,000 square-foot facility. You’ll find dedicated spaces for informal gatherings, student group work, student research, mediated classrooms and labs with state-of-the-art equipment.

  • Pursue Your Passion and Make a Differenceplus or minus

    Wondering what you can do to tackle some of the biggest health challenges of our times? Too many of us know a loved one or friend battling chronic disease or cancer. Meanwhile, the rates of autism and attention-disorders are increasing. Maybe you just have a desire to cure the common cold after missing out on a favorite extracurricular activity last winter.

    Perhaps a favorite pet has inspired you to become a veterinarian or childhood memories of collecting shells on the beach has made you want to research marine life. Wherever your career compass points, biology can put you on the path to making your vocation your avocation - and making the world a better place in the process.  

    At Scranton, we offer significant service learning opportunities in our local community to put your knowledge to good use and improve the lives of others. As a Jesuit institution, we encourage students to develop a sense of responsibility for themselves and their community.


Where will Physiology Take Me?

A bachelor’s in physiology prepares one for advancement in many careers, including
the following:

• Medicine, incl. Veterinary Medicine
• Education
• Physical Therapy
• Physician Assistant
• Nurse Practitioner
• Pharmaceutical Research and Sales
• Governmental Healthcare Policy
• Research & Development
• Analytical Industrial Positions
• Science and Healthcare Writing & Promotion
• Masters & Doctoral Programs in
• Comparative & Human Physiology
• Exercise Science
• Pharmacology & Toxicology
• Environmental Adaptation
• Physiological Effects of Aging and Gender

Top Graduate Schools

A large number of our biology department graduates go on to medical school. Other alumni pursue graduate education in other areas of health sciences. Here are some of the leading graduate schools and universities which have admitted recent graduates:

  • Cornell University
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Jefferson Medical College
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Leading Employers:

Here are some of the organizations in the public and private sectors employing graduates of the biology department:

  • Abbott Labs
  • Becton Dickinson
  • Biomed Labs
  • Fisher Scientific
  • Lederle Laboratories
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Microtest Labs
  • Sanofi Pasteur
  • Yale University

How Scranton Gives You a Competitive Edge

Competitive Edge

One of the many things students tell us they love about Scranton is that our faculty members are very active in helping them achieve their career goals. As you walk across campus, you’ll often see students chatting with faculty.

Whether it’s advising or providing letters of references for a competitive graduate school or that dream job, faculty make it their priority to get to know each student on an individual basis. That deep level of understanding means that our faculty members are not only dedicated teachers and strong researchers but advocates for you professionally. 

Take the Next Step

Get the Facts

View PDF with Program Overview
& Curriculum

For More Information

Office of Admissions
The Estate
Scranton, PA 18510
1-888-SCRANTON or (570) 941-7540

Biology Department
Terrence Sweeney, Ph.D.
Biology Chair, Physiology Program Director
(570) 941-7623