Physiology and Pharmacology Undergraduate Program
Where will a degree in Physiology & Pharmacology take me?
The Physiology & Pharmacology program combines two key life science disciplines to provide a comprehensive understanding of the functions and mechanisms of actions of the major systems of the human body, and of the effects and mode of action of chemicals which modify the major systems of the body.
At the University of Saskatchewan you can study Physiology & Pharmacology in a close-knit environment. You will learn from well-regarded researchers, participate in labs that will help you synthesize information from many different classes. and learn how to think about the body as an amazingly sensitive system capable of responding an incredible range of environmental pressures without any conscious effort.
Studying Physiology & Pharmacology could be the start of a career in various health care fields. Following a 4-year or Honours B.Sc. degree, students may also choose to continue on to graduate work leading to a Masters or Ph.D. in Physiology or Pharmacology and a career as a research scientist.
To become a chiropractor you need at least ninety credit units of study at university. Most Doctor of Chiropractic programs are four years long; some take five years. Specific class prerequisites vary from none to about forty-five credit units of specific classes. Regardless of the specific requirements a strong background in biology, and chemistry, with some psychology is recommended by all the institutions. Many also require or recommend physics. While few schools require that applicants hold a bachelor degree, most successful applicants do. Some states require a bachelor degree in addition to the DC degree in order to become licensed. A physiology degree brings together the elements of the other life sciences into a better understanding of the whole organism that will complement the study of chiropractic.
Dietitians help people by evaluating their nutritional requirements, comparing these to the person’s current diet, and planning changes to the diet to improve the person’s health. According to Dieticians of Canada the number of dietitians who work in hospitals and the food service industry is declining in Canada, while the number of Dietitians in business for themselves is on the rise. Dieticians also get involved in education programs. This role of dieticians is increasingly important with obesity rats rising in North America and people becoming obese at younger ages than they used to. Education is also important because of way facts about food are presented out of context in headlines and sound bites.
While most programs to train dieticians only require 1 year of prior study, due to limited enrollment many people apply several times. Planing to work towards a physiology degree while applying to nutrition programs will teach you important foundational concepts such as energy balance regulation.
The application process for medical school is extremely competitive. It is uncommon to be accepted after the minimum 2 years of pre-med study. While a student could complete the prerequisite classes for admission into medicine while working toward any life science degree, physiology is a very good choice. The emphasis on functional understanding of the entire organism provided by a background in physiology is central to the medical sciences. It is physiological studies that allow learning in biochemistry and microbiology to be linked the homeostatic functioning of the entire organism. Physiology helps you understand why the structural organization learned in anatomy is the way it is. Structure and function are interdependent.
- Acupuncture: Puncturing the body with needles at specific points to cure disease or relieve pain
- Botanical medicine: Remedies derived from plants
- Homeopathy: The administration of very small doses of substances that produce symptoms similar to the condition the patient suffers from to stimulate the body to respond by restoring homeostasis.
- Physical treatments: The use of heat, cold, light, ultrasound, and massage
Are you interested in alternatives to established western medicine? Do you want to be part of a fast growing health care profession? Are you concerned that a “high-tech” solution may not always be the right solution? Ideas about health care that were once thought of as primitive are gaining credibility as researchers uncover the scientific basis for the effectiveness of acupuncture, homeopathy, and other traditional treatment methods. As a naturopathic doctor you can harness these methods to help patients with a wide range of health problems.
Naturopathic medicine emphasises determining the underlying cause of a patient’s aliment and removing obstructions to the natural healing process. A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) provides care that does not use invasive medical techniques or prescription medication. NDs are primary care givers that focus on treating the whole person. They take an extensive patient history and provide lifestyle counseling in addition to treatments.
Naturopathic medicine is licensed in thirteen states and four provinces, including Saskatchewan. To become a naturopathic doctor in these places you need at least ninety credit units –three years– of pre professional study followed by completing a four-year ND program at an accredited institution. Then you must pass a licensing exam called NPLEX. Physiology is a great field of study in which to develop the whole person approach to thinking about health that Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes. Several schools emphasize that having a larger number of anatomy and physiology classes than the minimum requirements for admission will give the applicant a better chance in the competitive admissions process.
By 2010 all licensed occupational therapists in Canada will require a masters degree. Many universities that previously offered a B.Sc. are in the process of changing their offerings. There are both clinical master degrees and research based master degrees in OT. The research-based master is intended for people who will continue on to get a Ph.D. You can apply to some Occupational Therapy programs with a minimum of sixty credit units of prior university study. Other programs are intended for people who already have a bachelor’s degree. If you plan to study occupational therapy after physiology you should use your electives to take introductory classes in psychology and sociology.
Perhaps you are interested in health care but are more interested in the interpersonal aspects than the sciences. Occupational Therapy is a field in which you can blend aspects of the natural sciences with the social sciences in a unique health related career.
Optometrists provide many types of vision care including prescribing glasses and contact lenses. Optometrists diagnose eye diseases such as glaucoma and ulcers. They may treat these conditions themselves, or refer the patient to an ophthalmologist, depending on how severe they are. They also treat visual skill problems such as difficulty moving or focusing the eye and provide pre- and post-operative care when eye surgery is required.
Becoming and optometrist requires at least two years of study before entry into a Doctor of Optometry program. The Physiology program will give you both the background in the life sciences and the basic physics necessary to start your studies of light and the eye.
Physical therapists work to prevent and treat movement dysfunction’s in their patients. This includes developing rehabilitation exercise programs for people recovering from injuries or who have chronic mobility problems and educating people about how to perform physical activities in a way that will not cause problems like repetitive use injuries. Physiotherapy is a synonym for physical therapy.
By 2010 a professional master’s degree will be the required entry-level qualification for physical therapists in Canada. Many universities are in the process of changing their program offerings. Prospective students should be sure to find ask about the timeline of the change from bachelor’s degree programs to the professional masters program. Some universities are structuring their programs so that they will offer both a professional master’s degree and a Master of Science degree. The professional master’s degree is intended for future clinicians while the M.Sc. is research oriented.
Most universities intend to keep the entrance requirements for the professional masters program similar to the requirements for their previous bachelor’s degree programs. two years prior study is the normal minimum, but many successful applicants have completed more than two years of prior study. In the U.S. a professional entry-level masters program is required. Although masters programs that accept people who do not have a bachelor’s degree are common, the American Physical Therapy Association advocates attending programs that require bachelor’s degree. Such programs are a good choice for physiology students because often the applicants major can be something other than physical therapy, such as physiology.
To work as a researcher you need at least a masters degree but unless you get a Ph.D. you will be part of someone else's research program. A Ph.D. and subsequently a post doctoral fellowship is required if you wish to be in charge of your own lab. Studying physiology here at the U of S positions you well to do graduate study in physiology. Only six universities in Canada offer a physiology undergraduate program. Physiology is not offered at the under graduate level in the U.S. The fourth year honors project is a good way for students curious about research to get some experience.
The Western College of Veterinary Medicine requires 60CUs or university course work to be completed before application. They note that most successful applicants in the past few years have had more than 2 full years of university. They also note that degrees or diplomas held are not considered in the admissions process. But if it is likely to take longer than just 2 years to get admitted, one may as well get an Arts and Science degree while their at it. WCVM is the most likely choice for students from Western Canada because most veterinary colleges will only take a small number of applicants form outside the region which they are intended to serve.
It is extremely important for the potential vet-med applicant to gain a significant amount of experience with animals and some veterinary experience through employment or volunteer work as enrolment is very competitive. Physiology is one of the few direct entry undergraduate programs involving live animal experience. The third year physiology lab has some animal experience with rats and frogs. With the right honours supervisor, the 4th year project could provide a great deal of animal experience to a potential vet student who ended up taking 4 years to get accepted.