New Name for Physiology Bachelor’s Degree at UA College of Medicine – Tucson

Changing the major’s name to Physiology and Medical Sciences and revising graduation requirements will give students an appreciation for the diversity of disciplines and careers supported by a foundation in physiology.

The Department of Physiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson has revised and renamed its bachelor’s degree program to better prepare students for future career opportunities in science, medicine and health-related fields.

Last April, the Arizona Board of Regents gave the final approval to change the undergraduate program name from Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences with a Major in Physiology to a Major in Physiology and Medical Sciences, effective this fall. In addition, the board approved revisions to graduation requirements.

Changes to the program include:

  • Eliminating the pre-physiology major, beginning in fall semester 2019. New students will start the program directly as Physiology and Medical Sciences majors.
  • Increasing the number of units required in the physiology major from 30 to 36 to better prepare graduates for careers in health care, research, education and industry.
  • Increasing the number of elective credits from 13 to 19 to bring the  major into better alignment with physiology programs at peer institutions.
  • Adding a new introduction to physiology course, “PSIO 101: Tackling Physiological Topics in Today’s Society.”

Physiology is the second-most popular major declared by incoming freshmen at the UA, with about 2,000 undergraduate students enrolled in the program. It is one of only two undergraduate programs in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and is the largest physiology program in the nation.

Students are interested in physiology education because it serves an excellent launching pad for a wide range of careers in science and medicine,” said Nicholas Delamere, PhD, physiology department head. The changes reflect a more broad-based focus as the department increasingly adds courses offered by different College of Medicine departments, including cellular and molecular medicine, pathology, immunobiology and pharmacology.

“Renaming and revising the physiology major addresses a more interdisciplinary approach to science, capitalizes on department and College of Medicine – Tucson strengths and puts the UA on par with physiology programs at peer institutions,” Dr. Delamere said.

The Department of Physiology Undergraduate Program Director Claudia Stanescu, PhD, who led the committee to change the major’s name and program, said the study of how the body works holds relevance for almost all health-care fields – not just pre-medicine, but allied health fields, such as physical therapy, dentistry and optometry. The Physiology and Medical Sciences Program will give students an appreciation for the diversity of disciplines and careers supported by a foundation in physiology, she said.

“Today’s graduates go out to a very different world,” Dr. Stanescu explained. “The knowledge base expected of graduates is different and broader. Admissions requirements for post-baccalaureate programs in the health professions have changed dramatically. These changes improve alignment of the program with the physiology and medical sciences today and better prepare graduates of the 2020s for their chosen careers.”  

About the UA College of Medicine – Tucson

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson is shaping the future of medicine through state-of-the-art medical education programs, groundbreaking research and advancements in patient care in Arizona and beyond. Founded in 1967, the college boasts more than 50 years of innovation, ranking among the top medical schools in the nation for research and primary care. Through the university’s partnership with Banner Health, one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country, the college is leading the way in academic medicine. For more information, visit medicine.arizona.edu

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