University of Scranton Offers New Major in Physiology in Fall of 2017

Jun 29, 2017

Beginning in the fall 2017 semester, The University of Scranton will offer a new major in physiology, which is a field of biology that focuses on the functions of organisms, ranging from the functions of single-cells to human functions to interactions of animals with their environment. Students graduating with this major may go on to pursue careers as a physician, physical therapist or physician’s assistant, or pursue additional study or research in the fields of pharmacology and toxicology, comparative and human physiology or exercise science, among other areas. In addition to graduate and medical degree programs, the physiology major will provide students with lab research proficiency and technical skills that can be applied to a variety of job settings.

“The physiology major provides the student with the flexibility to tailor his or her degree to a variety of specializations, while still providing a solid core foundation in anatomy and cellular and integrative physiology,” said Terrence Sweeney, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Biology Department at Scranton. “The curriculum also incorporates active-learning practices and environments that engage students both inside and outside the classroom.”

Examples include the Extreme Physiology courses offered through the program, which allow students to study the effects of aerobic training on human health and performance by applying laboratory fitness testing and human physiology concepts to themselves and classmates as they participate in outdoor aerobic activities that includes biking, running and hiking. A majors-level Extreme Physiology course is offered in alternate years as a January travel course to Arizona. A new local version, Extreme Physiology, NEPA Edition, a natural science elective for non-science majors, highlights the natural environment surrounding Scranton and introduces students to local opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship.

Other courses in this major include required classes and labs in general biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and advanced human anatomy and physiology, and electives such as Comparative Biomechanics, Pathophysiology, Cardiovascular Physiology and Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, among others. Students can also pursue research projects related to physiology through the University’s Student Faculty Research Program.

Dr. Sweeney also noted that as part of the program, each student will be partnered with a faculty advisor beginning in their sophomore year, which will allow for one-to-one guidance for career, curriculum and research choices.

For additional information, contact Dr. Sweeney at or call 570-941-7623.

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