The Department of Human Physiology

Human physiology is the science of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of humans, their organ systems, organs, and the cells of which they are composed. The basic principle that provides the foundation for the study of human physiology is the maintenance of homeostasis through the operation of complex control systems encompassing all levels of the hierarchy of human structure and function (i.e., cells, tissues, organs, and organs systems).  Therefore, each course in the curriculum emphasizes an integrated study of humans across this hierarchy of structure and function. Consequently, a reductionist approach of separating the curriculum into specific courses such as "molecular physiology," "cell physiology," "histology," or "organ physiology," has been purposely avoided. Topics covered across the revised degree include:

  • General Physiological Concepts: body organization, homeostasis, control systems, biochemistry, cell structure, cell function, histology, metabolism, membranes, and cellular communication.
  • Systems Physiology: neurophysiology, muscular physiology, cardiovascular physiology, respiratory physiology, renal physiology, fluid and acid-base physiology, digestive physiology, endocrinology, immunology, and reproductive physiology.
  • Integrative Physiology: exercise physiology, environmental physiology, physiology of aging, biomechanics, and nutrition.
Click here for information about careers in physiology, in general, and human physiology in particular.

A degree in Human Physiology from Gonzaga requires students develop analytical thinking skills, knowledge of scientific principles and the research process, and an ability to communicate their knowledge to others. Gonzaga's Department of Human Physiology seeks to develop critical thinkers and scientists who are capable of graduate study in disciplines grounded in the study of human anatomy and physiology and form the foundation for careers in health science, allied health sciences, research, teaching and private industry.

Most Gonzaga students that have graduated from our program pursue graduate study and/or training necessary for a variety of careers. These possible careers are represented by the graduate and professional schools listed below that have accepted our graduates. Another representation of who are students are exists in their current career aspirations. As of Fall 2012, our 145 of our 175 majors responded to our survey on career goals indicating their interest in pursuing the following careers: Physical Therapist - 52 %, Physician - 17 %, Physician's Assistant - 14 %, Other - 17 % (including Occupational Therapist, Sports Medicine, Pharmacist and others).

Graduate and professional programs and institutions that have accepted our graduates include:

* Our graduates have also been employed in a variety of fields and organizations, including Coeur d'Alene Physical Therapy (Coeur d'Alene, ID); In Motion Physical Therapy, Performance Physical Therapy, and Holy Family Hospital Rehabilitation Services (Spokane, WA); the US Army Institute of Environmental Medicine (Natick, MA); and the Mayo Clinic Hospital (Phoenix, AZ). *