Animal Physiology - Course Advice - Biological Sciences - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Studying Animal Physiology at Canterbury

geckoAnimal physiology is the study of the physical and chemical processes that occur within animals—in other words, how animals work!

Animal physiology is concerned with such topics as gas exchange, blood and circulation, osmoregulation, digestion, nervous and muscle systems and endocrinology.

Career paths

Graduates specialising in Animal Physiology can find teaching and research careers in hospitals, schools of medicine, universities, pharmaceutical laboratories and crown research institutes.
They may also work in fields as diverse as conservation, the food industry, fisheries and aquaculture concerns and in the sports industry.


  • BSc (Hons) - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers and a research project.
  • PGDipSc - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers.
  • MSc - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers (part I), followed by a one year research project (part II), written up as a thesis.
  • PhD - Students complete a 3 year research project written up as a thesis. Entry is after successful completion of either BSc(Hons) or an MSc.

Planning Your Degree

Below is a guide to help you select courses that will give you a well rounded degree in animal physiology.

Year 1


  • BIOL 111 Cellular Biology & Biochemistry
  • BIOL 112 Ecology, Evolution & Conservation
  • BIOL 113 Diversity of Life
  • BCHM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry [1] (aka CHEM 112)
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]
  • STAT 101 Statistics 1


Year 2


  • BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis
  • BIOL 250 Principles of Animal Physiology


Year 3


  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 351 Cell Biology 2
  • BIOL 354 Animal Ecophysiology
  • BIOL 355 Neurons, Hormones and Behaviour


[1] If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112.
[2] MATH101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 maths credits.
[3] BIOL309 is essential for postgraduate biology.