Brigham Young University Homepage

Undergraduate Catalog

2013 - 2014

Physiology and Developmental Biology

Dixon J. Woodbury, Chair
575A WIDB, (801) 422-7562

Life Sciences Student Services
380 WIDB, (801) 422-3042

Admission to Degree Program

All degree programs in the Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology are open enrollment.

The Discipline

Physiology is the study of the functions of the body systems. Developmental biology is the study of how specific genes govern differentiation of cells, tissues, and organs with unique structure and functions. Both disciplines require a firm foundation of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and cellular biology. The related area of biophysics uses the methods of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology to investigate the physical basis of life.

Upper-division courses require synthesizing and integrating information from many areas of science to allow understanding of such remarkable processes as how the heart pumps blood, how neurons communicate with one another, how insulin regulates blood sugar, and how specific gene products determine the morphology and functional capacity of the nervous system. Knowledge in these areas is expanding rapidly as new techniques are applied in molecular biology. Hence, significant exposure to the concepts and techniques of molecular biology is an important component of the major.

Career Opportunities

A major in physiology and developmental biology prepares students to pursue advanced degrees in either the biological sciences or nonbiological fields or to enter directly into employment. This major provides outstanding preparation for students seeking admittance into professional programs in medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, chiropractic, or pharmacy. Students who have aspirations of doing health-related research will find a challenging, thorough preparation for entrance into graduate programs and beyond. Graduates of the program will also have the academic and laboratory skills necessary for employment in medical, biotechnological, and pharmaceutical industries. This degree offers students pursuing advanced degrees in business, public management, or law the knowledge and training necessary to be admitted into professional schools and work in governmental agencies, health care and biotechnical industries, and patent or health care law.

Graduation Requirements

To receive a BYU bachelor's degree a student must complete, in addition to all requirements for a specific major, the following university requirements:

  • The university core, consisting of requirements in general and religious education. (See University Core for details. For a complete listing of courses that meet university core requirements, see the current class schedule.)
  • At least 30 credit hours must be earned in residence on the BYU campus in Provo as an admitted day student
  • A minimum of 120 credit hours
  • A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0
  • Be in good standing with the Honor Code Office

Undergraduate Programs and Degrees

Students should see the Life Sciences Student Services for help or information concerning the undergraduate programs.

Note: For the neuroscience program, see the Neuroscience Center section.

Graduate Programs and Degrees

MS and PhD degrees are offered. For information see the BYU 2013–2014 Graduate Catalog and the Web page for the College of Life Sciences.