University of Otago.Department of Physiology.Department of Physiology.

Physiology TV

An overview of Physiology at the University of Otago.


17th May, 2018

BMS Postgraduate Colloquium

Congratulations to all the students who presented at the BMS Postgraduate Colloquium this week.

11th April, 2018

PCOS research featured in the news

The latest exciting findings from Assoc Prof Rebecca Campbell's lab into the role of brain signalling in polycystic ovary syndrome was featured on RadioNZ on 10th April.

14th March, 2018

Is a man's grey matter the same as a woman's? The documentary features Professor Allan Herbison and Dr Jenny Clarkson and was made with the support of NZ on Air.

9th February, 2018

Dahlia based diabetes drug developed by Physiology researcher ready for human trials

In partnership with Plant and Food Research, researchers will soon begin human trials of a drug made from dahlias.

9th January, 2018

Otago breakthrough in diabetic heart disease

The molecule responsible for heart disease in diabetics has been identified by University of Otago researchers, greatly improving chances of survival.

Next Event

2nd July, 2018

Dr Justin Deniset (University of Calgary)

PhD Programme.


Postgraduate Physiology is enjoyable and rewarding. The main aim of 400-level BSc(Hons), 4th year BBiomedSc(Hons), PGDipSci and 1st year MSc is to introduce you to the realities and excitement of research. Alternatively, you can see if the next step of a PhD is for you.

4th Year Honours, PGDipSci,1st year MSc, BMedSc (Hons) and MMedSc in Physiology

There are various options for postgraduate study in Physiology. If you are interested in carrying out a research project and 400-level qualification in the Department of Physiology in 2018, you should apply during semester 2 of 2017.

How to Apply

Have a look at the list of possible projects available in the Postgraduate booklet.

Talk to the academics that are offering the projects you are interested in to find out more about the project itself and see if it is suitable for you. If you are not doing your undergraduate degree at Otago, email academics and arrange to speak to them on the telephone.

Decide which projects you would like to be considered for (you can nominate three at the most) and which qualification you would like to apply for.

Fill in an application form and Flow Chart outlining 400-level entry to physiology postgraduate study, and hand it in to Tracey in the Physiology Administration Office, G38 by 24 November 2017. Late applications may be considered if there are projects still available, however, there is generally a waiting list for the more popular projects.

What Happens Next

Tracey will give a copy of your application form and academic record to the academic/s you are interested in working with.

All students will be informed by email by mid-December regarding their application, so ensure you check your email regularly around this time.

Formal application for entry into 400-level BSc Honours or PGDipSci must be completed online via e:Vision as soon as possible after Tracey has let you know your application has been successful. Once we confirm admission to the Administrator of the Division of Sciences, the decision will be available on e:Vision.

Invitation into the BBiomedSc (Hons) programme comes from the Dean of the OSMS, once 3rd year results are known. Acceptance into the programme is dependent on securing a supervisor in the Physiology Department. Formal application into the BBiomedSc (Hons) programme follows invitation into the programme from the Dean of the OSMS.

400-level Qualifications

Bachelor of Sciences Honours [BSc (Hons)]

120-point degree: dissertation (PHSL 490, 60 points), a research topics paper (PHSL 474, 20 points) and two of three papers (PHSL 471, Systematic Physiology; 472, Neurophysiology; 473, Cellular Physiology; 20 points each). Neuroscience BSc(Hons) students may carry out their research project in physiology and often enrol in PHSL472 and 474.

Prerequisites: Completion of five papers of 300-level (four in PHSL 300 and the fifth an approved 300-level science paper) achieving at least a B+ average in the four PHSL 300-level papers. A further two papers at 200-level or above is recommended.

Postgraduate Diploma of Science [PGDipSci]

Prerequisites: BSc including at least a B average (B+ average recommended) in four of PHSL 341, 342, 343, 344, 345 or equivalents.

120-point degree (that can be taken part-time) including a research project (PHSL 480, 40 points), a research topics paper (PHSL 474, 20 points) and three papers that look at specific areas of research in Physiology, PHSL 471, 472, 473 (20 points each).

Note: PHSL 490 (60 points) research dissertation in place of PHSL 480 is possible. The 60-point research dissertation is required if intending direct entry into a PhD.

Prerequisites: BSc including at least a B average (B+ average recommended) in four of PHSL 341, 342, 343, 344, 345 or equivalents.

Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences Honours [BBiomedSc (Hons)]

120-point programme, comprising a Research Thesis (research proposal, literature review, final thesis worth a total of 85% of the course) and course work worth 15% of the final mark.

Entry is by invitation from the Dean and requires an average grade of at least B+ for the four prescribed 300-level papers. Students must have taken seven papers at 200-level or above during their 3rd year.

Masters of Science (MSc):

(can be taken part-time)

Prerequisite for first year MSc: BSc including at least a B average (B+ average recommended) in four of PHSL 341, 342, 343, 344, 345 or equivalents.

Prerequisite for second year MSc: completed 1st year Masters, or PGDipSci.

400-Level FAQ

What is the cost of living like in Dunedin? The University of Otago offers a detailed website that gives information about the cost of living in Dunedin. It should be noted that the costs of flatting quoted on the website are for shared accommodation with other flatmates.

When should I start my application process? Applicants are encouraged to apply to the Department as soon as possible, so that documentation can be vetted by your prospective supervisor and by the Department?s Research Committee. After approval by the Department, the University's application processing time can be up to four weeks for coursework programmes, and up to three months for programmes that are research only.

What is life in Dunedin like? Dunedin is a small city of around 120,000 people located on the lower east coast of New Zealand's South Island. Dunedin is in close proximity to pristine beaches and rugged mountains. More information about life in Dunedin can be found on the Department of Physiology website and the University of Otago website.

Do I require medical insurance if I am an international student? International students in New Zealand are required to be insured against a range of events including medical, personal liability, loss of personal effects etc. Insurance can be purchased overseas, but needs to fulfill certain criteria. Alternatively insurance can be purchased from a provider chosen by the University or other New Zealand insurance companies that meet the criteria required. More information can be found here.

Are there English language requirements? Yes, click here for more information.

Do I need to have a minimum grade average to be accepted? For entry requirements into BSc Honours, BBiomedSc Honours, PGDipSci or MSc, please read the Department of Physiology's course information handbook for 400-level.

If you still have questions, please contact:

Tracey Fleet
Departmental Administrator
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
Telephone: +64 3 479 7317

Having a Summer Research Scholarship opened up a lot more opportunities for me to explore my career potentials. I strongly recommend taking up this opportunity because it definitely gave me the confidence and skills essential for my future endeavors.

Aye Thaung - Summer Research Student 2010/2011