Human & Applied Physiology




Full Time

| Admissions status: Open
Human & Applied Physiology enables students to gain a theoretical and practical understanding of the functioning of the muscular, respiratory and cardiovascular systems at rest and during exercise, including the effects of extreme environmental conditions on whole body physiology. Leads to careers in teaching and research, medicine, physiotherapy, health services, physical education.

  • The original and foremost programme in human and applied physiology in the UK.
  • Training in a wide variety of practical laboratory skills pertaining to human physiology.
  • A knowledge base of human physiology particularly relevant for careers in biomedical research and medicine.
  • Lectures from world leading experts in a variety of different fields.
  • Unique exposure of human physiology applied to aviation and military medicine only available at King's College London.
  • Located in the heart of London.


Student destinations
Our graduates go on to careers in academic teaching and research, medicine, clinical physiology, health services, sports science support, and research posts in industry or in Ministry of Defence Research Establishments.
Programme leader/s
Dr James Clark
Awarding Institution
King's College London
Credit value (UK/ECTS equivalent)
UK 180/ECTS 90
One year FT, September to September.
Guy's Campus; some projects and Field Trips may take place on non-campus locations.
Year of entry 2016
Offered by
Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine
Department of Physiology
Closing date
The deadline for applications is 01 April 2016 for 2016 entry. Prior to this date all applications will be given equal consideration and considered on their individual merits. After this date and up to 01 July 2016 applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.
12 FT.
FT Home: £10,500 (2016)
FT Overseas: £21,750 (2016)
Contact information
• Before you apply: via our Enquiry Form at
• After applying: use the messaging service at

Dr James Clark, Programme Director, Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences Tel +44 (0)20 7848 6333

Email Website

To equip graduate students in biomedical/life science and sport science with value added knowledge and skills that will enhance their understanding and expertise in human physiology in its broadest sense. For careers in academic research/teaching, medicine, physiotherapy, health services, sport science support, research posts in industry and Ministry of Defence research establishments.

The programme is run by the Centre of Human & Aerospace Physiological Sciences/ Department of Physiology. The MSc provides a theoretical and practical basis for explaining the functioning of the muscular, respiratory and cardiovascular systems at rest and during exercise. This extends to the effects of extreme environmental conditions on whole body physiology.

Programme topics are studied from both systemic and cellular/molecular perspectives in order that students have a good understanding of the breadth of investigative approaches employed in human physiology research.

There is a focus on a practical work and planning/running experiments using human subjects.

Core programme content
All taught components are required. Please see the module list.

Indicative non-core content
All taught components are required. Please see the module list.

Five taught modules comprising lectures, tutorials, and seminars and a significant practical component. There is also a research project which makes up 30 per cent of the MSc. Assessment is through unseen written exams (in January and May), written dissertations, poster presentations, practical write-ups and oral presentations.

More information on typical programme modules.
NB it cannot be guaranteed that all modules are offered in any particular academic year.

Teaching staff: 

Module Leader:
Dr Ged Rafferty

Module code: 7BBLM004
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 30
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 
Teaching pattern: Most weeks incorporate:
4 hours of Lectures
2 hours of Seminars supporting Laboratory Practical
Laboratory Practical on alternate weeks
Assessment:  written examination/s 

x1 3hr Unseen Written Exam (60%)

x1 15 min Laboratory Practical Oral Presentation (20%)

x1 1,500 Laboratory Practical Written Report (20%)

This module focuses on the function of the human cardiovascular and respiratory systems. The module aims to evaluate the mechanisms underlying the regulation of ventilation, cardiac output and blood pressure at rest and during exercise, and how these systems interact with the metabolic requirements of working muscles.
The module aims to provide practical experience in experimentation in human respiratory and cardiovascular physiology with knowledge of appropriate instrumentation, calibration and data acquisition and analysis.
Module code: 7BBLM008
Credit level: 7

This course will allow students to develop an in-depth knowledge of the literature concerning an area of topical interest in Human and Applied Physiology. This literature review, which will focus on topic distinct from that of the research project, will enable students to develop analytical, critical, organisational as well as presentational skills.
Module code: 7BBLM009
Credit level: 7

The research project makes up one third of the MSc programme. This provides students with an opportunity to undertake a research project either independently or in an active laboratory. The student will, in conjunction with their chosen research supervisor, plan and carry out experiments to test a hypothesis and to learn and develop laboratory and research skills.
Module code: 7BBLM006
Credit level: 7

In this course students will study human physiological function and performance under extreme conditions. This will include altitude and acceleration physiology and the other major stresses that occur in flight, as well as hyperbaric and marine physiology. Practical components of the course include experiments performed at the RAF Centre for Aviation Medicine, Henlow and the Institute of Naval Medicine, Alverstoke.
Module code: 7BBLM007
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 15
Semester:  Semester 2 (spring) 
Teaching pattern: Seminars
Assessment:  oral examination/s 

Essay and Oral Presentation

This lecture and seminar based course will focus on the heterogeneity of human physiological function. This will be from the extremes of the elite athlete to the frail elderly person, from the spinal cord injured subject to the obese individual. Among other topics, this course will consider issues concerning doping in sport and examine the importance of physical activity in population health and disease.
Teaching staff: Module leader
Profesor Steve Harridge
Module code: 7BBLM005
Credit level: 7
Credit value: 30
Semester:  Semester 1 (autumn) 
Teaching pattern: 

Most weeks incorporate:
4 hours of Lectures
Laboratory Practical on alternate weeks
2 hours of Seminars supporting each Laboratory Practical

The aim of this course is to provide detailed knowledge of the function of the human muscular system from the molecular to the whole muscle level. To give an understanding of the mechanisms underlying the contractile characteristics of muscle, the means by which it adapts to change in usage and how it fatigues.

The course will provide practical experience in experimentation in human muscle physiology from mechanical measures of whole muscle to practical experience in a molecular biology laboratory for the analyses muscle gene and protein expression.

General entry advice
Minimum 2:1, or overseas equivalent, in a biomedical or sport science related subject.
Enhanced criminal conviction check
Occupational Health clearance required?

To apply for graduate study at King's you will need to complete our graduate online application form. Applying online makes applying easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely.
King's does not normally accept paper copies of the graduate application form as applications must be made online. However, if you are unable to access the online graduate application form, please contact the relevant admissions/School Office at King's for advice.


You will be admitted on the basis of your academic ability, together with recommendations from academic referees, and usually following an interview. Places on the programme are limited and early applications are strongly encouraged.

We accept applications throughout the year and may offer places prior to the final date for applications, which is 30 June. Our aim is to process applications within two weeks, but overseas applications may take longer.


A personal statement explaining your reasons for wishing to undertake the course and full transcripts for all degrees you have undertaken are required. Please also list A-level subjects and the grades achieved. The transcript for each degree should list all modules taken and the grades achieved on each. Applicants who are still enrolled on a course should supply partial transcripts of the modules taken and grades achieved so far and should also supply a list of the modules that are currently being taken. Applicants who have not yet graduated should state the date when results are expected.

This programme is currently supported by The Colt Foundation. All home/EU students accepted on to the programme will be awarded a bursary of £1,000 towards the cost of the tuition fees.

Indian Master’s scholarships worth £5,000 are available for eligible applicants for this programme.
Further details of this and other scholarships for 2015 can be found here:

Student profiles

Human & Applied Physiology MSc

When looking around for a master’s course in physiology, King’s College London was an obvious choice. The Human and Applied Physiology MSc has a long and distinguished history. Having successfully completed the course, I would strongly recommend it to all those interested in the workings of the human body and its performance. The course content and teaching was truly excellent and far exceeded my already high expectations. I found myself not only learning about cutting-edge aspects of human physiology from world-class researchers, but also personally experiencing the physiological pressures of extreme environments such as hypergravity and hypobaria on some of our many exciting research excursions.

I particularly enjoyed the modules on skeletal muscle and very much wanted to pursue my interest in this area with a PhD. I had such a great time at King’s during my MSc that I was keen on staying and was delighted to be accepted on to a PhD programme in the recently established Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences (CHAPS) situated on Guy’s Campus. My PhD research centres on adult human primary muscle stem cells and their role in muscle growth, regeneration and ageing. I am now in the third year of a four year PhD and am still thoroughly enjoying it. As part of my PhD I have been encouraged to attend many international workshops and conferences to develop my skills and present work; so far this has taken me to places like Italy, India, France and Ireland. The impressive array of facilities and equipment at King’s has meant that I have always had ready access to state-of-the-art resources. When I finish my PhD I hope to continue my career in scientific research and one day make it to Professor!

Human & Applied Physiology MSc
Completing the Human and Applied Physiology MSc course at King’s College London was one of the most challenging yet rewarding years of my life. It was a remarkable and memorable course and one which I would whole heartedly recommend to anyone interested in physiology. Both the university and external guest lecturers are world class researchers in their field, affording an excellent standard of teaching which made even the most complex information easy to understand. It has also provided me with many amazing opportunities, including working in the environmental chamber at the University of Portsmouth with Professor Mike Tipton, experiencing up to +4Gz on the Human Centrifuge in Farnborough and visiting the RAF base in Henlow. These paired with the multiple practical laboratory sessions (covering several different aspects of human physiology including respiratory and muscle physiology and histochemistry) have allowed me to develop essential work based skills that have proven vital in achieving my dream job. I have learnt so much over the past year and I have been exposed to so many new opportunities and experiences. I am extremely grateful to all those involved in the Human and Applied Physiology course and at King’s College London.
Human & Applied Physiology MSc
I qualified as a doctor in 2010 and after working for two years wanted to go back and undertake some further study. Physiology was something that I had always enjoyed, and never really understood as well as I wanted to. The Human and Applied Physiology MSc was the only course that I found which offered such unique exposure to the various applications of the science in the real world. Relationships built over many years with the RAF, the University of Portsmouth’s Extreme Environments Laboratory and many other experts in their field gives MSc students an opportunity to immerse themselves and interact on a level I doubt can be replicated anywhere else.

This MSc is hard work, intense and challenging, physically as well as mentally! It is also a lot of fun and I doubt that I could have learned as much while enjoying myself quite so well anywhere else. After graduating (hopefully...) in September I’m off to an Accident and Emergency department and throwing myself back in to clinical work. Ultimately I want to train in Anaesthetics and will be able to put the extra physiology to good use, and maintaining the connections I have made through the last year I hope to continue with as much research as possible alongside my clinical work.