LSC AtriumThe Department of Cellular & Physiological Sciences at UBC offers an undergraduate BSc degree in Honours Cellular, Anatomical & Physiological Sciences (CAPS). Courses are offered in human structure and function with emphasis in nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and gastrointestinal systems. The overarching goal of our undergraduate teaching is to provide interdisciplinary training in life and health sciences. This prepares students for careers in the academic, biotechnology or medical fields. Our Honours students spend a year carrying out a research project under the supervision of a research faculty member that forms the basis of a graduating Honours thesis. In addition, students may choose to do a 12-16 month Cooperative Education program, working in a research laboratory as part of their undergraduate training.

As of winter session 2013, the Honours Physiology BSc specialization is renamed to Honours Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences.


Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate Prizes

What will you be studying?

How living systems work from the molecular level to organ systems to the whole organism.
How the organism responds to physical activities and to the environment around it whether it is the vacuum of space or the depths of the ocean?
How disease can affect living systems?
How the genome translates into function both within the cell and the whole organism?

The history of the field of study

Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences are important because they are the basis upon which we expand our knowledge of what “life” is, how to treat disease, and how to cope with stresses imposed upon our bodies by new environments The history of the field can be traced to Aristotle in the 4th century B.C., but the science in its modern form began to develop with the Renaissance. The American Physiological Society was formed in 1887; the Canadian Physiological Society in 1935. Over the last century, the field has grown at a constantly accelerating rate, diversifying into many specialized areas. Most recently, advances in molecular biology have provided new techniques for investigating physiological processes at cellular and sub cellular level such as signal transduction, membrane transport, muscle contraction, electrolyte regulation, endocrine function and neural conduction. New findings challenge older concepts as scientists probe the molecular levels where structure and function become synonymous. Knowledge of the normal human structure and function helps scientists understand what goes wrong in disease, leading to the development of new strategies for prevention and treatment. The highest honor awarded in Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, awarded since 1901 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.


A B.Sc. degree in Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences allows you to work in many different settings under the supervision of a senior scientist. If you are aspiring to the level of and independent investigator and teacher, you should plan to obtain a M.Sc., Ph.D. or M.D. degree. Work settings including colleges or universities allow for teaching students in anatomy, physiology, biology, medicine, dentistry, and other health fields and conducting research and guiding doctoral candidates who will become the teachers and investigators of the future. If you prefer full time research you can find rewarding positions in government laboratories, industry, hospitals, and clinical settings.

Solid preparation for clinical fields

Many undergraduates in Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences chose to continue their education in medical, dental and veterinary schools where cellular, anatomical and physiological sciences are the prominent and necessary knowledge base.

The preceding information is adapted from the American Physiological Society.