Welcome to the NST IA Physiology of Organisms website! Physiology of Organisms is one of three first-year biological subjects that can be taken by Natural Science students in the University of Cambridge. These pages are intended as a guide to the course, particularly for those students who are thinking of applying to Cambridge, or have just arrived and are trying to choose options. For those students who are already enrolled in Physiology of Organisms, course handouts can be found on the CamTools website.
Physiology of Organisms occupies an important central position amongst the three first-year biology subjects on offer at Cambridge: it provides a wider functional context for the material covered in Biology of Cells, and underpins the broader material covered in Evolution and Behaviour. It is a valuable introduction to a wide range of second-year biological options, and is of general interest to anyone curious about how the machinery underlying animal and plant life actually works.
Physiology is a broad and intellectually demanding subject. Part of the training of the physiologist is to learn to think about problems on a wider scale, considering the most recent advances in cell and molecular biology without losing sight of the whole organism. This challenging exercise will also train you to think about complex systems in general - useful, for example, in business management.
The Physiology of Organisms course does not assume knowledge of A2-level biology or any other course, although some background in biology, chemistry and physics will be useful. It provides a foundation for a wide range of second-year (NST Part IB) subjects including Animal Biology, Ecology, Neurobiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Plant and Microbial Sciences and, of course, Physiology.
For more information about the Physiology of Organisms course, please use the links on the left hand side.
Online resources are provided through the CamTools Site. You will automatically be subscribed to this site as part of the NST IA subject choice procedures but if you join the course after the start of term, send an email to email@example.com requesting that you are added to the course. You will need to use your Raven ID and password to log onto CamTools, which you will also be able to access during the vacation.
College libraries are the primary provision of the commonly-used part IA textbooks. College Librarians are provided with lists of recommended books for the course, and in conjunction with Directors of Studies will ensure, often by providing multiple copies, that there is an adequate provision of them, as well as responding to suggestions from users for the purchase of other books. All three departments contributing to the course (PDN, Plant Sciences and Zoology) also have departmental libraries which welcome studious part IA students to at least some areas. Borrowing of books is not usually allowed, and eating, drinking and talking is always forbidden. Please consult the libraries directly for full details (see right). Holdings of all University libraries can be searched using the Newton Catalogue.