Anatomy Vs. Physiology: What's the Difference?

Anatomy and physiology are often taught together in the same course or adjacently within a degree program. Although they are similar and related, the two fields are inherently different. Read below to find out more.

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The Difference Between Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy vs. Physiology

Even though you can often find these two fields paired together in the same class or program title, they are not the same; but they do go hand in hand. Students of anatomy learn about the structure of body parts, while those enrolled in physiology study the functions and relationships of body parts.

Anatomy Degree Programs

Anatomy is typically a graduate program available at both the master's and doctoral degree levels. Courses include gross anatomy, microanatomy, biochemistry and embryology. Physiology and medical courses are included as well. Master's degree candidates must research and compose a thesis, while doctoral students participate in lab and research rotations, and may complete a dissertation.

Graduates of an anatomy program can work as healthcare educators, researchers or medical doctors, provided they use their anatomy degree to continue their studies in medical school. Jobs also exist in industry, government and biotechnology.

Physiology Degree Programs

Physiology programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and result in bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Class themes are generally the same regardless of degree level, and may include exercise physiology, biochemistry, microbiology and anatomy. Pre-medical courses are available as well. Master-level students participate in research and write a thesis. Doctoral-level students can complete teaching and research assistantships; they must also write a dissertation.

Those with a bachelor's degree are prepared for entry-level clinical and research positions in places such as hospitals, insurance companies and research laboratories. They can also move on to medical school or pursue graduate studies. Individuals with a graduate degree are prepared for careers in research, academia and exercise physiology at fitness and rehabilitation centers, schools and wellness centers.

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