The Wits School of Physiology has its home in the Faculty of Health Sciences, but is also a member School of the Faculty of Science. It is one of seven schools in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Prior to 2001, the School was known as the Department of Physiology.
The School is the largest and most prestigious entity teaching physiology in South Africa, and indeed on the continent, and many of its graduates hold high-profile and prestigious appointments both in South Africa and around the globe. The School also plays a major role in the activities of the Physiology Society of Southern Africa where its members have served as Chair or Deputy Chairpersons of the Society. In international physiological circles, three of its members have been the only South Africans who have served on Commissions of the Internal Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS) and two are full members of the UK Physiological Society, arguably the leading physiological society in the world. Members of staff also serve on the National Committees for the IUPS and the International Brain Research Organisation. Senior academic staff have been, and continue to be, active each year as external examiners and evaluators of courses offered in physiology at other institutions in South Africa, and act as evaluators for the National Research Foundation of South Africa and the Medical Research Council of South Africa.
The School plays a critical role in the Faculty of Health Sciences since all undergraduate students in the Faculty are taught by the school for at least one full academic year, and many students for more than that. Moreover, 40% of all biological sciences BSc graduates in the Faculty of Science, and 25% of all BSc graduates in that Faculty, have physiology as a major subject at graduation. All in all, the School teaches almost 1 000 students per year; thus about 1 in 25 of all students registered in the entire University are registered for a course in the School of Physiology at any one time.
The School has long been a major research centre within the University, and is well equipped and supported financially by the South African statutory funding bodies (Medical Research Council and National Research Foundation), as well as by private institutions, the business 3 community and the University. The School is pleased to be home to one of only two NRF A1-rated physiologists in the country.