The American Physiological Society (APS) was founded in 1887 with 28 members. Of them, 21 were graduates of medical schools, but only 12 had studied in institutions that had a professor of physiology. Today, the APS has 10,500 members, most of whom hold doctoral degrees in medicine, physiology or other health professions. APS's mission then, as now, is to support research, education, and circulation of information in the physiological sciences.
The American Physiological Society was founded at a time when very few physiological laboratories existed in America and there were few investigators. The newly established society was one of the earliest national disciplinary societies in the sciences, the first society in the biomedical sciences, and the first to require its members to publish original research. The stated object of the Society was to promote the advancement of physiology and to facilitate discourse among American physiologists. Even in 1887 there was a conscious effort to ensure representation of all areas within physiology, encompassing topics as diverse as neurology, psychology, ophthalmology, pathology and therapeutics, as well as plant physiology and animal biology. Today there are a variety of membership categories for those at all interest levels and ages.