SHE Level 1
SCQF Credit Points 40.00
ECTS Credit Points 20.00
Module Code M1B126370
Module Leader Allison Grant
School School of Health and Life Sciences
Subject Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • A (September start)-B (January start)

Summary of Content

This module provides introductory material in fundamental anatomical and physiological concepts and terminology before presenting the physiology and related anatomy of the key body systems: the nervous system, muscles, bones and joints, the special senses, the endocrine and reproductive systems, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the gastrointestinal system and the renal system.


Trimester A: Introduction to anatomy, anatomical terminology and body systems. Tissues, organs and body compartments. Homeostasis and physiological regulation; body fluid compartments, composition and exchange. Endocrinology: the principal structures of the endocrine system and the hormones they release; hypothalamus and pituitary gland; anterior and posterior pituitary hormones; thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas. The hormonal control of reproduction and the structure and function of the principal organs of reproduction. Nervous system: general anatomy of the central and peripheral nervous systems; somatic and autonomic divisions; protective mechanisms; role of glial cells; neuronal structure; nerve conduction; synaptic transmission including receptor types; factors influencing transmission. Muscle physiology: structure of the skeletal muscle cell; skeletal muscle activation and contraction; characteristics of contraction; the neuromuscular junction. Joints and their function. Special senses: the anatomy and physiology of special senses; the role of each in integration of body function. Trimester B: Cardiovascular system: gross and internal anatomy of the heart; the cardiac cycle and blood flow; intrinsic and extrinsic control over heart activity; ECG (normal and abnormal traces); anatomy and function of blood vessels; vascular resistance; regulation of blood pressure; disorders of the cardiovascular system. Blood and immunity: composition of whole blood; functions of plasma; red blood cells, haemoglobin and gas transport; factors affecting gas transport; oxygen saturation curves; platelets and blood clotting; some features of general defence mechanisms; the different types of white blood cells; phagocytes and phagocytosis; the roles of T- and B-lymphocytes in immunity; the different types of antibody and their functions; primary and secondary immune responses; the nature of artificial versus natural and active versus passive immunity. Respiratory system: anatomy of the respiratory system; pulmonary circulation; mechanism of ventilation; autonomic control of airway resistance; factors affecting work of breathing; exchange of gases in the alveoli and in the tissues; obstructive and restrictive disease; regulation of ventilation; measurement of lung function. Renal system & body fluids: Principles of fluid and electrolyte balance; structure and function of kidneys (including microstructure of a nephron); renal processes and regulation of filtration, reabsorption and secretion; control of salt, water and acid base balance by the kidneys; consequences of renal failure. Digestive system: basic nutrition; structure and function of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, including accessory organs (pancreas, liver, gall-bladder); mechanical and chemical digestion of carbohydrates, fats and proteins; absorption of end products of digestion (monosaccharides, fatty acids and amino acids); neural and hormonal control of gastrointestinal function.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:1. Collect, analyse, interpret and present data from physiological experiments.2. Collect, analyse, interpret and present information from topics current in physiological life science.3. Explain the nature of structure-function relationships in the tissues, organs and systems of the body.4. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding related to syllabus content.5. Recognise and explain the underlying changes in normal physiological function that underpin some common diseases. 6. Demonstrate competence, confidence and safe practice in undertaking physiological experiments in a laboratory setting

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The course material is presented to students using a variety of techniques ranging from traditional lectures to independent learning with the learning objectives of each section of the syllabus clearly outlined in GCU Learn. Fundamental information is presented in lectures with lecture notes placed on GCU Learn. More conceptually difficult aspects of the course involve interactive learning through tutorial, laboratory and e-learning activities. The tutorial programme aims to encourage students to think critically about material presented in lectures and promote independent learning. Practical classes reinforce the material presented in lectures and develop a variety of practical skills, data analysis and the ability to work within a team.

Indicative Reading

Martini, Nath and Bartholomew (2018) Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology 11E Pearson Benjamin Cummings

Transferrable Skills

-106 Communication skills: essay writing, short answer writing, tutorial discussions and presentations. Group work. Effective listening and note-taking skills. Information retrieval skills: use of core textbook and other texts, and the accessing of on-line materials and other resources Laboratory skills: accurate observation and measurement; safe laboratory practice; recording techniques; teamwork Data interpretation skills: interpretation and analysis of experimental results Life skills: self-motivation and independent learning; self-confidence; teamwork/organisational skills; IT skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (FT) 66.00
Tutorials (FT) 22.00
Practicals (FT) 30.00
Independent Learning (FT) 262.00
Assessment (FT) 20.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 15.00 35% Lab report style written piece - 1200 words
Course Work 02 n/a 15.00 35% Essay style written piece - 1200
Exam 01 2.00 35.00 35% Unseen objective style exam
Exam 02 2.00 35.00 35% Unseen objective style exam