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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BMSC1215 Life in the Extreme: Ultra Human Physiology

10 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr David Lewis

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

How much can the human body endure? How are we able to adapt and survive in alien and physically challenging environments? Our bodies may experience extremes of temperature and pressure; high speed, weightlessness and starvation as well as cope with self-inflicted extremes e.g. addiction and sleep deprivation. This module will explore the physiological basis of ‘life in the extreme’ and how by studying this we can understand better the human body and the roots of survival.


By the end of this module, students should have a basic understanding of human physiology and adaptation as it relates to extreme environmental and physical challenges.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module, students should be able to describe basic physiological functions relating to homeostasis under normal conditions and describe acute or chronic adaptive processes associated with perturbations provoked either by environmental or physical extremes.

Skills outcomes
- Time and workload management
- Independent working
- Reading and understanding scientific material


Syllabus to cover basic human physiology as it relates to homeostasis and the internal/external environment, the physiological response to extreme conditions such as hypo-/hyperthermia, high altitude, zero gravity, g-forces, diving and sleep deprivation. Module will also cover physiological consequences of physical extremes such as addiction, morbid obesity, starvation birth and death.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
In Course Assessment11.001.00
Independent online learning hours21.00
Private study hours60.00
Total Contact hours19.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Private study: students expected to spend 3 hrs extra reading per lecture = 60hrs
This to be checked with on-line formative MCQ with feedback

Course lectures to be consolidated and extended by on-line ‘Interactive Physiology’ and ‘Physio Ex’ = 12hrs

Use of MCQ’s, listening of podcasts and using other online extra material = 9 hrs

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

On-line formative tests will monitor satisfactory progress with notification to teaching staff of students failing such tests and provision of additional support to students in this category

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/07/2019


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