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2020/21 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOBS1125 Introduction to Physiology

20 creditsClass Size: 350

Module manager: Dr Charlotte Haigh

Taught: Semester 1 View Timetable

Year running 2020/21

Pre-requisite qualifications

Normally A level Biology and/or Chemistry

Module replaces

BMSC1110 Foundations of Biomedical Sciences

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces body systems, largely on a weekly basis, with an emphasis on how systems operate and interact. The idea that disease can disturb, or result from disturbances of, these systems will be introduced for each system.


By the end of this module, students should have a basic understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the main body systems, together with how pathology and pharmacology can alter them.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this module students should be able to:

- Describe the features and functions of body systems, specifically:
a) The skeleton and the musculoskeletal system;
b) Nerve conduction and transmission, and the basic plan of the central and peripheral nervous systems;
c) The organisation of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and how they carry oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the organs of the body;
d) The layout of the gastrointestinal system, and how different regions work together to digest and absorb foodstuffs, and excrete waste materials;
e) The structure of the renal system, how it excretes urine, and its role in water and electrolyte homeostasis;
f) At an introductory level, the processes involved in reproduction and the development of the foetus;
g) Explain a range of physiological concepts such as homeostasis, excitability and vectorial support;
h) Describe the theoretical basis underpinning a range of experimental approaches commonly used in physiology.

Skills outcomes
One of the key aims of this module is to help students move to a university-style approach to learning, with personal responsibility for organising their learning, and using a number of resources to synthesise an understanding of the subject material.


Students will cover, at an introductory level:
- The musculoskeletal system;
- The nervous system, including central and peripheral elements;
- The cardiovascular and respiratory systems;
- Haematology and basic immunology;
- The gastrointestinal system;
- The renal system;
- The reproductive system and the basics of embryology.

Students will be introduced to different approaches to studying physiological systems, including the value and limitations of different types of models.

Students will consider basic physiological principles such as homeostasis, excitability, and vectorial transport.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
In Course Assessment11.001.00
Independent online learning hours40.00
Private study hours116.00
Total Contact hours44.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent online learning: A range of resources from the 'Interactive Physiology' and 'PhysioEx' series will be used to back up lecture material, as well as links to learning resources on the web, online quizzes, etc.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Weekly on-line formative tests, and programme-specific tutorials, will ensure satisfactory progress throughout the module, and allow students to monitor their own progress. Feedback on the in course test, including both factual aspects and exam technique, will be provided prior to the main exam.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQ.20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)20.00

A significant part of the role of the in course test is to familiarise students with the style and standard of the questions to be used in the main exam. Therefore, if students miss it through mitigating circumstances, an attempt will be made to offer another opportunity to take it within the first semester. However, content will also be covered in the final exam, so if an attempt has not been possible before the main exam, the latter will count for 100% of the module mark.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) (S1)2 hr 00 mins80.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)80.00

As noted above, the final exam will cover the whole course curriculum.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 20/06/2019


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