This module considers the physiological function of the major mammalian organ systems. With an emphasis on the human body, this course asks: How do the major body organs and systems work - both alone and in communication with one another? Using a combination of explanatory lectures and laboratory practical sessions, you will learn the function and control of: The cardiovascular system, including the actions of the heart and control of arterial blood pressure and blood flow; the respiratory system; the kidney and control of body fluid volume and composition; the gastrointestinal system as well as reproductive physiology. In each system the specific neural and hormonal control mechanisms are carefully considered.
The course consists of 3 lectures per week together with 3 practical classes and 5 problem solving sessions over the term. It is examined by continuous assessment of the practicals, a mid-term exam and a 2-hour MCQ examination at the end of the course.
Course Co-ordinators: Dr Alison Jack (firstname.lastname@example.org) Dr Steve Tucker (email@example.com)
The specific aims of BI25B2 are:
•To define the roles of the stomach; small and large intestines; liver and pancreas, and explain how they are controlled by nerves and hormones.
•To explain the ways in which the heart is enabled to produce a controlled and variable flow of blood into the aorta, that matches the variable demands of the human body.
•To describe the flow of blood and it’s distribution to organs according to energy requirements.
•To explain the functions of the cardiovascular system regulated by the nervous system and other mechanisms
•To explain the physical forces which distribute air in the lungs with each breath and the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide from lung to tissue.
•To explain both the neural and chemical control of lung ventilation and how it is adjusted to meet specialised needs.
•To describe the distribution of body water and electrolytes and explain the role of the kidney in regulating extra cellular fluid volume and composition.
•To describe the processes of human reproduction and their hormonal control in both male and female.
The expected Outcome is that the student will gain the core knowledge to:
1.Describe the processes of digestion and absorption of foodstuffs and the secretory role played by each part of the alimentary system.
2.Describe and explain the function and control of the cardiovascular system.
3.Know how the intake and distribution of oxygen (as well as the removal of unwanted carbon dioxide) is achieved and how it is controlled, by feedback mechanisms, according to demand.
4.Understand the role of the kidney in the control of extracellular fluid (ECF) volume and composition.
5.Outline the control mechanisms of male and female human reproductive processes from the embryo to birth.
6.Prepare a written report using common word processing, and data handling packages.
7.Demonstrate the variabilities that exist between individuals by comparing class data.
First meeting & introduction to course (Dr Alison Jack & Dr Steve Tucker)
Introduction to course, explanation of assessment criteria and distribution of course materials.
The Digestive System (Dr Gordon McEwan)
The role of the digestive system is the conversation of dietary proteins, fats and carbohydrates into simpler molecules, which can be absorbed into the body for tissue repair or as substrates for oxidative metabolism to release energy. This is achieved by the activity of the muscles of the tract itself and secretion of enzymes and electrolytes from both the tract and its accessory glands. The control of both movements and secretory activity by neural and endocrine systems is studied in detail.
1. Anatomical Overview:
•Describe the basic cross-sectional structure.
•Understand the varied functions reflected by varied anatomy.
•Outline the various types of co-ordinated smooth muscle motility e.g. peristalsis, segmentation.
•Understand salivation - Autonomic control; different types of saliva with a variety of functions; beginning of enzymatic activity; ionic transport phenomena to elaborate saliva in duct/in acini.
•Describe the functions of the different regions
•Understand the motility patterns/secretory events and their control; both neurally/humorally.
•Describe the details of cellular events in elaboration of HCl.
3. Pancreas and Liver:
•Describe the neural/humoral control of secretions of enzymes (catalogued) and of bicarbonate, especially the cellular mechanisms underlying the latter.
•Discuss the Gall bladder in terms of: Location, function, mechanisms of water reabsorption; the role of bile; mechanisms of emulsification.
•Describe the anatomy of the liver.
•Outline the importance and nature of hepatic circulation.
•Understand the necessity to reabsorb and re-use bile salts.
•Describe the cellular production of bile.
4-5. Small and Large Intestine:
•Describe the functions of the intestines, especially:
•Breakdown and reabsorptive strategies for carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
•Storage; water reabsorption.
The Cardiovascular System (Dr Stephen Davies)
A series of lectures that introduces the human cardiovascular system, the principal transport system of the body for nutrients and gases. This system is much more clever than your average central heating system. It continually monitors the needs of the body and then finely controls the output of the pump and the properties of the vessels to alter the destination of the blood - and it all comes with a lifetime guarantee.
1. Overview of the function of the CVS
•Define the function of the CVS
•Illustrate the overall structure of the heart and the cardiovascular system
•Justify the significance of pressure, resistance and capacitance in the CVS
•Explain the functions of elastic, resistance, exchange and capacitance vessels
2. Electrical activity in the heart
•Describe the initiation and spread of electrical activity throughout the heart
•Correlate the various components of the electrocardiogram with events in
3. The cardiac cycle
•Illustrate the sequence of pressure and volume changes in the chambers of the heart during the cardiac cycle
•Explain the generation of the heart sounds (phonocardiogram)
•Interpret the pressure volume loop
4. Cardiac output
•Describe how cardiac output can be measured
•Explain the extrinsic factors controlling heart rate
•Explain the extrinsic and intrinsic factors controlling stroke volume
5. Pressure and flow in arteries and veins
•Explain the origin of the Korotkoff sounds and their use
•Describe how blood pressure and flow changes and throughout the vascular tree
•Indicate the factors affecting pressure and flow in veins
6. The microcirculation and regulation of the peripheral circulation
•Outline the process involved in transport between capillaries and tissues
•Justify the importance of the blood-brain barrier
•Explain the significance of Starling's forces and the lymphatic system in relation to oedema
•Justify the importance of Poiseuille's Law in relation to the control of resistance
•Define autoregulation, functional hyperaemia, reactive hyperaemia
•Identify the various neural, hormonal and local factors affecting arteriolar tone
•Describe the dominant factors controlling arteriolar tone in brain, cardiac muscle, skeletal muscle and pulmonary tissue
7. Central control of the circulation
•Explain the relationship between cardiac output, total peripheral resistance and mean arterial pressure
•Define the components and function of the arterial baroreflex
•Describe the role of the arterial baroreflex in the CVS response to changes in posture and the Valsalva maneuvre
Respiratory Physiology (Dr Alison Jack)
The blood is an important vehicle for transport of a wide range of physiologically-significant substances, the most vital being the supply of oxygen to the cells of the body which require the gas for energy production via oxidative metabolism. Oxygen is acquired by the lungs which make up the main part of the respiratory system. As such the mechanical aspects of lung ventilation will be studied in detail, together with the transport of both oxygen and the carbon dioxide released as an end-product of oxidative metabolism. Neural and chemical control of respiratory activity are also discussed as are the effects of breathing at altitude and underwater.
1. Processes of Respiration:
Breathing to supply 02 to tissues and remove C02 produced.
Gas exchange areas.
Airway resistance and gas flow.
Lung volumes and their measurement using spirometry.
Tidal volume, I.R.V., E.R.V., V.C., R.V., Dead space.
•To understand why we breathe.
•To appreciate the gross anatomical structure of the respiratory system and how this relates to physiological function.
•To understand how the airflow into the alveoli depends on the characteristics of the airways.
•To recognise the many generations and types of airways.
•To understand how to measure respiratory function, and what the 'lung volumes' represent in respiratory terms.
2. Structure to Function:
Anatomy of the pleural cavity
Conducting vs respiratory zones.
Respiratory muscles and mechanics of breathing.
Pressure and volume changes in a single breath.
Intrapleural pressure and pleural fluid.
•To understand how the anatomy of the pleural cavity relates to physiological function.
•To appreciate the role of pleural fluid.
•To understand the mechanics of breathing i.e the physical forces determining air movement in and out of the lungs.
•To understand how the changes in pressure (alveolar and intrapleural) drive the movement of air.
3. Lung volumes, capacities & compliance :
Concept of dead space
Pulmonary vs alveolar ventilation
Lung compliance.Work of breathing, including static and dynamic components of compliance.
Active expiratory effort and gas flow problems.
•To recognise the nature of the alveoli and the specific properties of pulmonary surfactant.
•To appreciate why pulmonary ventilation is different to alveolar ventilation and how dead space impacts upon this.
•To understand partial pressure of gases and how this varies through the lung for O2 and CO2.
•To be able to relate surface tension, elastic recoil and lung compliance to the work of lung ventilation at all stages of life.
•To understand how compliance varies through the lung.
•To recognise that small airways may be closed by a strong expiratory effort.
4. Blood supply, ventilation & perfusion, gas exchange:
Structure and function of alveolar sacs.
Pulmonary blood flow.
Gas exchange between alveoli and blood in pulmonary capillaries - diffusing capacity of lung.
Pathologies affecting gas exchange
Ventilation/perfusion (V/Q) balance and inequalities of gas exchange throughout lungs.
•To understand that diffusion down partial pressure gradients is the basis of alveolar gas exchange, with CO2 diffusing much more readily than O2.
•To understand the route gases take as they travel to/from the atmosphere into/out of our bodies
•To appreciate how certain disease states alter the diffusion capacity of gases.
•To appreciate the need for balance between alveolar ventilation and blood flow, and the effects of imbalance.
•To understand how the imbalance between alveolar ventilation and perfusion is normally minimised.
5. Gas transport in the blood:
Carriage of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
Importance of haemoglobin in gas transport.
Factors contributing to oxygen delivery to cells. Uptake and dissociation curve for haemoglobin and oxygen.
Effects of metabolites on haemoglobin function. Böhr effect.
'Shunted' blood and 'dead space' alveoli as contributors to imperfect oxygenation, but relatively minor effects of partial pressure differences on oxygen content of arterial blood, thanks to oxygen uptake pattern of Hb.
Carbon dioxide transport:
•as plasma bicarbonate.
•in red blood cells.
•To understand and appreciate the similarities and differences between oxygen and carbon dioxide transport in the blood.
•To appreciate the importance of haemoglobin in gas transport.
•To appreciate how different metabolic conditions can alter oxygen uptake/delivery to tissues.
•To appreciate the significance of the shape of the haemoglobin/oxygen uptake and dissociation curve for oxygen uptake and delivery.
•To recognise that carbon dioxide is carried in many forms in both arterial and venous blood.
6. Regulation of ventilation:
Driving of ventilation by raised PaCO2.
Location of central chemoreceptors in medulla, response in part to PaCO2 and in part to acid/base status of cerebrospinal fluid and brain interstitial fluid.
Driving by reduced PaO2, detected by peripheral chemoreceptors of carotid and aortic bodies and effective below 60mmHg.
Interaction between PaO2 and PaCO2.
•To understand that the chief 'drive' for lung ventilation is derived from the chemoreceptors, with carbon dioxide the most potent 'input'.
•To understand that the central chemoreceptors respond to carbon dioxide only, the basis of this being a complex set of interactions. In contrast the peripheral chemo-receptors respond to falls in PaO2, rises in PaCO2 and [H+]a.
•To appreciate the additional factors which can exert a more minor influence over ventilation.
7. Respiration in extreme environments (Dr Alasdair Mort)
Ever wondered what would happen to your alveolar gases if we were to expose you very rapidly to high altitude?...or why you can develop the ‘bends’ when diving? Then this lecture is for you. In the world around us there are a number of hazardous environments that will challenge our physiology, including low pressure (e.g. mountaineering/high altitude aircraft) and high pressure (e.g. diving). In some cases we can adapt to the environment, even train for it, and in others we need protection systems to help us cope with it. This lecture will discuss human respiratory physiology in extreme environments using a number of visual examples, including a clip of a famous Scottish soft drink boiling spontaneously at 70,000 feet in a low-pressure chamber! It will describe to you the key hazards of ascent to altitude and diving to depth, physiologic adaptations that occur (e.g. altitude acclimatisation), and methods of protection under extreme circumstances (e.g. 100 % oxygen following decompression of commercial aircraft).
•To appreciate that ascent to high altitudes at low PO2 creates many physiological problems, which can be resolved to reach the top!
•To appreciate too much oxygen is as bad as too little.
•To understand the different, but equally serious, respiratory challenges faced at altitude and underwater.
The Renal System (Dr Derek Scott)
A series of lectures that introduces the regulation of the volume and composition of the body fluids by the kidneys. This necessitates the study of the functional anatomy of the nephron, the roles of the individual segments and the variety of the control mechanisms applied to the renal system.
1. Introduction to the renal system
During this lecture, a brief review of renal anatomy and physiology will be given. This should help you understand some of the more common terms and concepts that we will build upon in subsequent lectures. Topics to be covered include: the size, shape, sectional structure, location and relations of the kidneys. Structure of the nephron and the orientation of its parts within the kidney. Location, gross anatomy and microstructure of the ureters, urinary bladder and urethra. Vascularization and innervation of the urinary system. Summary of the functions of the kidney.
2. Glomerular Absorption and Peritubular Reabsorption
In order to maintain the composition and volume of the extracellular fluid, as well as excreting toxins, the kidneys need to be able to filter the plasma portion of blood, removing unwanted substances, whilst retaining necessary ones. After this lecture, you should be able to:
•List the three basic renal processes.
•Explain why normally only filtration occurs at the glomerular capillaries.
•Explain why normally only reabsorption occurs at the peritubular capillaries.
•List some of the factors that can influence glomerular filtration.
3. Renal Handling of Na+, K+ and glucose
One of the more important roles of the renal system is to maintain the levels of Na+, K+ and glucose within the body within acceptable levels. Too little of these substances is detrimental to normal physiological function, as is too much. We will explore what is meant by the renal plasma threshold for glucose and explain the significance of the active reabsorption of Na+ ions at the proximal tubule. The mechanisms used for the secretion of organic acids such as PAH will be described, as will the way in which K+ ions are handled by the kidney. Finally, we will review the crucial importance of maintaining K+ homeostasis.
4. The Countercurrent Multiplier
The average human filters approximately 180 litres/day through the renal glomeruli, but we only excrete about 1-2 litre/day of urine. How do we manage to minimise our fluid losses and generate a small volume of concentrated urine? The kidneys use an elegant system of osmotic gradients at the Loop of Henle in order to reabsorb vital ions and water, whilst still excreting enough fluid to carry out metabolic wastes in the urine. This is the countercurrent multiplier system. During this lecture, the essential features of the Loops of Henle which enable them to act as countercurrent multipliers will be reviewed, as will the effects of loop diuretics such as frusemide on this system.
5. Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) and the regulation of H20
The site of water regulation is the collecting duct, whose permeability is under the control of ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone/Vasopressin). Whether or not the dilute urine delivered to the distal tubule is concentrated and to what extent depends on the presence or absence of the posterior pituitary hormone, ADH. This increases the permeability of the collecting ducts to H2O, by incorporating H2O channels into the luminal membrane. The pathway involved in the synthesis and release of ADH will be illustrated during this lecture, and some of the factors that influence release of ADH will be considered. We will also cover how baroreceptors and osmoreceptors respond to changes in ADH secretion in order to maintain extracellular volume and composition.
6. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS)
The RAAS promotes Na+ retention via the actions of both angiotensin II and aldosterone, so plays an important role in the integration of salt and water balance in the body. The components of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system will be described, focusing on the effects of angiotensin II and analysing the renal responses to hypovolaemia. Finally, we will review how the renal system finally controls the excretion of urine by investigating the process of micturition.
7. Acid-Base Balance
All biochemical reactions can only work efficiently within limited pH values. The optimum for the majority of biochemical reactions within the body is approximately pH 7.4. Too far away from this optimum pH, and physiological problems start to develop. Since we are continually generating metabolic wastes from hundreds of biochemical reactions within our cells, we must have a way of neutralising acids or bases when the levels get too high. In the final lecture of this series, the relationship between [HCO3-] and pCO2 which determines the pH will be explored. The mechanisms employed by the kidney in the maintenance of [HCO3-] will be described, and we will briefly cover how the respiratory and renal systems work together in order to maintain acid-base balance. After this lecture, you should be able to define respiratory acidosis, respiratory alkalosis, metabolic acidosis, metabolic alkalosis and suggest possible causes for each of these conditions.
The Reproductive System (Dr Steve Tucker)
The reproductive system is a key component of our continued survival on the planet. These lectures consider the physiology of reproduction and focus on the controlled secretion and modes of action of reproductive hormones. Successful sexual maturation follows co-ordinated activities of a number of organs and systems that are vital control mechanisms in reproduction and these will be covered in detail. Reproductive dysfunction, rising infertility and IVF strategies are a constant source of topical discussion and are issues that will also be covered herein.
1.Reproductive endocrinology and male reproductive physiology
Introduction to reproductive endocrinology.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad axis.
Male reproductive anatomy.
Spermatogenesis and the role of Sertoli and Leydig cells.
Endocrine control of spermatogenesis.
•Understand the basis of reproductive endocrinology.
•Appreciate the central role that the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonad axis plays in controlling reproduction.
•Appreciate the main structures associated with the male reproductive system.
•Understand the process of spermatogenesis in the testis and the specific location of each progressive stage.
•Appreciate the role of Sertoli and Leydig cells in spermatogenesis.
•Understand the endocrine mechanisms driving spermatogenesis involving luteinising hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and testosterone.
•Be able to describe the targets of male sex hormones and the physiological responses they attain.
2. Female reproductive physiology
Female reproductive anatomy.
The ovarian cycle, follicular development and the corpus luteum.
The uterine cycle and the endometrium.
The complex endocrine control of the menstrual cycle.
•Appreciate the main structures associated with the female reproductive system.
•Be able to identify the ovaries and uterus as key endocrine organs in female reproductive physiology.
•Be able to describe the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.
•Understand the control, site of release, feedback targets and function of the menstrual cycle hormones.
•Be able to describe hormonal changes, endometrial changes, follicular development and body temperature changes in a typical menstrual cycle.
•Be able to describe the processes involved with human follicular development from primordial follicles to mature Graffian follicles.
•Understand the role of oestradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) in follicular development and how they feedback onto one another.
•Appreciate the underlying mechanisms controlling the LH surge and how this controls ovulation.
•Understand the importance of the corpus luteum and progesterone in maintaining the endometrium and the role of luteolysis in bringing the cycle to a close.
•Be able to describe the targets for female sex hormones and the wider physiological processes they regulate.
3. Human reproduction, pregnancy and parturition
Gametogenesis, haploid gametes and sex determination.
Fertilisation, embryonic development and implantation.
Pregnancy, parturition and lactation and their endocrine control.
Embryonic sexual development and its control.
•Understand the importance of meiosis within the gonads in producing haploid gametes.
•Appreciate that the genetic control of sex determination lies with the male gamete.
•Appreciate the process of copulation and sexual reproduction in humans.
•Understand the process and sites of fertilisation and that gamete fusion produces a diploid zygote.
•Be able to describe the early stages of embryonic development and implantation.
•Be able to describe endocrine control of human pregnancy.
•Describe the basis of an endocrine feed-forward reflex and how this relates to parturition.
•Describe the endocrine control of lactation through oxytocin and prolactin.
•Describe the control of sexual differentiation in the embryo and the important factors and hormones that drive genital development.
4. Reproductive dysfunction
Overview of reproductive disease.
Detailed examples of reproductive dysfunction.
Infertility, its causes and in vitro fertilisation.
Testicular dysgenesis syndrome, endocrine disrupting chemicals and declining fertility rates.
•Be able to summarise key causes of reproductive disease (genetic, developmental, structural, endocrine, gestational, cancer, infertility).
•Be able to describe examples of these as follows:
oGenetic - understand that abnormal sex chromosome organisation severely disrupts sexual characteristics and fertility .
oDevelopmental - dysregulation can result in pseudohermaphroditism or precocious puberty.
oStructural/endocrine – endometriosis.
oInfertility – understand both male and female forms.
•Understand the theory and practise of In vitro fertilisation (IVF).
•Appreciate recent improvements in IVF.
•Appreciate that Scotland (and the wider world?) has a declining fertility rate and that testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) is a major contributory factor.
•Understand the concept of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and where these originate from.
•Be able to describe how EDCs can affect development and programming of foetal testis and how this is linked to TDS and decreasing fertility.
Looking forward to honours? (Dr Alison Jack & Dr Steve Tucker)
This meeting will serve to explain the importance of Physiology as an advanced degree subject and the possible career paths that are open to students of this discipline. The outline of the course at levels 3 and 4 will also be explained.
You should bring a white lab coat to all laboratory-based practicals. For laboratory practicals you will be divided into groups. Details of practical group membership will be placed on the College Teaching Facility notice boards and on the course MyAberdeen site.
For some practical sessions you will be required to complete and hand in a form of data tables and short questions. For others you will be given time to complete the write-up after the class – details of assessment will be noted in the practical schedule. Marks from each of these will contribute to your Continuous Assessment (see Assessment section).
Health and Safety
Before you start your laboratory work you will have to attend a short course on Health and Safety. This is a legal requirement and you will have to complete and submit a short test to show that you have attended. You will not be allowed to continue with the rest of the course unless you have satisfactorily completed this test.
During the course all students will complete a data analysis problem-solving question which is intended to develop your numerical and critical analysis skills. This should be submitted in word processed format and will account for 10% of the final mark. The deadline for submission is shown on the timetable.
Students will also be required to complete and submit a computer based exercise on action potential physiology (5% of final mark) and submit an essay under mock exam conditions (5% of final mark).
There is a regular programme of seminars given throughout the academic year by invited specialists from within the broad field of biomedical research.
These are usually held on Thursdays from 12noon -1pm in the IMS Building at Foresterhill (check the School or IMS websites for specific locations of seminars).
As you are studying within research-driven disciplines, we strongly feel that you should attend these whenever possible, with a view to broadening your appreciation of medical sciences. You will also be directed to attend any other relevant seminars when they arise.
General Reading List
Recommended texts for course:
Silverthorn, D.U. – Human Physiology; An Integrated Approach 4th Edition, 2006. Pearsons ISBN 0-3213-96235
Smith, M.E. – The Digestive System. Churchill Livingstone. 2001 ISBN 0-4430-62455
Noble, A. – The Cardiovascular System. Churchill Livingstone. 2005 ISBN 0-4430-73082
Davies, A. – The Respiratory System. Churchill Livingstone. 2003 ISBN 0-4430-62315
Field, M.J. – The Renal System. Churchill Livingstone. 2001 ISBN 0-4430-64784
Hinson, J. – The Endocrine System. Churchill Livingstone. 2007 ISBN 0-4430-62377
These texts are held at the Sir Duncan Rice Library.
The lecturer responsible for each section of the course may provide suggestions for chapters in certain textbooks, which will enable students to follow up topics of particular interest.
The University has strict regulations on plagiarism. If you are unsure about what constitutes plagiarism read the University guide on plagiarism at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/writing
Copying or plagiarising another persons work, either from other students or published material in books or papers and submitted as your own for assessment is considered a form of cheating. This is considered by the University to be a serious offence and will be penalised according to the extent involved and whether it is decided there was an attempt at deliberate deception, or whether bad practice was involved. If you do use information or ideas obtained from textbooks or other published material you must give a precise reference to the source both at the appropriate point in your narrative and in a list of references at the end of your work. Direct quotations from published material should be indicated by quotation marks and referenced in the text as above.
You are expected to attend all lectures, laboratory classes, tutorials and assessments and to complete all class exercises by stated deadlines. Marks may be deducted for assessments submitted after the stated deadline without good cause. The minimum performance acceptable for the granting of a class certificate is attendance at 75% of the practical classes, and presentation of all set course work, written and oral.
The course will be assessed by continual assessment of the practical reports, a mid-term exam and by a two hour degree examination held in the May/June examination diet. The mid-term and degree examinations consists of multiple-choice questions. The continuous assessment component, including the mid-term exam mark, will contribute 30% to the final module mark, and the degree exam will contribute 70%. The overall performance of the student will be expressed as a grade awarded on the common assessment scale (CAS).
The re-sit degree examination is in the August diet and your continuous assessment mark will be re-considered at this sitting. As with University regulations, class certificates are valid for two years only and extra sittings of an examination can only be considered if failure or absence from an examination is covered by a valid medical certificate.
Dr John Barrow
Dr Claire Bolger
Dr Stephen Davies
Dr Gordon McEwan
Dr Steven Tucker
Dr Alison Jack (AJ) - Course Co-ordinator Dr Derek Scott (DAS) Dr Alasdair Mort (AXM)
If students have difficulties with any part of the course that they cannot cope with alone they should notify someone immediately. If the problem relates to the subject matter you may be best advised to contact the member of staff who is teaching that part of the course. Students with registered disabilities should contact either (Miss Stephanie Sweeney firstname.lastname@example.org), room 2:62:3, IMS Building, Foresterhill or Mrs Sheila Jones email@example.com, Zoology Teaching Labs to ensure that the appropriate facilities have been made available. Otherwise, you are strongly encouraged to contact any of the following as you see appropriate:
Course Student Representatives.
Course Co-ordinators (Dr Alison Jack/Dr Steve Tucker).
Convenor of the BMS Staff/Student Liaison Committee (Dr Gordon McEwan).
Adviser of studies.
School Disabilities Co-ordinator (Dr Derryck Shewan).
Staff are based in the IMS Building at Foresterhill and we strongly encourage the use of e-mail or telephone the School Office. You may be wasting your time to travel to Foresterhill only to find staff unavailable.
Support Available to Students
The University is keen to help you successfully complete your studies. If at any time you feel you need assistance, there is a range of support services available to help you. These include support to assist with unexpected and/or exceptional financial difficulty, support for disabled students and academic learning support through the Student Learning Service. Further details about all these services area available at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/studenthelpguide/.
We value students’ opinions in regard to enhancing the quality of teaching and its delivery; therefore in conjunction with the Students’ Association we support the operation of a Class Representative system.
The students within each course, year, or programme elect representatives by the end of the fourth week of teaching within each half-session. In this school we operate a system of course representatives. Any student registered within a course that wishes to represent a given group of students can stand for election as a class representative. You will be informed when the elections for class representative will take place.
What will it involve?
It will involve speaking to your fellow students about the course you represent. This can include any comments that they may have. You will attend a Staff-Student Liaison Committee and you should represent the views and concerns of the students within this meeting. As a representative you will also be able to contribute to the agenda. You will then feedback to the students after this meeting with any actions that are being taken.
Training for class representatives will be run by the Students Association. Training will take place in the fourth or fifth week of teaching each half-session. For more information about the Class representative system visit www.ausa.org.uk or email the VP Education & Employability firstname.lastname@example.org. Class representatives are also eligible to undertake the STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Award, further information about the co-curricular award is available at: www.abdn.ac.uk/careers.
The University operates a system for monitoring students' progress to identify students who may be experiencing difficulties in a particular course and who may be at risk of losing their class certificate. If the Course Co-ordinator has concerns about your attendance and/or performance, the Registry will be informed. The Registry will then write to you (by e-mail in term-time) to ask you to contact their office in the first instance. Depending on your reason for absence the Registry will either deal directly with your case or will refer you to your Adviser of Studies or a relevant support service. This system is operated to provide support for students who may be experiencing difficulties with their studies. Students are required to attend such meetings with their Adviser of Studies in accordance with General Regulation 8.
Set criteria are used to determine when a student should be reported in the monitoring system. You will be asked to meet your Adviser if any of the following criteria apply for this course:-
either (i) if you are absent for a continuous period of two weeks or 25% of the course (whichever is less) without good cause being reported;
or (ii) if you are absent from two small group teaching sessions e.g. (laboratory/tutorial classes) without good cause;
or (iii) if you fail to submit a piece of summative or a substantial piece of formative in-course assessment by the stated deadline
If you fail to respond within the prescribed timescale (as set out in the e-mail or letter) you will be deemed to have withdrawn from the course concerned and will accordingly be ineligible to take the end of course assessment or to enter for the resit. The Registry will write to you (by e-mail in term-time) to inform you of this decision. If you wish consideration to be given to reinstating you in the course you will be required to meet the Convener of the Students' Progress Committee.
Students who attend and complete the work required for a course are considered to have been awarded a ‘Class Certificate’. Being in possession of a valid Class Certificate for a course entitles a student to sit degree examinations for that course. From 2010/11 class certificates will be valid for two years and permit a total of three attempts at the required assessment within that two year period i.e. the first attempt plus up to two resits.
You will receive a University e-mail account when you register with the University Computing Centre. The University will normally use e-mail to communicate with you during term-time. These e-mails will be sent to your University e-mail account, which you can access using Eudora or SquirrelMail.
It is your responsibility to check your e-mail on a regular (at least weekly) basis and to tidy the contents of your e-mail inbox to ensure that it does not go over quota (see http://www.abdn.ac.uk/diss/email/mailquota.hti for guidance on managing your e-mail quota). It is recommended that you use your University e-mail account to read and respond to University communications. If you already have a non-University e-mail account that you use for personal correspondence, it is possible to set up automatic forwarding of messages from your University e-mail account to your personal e-mail address (see http://www.abdn.ac.uk/local/mail.forward/) but, should you do so, it is your responsibility to ensure that this is done correctly. The University takes no responsibility for delivery of e-mails to non-University accounts.
You should note that failure to check your e-mail or failure to receive e-mail due to being over quota or due to non-delivery of an e-mail forwarded to a non-University e-mail account would not be accepted as a ground for appeal (for further information on appeals procedures, please refer to http://www.abdn.ac.uk/registry/quality/appendix5x17.hti).
TurnitinUK is an online service which compares student assignments with online sources including web pages, databases of reference material, and content previously submitted by other users across the UK. The software makes no decision as to whether plagiarism has occurred; it is simply a tool which highlights sections of text that have been found in other sources thereby helping academic staff decide whether plagiarism has occurred.
As of Academic Year 2011/12, TurnitinUK will be accessed directly through MyAberdeen. Advice about avoiding plagiarism, the University’s Definition of Plagiarism, a Checklist for Students, Referencing and Citing guidance, and instructions for TurnitinUK, can be found in the following area of the Student Learning Service website www.abdn.ac.uk/sls/plagiarism/.
Absence from Classes on Medical Grounds
Candidates who wish to establish that their academic performance has been adversely affected by their health are required to secure medical certificates relating to the relevant periods of ill health (see General Regulation 17.3).
The University’s policy on requiring certification for absence on medical grounds or other good cause can be accessed at:
You are strongly advised to make yourself fully aware of your responsibilities if you are absent due to illness or other good cause. In particular, you are asked to note that self-certification of absence for periods of absence up to and including eleven weekdays is permissible. However, where absence has prevented attendance at an examination or where it may have affected your performance in an element of assessment or where you have been unable to attend a specified teaching session, you are strongly advised to provide medical certification (see section 3 of the Policy on Certification of Absence for Medical Reasons or Other Good Cause).
Feedback on assessment:
The University recognises that the provision of timely and appropriate feedback on assessment plays a key part in students learning and teaching. The guiding principles for the provision of feedback within the University are detailed in the Institutional Framework for the Provision of Feedback on Assessment available at:
The University recognises both the importance of providing timely and appropriate feedback on assessments to students, and of enabling students to voice views on their learning experience through channels such as Student Course Evaluation Forms and Class Representatives. FAQs, guidance and resources about feedback can be found on the University’s ‘Enhancing Feedback’ website at: www.abdn.ac.uk/clt/feedback
Appeals and Complaints
The University’s appeals and complaints procedures provide students with a framework through which to formalise their concerns about aspects of their academic experience or to complain when they feel that standards of non-academic service have fallen short of that which they expected.
The process has been designed to make the appeals and complaints process as accessible and simple as possible and to provide a robust, fair mechanism through which to ensure that all appeals and complaints are considered in the appropriate way at the appropriate level.
A major feature of the process is the emphasis it places on early or informal resolution. All students should note that there is an expectation that they will take responsibility for seeking resolution of their academic or non-academic concerns by raising and discussing them at the earliest possible stage with the relevant individuals in an academic School or administrative Service.
Further details of the processes for making an appeal or complaint, including where to find further help and support in the process, is given at:
Transcripts at Graduation
It is anticipated that students who commenced their studies in, or after, 2009/10, will receive a more detailed transcript of their studies on graduation. The increased details will include a record of all examination results attained. For students graduating in 2012/13 transcripts will show details of all CAS marks awarded, including marks which are fails. Where a resit has been required as a result of medical circumstances or other good cause (MC/GC) this will not be shown, but all other circumstances (i.e. No Paper ‘NP’) will be included.
MyAberdeen (the University of Aberdeen’s Virtual Learning Environment)
MyAberdeen replaces WebCT as students’ virtual learning environment. This is where you will find learning materials and resources associated with the courses you are studying.
MyAberdeen also provides direct access to TurnitinUK, the online originality checking service, through which you may be asked to submit completed assignments.
You can log in to MyAberdeen by going to www.abdn.ac.uk/myaberdeen and entering your University username and password (which you use to access the University network).
Further information on MyAberdeen including Quick Guides and video tutorials, along with information about TurnitinUK, can be found at: www.abdn.ac.uk/students/myaberdeen.php.
Information about academic writing and how to avoid plagiarism can be found at www.abdn.ac.uk/sls/plagiarism.
Aberdeen Graduate Attributes
Graduate Attributes are a wide-ranging set of qualities which students will develop during their time at Aberdeen in preparation for employment, further study and citizenship.
There are four main areas of the Graduate Attributes:
• Academic excellence
• Critical thinking and communication
• Learning and personal development
• Active citizenship
Students have many opportunities to develop and achieve these attributes. These include learning experiences on credit-bearing courses and co-curricular activities such as work placements, study abroad and volunteering. In accordance with the University’s commitment to Equality and Diversity, students can request support with any aspect of the Graduate Attributes framework.
The ACHIEVE website offers resources that enable students to assess and reflect upon their present skills and development needs. The website also contains resources to help students to improve their skills and links to a range of university services such as the Careers Service and the Student Learning Service. Students can access ACHIEVE from their MyAberdeen site in the ‘My Organisations’ section. More information about Aberdeen Graduate Attributes and ACHIEVE can be found at www.abdn.ac.uk/graduateattributes.
The co-curriculum enhances a student’s employability and provides opportunities to develop and achieve Aberdeen Graduate Attributes. Co-curricular activities complement a student’s degree programme and include: work placements, study abroad, enterprise and entrepreneurship activities, the BP Student Tutoring Scheme, career mentoring and the STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Award initiative. Below are examples of credit-bearing co-curricular activities. It is anticipated that these types of activity will be included on an enhanced transcript for students graduating in, or after, 2012/13
ERASMUS is an exchange programme funded by the European Commission which enables students to study or work in another European country as part of their degree programme. Eligible students will receive a grant to help with extra costs while abroad and a number of our partner institutions teach through English. For more information, visit www.abdn.ac.uk/erasmus/. The University also has opportunities for students to study in a non-European country as part of their degree through the International Exchange Programme. International partners include universities and colleges in North America, Hong Kong and Japan (www.abdn.ac.uk/undergraduate/international-exchange.php). The University aims to ensure full academic recognition for study periods abroad, therefore the credits gained from study abroad will count towards the Aberdeen degree programme for students participating in both ERASMUS and the International Exchange Programme.
Work placements can also form an integral part of a degree programme and attract academic credit. Placements are available locally, nationally and internationally, lasting from a few weeks to a full year and are generally paid. Visit the Careers Service website for further placement information and to find available work placements.
Further information about the co-curriculum is available at: www.abdn.ac.uk/careers
Personal Developmental Planning
Level 1 and 2 students are encouraged to develop a Personal Development Plan (PDP) to help them learn more effectively, make the most of their University time and plan for their future. Further details on PDP can be accessed from the School website at www.abdn.ac.uk/sms - click on "Undergraduate Teaching".
School of Medical Sciences - Guide to Citing and Referencing
This guide should be used to assist you when completing any work for disciplines in the School of Medical Sciences. All work should include citations at appropriate places in the text, with a complete reference list at the end of the assignment. If diagrams/ graphs/ tables are copied or adapted from other publications/ websites, the sources must also be cited in the legend for that item, and included in your reference list.
Good citing and referencing not only improves the quality of your work, but it gives credit to the authors of original work, and makes it less likely that you can be accused of plagiarism. Further guidance on writing and plagiarism may be found at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/writing/ . When you submit work for marking, you are declaring that YOU are the author, that you have not copied it or plagiarised any material from other sources, AND that all sources of information have been acknowledged in your text. Students may be penalised by the University if found guilty of plagiarism.
Students are warned to be careful if using websites as sources of information. These may be inaccurate and are often not peer-reviewed. You are strongly encouraged to use advanced textbooks, peer-reviewed papers or reviews as the sources of your information in your work. Students are also advised to avoid quoting chunks of text in their work. Just because you put quotation marks around some text does not mean that you have not plagiarised it. Try and explain ideas and concepts in your own words.
The referencing style used here is Harvard, similar to that recommended by the University Library (see their factsheet for further information on referencing). Students must use this style of citing and referencing for all work. Other styles are not acceptable. Marks may be deducted if students do not cite or reference properly (see specific marking schemes for details).
Citing references within the text
You must provide citations in the text at the appropriate places by putting the author’s surname and year of publication in round brackets immediately after the relevant text (author, date method).
Author, date method
Jones et al. (1999) has argued that….
Studies have produced conflicting results…..(Bloggs, 2000; MacDuff et al., 1993)
Smith stated (1990)…..and then later work confirmed this (2003)…..
Bloggs (2001) investigated…..
One author (Bloggs, 2000)
Two authors (Smith & Jones, 1982)
Three or more authors (Chesterfield et al., 1995)
If the same author(s) wrote two or more papers in the same year Thwaites et al. stated (1990a)…..and then provided further evidence (1990b)…..
N.B. “et al.” should be in italics, as should all other Latin words/phrases in your text (e.g. in vitro). There is also a full stop after “et al.”, since it is an abbreviation of “et alia” (“and others”).
Listing your references at the end of your work
Your list of references must place the surnames of the first authors in alphabetical order. List all authors of a piece of work unless there are a large number.
Format of references at the end of your work
Book - whole Rang, H.P., Dale, M.M., Ritter, J.M. & Flower, R.J. (2007) Pharmacology. 6th Ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
Book – article or chapter within Johnson, D. & Smart, J.S. (1983) Advanced techniques in measuring athletic performance. In: S. Roberts, ed., Sports Science in the Laboratory. London: Macmillan, pp. 3-28.
Journal – article within Furchgott, R.F., Zawadzki, J.V. (1980) The obligatory role of endothelial cells in the relaxation of arterial smooth muscle by acetylcholine. Nature. 288(5789), 373-6.
Website Department for Education and Employment (2000). Student loans: guidance on terms and conditions from April 2000. [online]. Available from: http://www.dfee.gov.uk/loan2000/index.html [Accessed 23rd March 2006]