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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

  • Physiology is the science of understanding life.  It allows you to explore and understand why your body does what it does and how it does it;
  • This introductory physiology course explores living processes at the level of cells and molecules;
  • The course lays down many of the fundamental concepts of physiology required to appreciate advanced study of many of the medical science disciplines;
  • You will gain practical experience and understanding of electrophysiological techniques required for the study of electrically excitable tissues, like nerves and muscle;
  • You will also gain valuable experience in the key skill of writing formal scientific reports

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Gordon McEwan

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of BI1507 The Cell (Passed) or SF1503 The Cell (Foundation) (Passed) or SM1501 The Cell (Passed)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course introduces human physiology - the understanding of body function. The central concept, essential to physiology, is homeostasis - the maintenance of a relatively constant internal environment in a constantly changing external environment. This course (along with its partner BI25B2) will consider how this is achieved at cell and whole body level. The focus in this course will be on the roles of the nervous and endocrine control systems. Specifically, it deals with: the physiology of the cell with special reference to nerve and muscle; cell-cell signalling; neuro-endocrine integration and some aspects of endocrinology; membrane potentials and action potentials in nerve cells; reflexes; central nervous system control of movement; the physiology and pharmacology of the autonomic nervous system; transduction of sensory information by receptors and processing of sensory information by the CNS; the composition and function of blood including its role in immunity.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour MCQ examination (70%) and in-course assessment (30%). Continuous assessment comprises: 2 laboratory reports, mid-term MCQ exam.

Resit: 1 two-hour MCQ examination (70%) and previous continuous assessment (30%).

Formative Assessment

PRS-based revision session allows students to practice for MCQ tests and receive feedback on their performance.


Practical reports will be marked with written comments. Students will be given general feedback on performance during timetabled exam information sessions. PRS MCQ assessment answers discussed during timetabled exam information sessions.

Course Learning Outcomes


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