A robust understanding of the principles of human anatomy and physiology is fundamental to the knowledge base of health professionals. This foundational and interdisciplinary unit for students provides an introduction to the structure and function of the human body and the underpinning knowledge for subsequent units in anatomy and physiology and other health related courses. Following a brief overview of the organisation of the human body, students are introduced to anatomical terms, the chemical and structural basis of cell function, and body tissues including the integumentary system. Students are introduced to microbiology within the context of infection prevention and control. Specific topics to be addressed will include the physiological control of major organ systems including the nervous, circulatory, cardiovascular, respiratory and reproductive systems. Upon completion of the unit, students will be able to explain the integration of normal structure and function and the role of homeostatic feedback control systems in maintaining bodily functions. The aim of this unit is to provide a firm basis for further studies of physiological functioning in health and disease.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Review the structure and levels of organisation in the body (from basic chemistry to organelles to cells) to the functions of cells, tissues and organ systems;  
  2. Examine the basic concepts of microbiology, infection prevention and control in relation to the human body;  
  3. Explain the structure and function of the major physiological systems of the human body, including the integumentary, nervous, circulatory, cardiovascular, respiratory and reproductive systems;  
  4. Discuss the concepts and processes of homeostatic regulation and feedback loops to describe the mechanisms underlying normal functions of the human body; and  
  5. Apply insights of the structure and function of human organ systems to clinical scenarios through laboratory experiments and activities, and team based guided inquiry learning.  


The assessment tasks link the learning outcomes and graduate capabilities. The laboratory worksheets allow students to think critically and evaluate and analyse information collaboratively from laboratory activities. The collaborative tests carried out in teams enable students to think critically and involve planning and organising self and others. The final assessment is an individual test which will rigorously evaluate key concepts of physiology. The learning outcomes are covered across all assessments. For example one lab worksheet is completed per week, so each assessment covers certain topics, whereas learning outcomes 4 and 5 are governing principles that underlie the unit. Collaborative tests serve as feedback for individual tests which occur mid-block and end of block.
Assessment type Description Grade
Laboratory Work Three (3) Laboratory worksheets (200 words each) 20%
Exercise Two (2) Collaborative Team Based Tests (30 mins each) 20%
Test Two (2) individual topic tests (multiple choice and short answers questions 60%

Required reading

Human Anatomy & Physiology (11th Global ed.).
Marieb, E.N., & Hoehn, K. (2018).
Boston, MA: Pearson

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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