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Introduction to Human Biology

Module titleIntroduction to Human Biology
Module codeINT0047
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Julia De Ste Croix (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module complements the Foundation Biology module, INT0016, extending your knowledge of the basic physiology and functioning of human body systems.  It is intended to prepare you for the first year of undergraduate study in medicine or related medical or biological sciences.  You will broaden your analytical and interpretative skills building on those developed in the Introduction to Biological Science module, INT0016 and the Foundation Chemistry module, INT0044.

It is a requirement of this module that you have studied or will be concurrently studying the Introduction to Biological Science module, INT0016.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  1. To develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of human biology and how they relate to each other.
  2. To provide a foundation knowledge of human body systems and homeostasis which, in conjunction with the content of the Foundation Biology module, INT0016, gives the preparatory biological requirement for progression to the first year of an undergraduate programme in medicine or related medical or biological sciences.
  3. To prepare students for a problem/enquiry-based approach to learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe the systems of the human body which are associated with particular functions
  • 2. Describe the interrelationship of each system with other systems and the body as a whole
  • 3. Evaluate data and reports associated with functioning of the body systems studies
  • 4. Describe the effects of named diseases on the human body with particular emphasis on the body systems targeted
  • 5. Describe the role of homeostasis in keeping a stable internal environment and in the regulation of body systems

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Explain the way key body systems relate to each other under normal conditions and how disease can disrupt this relationship
  • 7. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of knowledge in the medical sciences with reference to data sources outside of lectures
  • 8. Analyse, interpret and evaluate experimental methods and results

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Take responsibility for most of your learning, with some tutor support
  • 10. Work cooperatively in groups through online and/or face to face activity
  • 11. Present your work effectively, both orally and in writing, to your peers
  • 12. Consideration of ethical issues and the multiple perspectives that influence decisions regarding the treatment of human conditions

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Overview of the body as an organism (organisation, body systems and tissue types)
  • Brief histology of epithelium, cuboid and ciliated; muscle, smooth and striated; connective tissue, collagen.
  • Digestive system
  • Structure and function of the human alimentary canal, its secretions and their role in digestion, conditions affecting the digestive system
  • Circulatory system
  • Structure and functions of the blood, heart and blood vessels, heart function, tissue fluid, cardio-vascular disease
  • Respiratory system
  • Ventilation, exchange of gases, asthma
  • Biochemistry of respiration
  • Nervous system
  • Response to stimuli, spinal cord, simple reflex arc, structure of motor neurone, synapse and synaptic transmission, effect of psychoactive drugs, motor neurone disease
  • Control systems
  • Homeostasis and the concept of negative feedback, structure and function of the kidney, endocrine system, kidney failure and dialysis
  • Fight or flight – muscles, hormones and nerves working together
  • The production of a coordinated response, muscle contraction
  • Reproductive system
  • Structure and function of human reproductive systems, gametogenesis, fertilisation and implantation, infertility, IVF
  • Human defence mechanisms
  • Barriers against infection, immune response, vaccination, HIV

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities60Formal online teaching/lectures, group tutorials (online or face to face) and supervised group work
Guided independent study140Preparation for lectures and tutorial exercises. Reading and research. Carrying out coursework exercises both independently and in groups depending on the exercise.


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class exercises e.g. tests, exam style questions, research, problem solving group tasks, data analysisVaries with topic1-8, 10-12Oral feedback in tutorials
Coursework – presentation and essay preparationVaries with student (for final size see below)4, 6-8, 11Formative feedback available prior to submission

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Presentation30Reflective element (with guidance) - (max 500 words) 10% Presentation (5 minutes) 20%1-7, 9-12Written feedback on formal submission.
Mid-term Examination (online)20CMA – MCQ paper 3 hours1-6, 9, 11Formal grade only
Final Examination (online)502.5 hour paper, mix of question types1-9, 11Formal grade only


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
PresentationPresentation1-7, 9-12As soon as possible, before APAC
Mid-term Examination (online)Mid-term Examination (online)1-6, 9, 11As soon as possible, before APAC
Final Examination (online)Examination (online) 2.5 hours1-12As soon as possible, before APAC

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for reasons judged legitimate by the Mitigation Committee, the applicable assessment will normally be deferred. See ‘Details of reassessment’ for the form that assessment usually takes. When deferral occurs there is ordinarily no change to the overall weighting of that assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to take a re-sit exam. Only your performance in this exam will count towards your final module grade. A grade of 40% will be awarded if the examination is passed.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Williams, G.(2015). Advanced Biology for You. Cheltenham: OUP (Biology module textbook)

Anatomy & Physiology (2nd Edition) Student workbook, Biozone


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Human Biology, human body systems, homeostasis

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites

Introduction to Biological Sciences module, INT0016

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date