University of Technology Sydney

91400 Human Anatomy and Physiology

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2020 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Science: Life Sciences
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks


In this subject students gain excellent basic knowledge in physiology, putting them in good stead for medical-oriented subjects in subsequent years and potential entrance into the medical and dentistry fields. Students learn the anatomy (structure) and physiology (function) of the healthy human body. Lectures are complemented by a supportive practical/tutorial program. The subject content includes: homeostasis; the anatomical organisation of the body and anatomical terms; and the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine, nervous, respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary systems. Development of practical skills is a major part of the subject.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Communicate effectively in ways appropriate to the discipline, audience and purpose.
2. Describe the structure and function of different organs found in the body systems.
3. Explain simply and concisely basic physiological principles.
4. Present data relating to a current and relevant physiological problem or condition, graphically and in a.scientifically acceptable form, and to interpret the data in the context of your knowledge and understanding of the.material covered in the subject.

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Human Anatomy and Physiology is a Stage 2 core subject in the Medical Science, Biomedical Science, Forensic Biology and Biotechnology degree courses. It presents fundamental knowledge and skills required for most Stage 3 to 6 subjects.

The organisation and delivery of Human Anatomy and Physiology will assist students to develop the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application
An understanding of the nature, practice & application of the chosen science discipline, students will develop this attribute via lectures and practicals. Students will be at times encouraged to interact with each other and the lecturer so that basic concepts in physiology are well understood. It is endeavoured that students will acquire an appreciation of the central role of science in society. UTS Online tests and formal examinations are all designed to provide the student with an opportunity to consolidate their learning and let them assess their developing knowledge in the subject and to determine their mastery of the content of this subject.

2. An Inquiry-oriented approach
An understanding of the scientific method of knowledge acquisition. Encompasses problem solving, critical thinking and analysis attributes, and the ability to discover new understandings. Students will be required to attend practical classes which will enhance their knowledge gained in lectures and allow students to encompass problem solving and to gain an understanding of the observational and experimental character of science and development of basic skills in laboratory techniques, and experimental design. These tasks will allow students to develop critical and independent thinking and gain an appreciation of the clinical applications of physiology. Students will be required to do an oral presentation assessmnet task during which students will be expected to do some research for adequate completion of the assignment. This assessment task will encourage students to develop critical and independent thinking by preparing for the oral presentation.

6. Communication skills
Students will be guided and taught how to deliver oral presentations. Based on employer surveys oral communication skills is the most highly ranked graduate attribute desired by employers from new graduates. Students will be required to choose a current news item or recent media release related to human physiology and deliver a 3 minute presentation to the class. Students will receive feedback after the talk. Students will begin to develop oral presentation skills by demonstrating the ability to apply these learnt tools so as to communicate appropriately and effectively to different audiences.

Teaching and learning strategies

Face-to-face classes will incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, short presentations, videos and student laboratory group work. These will be complemented by independent student reading, laboratory quizzes and participation in online quizzes.

Students are required to routinely check the lecture, laboratory session timetables and UTSOnline for the times and locations of lectures, labs and dates for assessment tasks.

Lectures: Students undertaking this subject generally enjoy the lectures, which contain many examples of clinical scenarios to enhance the learning process. Students should be able to relate normal physiological parameters to changes in these parameters in the disease state. Examining briefly a variety of case studies allows students understanding of the normal physiology to be reinforced and cemented. For example within the lecture on bones the case study might be "osteoporosis" which is always in the media and possibly students relatives are afflicted with this disease. It is authentic learning which students can relate to quite easily. Prior to developing the case study students will be asked three simple questions pertaining to that lecture just to examine their own understanding and recall of information. There will be a lecture on the do's and don'ts on oral presentation skills which will help students in completing the assessmnet task later on in the semester on this exact topic. So the lecture delivery is converted from purely didatic teaching to a more interactive environment by engaging with the students.

Practicals: These sessions allow students to engage in practicals which are relevant to the outside world experiences. For example when it is very cold your hands go pale - Why?? Students do practicals that answer these everyday questions by making physiology fun and relevant. One of the practical sessions looks at real human cadavers in the Anatomy laboratory allowing students to visualize and feel body structures. Students will be encouraged to participate in interactive physiological experiments which will enhance knowledge on how to design an experiment and how to collect and interpret scientific data.

Content (topics)

An overview of major endocrine organs and hormones, including target cell specificity and negative feedback control of hormone release.
PRACTICAL: Blood glucose levels will be measured on samples provided to mimic diabetic and non-diabetic blood glucose responses to a glucose tolerance test.

The structure and function of the heart and blood vessels and a description of the electrical and mechanical events in the cardiac cycle.
PRACTICALS: Sheep heart dissection and location major blood vessels. Student participation- measuring pulse rate and blood pressure, observing changes in the ECG before and after exercise. Perpheral vasoconstriction experiments e.g. changes in blood flow through the fingers when exposed to the cold.

Organisation structure and function of the central and peripheral nervous systems. The basic neurophysiology describing membrane potentials, action potentials and the action of neurotransmitters on receptors. Sensory and motor function. Selected examples of reflex activity.
PRACTICALS: Sheep brain dissection, histology of neural trissue, assessing the function of cranial nerves, observe different reflexes by using a variety of stimuli e.g. neurological hammer, penlight.

The language of medicine – an introduction to terminology in anatomy, histology and physiology to identify and describe the composition, structure and function of body organs and systems. The concept of homeostasis – the maintenance of a stable state. Control mechanisms to achieve homeostasis i.e. negative and positive feedback.
PRACTICAL: Body organisation and Anatomical terms (both in the Anatomy laboratory and Physioogy laboratory).

LECTURES: Bone structure, development, ageing and homeostasis. General functions of bone. Classification of bones, according to shape and location in the axial or appendicular skeleton. Joint classification, structure and function, their importance in growth and in mobility in an ageing population. Classification and naming of muscles according to shape and or location.

Skeletal muscle structure including gross anatomy of selected muscles and the microscopic anatomy of muscle fibres. Muscle physiology and metabolism including synaptic transmission at the motor end-plate, muscle contraction, tone and fatigue. Isotonic versus isometric contraction, twitch, treppe and tetany.
PRACTICAL: Bones, Joints and Muscles (both in the Anatomy laboratory and Physioogy laboratory).


LECTURES: The functional anatomy of the nasal passages, the pharynx, larynx, trachea and bronchial tree. Pressure changes in the lungs during ventilation and the four gas laws. The exchange of gases in the alveoli. The transport of oxygen from the lungs to the periphery and the transport of carbon dioxide back to the lungs. Control of respiration.
PRACTICAL: Dissection of sheep's pluck, gross/micro anatomy of the respiratory tract. Students can measure their lung function using Spirometry and Vitalograph measurements. Investigate various aspects of breathing e.g. breath-holding, hyperventilation, rebreathing and the relationship between breathing and heart rate. The diving reflex response when the face is exposed to cold water.

LECTURES: The structural plan and histology of the digestive tract. The structure and function of the digestive organs including enzyme action, the absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes.

LECTURES: Anatomy of the kidney and associated excretory organs. Kidney physiology - mechanisms of urine formation, counter current multiplier and counter current exchanger, release of various hormones by the kidney in reponse to changing blood pressure and acid-base balance.
PRACTICAL: Sheep kidney dissection. The use of multistix in urine for identifying various urinary markers. A video will be shown on renal function..

There will be two Anatomy practicals in which students will observe human cadavers, as well as four interactive physiological practicals (Lab Tutor) incorporated into the Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems.

This lectures in this subject are repeated due to large class numbers. There may be small changes from week to week so students MUST look at Announcements in Blackboard for updated messages.


Assessment task 1: Online Quizzes


This assessmnet task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary knowledge and it's appropriate application.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):


Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 10%

You will be assessed on the conceptual understanding and comprehension of basic human physiology. MCQ are assessed for correctness and accuracy of disciplinary knowledge. It may also include calculations; use of equations and the application of acquired knowledge to interpret some complex questions.

Assessment task 2: Lab Quizzes


This assessmnet task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application.

2. An inquiry oriented approach.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

2, 3 and 4

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0 and .0

Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

You will be assessed on:

• Accuracy of data collection

• Thoroughness

• Conceptual understanding and comprehension of basic physiology

• Synthesis and interpretation of scientific data.

Assessment task 3: Oral Presentation


This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

2. An inquiry-oriented approach.

6. Communication skills.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):


This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

.0 and .0

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 25%

1. Subject content

2. Organisation and flow of the presentation

3. Voice: clarity, pace, fluency, volume and projection

4. Engaged with the audience

5. Use of visual aids

Assessment task 4: Final Exam


This assessment task contributes to the development of the following graduate attributes:

1. Disciplinary knowledge and its appropriate application.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

2 and 3

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):


Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

Accuracy of information provided by you with respect to the content covered by lecturers in lectures and practical classes.

Minimum requirements

Student must obtain at least 40% of the marks available for the final examination in order to pass this subject. If 40% is not reached, an X grade fail may be awarded for the subject, irrespective of an overall mark greater than 50.

In addition;

  • Students are expected to attend all lectures and laboratory sessions. The lectures include explanations, illustrations and discussion of material that may not be covered elsewhere.
  • Students are expected to attend and participate in learning activities in all lab sessions, which are an important part of the learning experience in this subject. Students who miss sessions without providing documented evidence of illness or misadventure will not be eligible for special consideration in this subject. (Refer to section on Missed lab sessions regarding attendance requirements).
  • Students are expected to routinely check the lecture and laboratory session timetables for the times and locations of lectures, labs and dates for assessments.
  • Students are expected to routinely use and check their UTS email accounts. Students are expected to regularly check UTS online and participate in the online forums.
  • Students are expected to conduct themselves in an ethical way and not engage in cheating or plagiarism.
  • Students are required to be familiar with and observe the UTS environmental health and safety (EHS) rules as they are detailed in subject document posted on UTS online specifically relating to conduct in lecture rooms and in laboratories.
  • NOTE: Laboratory coats and closed shoes are mandatory in ALL laboratory classes and are requirements for admission to the laboratory session. In addition, students MUST be aware of the UTS procedures for evacuation in an emergency.
  • Attendance at an EHS workshop during orientation week is a requirement for the subject. You will be provided with a copy of the faculty EHS document that you will be required to read and then sign. A copy of the signed agreement will be given to you.

Required texts

There is NO required or compulsory text book however the following two textbooks will ensure a very good grounding in basic physiology:

Amerman, E, 2019, Human Anatomy and Physiology, 2nd Edition, Harlow, Pearson UK

Marieb EN and Hoehn KN. Human Anatomy and Physiology- 9th edition Pearson

Recommended texts

Martini & Ober.. “ Visual Anatomy & Physiology” - 1st edition, Pearson

Martini and Nath. Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology. 8th edition Pearson

Saladin KS. Anatomy & Physiology. 5th edition, McGraw-Hill

Tortora GJ & Derrickson B. A & P - Principles of anatomy and physiology. 13th edition. Wiley


  1. Germann W J and Stanfield C L. Principles of Human Physiology (This is an advanced text).UTS Library reference: 612 GERM
  2. Ross MH, Kaye GI and W Pawlina. Histology A Text and Atlas + Image CD UTS Library reference: 611.018 ROSS (ED.4)
  3. Kerr J B. Atlas of Functional Histology UTS Library reference: 611.018 KERR
  4. McCance KL and Huether SE. Pathophysiology. The Biological Basis for Disease in Adults and Children. (This is one of the Nursing Texts and covers both the healthy and diseased state. It is a useful text for Assignments). UTS Library reference: 616.07 MCCA (ED.4)
  5. Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary, 4th edition (This is an excellent REFERENCE text for medical terminology and unfamiliar words)
  6. Tortora GJ and Grabowski SR. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology UTS Library reference: 612 TORT
  7. Van de Graaf KM and Fox SI. Concepts of Human Anatomy and Physiology UTS Library reference: 612 VAND (ED.4)
  8. McKenzie, S.B. Textbook of Haematology
  9. Janeway CA, Travers P, Walport M, Capra JD Immunobiology
  10. Sompayrac L, How the Immune System Works
  11. Lee, G. & Bishop, P. Microbiology and Infection Control for Health Professional
  12. Prescott, L.M., Harley, J.P. and Klein D.A Microbiology
  13. Guyton and Hall. Medical Physiology. 11th edition Elesvier
  14. Patton and Thibodeau. Anatomy & Physiology. 7th edition Elsevier
  15. McKinley MP, O'Loughlin VD and Bidle T. Anatomy & Physiology. 1st edition McGraw-Hill