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 2022 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 program. The subject content includes: homeostasis; the anatomical organisation of the body and anatomical terms; and the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, endocrine, nervous, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urinary and haematological systems. Presentation and report writing skills are also developed.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

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

1. Apply your knowledge of human anatomy and physiology in communicating the processes that underlie any specific disease.
2. Identify and locate the key organs of the organ systems presented in the subject and be able to best describe their particular functions as well as be able to relate their structure, composition and location to their particular functions.
3. Use your understanding of physiological principles to explain the mechanisms underlying different examples of human activities (e.g. breathing).
4. Apply disciplinary knowledge to graphically present, and interpret, a physiological data set in a scientifically acceptable form.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of following course intended learning outcomes:

  • Apply: Demonstrate knowledge of discipline relevant topics (1.1)
  • Analyse: Explain the basic applications of discipline knowledge within context (1.2)
  • Analyse: Develop critical thinking skills including critiquing, interpreting and questioning scientific evidence (2.2)
  • Apply: Demonstrate interpersonal communication skills with peer and professional colleagues (5.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Human Anatomy and Physiology is a core subject in the Biomedical Physics, Biomedical Science, Biotechnology, Medicinal Chemistry, Medical Science and Pre-medicine degree courses. It presents fundamental knowledge and skills required for a number of Stage 3 to 6 subjects. The organisation and delivery of Human Anatomy and Physiology will assist students to develop the following graduate attributes:

Disciplinary knowledge

You will have the opportunity to develop this attribute via lectures, practicals and online modules. Often you will be encouraged to interact with each other, the lecturer, or your class teacher, so that basic concepts in physiology are well understood. You will also have the opportunity to gain a mastery of the terms and terminology used to describe the different parts of the body and their location in relation to the whole body as well as to other organs. In doing so it will encourage you to appreciate how a knowledge and understanding of human structure and function can serve society. Online quizzes are designed to provide you with an opportunity to consolidate your learning and let you assess your developing mastery of the subject. The disease presentation will allow you to apply your knowledge to explain the processes that underlie a specific disease.

Research, inquiry and critical thinking

In order to achieve academic success with both the disease presentation and the data presentation and analysis task, you will need to conduct independent, but supported, research using sources appropriate to professional medical and health communications.

Communication skills

Based on employer surveys oral communication skills is the most highly ranked graduate attribute desired by employers from new graduates. You will have two opportunities to develop your skills. In the first you are to choose a disease from a list and prepare a short PowerPoint presentation that communicates features of the disease in a way that a general audience can understand. Also you will be provided with a set of physiological data which you will be required to present as would be seen in a medical or health research article.

Teaching and learning strategies

Lectures will be delivered online.

On campus classes will incorporate a range of teaching and learning activities including working with anatomical resources and performing laboratory and clinical procedures.

These will be complemented by independent student learning including online pre-recorded resources.

Students are required to routinely check the lecture and practical session timetables and Canvas for the times and locations of lectures, practicals and dates/deadlines for assessment tasks.

Lectures: Students undertaking this subject generally enjoy the lectures, which elaborate on the structures (anatomy and histology) and functions (physiology) of the organ systems as specified in the program. The focus is on the healthy state and students will have the chance to develop an understanding of the interelationships between structure and function in the human body as well as an appreciation of the contribution of each organ system studied to a state of health (that is a state of physiological homeostasis).

Practicals: These are designed to provide high quality on-campus experiences including: working with anatomical models, animal organ dissections and experiencing ways that human function is evaluated.

Online self guided resources: These will be pre-recorded sessions with linked exercises to complete.

Non-content assessments: Communication and report writing skills will be developed and evaluated through a presentation on a disease of one of the organ systems and presentation and intepretation of a set of physiological results derived from a healthy cohort.

Opportunities to receive feedback during the session: With regard to quizzes that examine (lecture and practical) content knowledge and understanding the feedback will come through the provision of the correct answers once any quiz has been closed. Students will be able to inquire further via the Discussion Board provided in Canvas. Similarly students can post questions about the content prior to the linked quiz via the same discussion board. During the practical sessions students will be able to confirm their knowledge and understanding of the content by going through the answers to the exercises provided in the manual with the class and the class teachers.

Content (topics)


Through a self-study module you will learn how medical terms are constructed and some of the common “parts” used in different medical terms. On campus you will use your practical notes and anatomical charts and models to learn how to describe the position of different parts of the body.


How homeostasis equates to good health will be explained to you. The role of control systems in maintaining homeostasis will be detailed and supported by the example of one of those systems: the endocrine system and its hormones.


Through an online self-study module you will be introduced to the different types of tissue that make up the organs. This will provide you with the foundations to understand how the unique histology of each organ relates to the organ’s functions.


The contribution of the second control system will be demonstrated as you learn about the structure and function of the Nervous System. Notably how this system responds to, and transmits, information and commands will be detailed in presentations on the action potential, synapses and neurotransmitters. The distinct structures and functions of the Central vs. the Peripheral Nervous Systems will be presented. On campus you will be able to deepen your understanding of the anatomy using anatomical models and conducting a dissection of a mammalian brain.


The contribution of these organs to support, protection from trauma, mineral homeostasis and movement will be presented. In on campus sessions you will use your practical notes and anatomical charts and models to name and identify the major bones and muscles of the body as well the different types of joints and also learn about their respective movements.


In the lectures on the structures and functions of this system you will gain an understanding of how this system maintains and regulates the blood supply to the different parts of the body. In on campus sessions you will have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the CVS structures through use of anatomical charts and models and the dissection of a mammalian heart. Also in one of the on campus sessions you will see how the electrical activity (electrocardiogram, ECG) and circulatory activity (blood pressure measurement) of the CVS is evaluated.


How this system maintains the supply of oxygen, and removal of carbon dioxide, of the body will be explained through detailing the structure and function of the airways and lungs. In a self-study online module you will deepen your understanding of the structure of the lungs and airways as well as showing you a very common way that lung function is evaluated.

In lectures, and a self-study module, you will learn how this system supplies the body’s needs for the “building blocks” of the cells and organs and for fuel to allow the body to conduct all its vital work.

How this system both (i) acts as the principle means of removing wastes and toxins; and (ii) maintains the body’s “internal environment” (the fluids of the body, tissues and cells) will be explained in lectures on its structure and functions. On campus you will have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the system’s anatomy through use of charts, models and the dissection of a mammalian kidney. Also while on campus you will see how evaluating the composition of urine can be used to assess both the urinary and other organ systems health.


In lectures you will learn about the components of blood and the functions of the different components. You will also learn about how several of these components work together to prevent blood loss after injury.


Assessment task 1: Online Quizzes


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

Disciplinary knowledge


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):


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


Type: Quiz/test
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

You will be assessed on the knowledge and understanding of lecture, practical and online material. All questions will be multiple choice questions. You will get a mark for every correct answer. Any wrong answer will get a mark of zero (0). Your quiz total will normally be calculated as the top four marks out of the five quizzes completed.

Assessment task 2: Disease Presentation


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

Disciplinary knowledge

Research, inquiry and critical thinking



This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 3

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

1.2, 2.2 and 5.1

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

There will be a set of instructions as to the number of slides and maximum time provided via Canvas


Using a marking rubric which will be made available to you, you will be assessed on:

• Accuracy of information, in particular how this compares to the healthy state

• The readability of the slides and the use of non-text elements to capture your points

• The extent to which you addressed the different points about the disease

• The listenability of the audio track

Assessment task 3: Presentation and discussion of a set of data


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

Disciplinary knowledge

Research, inquiry and critical thinking



This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

3 and 4

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

1.2, 2.2 and 5.1

Type: Report
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

This information will be provided in the instructions that will be posted on Canvas


Using the rubric that will be available to you on Canvas, you will be assessed on:

  • The quality and readability of any table or graph in line with the specifications provided in the instructions
  • The readability and correctness of the discussion
  • The degree to which the assignment is free of spelling and/or grammatical errors

Minimum requirements

  • Students are expected to view all lectures. 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 practical sessions, which are an important part of the learning experience in this subject.
  • Students are expected to routinely check the lecture and practical session timetables for the times and locations of lectures, practicals and dates for assessments.
  • Students are expected to routinely use and check their UTS email accounts. Students are expected to regularly check Canvas.
  • 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 the subject document posted on Canvas specifically relating to conduct in practicals.
  • NOTE: Laboratory coats and closed shoes are mandatory in ALL laboratory classes and are requirements for admission to the practical session. In addition, students MUST be aware of the UTS procedures for evacuation in an emergency.

Required texts

There is no required text but as indicated below there is a recommended one

You are not required to buy the latest edition of one of the many human anatomy and physiology texts that are available. What I would encourage you to do is look at some (either on line or in the library) to see the general depth of detail, organisation and formatting.

Then if you can't afford to buy a brand new text and you like the idea of a hard copy resource: consider a second text. It should be relatively recent. Based on the sort of research I have suggested: you will know what to expect from any text on sale.

If you are going to work in the health professions or health industry: a Human A&P text is central to your work library. These are much more reliable that a lot of web sources. As the publishing date of the text gets further and further into the past: you can update your specialist knowledge from the medical and scientific journals.

Recommended texts

Martini FI and Bartholomew EW Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology 8th edition