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University of Exeter Medical School

Integrated Human Physiology

Module titleIntegrated Human Physiology
Module codeCSC1005
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

David James Macdonald Crosse (Convenor)

Dr Dominic Wiredu Boakye (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This core module provides an introduction to the science that underpins human health; from cells through to systems that regulate everyday functions. You will explore the modules content through a variety of different teaching formats including working in small groups with a facilitator, larger group seminars and supporting lectures. You will explore the core concepts of human physiology with some examples of diseases in order to underpin your understanding of the normal physiology that controls the internal environment of the human body. The module is structured in cycles of question-setting, personal research and sharing of findings within and between small groups. The personal research stage of each learning cycle is supported by workshops/seminars and delivery of lectures or videoed lecture content, as well as electronic resources.

This is a core module for students studying BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences and associated pathways.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of the module is to introduce and explore the fundamental concepts of human physiology from cellular functions through to systems that are responsible for homeostasis. The module aims to begin with the broader principles of how cells communicate and how cells function. From this basis, you will explore key physiological systems, investigating the central and peripheral nervous systems, how differing muscles are stimulated to contract, the digestive system and key associated nutritional principles, the cardiorespiratory system, the renal system and its regulatory role and the immune system and how it aims to protect the body against infection and disease.


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Demonstrate an integrated basic knowledge of the biomedical principles underpinning human health.
  • 2. Demonstrate a basic awareness of the scientific principles underpinning the prevention, diagnosis and management of some important diseases
  • 3. With guidance, apply skills of critical thinking, problem-formulation and problem-solving.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Understand the need for good laboratory practice, competency and professional behaviour, within the broad context of physiology
  • 5. Critically appraise scientific information gained from multiple sources including text books, review articles, journals and websites.

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 6. Manage time, workload, ambiguity, change and stress effectively
  • 7. Demonstrate professional competence in communicating effectively.
  • 8. Demonstrate an ability to work as part of a team.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

Cell signalling- Introduce the differing types of cell receptors and associated signalling pathway mechanisms through the exploration of hormonal signalling processes within the context of a variety of physiological process such as gene expression, cell growth/proliferation and other important cellular functions.  

Nervous system- Gross anatomy and structure, electrical and chemical signalling and associated receptors.

Cardiorespiratory system- Structure of the heart and blood vessels. Blood pressure and how it is regulated. Structure of the lungs and key processes of inspiration and expiration.

Renal system- Structure of the kidneys/nephrons. Functions of the kidney. Process of blood filtration, reabsorption/excretion of filtrate labelled for urination. Hormonal regulation of water and ion reabsorption/excretion. 

Gastrointestinal system- Structure of the gastrointestinal tract. Key physiological functions and processes that differentially occur throughout the system. Exploration of the basics of nutrition, digestion and absorption of macro/micro nutrients.     

Pharmacology – Introduce the fundamentals of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics with direct applications to systems taught within the module.

Immune system- Basic function of the innate and adaptive branches of the immune system

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 activities45Facilitated structured small group learning (SSGL) sessions. If face-to-face delivery is not possible, this will be delivered through MS Teams or Zoom, supported by online collaborative platforms..
Scheduled learning and teaching activities15Structured supporting learning sessions (including a combination of Laboratory practical sessions, workshops and seminar sessions) If face-to-face delivery is not possible, this will be delivered through MS Teams or Zoom, supported by online collaborative platforms.
Guided Independent Study20Lecture material delivered through short pre-recorded videos supported by asynchronous discussion board.
Guided Independent Study220Session preparation, self-directed learning using on-line resources and videos accessed on the module web site, e-resource and team mural creation & peer marking, online discussion forum contribution and revision.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practice multiple-choice questionsVariety of 20-40 questions for each topic area1-6Written
Engagement in small group learningTerm 11-8Written/Verbal

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
Applied Scientific Knowledge 3 (multiple-choice question exam)602.5 hours, 100 questions1-6Written
E-resource332 x submissions per student. Each submission consisting of (1 slide or 1 page of notes on an assigned theme + presenting a 5 question MCQ quiz based on notes to peers) The first submission is peer assessed whereas the second submission is tutor assessed. Constructiveness of feedback provided for peer’s infographics assignment will also be assessed The assessment period spans term1 and term 2 where each student will be assigned a theme to base their e-resource on each term. 1-8Written/Verbal
Engagement in small group learning7Terms 2: Quality/quantity of resources shared in group’s collaborative space and contribution during SSGL sessions1-8Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Applied Scientific Knowledge (multiple-choice question exam) 60% Multiple-choice question Referral/Deferral paper1-6Referral/Deferral period
E-resource 33% E-resource: Resubmission of failed E-resource (1 slide or 1 page of notes on an assigned theme + 5 question MCQ quiz based on notes) with improvements in light of feedback. 1-8Deferrals should be done in another theme block as explained in the re-assessment notes. Referrals should be done during the Referral/Deferral period
Engagement in small group learning Term 2; 7 %Short reflective piece of written work 500 words on importance of collaboration and working in a team1-8Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

The module is split into theme blocks e.g Nervous system, cardiovascular system, etc. (see syllabus plan) Each e-resource is specific to a theme block.  As such, if a student needs a deferral, they can submit another e-resource (notes+5 question quiz) for another theme block.

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Human Physiology from Cells to Systems. Sherwood, L. (2016, 9th edition) Cengage Learning.
  • Medical Sciences. Eds. Naish, J. and Syndercombe Court, D. (2018, 3rd edition) Elsevier
  • Pharmacology. Rang, H., Ritter, J., Flower, R. and Henderson, G. (2016, 8th Edition). Elsevier
  • Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. Tortora, G. and Derrickson, B. (2013, 14th edition). Wiley
  • Molecular Biology of the Cell. Alberts, B., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Morgan, D., Raff, M., Roberts, K. and Walter, P. (2014, 6th edition) Garland Science

Key words search

medical, science, physiology, anatomy, cells, human, clinical

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

CSC1004 Fundamental skills for medical scientists 

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date