Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
BIOL 1104
Introduction to Human Anatomy and Physiology
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours

Lecture: 4 hours/week


Fully online

Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Methods of instruction for this course will include some or all of the following:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
Course Description
This course is a basic introduction to the anatomy and physiology of humans, and is intended for students with little or no background in biology. Topics include: the structure and function of cells and tissues, and the essential anatomy and physiology of the integumentary, musculoskeletal, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems.
Course Content

Structure and Function of Cells and Tissues

  • Hierarchical organization of the human body
  • Cellular organelles and their specific functions
  • Functional relationships between organelles
  • Cellular division (mitosis)
  • Characteristics of tissues
  • Tissue repair
  • Major organs and organ systems of the human body

Integumentary System

  • Structure of the skin
  • The functions of skin in maintaining health
  • Wounds and wound healing
  • Consequences of skin damage to other organ systems

Musculoskeletal System

  • Skeletal tissues
  • Classification of bones and bone functions
  • Bone development and repair
  • Anatomy of skeletal system
  • Classification of joints and joint function
  • Classification of muscle tissue
  • Actions and interactions of muscles
  • Origin(s), insertion(s), and innervation of key muscles
  • Causes and consequences of common musculoskeletal injuries and chronic conditions

Nervous System

  • Nerve cell structure
  • Neuronal synapses
  • Membrane potential
  • Action potential propagation
  • Classification and functions of neurotransmitters
  • Organization of the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
  • Organization of the autonomic nervous system and its divisions
  • Senses and sensory receptors
  • Structure and function of the spinal cord and spinal nerves
  • Reflex arcs
  • Structure and functions of the brain
  • Higher mental functions and their assessments
  • Homeostatic imbalances of the brain
  • Causes and consequences of common nervous system disorders, injuries, and chronic conditions

Circulatory System

  • The composition and function of blood
  • The importance of the circulatory system for maintenance of homeostasis of the body
  • Common diagnostic blood tests
  • Structures of the circulatory system and the relationships between them
  • Structure and functions of blood vessels
  • Pulmonary and systemic circulation
  • Structure of the heart
  • Relationship between heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure
  • Heart physiology, including the cardiac cycle and the regulation of cardiac output
  • Structures and functions of the lymphatic system
  • Roles of antigens and antibodies in the body
  • Causes and consequences of common circulatory system disorders and chronic conditions
  • Relationships between the cardiovascular system and other organ systems

Respiratory System

  • Functional anatomy of the lungs and airways
  • Mechanics of breathing and the properties of gases
  • Gas exchange and transport
  • External and internal respiration
  • Relationship between respiratory system and blood gases
  • Importance of breathing, with specific reference to brain cells
  • Regulation of respiratory rate
  • Causes and consequences of common respiratory system disorders and chronic conditions
  • Relationships between the respiratory system and other organ systems

Digestive System

  • Structures of the digestive system and the relationships between them
  • The composition and actions of salivary, gastric, pancreatic, and intestinal juices
  • Mechanical breakdown, chemical digestion, and absorption of nutrients
  • Diet and nutritional requirements
  • Roles and metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins
  • Roles of vitamins, minerals, and roughage
  • The relationship between metabolism and body temperature
  • Metabolism during exercise
  • Causes and consequences of common digestive system disorders and chronic conditions

Urinary System

  • Structures of the urinary system and the relationships between them
  • The relationships between the urinary system and blood pressure
  • Maintenance of water and sodium homeostasis in the blood by the digestive, urinary, and cardiovascular systems
  • Causes and consequences of common urinary system disorders and chronic conditions


Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will have gained an understanding of basic human anatomy and physiology in a context that will be useful to them in their work.

More specifically, a successful student will be able to:

  • Identify the location and gross anatomy of bodily structures relevant to their future profession.
  • Describe the essential functions served by major anatomical structures within the organ systems covered.
  • Use knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the organ systems covered to describe the physiological causes, and explain the system-wide effects, of various disorders.


Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy.  The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on the following:

Weekly quiz(zes)

Individual assignment(s) 0-40%
Group assignment(s) 0-40%
Group presentation(s) 0-20%
Midterm Examination(s) 0-40%
Final Examination(s) 20-40%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

Students should consult the Douglas College Bookstore for the latest required textbooks and materials.  Example textbooks may include:

OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology