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Musculoskeletal Anatomy

Course Code: BIOL 3100
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Biology
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 15 Weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

The course entails an advanced exploration of the gross anatomy and microscopic structure of the human skeletal and muscular systems, including their vasculature, innervation, and joints. The location and structure of major components of the other organ systems are examined. The surface anatomy of the human body is examined to identify skeletal markings, muscles, and related structures, and to locate major organs. The functional and clinical relevance of selected anatomical topics is also discussed. The theory component is accompanied by laboratory activities and case studies.

Course Content

The major topics in the course include the following:

1. Overview of the musculoskeletal system

1.1 Histology of bone, muscle, cartilage, and fibrous connective tissues

1.2 Axial and appendicular skeleton

1.3 Joints: classification and accessory structures (ligaments, menisci, bursae) 

1.4 Muscles of the axial and appendicular skeleton

1.4.1 Principle of muscular antagonism

1.4.2 Functions

1.4.3 Origins and insertions

1.4.4 Prime movers for various actions

2. Neuroanatomy

2.1 General organization of the human nervous system

2.2 Central motor systems: main motor pathways, cerebellum and basal ganglia

2.3 Peripheral nervous system: cranial nerves, spinal nerves and nerve plexuses

2.4 Somatosensory systems

3. Vascular anatomy

3.1 Blood vessel structure: arteries, veins and capillaries

3.2 Circulatory pathways: principal arteries and veins

4. Regional musculoskeletal anatomy (including regional neuroanatomy, vascular anatomy, surface markings, and major organs noted)

4.1 Head and neck (including the brain)

4.2 Trunk: back and thorax (including the heart and lungs)

4.3 Trunk: abdomen (including the kidneys and the major organs and accessory organs of the digestive system) and pelvis (including the urinary bladder)

4.4 Upper extremity

4.5 Lower extremity

5. Laboratory activities

5.1 Microscopic examination of musculoskeletal, nervous and vascular tissues

5.2 Animal dissections for the identification of musculoskeletal, nervous and vascular structures

5.3 Visual inspection and palpation of surface anatomical markings on self and peers

5.4 Identification of musculoskeletal structures and organs in anatomical models and/or plastinated specimens

5.5 Functional integration of the musculoskeletal and the nervous systems in the execution of specific motor actions, gait and balance

Methods of Instruction

Classroom instruction (lecture, in-class individual and group activities, and case study discussions) and laboratory activities.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. 

The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. 

Type of Evaluation - Percent Range

Quizzes and/or assignments - 15-25%

Laboratory Work (reports and/or examinations) - 15-25%

Midterm Theory Examinations (2) - 30-40% (for both)

Final Theory Examination - 30-35%

Total - 100%

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the microscopic structure of bone, muscle, cartilage, vascular, nervous and fibrous connective tissues.
  2. Describe the gross anatomy, major functions, and anatomical location of the organs of the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, urinary, and digestive systems.
  3. Identify the bones of the human skeleton and their main surface markings.
  4. Identify the muscles of the human body on anatomical models and specimens, and by visual inspection or palpation of surface anatomy.
  5. Discuss the motor actions of the main muscles of the human body.
  6. Classify joints based on their structure and function.
  7. Describe the neural pathways involved in the generation and control of movement, and in the reception and transmission of somatosensory information.
  8. Describe the circulatory pathways that supply blood to the main muscles and major organs of the body.
  9. Describe the regional musculoskeletal anatomy of the head, neck, trunk and limbs, including their bones, muscles, joints, nerves and blood vessels.
  10. Apply anatomical knowledge to predict the functional consequence of injury to selected bones, muscles, joints, nerves or blood vessels.

course prerequisites

(BIOL 1103 or BIOL 1109) and (BIOL 1203 or BIOL 1209) or BIOL 2103


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.