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BIOL125 Human Biology 1


BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 , BIOL122 Human Biological Science 2 , BIOL124 Human Body in Health and Disease 1 , BIOL204 Human Body in Health and Disease 2 , BIOD126 Human Biology 2

Unit rationale, description and aim

To conduct biomedical research or work in health professions including physiotherapy, a thorough understanding of the principles of anatomy and physiology in a healthy individual is essential. This unit builds on students' knowledge of the human body gained in BIOL125. In BIOL126 students' knowledge of structure and function of cells, tissues and organs will be extended to the endocrine, integumentary, digestive, urinary, reproductive and immune systems across the lifespan. Students will be introduced to foundation-level embryology; maintenance of homeostasis; the body's response to pathogens, stress and injury; and exercise physiology. In addition, elementary concepts of pathophysiology and pharmacotherapy will be introduced. The aim of this unit, together with the prerequisite BIOL125, is to provide students with an understanding of the structure and function of all organ systems in the human body.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss the structure and function of the endocrine, integumentary, digestive, urinary, reproductive and immune systems across the lifespan (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO2 -  Describe the main events of embryonic development including cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal and neurological systems (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO3 - Discuss the human body’s response to stress, injury and infectious agents (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Describe the metabolic changes that occur during exercise and obesity (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO5 - Describe the basic principles of pharmacology, including formulations, routes of drug administration, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (GA5, GA8).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

Selected organ systems; their components, interactions and control, functions, roles in maintaining homeostasis, and changes across the lifespan:

  • Endocrine system
  • Integument system
  • Digestive system
  • Urinary system
  • Reproductive system
  • Lymphatic system and immunity
  • The body’s response to stress and injury:
  • Adaptation, inflammation, oedema and healing
  • Metabolism
  • Metabolic changes associated with exercise and obesity
  • Foundation level introduction to pathophysiology and pharmacology

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach with lectures and workshops supported by online activities. Lectures allow teachers to convey necessary information so that students can acquire an overall understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Lectures will also provide opportunities for students to check their understanding and ask questions. Workshop classes will reinforce key concepts first introduced in lectures and offer an opportunity to engage with the material in a supported environment. In workshop classes students will work collaboratively and engage in activities such as computer simulations, case studies, data collection and interpretation, synthesis and evaluation of class content. This unit further supports student learning by providing online material through LEO. This includes formative feedback quizzes and relevant links to external material such as videos, additional learning activities and quizzes.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy encourages students to work in a consistent and stepwise manner throughout the semester. No assessment is so heavily weighted as to preclude the possibility of passing if a student fails, and a variety of tasks are provided to suit different learning styles.

Case study: This task includes an oral and a written assignment related to the description of a condition/situation about a specific person. The first part of this assessment is an oral presentation and the second part of this assessment requires students to produce a piece of academic writing in order to develop their critical thinking skills.

Intra-semester quiz: This task enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the topics covered at the time of the assessment.

End-of-semester quiz: Students will have an opportunity to demonstrate their integration and application of all topics.

Formative assessments are also provided throughout the semester. These are in the form of topic ‘feedback quizzes’; these are online, multiple-choice quizzes that present questions similar to those used in graded assessments. Opportunities to practice short answer questions are also incorporated into group teaching activities so that students can gain insights regarding the various question types and model answers.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Case study

Part A: Oral presentation

Part B: Written assessment

Students will use their critical thinking skills to demonstrate knowledge of anatomical and physiological workings of the human body and apply them to selected conditions.


Part A: 10%

Part B: 25% 

LO1, LO2, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Intra-semester quiz

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of the topics covered at the time of assessment.


LO1, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8 

End-of-semester quiz

Students will have an opportunity to demonstrate their integration and application of all topics.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Bryant, B., & Knights, K.M., Darroch, S., & Rowland, A. (2019). Pharmacology for health professionals (5th ed.). Chatswood, Australia: Elsevier.

Bullock, S. & Manias, E. (2017). Fundamentals of pharmacology (8th ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Pearson. Hall, J. (2016)

Guyton and Hall textbook of medical physiology (13th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.

Lee, G. & Bishop, P. (2016) Microbiology and infection control for health professionals (6th ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Pearson.

Marieb, E. & Keller, S.M. (2018). Essentials of human anatomy and physiology (12th global ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Martini, F., Nath, J.L., & Bartholomew, E.F. (2018). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology (11th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

McArdle, W.D., Katch, F.I. & Katch, V.L. (2015) Exercise physiology: Energy, nutrition and human performance (8th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Saladin, K.S., Gan, C.A. & Cushman, H.N. (2021). Anatomy & physiology: The unity of form and function (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.

Sherwood, L. (2016). Human physiology from cells to systems (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Stanfield, C.L. (2017) Principles of human physiology (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson

Tortora, G.T., Derrickson, B.H., Burkett, B., Peoples, G., Dye, D., Cooke, J., Diversi, T., McKean, M., Samalia, L., & Mellifont, R. (2019). Principles of anatomy and physiology (2nd Asia-Pacific ed.) John Wiley & Sons, Milton, Qld, Australia.

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