Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit




BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

It is important for every biomedical scientist to understand how the human body functions. The aim of this unit is to give you an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the major systems of the human body, and to introduce you to the basic academic skills required by practicing biomedical scientists. In this unit, you will learn about the basic structure and functions of the major systems of the human body and apply this knowledge to determine how they work together in a coordinated manner. Using human physiological processes as a basis, you will develop critical thinking skills that allow you to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. Successful completion of this unit is necessary for you to succeed in units where higher levels of knowledge and application of understanding are required.

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 - Describe the structure and function of the main body systems (GA 5, 8)

LO2 - Summarise the principles of homeostasis, and explain how the main body systems interact in maintaining homeostasis (GA 4, 5, 8)

LO3 -Develop critical thinking skills, effectively research the scientific literature, demonstrate understanding of the importance of academic integrity and produce academic writing at an early Tertiary standard (GA 3, 4, 5)

Graduate attributes

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

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 


Topics will include: 

  • The way the body is organised, from cells to systems
  • How cells, tissues and organs work and what they do in the body
  • Components and function of:
  • the integumentary system
  • the nervous system
  • the musculoskeletal system
  • the endocrine system
  • the cardiovascular system
  • the digestive system
  • the renal system
  • the respiratory system
  • Critical thinking and assessing arguments
  • Good scientific practice
  • Academic writing skills (including academic honesty)

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active learning approach to support students in their development of an integrated understanding of bodily structure and function.  

Active participation and questioning of content is encouraged during the lectures, assisting students in acquiring the essential knowledge to understand human anatomy and physiology. The workshop classes reinforce key concepts and offer students a more intimate opportunity to engage with the material.

In addition to the formal face to face classes, this unit further supports student learning by providing online material through the LEO platform. This includes weekly formative quizzes, relevant links to external material such as YouTube videos and additional learning activities. This format has proven effective for many students to develop understanding and review the material in a variety of ways.

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit is taken as a first year specified unit in the Biomedical Science degree. The assessment strategy is designed to support development of academic literacy and assist students to reach their learning objectives in a step-wise fashion; it encourages students to work consistently through semester. Students are provided with early feedback so they can seek assistance if required; no one assessment is so large as to preclude the possibility of passing if they fail it, and a variety of tasks are provided to suit different learning approaches.

The Quizzes: The first assessment provides an opportunity to gain feedback for low stakes assessment which assesses only the first two weeks of material. Feedback is provided quickly, allowing students to gauge their progress, and to seek assistance if they wish. The second quiz builds on this, being of a higher weighting and assessing more content. Both quizzes help prepare the students for the final exam, having questions of the same standard to those on the exam, and provide in-semester feedback as to the progression of the student’s understanding and application of key concepts.

The Written Assessment: This task requires students to produce a piece of academic writing, exhibiting their developing critical thinking skills. They will need to integrate information from various body systems and apply their understanding of good scientific practice. As a take-home assessment, it provides an opportunity for students who tend to under-perform in exam conditions to shine.

The Final Exam: This task assesses all learning outcomes. Having been provided with feedback from the earlier assessments, students should now be able to address misunderstandings and conceptual difficulties identified from these earlier tasks and show that they have met these learning outcomes.

Formative assessment is also provided throughout the semester. This is in the form of weekly ‘feedback quizzes’; these are online, multiple-choice quizzes that present questions similar to those on the exam and assessed tests. Opportunities to practice short answer questions are incorporated into workshop activities, so that students gain insight into staff expectations of answers to these kinds of questions.

Hurdle quiz: Students must also successfully complete a Hurdle task designed to demonstrate familiarity with key academic skills, including searching the literature, referencing, academic integrity and academic misconduct. The hurdle task is an online quiz based upon support resources available via the ACU Library and Academic Skills Unit. A thorough understanding of this content will assist our students in the creation of written assessments required in this unit and will support their development as independent scientists.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Hurdle Quiz 

Students are required to demonstrate familiarity with the essentials of searching the literature, and academic integrity and misconduct. 

0% (hurdle)


GA3, GA5, GA8


Quiz A

Requires students to display their understanding of basic principles of human anatomy and physiology.

Quiz B

Requires students to demonstrate their consolidation of knowledge of human anatomy and physiology





LO1, LO2, LO3



LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8



GA4, GA5, GA8

Written assessment: enables students to develop and use critical thinking skills and integrate knowledge of the topics covered during the lectures and practical/workshop classes


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Final exam: requires students to use critical thinking and knowledge of basic principles of human anatomy and physiology on topics covered through all semester


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Marieb, E. (2015). Essentials of human anatomy and physiology (11th Global ed.) Pearson, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Martini, F., Nath, J.L., & Bartholomew, E.F. (2018). Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology (11th Global ed.) Pearson, Harlow, Essex, UK.

Tortora, G.T., Derrickson, B.H., Burk/ett, B., T.Peoples, 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

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs