Module code: BMS2073

Module Overview

The human body is a well-organised machine in which the anatomical structures are regulated
and co-ordinated by fine-tuned physiological processes. Understanding how normal, healthy
physiology can be monitored and analysed so that any pathological changes can be rapidly
identified and corrected is vital to maintaining a healthier population into old-age. This module
will introduce students from an engineering or computing background to the core principles of
human physiology, so that they can devise ways of monitoring and analysing key parameters.

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

BAILEY Sarah (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: B100

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

Module introduction (general) plus additional bespoke tutorial with module leader


Introduction to Cells and Membranes:
Compartments, pools and spaces (fluids and electrolytes)
Membrane transport and potentials-applied to all cell types-
Excitable cell physiology
Autonomic nervous system
The neuromuscular junction and the excitation-contraction coupling
Spinal reflexes

Intro to respiratory system (gas exchange structure of the lungs)
Lung mechanics (spirometry dead space lung compliance lung function tests)
Alveolar gas exchange (diffusion capacity) CO2 and O2 transport
Control of breathing

MCQ Tutorial 1

Cardiovascular system and Exercise Physiology
Introduction and Cardiac cycle
Control of cardiac output
Control of blood pressure and regulation of blood flow to tissues
Composition and functions of blood
Haemostasis and haematopoiesis

MCQ Tutorial 2

Renal Physiology and Electrolytes
Functional anatomy of the urinary tract (renal blood Flow and Glomerular filtration)
Proximal tubule
Plasma osmolality and its regulation
Control of effective circulatory volume- the renin angiotensin aldosterone system
Acid base balance

MCQ Tutorial 3


Practical 1: Lung function tests

Practical 2: Measurements of blood pressure, heart rate and electrocardiogram (ECG)

Practical 3: Haematology and blood groups (not assessed)


Facilitated Problem Solving tutorials:

Students will be provided with scenarios involving chronic health conditions and during facilitated tutorial sessions will investigate the condition and consider approaches suitable for long-term monitoring. Links to the final coursework.

An overview of relevant laws, regulatory requirements, ethical considerations: with discussions centred on present debates around analysing and using data of the ‘quantified self’.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment Two Practical reports 30
Coursework Problem solving exercise 20
Examination Exam (One essay plus 50 question MCQ) 50

Alternative Assessment

If practical reports are failed it will be possible for a revised version to be submitted for reassessment. If practical classes are missed it will be possible to set a written coursework that will test similar learning outcomes, however it would not normally be envisaged that more than half of the practical sessions could be replaced in this way. Neither of the other two assessments require alternatives.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of how the human body is structured and functions as a co-ordinated unit (MCQ and essay components of exam) and how normal physiology can be monitored and analysed (highlighted in essays, practical reports and the problem solving coursework).

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of: 

  • Two practical reports (30%): proforma-based report including analysis of data generated during lab sessions (single submission, week 8) 

  • Problem Solving Exercise (20%): proposition of approaches suitable for monitoring one of a list of common human medical conditions (week 11) 

  • Exam (50%): Two hour exam consisting of an MCQ of 50 questions plus one essay from a choice of four.

Formative assessment and Feedback

Students are encouraged to discuss their ideas for the problem solving exercise with the module leader and staff, as well as within facilitated tutorial sessions. Further drop-in sessions will be organised during the last 3 weeks of semester. Practice MCQ will be available through SurreyLearn and sample essay questions will also be made available, with an opportunity to submit up to TWO attempts for feedback. Feedback on coursework will be disseminated through SurreyLearn. Generic examination feedback will be released in the form of the Examination Feedback Sheet and individual feedback will be available by arrangement with the module leader.

Module aims

  • introduce Engineering and Computer Science students to the foundations of human anatomy, including appropriate anatomical terminology
  • explore the significance of normal homeostatic mechanisms
  • consider approaches to recording and analysing human physiological measurements in
    order to monitor health

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate correct usage of the terminology used to describe anatomical structures K
002 Describe the organisation of cells and tissues within particular organ systems K
003 Outline the nervous and endocrine control systems of the body K
004 Relate the structure and function of the kidney and upper urinary tract, demonstrating an understanding of the regulation of body fluids and electrolytes KC
005 Explain how the gastro-intestinal tract controls the motility, digestion and absorption of dietary nutrients KT
006 Show an understanding of the basic physiology of the liver KC
007 Describe the anatomy and physiology of the heart, lungs and blood vessels, summarising how blood flow and blood pressure are controlled and can be monitored KC
008 Describe the structure and function of the skin and the control of body temperature K
009 Summarise the impact that infectious diseases may have on physiology K
010 Describe the application of technologies and techniques for investigating the structure and function of the body, including the measurement of physiological parameters and the integrated modelling of physiological systems CP
011 Demonstrate communication skills (oral and written) to describe the structure and function of the human body, and the technologies to monitor it, to an audience of Engineers, Bio-scientists, Health Scientists or patients PT
012 Be aware of the legal, ethical, and regulatory expectations around data generated in measurements taken in the monitoring and analysis of physiology, the analysis and reporting of such analysed data, and issues relating to its ownership.

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 100

Lecture Hours: 30

Laboratory Hours: 9

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: give students from an Engineering or Computer Science background an insight into the way the human body functions at the organismal level, along with an insight into the clinical parameters of health that may be monitored in humans.

The lectures will provide much of the material content, and will be structured around the recommended text for the module. There will be a focus on relevance to health and to the student’s core subject, with the role of technology in enhancing biomedical science and promoting human health providing the key connection.

The practical classes are designed to support related lectures and to illustrate the ways in which physiological measurements can be taken and integrated.

To support learning on this module, a number of bespoke tutorial sessions will be offered to ensure that content outside of the student's normal expertise is understood.  These to be arranged with Module Leader.

The learning and teaching methods include: 

  • Lectures: 30 h in total, approximately three per week 

  • Practical classes: three practicals of 2½ h each

  • Facilitated scenario based tutorials: 2 h plus drop in sessions

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Data Science for Health BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.