Module code: BMS2038

Module Overview

The module introduces the functions of several physiological systems and creates an understanding of methods that exist to enable control of these in an attempt to maintain whole body homeostasis.

Topics covered include: central nervous system, the basis of vision, hearing and other special senses; the function of the gastro-intestinal tract and the principles of endocrinology including the role of individual hormones. 

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

JABR R Dr (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

JACs code: B120

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

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Module introduction: Review of key physiological concepts from level 1 and overview of integration of these with current module themes.

Central nervous system:

Organisation of the central nervous system (spinal cord, brain).
Motor control.
Higher functions of brain (speech, memory, sleep and emotions)


Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste and Somatosensation and ascending pathways (touch, proprioception, temperature, pain)


Structure of the liver
Role in detoxification
Relationship with the gallbladder, gallbladder functions and control of bile release
Relationship between the liver, gallbladder and GI tract

GI tract:

Structure and function of GI tract
Motility in the GI tract
Control of gastric/salivary secretions  and function
Exocrine pancreas
Carbohydrates digestion and absorption
Protein digestion and absorption
Physiology of the liver
Biliary system and fat (including fat soluble vitamins) digestion
Water and electrolyte absorption


Principles of endocrinology (steroids and peptide hormones)

Hypothalamus, pituitary and feedback loops
Thyroid gland
Endocrine pancreas
Adrenocortical hormones (cortisol and mineralocorticoids)
Regulation of calcium (Parathyroid glands)
Adrenal medulla
Male reproduction 
Ovarian cycle
Female reproduction

End of module tutorial/revision

Scientific writing workshops:

Interactive workshops to cover the ability to read & interpret questions, structure & approach to scientific writing and how to write for a target audience. 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test MCQ TEST (30 MINUTES) WEEK 5 25
School-timetabled exam/test MCQ TEST (30 MINUTES) WEEK 9 25

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their conceptual understanding of integrated physiology in a step-wise fashion of related topics.

Formative assessment will be provided in the form of MCQ questions given either in the lecture or on Surrey Learn as practice for summative assessment. Verbal (lecture) or written (Surrey Learn) feedback will be available for these questions. Formative feedback and peer feedback on scientific writing will be given as part of essay writing workshops and feedback.

The sequential summative MCQ questions prepare the students for the summative written exam, assessing the module content while simultaneously allowing a build-up of knowledge. The final exam, comprising two written questions, enables the demonstration of a depth of knowledge and ability to link topics taught on this module.

The summative assessment consists of two MCQs tests (50% in total) and a final examination (50%, 60 minutes) 

Module aims

  • Introduce the concept of whole body homeostasis and its control mechanisms
  • Provide grounding in neuronal signalling and an overview of CNS functions.
  • Introduce the special senses and communication between receptors and the CNS.
  • Highlight the link between the liver, bile production and consequently the effect that this has on digestion.
  • Introduce the activities of the GI tract and their effects on digestion of specific food types.
  • Identify key endocrine organs, explore the use of hormones as effectors of control and explain their actions at target site.
  • Using examples, explore the mechanisms that underpin disruption of homeostasis in disease.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Show an understanding of the principles underlying physiological regulatory systems KCT
002 Demonstrate an understanding of the nervous system and in particular nervous pathways involved in sensation and in controlling movement; a brief introduction to behaviour and the brain KC
003 Demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of different specialist senses, including: the eyes and vision; the ears and hearing; the chemical senses of smell and taste KC
004 Explain how the gastro-intestinal tract controls the motility, digestion and absorption of dietary nutrients KC
005 Describe the mechanisms through which the endocrine system maintains homeostasis and physiological function KC
006 Integrate knowledge gained with written communication skills to efficiently communicate material to others KCT
007 Explain the role of the liver in storage, metabolism and homeostasis, linking it to activities of the GI tract (C,K) KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 3

Independent Study Hours: 111

Lecture Hours: 32

Tutorial Hours: 45

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to include lectures, self- study and workshops in order to develop subject specific knowledge and the ability to communicate it to others. Summative, formative & peer feedback used to enhance knowledge and writing skills.

The learning and teaching methods include:

32 hours Lectures
2 hours formative MCQ feedback tutorials
2 hours formative examination tutorial (end of module)
3 hours writing workshops
Class discussions & use of poll everywhere for formative feedback
111 independant study

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
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Nutrition BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Microbiology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry MSci (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 1 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 2019/0 academic year.