Module code: ENGM185

Module Overview

The module outlines the elements of human biology requisite for the understanding and application of biomedical engineering.

Upon being introduced to fundamental concepts, the student is asked to conduct a mini-research study in which a real-life bio-engineering application (e.g. artificial heart valves) is analysed and discussed from the perspective of human biology. Extensive literature review beyond lecture material is expected from the student in order to complete the project.

Module provider

Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Module Leader

LABEED Fatima (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C100

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 109

Lecture Hours: 27

Tutorial Hours: 9

Practical/Performance Hours: 5

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Normal entry requirements for the Biomedical Engineering MSc degree programme.

Module content


  • Anatomical terms of reference. 

  • Organisation of the skeleton.

  • Bone types and distribution of the main skeletal bones; cartilage, ligament and joints.

  • Definition of main muscle types and their cellular mechanism of contraction.

  • Lower and upper limb joints and structures including description of principle attachment sites for muscles (some examples of origins and insertions).

  • Bone formation (ossification), growth and composition. 

  • Nutrition and metabolism.

  • Synovial joint function; production, secretion and role of Synovial fluid.

  • Introduction to bone fractures.


Cardiovascular, digestive, urinary,  respiratory and immune

  • An introduction to cellular trafficking

  • Cell membranes, ions; nature of blood, blood function and repair. 

  • Body fluids and the general cardiovascular system including the structure and function of the heart and the cardiac cycle.

  • Structure and function of blood vessels, arteries, veins, capillaries.

  • Normal kidney and urinary function.

  • Liver, accessory organs and GI function.

  • Introduction to the immune system structure and function.

  • Introduction to the respiratory system.


Neurological function and the senses

  • Division of the Nervous System. 

  • Gross structure and function of the brain and spinal cord.

  • Functional localisation. 

  • The basis of excitability and signalling - the resting and action potentials.   Neuromuscular transmission. 

  • Motor neurons.

  • Control of muscle tone and voluntary movement, reflex arcs.

  • Senses and proprioception.

  • The eye structure and function.

  • The ear structure and function which includes hearing and balance.           


The course also includes a visit to the Royal College of Surgeons, including 5h of content

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 40
Examination EXAM 2 HOURS 60

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate understanding of the function, anatomy and interaction of the multiple key systems that form the human body.  The coursework element allows students to increase the depth of their knowledge in a specific aspect of biomedical engineering relating to human biology, but requires an understanding of the broader biological context.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Examination   [ Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3]               (2 hours)          {60%}

·         Coursework               [ Learning outcome 4]              (20 hours)       {40%}


Formative assessment and feedback

·         Formative verbal feedback is given in tutorials

·         Formative Multiple Choice Tests are available on SurreyLearn to give feedback on understanding of simple principles

·         Verbal feedback is given on draft coursework assessment at a specific tutorial

Module aims

  • This module aims to provide core knowledge in human biology pertinent to advanced applications of technology and engineering by defining and demonstrating the human parts, structure and function, and some disorders.  The module will focus on the following body systems, from cellular, anatomical and any physiological perspectives: The musculoskeletal system, neurological function and senses, Cardiovascular system,Digestive system,Urinary system, respiratory system, immune system

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate in depth understanding of the structure and functions of living tissue, organs, bodily systems and the whole body as a complex, dynamic and interrelated system. KC
2 Understand and identify some disorders and pathologies. KC
3 Independently further their knowledge in human anatomy and physiology in relation to bioengineering applications. CPT
4 Critically apply this knowledge to identify the opportunities, challenges and potential future developments regarding the use of biomedical engineering applications such as heart valve replacements, orthopaedic and other implants from the perspective of human biology.(Q3) CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Introduce the function and interaction of the key components of the human body and their disorders through a systemic approach, using worked examples. This is delivered principally through lectures and tutorial classes and concludes with an independently conducted mini project essay requiring student-led research on the interventions required to overcome a specific biological problem. The learning will be supplemented with real-life examples of normal and pathological specimens, such as a visit to anatomy and physiology museums (at the Royal College of Surgeons) to allow students to see the systems “for real” and understand how they interact; and through the demonstration of musculoskeletal anatomy by a trained physiotherapist.


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 3 hours lecture per week x 9 weeks

  • 1 hour tutorial x 9 weeks

  • 1 visit to the Royal College of Surgeons, including visits to both the Hunterian and Wellcome museums

  • Coursework project (12 hours) submitted on SurreyLearn


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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ENGM185

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biomedical Engineering MSc 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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.