Surrey University Stag


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

BAILEY Sarah (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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 2

Independent Learning Hours: 108

Lecture Hours: 20

Tutorial Hours: 10

Captured Content: 10

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
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test ONLINE (OPEN BOOK) TEST (63 MINS) WITHIN A 4HR WINDOW 25
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test ONLINE (OPEN BOOK) TEST 63 MINUTES WITHIN A 4HR WINDOW 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 test style 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 weekly tutorials.

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

Two mid semester summative tests prepare students by ensuring continual revision of topics occurs to increase awareness of topics in this module.These assess 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.

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

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:

  • Lectures; Most of the content will be delivered in this way. These will include active learning activities, small group discussions and link to some additional questions posed for preparation prior to your attendance.

  • Test feedback tutorials; Identifying misconceptions revealed from the test results, to help you learn from these and implement changes for the exam.

  • Formative examination tutorials (end of module); these help you ask any last minute questions and talk through how to approach the exam.

  • Academic Writing workshops; these will help you to structure your work accordingly and become more familiar with how we mark your answers and provides opportunities for formative feedback.

  • Content tutorials including class discussions and small writing tasks to help develop your academic writing skills & use of polling softwares for formative feedback.

  • Recorded content 

  • Independent 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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS2038

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
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
Biomedical Science MSci (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry 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
Biological Sciences BSc (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

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 2023/4 academic year.