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PSC1002 : Physiology

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Alison Howard
  • Lecturer: Dr Michael Gray, Dr Owen Jeffries, Professor Adrian Rees, Professor Jeffrey Pearson, Dr Michele Sweeney
  • Owning School: Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Scien
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0


The module aims to provide an introduction to mammalian physiology, covering the structure and function of the major systems of the body and the control mechanisms involved in their regulation (cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, blood, nervous and gastrointestinal systems). The integration of different systems in the maintenance of a constant internal environment within the body (homeostasis) will be emphasised.

Outline Of Syllabus

The lectures and seminars cover the following topics:

1. Homeostasis: maintenance of constant internal environment; autonomic nervous system.
Blood: constituents of blood; blood groups; blood clotting.

2. Cardiovascular system: organisation and function of cardiovascular system; electrical conduction in the heart; neural and hormonal influences on the cardiovascular system; blood pressure.

3. Respiratory system: process of respiration/ventilation; factors that influence the work of breathing; gas exchange in the lung; gas transport in blood; control of ventilation.

4. Nervous system: sensation of touch, pressure and vibration; motor control; structure of the ear; how sound is represented in the brain; how an image is formed in the eye; how visual information is processed.

5. Renal system: structure and function of the kidney and nephron; mechanisms of control of reabsorption; hormonal control of water and sodium content of the body.

6. Gastrointestinal system: saliva and gastric secretions; pancreatic secretions; the gall bladder; digestion of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

7. Exercise and Environmental changes: how the cardiovascular and respiratory systems adapt to meet the demands of exercise and unusual environments.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture301:0030:00PIP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Formative Assessment (mid-semester). Online via Canvas.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching31:003:00PIP. Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1116:00116:00Writing up lecture notes, general reading and revision
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

1. Lectures will define the scope of the course and communicate basic knowledge as a basis for further study.

2. Seminars will encourage students to develop their understanding of the subject and interpersonal communication skills. They provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and exchange ideas. Skills practiced include critical thinking, numeracy, communication & team working.

3. Private study is used for self-directed learning and includes: reading lecture notes and texts; preparation for seminars; using learning resources on the Web. Skills practiced include critical thinking, active learning, numeracy, planning and organisation and independence.

Public Health Contingency:
All lectures and seminars can/will move online either as synchronous online or non-synchronous delivery

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A100Invigilated MCQ exam, 120 questions
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Computer assessment2MOnline timed (45 mins) MCQ/fill in the blank exam (remote) via Canvas (mid-semester).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The end of module examination assesses knowledge and understanding of the course material.

The formative assessment will help students assess their knowledge and understanding of course material as well as familiarise students with the end of module examination.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

Public Health Contingency:
Written exam can/will move to remote online, timed exam to be completed in 24-hour period (120 questions, expected completion time 90 mins).

Reading Lists