PSC3011 : Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract 1

Semester 1 Credit Value: 15
ECTS Credits: 8.0


This pair of modules (PSC3011 and PSC3013) on the Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract will give a broad grounding in many areas of gut function. The PSC3011 module (Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract 1) is designed to develop knowledge and advance understanding of the physiology and cellular physiology of:
•       nutrient and micronutrient absorption
•       fluid and electrolyte balance
•       neurohormonal control of gut function
•       gastrointestinal motility

Outline Of Syllabus

The module initially provides a review of gastrointestinal physiology, and the key gut functions of digestion, absorption, secretion and motility, followed by an in-depth investigation of current research in selected areas. The central principles of the control of gut function (neurocrine, endocrine, paracrine) will be explored. The importance of the intestinal epithelial barrier and related membrane transport pathways will be described. The mechanisms involved in digestion and absorption of nutrients (carbohydrates and proteins), micronutrients, vitamins, bile acids, electrolytes and fluid in the small and large intestines will be examined in detail. The specialised modes of gastrointestinal motility found throughout different regions of the gut will be described and the role of the enteric nervous system in control of gut movement considered. The malfunction of specific cellular mechanisms will be described at appropriate points and the resultant pathophysiological conditions discussed.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Timed essay revision (5h per lecture)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00Incourse timed essay
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:001:00In-course MCQ exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture171:0017:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Group feedback seminar (timed essay)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Group feedback seminar (MCQ exam)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Seminar (Clinical Case Studies)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Assessed seminar (abstract analysis)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Individual feedback (timed-essay)
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1104:00104:00Lecture review, extra reading, MCQ revision
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used to convey new information, core scientific material and key concepts in a concise manner (K1-K6, S1). Lectures are used to direct students towards important original sources of information in the study guides to provide a framework for guided independent study (K1-K6, S1-S3). Lectures are used to aid the development of an understanding of current research and the experimental basis of key concepts and core knowledge (K2-K4, K6, S1-S2). The abstract analysis and clinical case study seminars provide an opportunity for informal discussion and aid in the development of critical skills and problem solving (S1-S3). The group and individual feedback sessions provide critical feedback on the assessed timed essay and in-course MCQ exam and provide opportunities to increase understanding by reflection and discussion (K1-K6, S1, S4).

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A80Two questions to be answered, one from each of two sections, with choice from two within each section.
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
PSC3013Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract 22N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M2Analysis of Abstract.
Essay1M10In-course timed essay under exam conditions (45 mins)
Prob solv exercises1M8In-course MCQ exam on material taught in lectures (60 mins)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination tests core knowledge and understanding of the subject under time-constraint conditions (K1-K6, S1-S4). The abstract analysis exercise tests critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis and interpretation (K1-K6, S1-S3). The in-course timed essay and MCQ promote revision and provide opportunities to consolidate knowledge and identify areas of weakness in learning and understanding (K1-K6, S1-S4). The in-course timed essay provides students with an opportunity to gain practice in essay writing under examination conditions (K1-K6, S4).

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.

Reading Lists