Biology (BIOL) 230

Human Physiology (Revision 10)

BIOL 230

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook) with virtual labs and home labs. This course is charged a lab fee.

BIOL 230 lab exemption.

Credits: 6

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: Knowledge of basic chemistry or biology is recommended.

Precluded Course: BIOL 235. (BIOL 230 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for BIOL 235.)

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

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Welcome to Biology 230: Human Physiology, a six-credit, university-level course that covers all major aspects of the physiology of the human body, including basic anatomy, fundamental organic chemistry, cellular structure and function, and the integration, organization, and control of the organism's body systems. After completing this course, you will have acquired an understanding of physiology, physiological adaptations to special conditions, and some of the physiological factors in disease processes.


  • Unit 1: Homeostasis: The Foundation of Physiology
  • Unit 2: Cell Physiology
  • Unit 3: The Plasma Membrane and Membrane Potential
  • Unit 4: Principles of Neural and Hormonal Communication
  • Unit 5: The Central Nervous System
  • Unit 6: The Peripheral Nervous System: Afferent Division; Special Senses
  • Unit 7: The Peripheral Nervous System: Efferent Division
  • Unit 8: Muscle Physiology
  • Unit 9: Cardiac Physiology
  • Unit 10: The Blood Vessels and Blood Pressure
  • Unit 11: The Blood
  • Unit 12: Body Defences
  • Unit 13: Respiratory System
  • Unit 14: The Urinary System
  • Unit 15: Fluid and Acid‑Base Balance
  • Unit 16: The Digestive System
  • Unit 17: Energy Balance and Temperature Regulation
  • Unit 18: Principles of Endocrinology and the Central Endocrine Glands
  • Unit 19: The Peripheral Endocrine Glands
  • Unit 20: The Reproductive System

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Develop a vocabulary of terminology to communicate the information effectively for topics related to human physiology.
  • Recognize and explain the principle of homeostasis and how the feedback systems control the physiological processes in the human body.
  • Understand and explain the physiological connections within and between systems of the human body.
  • Recognize the systems functions, and recognize and explain the principle of homeostasis applied to all eleven systems of the human body.
  • Use anatomical knowledge to predict physiological responses and use knowledge of physiology to predict the variations of anatomical structures.
  • Synthesize ideas and understand how changes to anatomy and physiology could result in situations of homeostatic imbalances.
  • Demonstrate laboratory procedures used to evaluate physiological functions of each organ system and interpret graphs of anatomical and physiological data.


To receive credit for BIOL 230, you must achieve a minimum grade of 50 per cent on each quiz and each exam. The passing grade for this course is D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
3 Assignments 15%
Lab. Assignment 9%
3 Quizzes 16%
Midterm Exam 1 15%
Midterm Exam 2 15%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes electronic textbooks. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to the eText Initiative site.

Sherwood, L., & Kell, R. (2010). Human physiology: From cells to systems (First Canadian ed.). Toronto: Nelson Education.

Price, S., & Sherwood, L. (2010). Study guide: Human physiology: From cells to systems (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.

A print version of the eTexts may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbooks on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be available online.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 10, September 17, 2013.

View previous syllabus