Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit is suitable for all students interested in the integrated function of the human body. The unit deals with the functional organisation of major human body systems. There is an emphasis on the mechanisms by which the internal environment of the body is regulated via the various body systems. Throughout the unit examples are given of how abnormal conditions can arise from failures of the body systems. After an overview of body organisation, neural and hormonal control systems, the unit is organised into the following themes: (1) perfusion of the tissues—the physiology of cardiovascular function and control; (2) gaseous exchange—the physiology of respiratory function and control; (3) regulation of body fluid and salt composition—renal physiology; (4) absorption of nutrients—the function of the gut; and (5) the physiology of reproduction—the last topic is used as an example of hormonal control mechanisms and emphasis is placed on the general principles that can be derived from this example.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) recall and integrate key knowledge and concepts about (a) control of body processes by the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system; (b) function and control of the cardiovascular system; (c) function and control of the respiratory system for gas exchange; (d) body fluid and electrolyte composition and its control; and (e) gastrointestinal functions and reproduction and (2) obtain skills in (a) the design of simple scientific experiments; (b) taking accurate measurements of experimental variables; (c) data analysis and interpretation of results; (d) measuring body function using classical physiology techniques and modern computer techniques; (e) communicating in writing the results of laboratory work; (f) oral communication via tutorial presentations; and (g) teamwork and working in small groups.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) laboratory quizzes; (2) scientific communication and engagement; and (3) a final theory examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Tony Bakker
Unit rules
Successful completion of
ATAR Subject(s) Chemistry
or CHEM1003 Introductory Chemistry
or CHEX1003 Introductory Chemistry
Enrolment in
Unit(s) PHYL1001 Physiology - How Does the Human Body Work?
Advisable prior study
12 points of Level 1 human biology
or biology, and at least six points of Level 1 chemistry are recommended.
Students without any high-school physics are encouraged to consider taking a suitable Level 1 physics unit.
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
labs: 3 hours per week (for 4 weeks)
tutorials: 2 hours per week (for 6 weeks) (alternating with lab classes)

Sherwood, L. Human Physiology from Cells to Systems, 8th edn: Brooks/Cole 2012

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.