Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Biomedical Sciences
OfferedBerwick First semester 2015 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2015 (Day)
Peninsula First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Wayne Sturrock


This unit is the first in a sequence of two biomedical science units that provides foundation knowledge of human anatomy and physiology relevant to the allied health professions of ambulance and paramedic studies, nursing, midwifery and occupational therapy. In this unit you will learn about the biological basis of human health and the working of human body.

The unit introduces students to the scientific methods of thought; it encourages the critical evaluation of evidence, and promotes an awareness of the changing nature of medical knowledge. The major themes of study are the structural levels of body organisation, communication via the nervous and endocrine systems, the reproductive system and early stages of human development. Topics include the chemical and cellular basis of human life; integration of body functions and homeostasis; the structure and function of the integumentary system; the structure and function of the nervous and the effect of drugs on this system; the endocrine system; the reproductive system; and the major changes in embryonic development in early pregnancy.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Apply the concept of homeostasis to physiological processes;
  2. Describe the basic structure and function of cells and tissue types;
  3. Relate the structure of the integumentary system to its function;
  4. Relate the structure of the major anatomical divisions of the nervous system to the sensory, integrative, and responsive functions of nervous tissues;
  5. Explain how electrochemical signals are conducted within the nervous system;
  6. Compare the functions of the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system;
  7. Discuss the basic principals of pharmacology;
  8. Relate the structure of the endocrine system to the integration of body functions;
  9. Relate the structure of the reproductive system to the function of gametogenesis and fertilisation;
  10. Describe the major changes in embryonic and fetal development, and maternal adaptations in pregnancy;
  11. Observe, measure and present clinical data and discuss the validity of the data; and
  12. Apply theoretical concepts to simulated clinical scenarios to develop a framework for the scientific understanding of clinical practice.


Online tests (10%)
Mid-semester exam (1 hour) (20%)
Laboratory test (30%)
Examination (2 hours) (40%)

Hurdle: Attendance at 100% of tutorials and laboratory sessions, unless a medical certificate is provided.

Workload requirements

3 hours of lectures, 1 hour tutorial and 2 hours practical or online work per week. An additional 6 hours of private study is recommended.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)


Must be enrolled in courses 0727 or 2552 or 3445 or 3562 or M3001 or 3892 or 3953 or 3963 or 4506 or 4514.