Faculty of Science

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 Science
OfferedClayton First semester 2015 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Ramesh Rajan


This unit studies the sensory systems and the response systems of the body, and the neural pathways they use, in four areas: the nervous, sensory, muscle and endocrine systems, which act as the body's detection, communication, and response systems. Themes 1, 2 and 3 (The world within) explain nerves and inter-cell communication. Theme 3 (Registering the world) shows how the systems of touch, pain, hearing, vision, taste and smell detect the world and shows how the brain analyses that information. Theme 4 (Responding to the world) details how the body responds through movement of limbs and the action of internal organs, and hormone systems. Normal physiology and common dysfunctions of the systems are studied, to allow for a greater understanding of the normal physiology, and an appreciation of dysfunctions.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify the structures of and explain the functions of the detection, communication, analysis and action systems in the body: viz., the nervous system, sensory systems, skeletal and smooth muscle systems, and endocrine systems;

  1. Describe how nerve cells function electrically, and signal information to other cells and organs;

  1. Explain how some of the major sensory systems transmit information about the world to the brain for analysis and interpretation;

  1. Describe how the skeletal muscles function to allow the body to respond overtly to the world;

  1. Describe how the autonomic nervous system co-ordinates many internal organs for activity or for rest and recuperation;

  1. Describe how the endocrine systems regulate the body over long term to optimise how the body functions;

  1. Develop organisational, communication and management skills;

  1. Demonstrate physiology laboratory skills, including numerical calculations, data collection skills, the tabulation and graphing of numerical data, the practicalities and limitations of working with biological tissue, understanding of determination of concentrations, osmolarity and tonicity, measurements of hearing and visual sensitivities with appropriate devices, and skills in dealing with sophisticated electronic measurement and data logging devices and programs;

  1. Recognise that there is variability in biological systems through the observations of physiology experiments and the completion of practical laboratory exercises;

  1. Learn how to work co-operatively in practical classes and in the group preparation of a poster to communicate complex integrative physiological concepts.


In semester MCQ tests: 32%
In semester practical class tests: 25%
In semester web problem class: 5%
In semester poster: 13%
End of semester theory written examination (2 hours): 25%

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures and one 3-hour practical class or progress review period per week

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


12 points from level one Biology, Chemistry and/or Physics units