BMS1031 - Medical biophysics - 2019

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

School of Biomedical Sciences

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Kristian Helmerson


Professor Kristian Helmerson
Associate Professor Yvonne Hodgson

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


Must be enrolled in one of the following:

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science (including double degree programs)
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Scholar Program)
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science Advanced with Honours
  • Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic)
  • Bachelor of Radiation Sciences


PHS1031, PHS1080.


This unit introduces the student to the fundamental role of physics in how the body functions.

Throughout the semester, students will learn key principals of physics, and apply this knowledge to physiological processes. The concepts will be explored through experimentation and creation of simple models.

The concepts studied include the flow of fluids (such as blood and air) in the body, the mechanics of the musculoskeletal system, electrical signals within the brain and nervous system, and the optics involved in vision. These concepts will be explored through a range of scales - from atomic through to whole body systems.

By understanding the key principals of physics which govern how our bodies function, students will have gained a solid foundation for further study in the biomedical sciences.


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

1 Explain and apply relevant physics principles to human physiology and biomedical contexts.

2 Identify physical factors that should be considered when analysing physiological systems

3 Perform basic experiments, conduct reliable measurements, analyse data and interpret results

4 Accurately communicate scientific information in written and graphical forms

5 Use critical thinking to apply physics principles and models to physiological problems.


  • Written examination (2 hours) (40%) (Hurdle)
  • Practical work (30%)
  • In-class activities and online tests (30%)

A pass in the final examination must be obtained to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

The workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours spread across the semester (roughly 12 hours per week) - approximately an even mixture of attendance at scheduled activities and self-scheduled study time. Learning activities comprise a mixture of instructor directed, peer directed and self-directed learning, which includes face-to-face and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

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