• Offered by School of Medicine and Psychology
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Medical Science
  • Areas of interest Medicine, Cell and Molecular Biology, Physiology, Biomedical Science, Health
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Kathleen Miles
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

This course uses a systems approach to explain the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the normal functions of the skeletal muscles, heart, lungs, kidneys, circulatory system, stomach, intestine, liver, and pancreas. The interaction of physiological systems in nutrition, energy metabolism and exercise are introduced.  Students will develop a contextualised understanding about how external signals elicit changes in cellular function and how the autonomic nervous and endocrine systems orchestrate physiological responses to external and internal stimuli. Examples of common medical conditions will be presented together with the principles of pharmacological management to address the resultant physiological derangements. Online learning activities, laboratory demonstrations, and practical exercises will illustrate the clinical assessment of important physiological parameters.  Group work and facilitated discussions of an assigned research paper will build skills in reading scientific journals and science communication.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Discuss the relationship between structure and function in organ systems, with an emphasis on the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, circulatory, gastrointestinal systems and endocrine systems.
  2. Define homeostasis and describe the roles of the autonomic nervous system and endocrine system in the regulation of physiological systems and metabolism.
  3. Describe the nutritional needs of the healthy body and how the body adapts to changes in levels of nutrients in response to diet.
  4. Describe the integrated physiological responses that occur locally within working muscles, and the changes that occur within the in the blood, cardiovascular and respiratory systems in response to metabolic demands.
  5. Describe principles of pharmacology and the nature of pharmacological targets to correct physiological derangements in organ function and metabolism in common medical conditions addressed in the curriculum.
  6. Collect experimental data and interpret graphical representations of measured physiological parameters in light of established physiological principles.
  7. Work collaboratively to develop and deliver an effective group presentation outlining the research question, methodology and key findings of an assigned research paper related to the above learning outcomes.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Take home question sets (n=2; 4 % each) (8) [LO 1,2]
  2. Pre-practical assessments (n=4; 2% each) (8) [LO 1,2,4,6]
  3. Post-practical assessments (n=4; 6% each) (24) [LO 1,2,4,6]
  4. Mid-semester exam (15) [LO 1,2,4]
  5. Group Project (15) [LO 3,4,7]
  6. End of Semester Exam (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 10 hours per week throughout the semester including:

Face-to face component which may consist of 3 hours face to face plus 1-2 hour of online learning activities per fortnight, plus 4 x laboratory and small group tutorials on selected weeks

  • Approximately 70 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

Students must have the physical ability to safely attend the medical science laboratory in order to fully participate / observe during the laboratory practicals. Students who due to physical limitations cannot safely attend the practicals will be provided with alternative resources to enable them to meet the learning outcomes of these sessions.

Students with other needs should consult the ANU Access and Inclusion (A&I) unit for advice and supports where participation in academic activities in this course may be impacted by physical and learning disabilities, mental health conditions, or medical conditions.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have previously completed a minimum of 48 units of study which must include BIOL1008 or BIOL1004. Incompatible with BIOL3006 and MEDN6001

Prescribed Texts

Textbook of Medical Physiology Guyton and Hall ISBN-13: 978-1455770052

ISBN-10: 1455770051

The following two textbooks are also recommended (Understanding Pathophysiology is a required textbook in semester 2 MEDN2002):

Understanding Pathophysiology 3e (Australia and New Zealand Edition) Craft and Gordon eBook ISBN: 9780729586337 Paperback ISBN: 9780729542647

Pharmacology For Health Professionals, 5e; ISBN 9780729542753

Preliminary Reading

There are no assigned readings in this course. It is assumed that students will undertake self-directed study of available resources to supplement their learning. The textbook is suggested as the primary supplementary learning resource and includes some online exercises that some students may find helpful. Medical Physiology is a broad subject and there are a multitude of online resources (.e.g YouTube clips, websites and online powerpoints) that are freely available for review online. Students are encouraged to seek out such resources for those concepts that they find more difficult to master and to share links to resources within their learning team. Students are encouraged to identify any difficulties with the curriculum and to approach their tutors and lectures for assistance as required.

Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge of high school chemistry or equivalent is assumed, particularly water chemistry and solutions, concentration units, the nature of chemical bonds, stereochemistry and chirality of organic molecules, basic chemical structures of amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids, and of biophysical forces governing diffusion of charged and non-charged molecules.  Students who have not completed chemistry in either year 12 or at university level should consider enrolling in the ANU Chemistry bridging course available prior to the start of the semester or delay their study of MEDN2001 until later in their academic program when they will likely be better prepared for the demands of this curriculum.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2862 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 31 Mar 2024 24 May 2024 In Person N/A

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