Human Structure and Function

Major/Minor/Specialisation !J07-MAJ+1006 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Year and Campus: 2009


Associate Professor Chris Briggs

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology


Overview: The Human Structure and Function major will explain how the human body works, based on a deep understanding of the relationship between physiology and anatomy. The subjects are structured so that the anatomy (structure) and physiology (function) of the human body are taught in carefully integrated units that also introduce elements from pathology, pharmacology and zoology as relevant. It will suit students entering: medical and health related sciences, postgraduate research work in applied anatomy and physiology; teaching and research in University departments and in hospitals; with pharmaceutical companies; in media liaison, consultancies and scientific journalism.
Objectives: By the end of this major a student will:
  • appreciate the terminology of topographic anatomy; the principles relating to each of the following types of anatomical structure: skin, fascia and skeletal muscles, bones and joints, vessels, nerves and viscera; the organisation of the body into regions and the trunk into cavities;
  • know the essential factual information regarding the anatomical structures which form the boundaries and contents of the back and limbs, the tissues and structures that comprise the musculoskeletal system and their response to normal and abnormal stress and strain; and the key components of the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary systems;
  • appreciate the functional and applied anatomy of the body's major joint complexes; including a description of motion and the forces acting on the body's motion segments in normal activities; the principles underlying gait and locomotion;
  • develop observational and organisational skills to identify and interpret exposed anatomical structures and regions; communication skills (written and oral) to describe the body; skills in the manipulation of anatomical structures (with dissecting instruments); and
  • appreciate the common occurrence of anatomical variation; the scientific basis of knowledge of structure.

There are no second year selective subjects required for the Human Structure and Function major. Students will complete third year units as follows:

Third Year

Human Locomotor Systems
Viscera and Visceral Systems

Plus two subjects from:

Principles of Neuroscience
Cardiovascular Health: Genes and Hormones
Muscle and Exercise Physiology
Neurophysiology: Neurons, Synapses and Circuits
Mechanisms of Human Disease
Consequences of Human Disease
Biochemistry of Metabolism and Nutrition
or other relevant biomedical sciences subjects as approved by the Major Coordinator

NB Complete information on third year level subjects will be available in the 2010 Handbook which will be published late 2009.

Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Biomedicine

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