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Unit of study_

BIOS1170: Body Systems: Structure and Function

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit will present the gross anatomy, functional histology, physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiovascular, respiratory and urinary systems. Specific diseases of these systems that are commonly encountered in health care practice will be described. The unit will also cover the characteristics of the body's fluids and the concept of acid-­base balance within the body. Specific diseases of these systems that are commonly encountered in health care practice will be described. This unit includes laboratory classes in which human cadavers are studied. Attendance at practical classes is compulsory. Students who achieve a pass will have a basic working knowledge of professionally relevant aspects of anatomy and physiology. Students who achieve higher grades will be better able to integrate various aspects of the unit, and to apply their knowledge to solve problems or explain higher level phenomena.

Unit details and rules

Unit code BIOS1170
Academic unit Department of Medical Sciences
Credit points 6
BMED2403 or PHSI2005 or PHSI2006 or BIOS2170 or PHSI2007 or PHSI2008
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jaimie Polson,
Lecturer(s) Elizabeth Hegedus,
Peter Knight,
Jaimie Polson,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam End Semester Exam
55% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Online task Online quizzes
10% Multiple weeks 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
In-semester test (Record+) Type B in-semester exam Mid Semester Exam
MCQ: On-line exam of topics 1 (homeostasis) and 2 (cardiovascular)
35% Week 07
Due date: 20 Apr 2021 at 08:00
50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?
Type B in-semester exam = Type B in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

  • On-line quizzes: Each quiz will be available online for a limited time. Students will be advised when quizzes are available and must complete the quizzes within the period of availability. *Note that deadlines are referring to Sydney time.
  • Mid semester exam: This examination will cover body fluids, homeostasis and cardiovascular system (anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology).
  • End semester exam: This examination will cover the material that was not covered in the mid-semester exam.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

  • demonstrates an extensive knowledge and understanding of the concepts of the Body Systems: Structure and Function unit of study content including prescribed focus areas and broader context
  • displays an outstanding ability to describe and explain anatomy, physiology and pathophysiologyconcepts, including abstract ideas, clearly and accurately, and to apply the concepts to unfamiliar situations
  • applies a high level of critical thinking skills in developing appropriate solutions to problems involving a long sequence of related tasks
  • analyses, evaluates and extrapolates anatomy, physiology and pathophysiologydata effectively, identifies complex relationships, quantifies explanations and descriptions, and synthesizes information to draw conclusions
  • communicates succinctly, logically and sequentially using a variety of scientific formats


75 - 84

  • demonstrates a thorough knowledge and understanding of the concepts of the Body Systems: Structure and Function unit of study content including prescribed focus areas and broader context
  • effectively communicates a detailed understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiologyconcepts using appropriate terminology and scientific formats, and applies the concepts to unfamiliar situations
  • analyses information given in written, tabular, graphical and diagrammatic forms and relates this to other relevant information
  • displays competence in manipulating information to solve problems involving a number of steps


65 - 74

  • demonstrates a sound knowledge and understanding of the concepts of the Body Systems: Structure and Function unit of study content including prescribed focus areas and broader context
  • describes concepts and information clearly in written, graphical and diagrammatic forms, and applies these concepts in familiar situations
  • demonstrates a broad ability to apply concepts to unfamiliar situations
  • displays proficiency in selecting relevant data from information given in written, tabular, graphical and diagrammatic form


50 - 64

  • demonstrates a basic knowledge and understanding of the concepts of the Body Systems: Structure and Function unit of study content including prescribed focus areas and broader context
  • uses simple anatomy, physiology and pathophysiologydefinitions, terms, diagrams and graphs to communicate understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiologyconcepts
  • substitutes data from information given in written, tabular, graphical and diagrammatic form, and manipulates basic anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology data


0 - 49

  • demonstrates a limited or no knowledge and understanding of the Body Systems: Structure and Function unit of study content including prescribed focus areas and broader context
  • recalls elementary terminology related to some areas of anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 L1, Introduction to Body Systems Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
L2, Body Fluids and Homeostasis 1; L3, Body Fluids and Homeostasis 2 Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 L1, cardiovascular 1; L2, cardiovascular 2; L3, cardiovascular 3 Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Anatomy of the Heart Practical (2 hr) LO2
Week 03 L4, cardiovascular 4; L5, cardiovascular 5; L6 Cardiovascular 6 Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 04 L7, cardiovascular 7; Lecture (1 hr) LO2 LO3
cardiovascular functions Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Week 05 L8, Cardiovascular 8; L9, Cardiovascular 9 Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3
Control of blood pressure Practical (2 hr) LO2 LO3
L10, Respiration 1 Lecture (1 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 06 L11, cardiovascular feedback; L12 Respiration 2; L13, Respiration 3 Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Respiratory Anatomy Practical (2 hr) LO4
Week 07 L14, Respiration 4; L15, Respiration 5; Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 08 L16, Respiration 6; L17, Respiratory 7 Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Pulmonary function tests Practical (2 hr) LO4 LO5
Week 09 L18, Respiration 8; L19, Respiration 9 Lecture (2 hr) LO4 LO5
L20, Urinary 1 Lecture (1 hr) LO6
Week 10 L21, Urinary 2; L22, Urinary 3; L23, Urinary 4 Lecture (3 hr) LO6 LO8
Week 11 L24, Urinary 5; L25, Urinary 6; L26, Urinary 7 Lecture (3 hr) LO6 LO8
Urinary Anatomy Practical (2 hr) LO6
Week 12 L28, Acid-base balance 1 L29, Urinary System Feedback Lecture (2 hr) LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 13 L30, Acid-Base 2 Lecture (1 hr) LO7 LO8
Urinary/ Acid-Base tutorial Tutorial (2 hr) LO6 LO7 LO8

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a Unit of Study.
  • Attendance will be recorded from week 1.   Students enrolled in this unit should engage with and study all online content, as directed in the Canvas site, including the submission of any required formative tasks and completion of any asynchronous activities.

  • The University of Sydney Coursework Policy 2014 states:
    55 (2) A student enrolled in a unit of study must comply with the requirements set out in the faculty resolutions, award course resolutions or unit of study outline about undertaking the unit of study, including on matters such as: (a) attendance at and participation in lectures, seminars and tutorials; and (b) participation in practical work.
  • The Faculty of Medicine and Health resolutions states: 7(1) Students are required to attend at the correct time and place of any formal or informal examinations. Non-attendance on any grounds insufficient to claim special consideration or special arrangement will result in the forfeiture of marks associated with the assessment. Participation in a minimum number of assessment items may be included in the requirements specified
    for a unit of study.


  • Practicals: Students must attend their own practical/tutorial at the time and place indicated. Students may not swap groups for their own convenience. Each tutor will have a list of students in the tutorial group and regular attendance checks will be made.
  • Those practical classes that have been moved to online sessions because of COVID should attend Zoom at the allocated time where possible.  Recording of classes will be made available.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Describe the distribution of water in the body, the difference between intra- and extra- cellular fluid, the structure and function of the cell membrane, membrane transport mechanisms and homeostatic systems (including (i) negative feedback, (ii) positive feedback & (iii) feedforward. Explain the significance of the autonomic nervous system and endocrine systems (eg. HPA axis) in feedback systems.
  • LO2. Describe the anatomy of the heart, blood vessels and lymphatics, the external and internal features of the heart, the major components of the cardiac conducting system, the coronary circulation, the nerve supply of the heart and blood vessels, how the microstructure of different types of blood vessels relates to their function, the lymphatic vessels, the location and role of valves (in the heart, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels), the features of the mammalian circulatory system: a dual circulation connected in series. (How this is an advantage over a single circulatory system?), the origin and regulation of electrical events of the heart (with reference to microstructure of the cardiac myocyte), how the heart functions as a pump, the factors that influence cardiac output and how it is regulated, including the mathematical formulae used to describe these factors, the factors that influence blood flow and blood pressure and the mathematical formulae used to describe them, the regulation of blood flow and blood pressure, including local, neural and humoral (e.g. renin-angiontensin system, vasopressin & natriuretic peptides) influences. Endocrine control of erythropoiesis. The microcirculation and exchange of substances, the role of the lymphatic system and its relationship to the circulation.
  • LO3. Apply the learning covered in Objective 2 to explain the cardiovascular changes that occur during exercise and the pathophysiology in common cardiovascular diseases
  • LO4. Describe the organs, passages and musculoskeletal framework of the respiratory system. Relate the function to the histology of the respiratory system. Describe: the process of ventilation, including the gas laws and the relationships between pressure, resistance and flow, the role of the inspiratory and expiratory muscles, the various pressures inside the chest, the role of the pleura in facilitating ventilation, the factors that affect ventilation with reference resistance and compliance, work of breathing, the measurement of ventilation, measures of volume and capacitance, pulmonary function tests, common diseases of the airways, the process by which gas is exchanged between the alveoli and the blood, including the concept of partial pressures, the significance of dead space, ventilation (V) and perfusion (Q) matching, the difference between movement of gas via bulk flow and diffusion, normal blood gases and how they can be affected in common disorders. the process by which gases are transported between the lungs and the tissues, focusing on oxygen and carbon dioxide, the key role of haemoglobin, the haemoglobin dissociation curve, control of ventilation, including the role of arterial levels of O2, CO2, H+.
  • LO5. Apply the learning covered in Objective 3 to explain the respiratory changes that occur during exercise and the physiological changes that occur in common respiratory diseases
  • LO6. Describe the general functions of the urinary system and how the urinary system contributes to the homeostasis of the body, the anatomy of the organs involved in the production, storage and elimination of urine, the location of the left and right kidney and major relationships of the ureter, bladder and urethra in the male and female, the location and structure of the internal and external sphincters of the bladder and their role in continence, the blood supply of the kidney, the relationship between the structure and function of the nephron, the process of urine formation and the factors controlling it, the micturition reflex, the role of the urinary system in regulation of blood volume and blood pressure, the endocrine functions of the kidney, including volume regulation (renin-angiotensin system, vasopressin, natriuretic peptides) and and erythrocyte production (erythropoietin) .
  • LO7. Describe the regulation of pH in the intracellular and extracellular fluid, the pH of the blood and how it is affected by carbon dioxide and bicarbonate ion concentration, how the body responds to changes in carbon dioxide and bicarbonate levels, the role of the respiratory system in the regulation of hydrogen ion concentration. the role of the kidneys in the regulation of hydrogen ion concentration, the terms: acidosis, acidaemia, respiratory acidosis, metabolic acidosis, alkalosis, alkalaemia, respiratory alkalosis, metabolic alkalosis.
  • LO8. Apply the learning covered in Objectives 6 and 7 to explain the acid-base changes that occur during exercise and the physiological relationship between kidney function and acid-base disturbances that occur in common kidney diseases

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Student feedback is considered when planning the unit for the following year

Work, health and safety

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstance. This includes all dry lab and wet lab spaces in the Anderson Stuart building and all dry lab and seminar rooms in the CPC.
  • Anatomy practical classes will be held in the Anatomy wet labs in the Anderson Stuart Building (F13) and there are specific respect and safety requirements that need to be understood and adhered to if the privilege of access into the Anatomy Laboratories and Wilson Museum of Human Anatomy is to be granted.
  • Students will not be allowed to enter any Anatomy Facility laboratory or the Wilson Museum of Human Anatomy until they have read and understood the Anatomy Act and the Anatomy Safety Policies offered through the “Our Expectations, Your Obligations” Quiz available on Canvas


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.