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Unit outline_

PHSI2008: Applied Physiology

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The study of physiology is in essence the understanding of the integration of function and homeostasis. In this unit you will extend your learning in MEDS2001/PHSI2X07, applying your understanding of basic physiology to applied, systems-based scenarios in three modules: exercise physiology & nutrition, applied body systems and biomedical engineering. This will consolidate your conceptual understanding of physiology and the homeostatic mechanisms that can change in disease. To support your learning you will undertake laboratory activities that involve experiments on humans as well isolated tissues, with an emphasis on hypothesis generation and data analysis. These sessions will consolidate your conceptual understanding with practical application of core physiological principles in an experimental context. Additional workshops and tutorials will develop critical thinking, your understanding of the applied nature of physiology, and generic skills in scientific writing and presentation. The practicals and tutorials also emphasise group learning and team work. Completion of this unit will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the complex systems that regulate the human body and provide the platform for undertaking a major in Physiology in third year.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Department of Medical Sciences
Credit points 6
PHSI2X07 or MEDS2001 or PHSI2X05
Assumed knowledge

Human biology; (PHSI2X07 or MEDS2001)]

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Andrew Hoy,
Lecturer(s) Melissa Cameron,
Andrew Hoy,
Robert Vandenberg,
Peter Thorn (Physiology),
Steven Wise,
Anna Waterhouse,
Jeremy Pinyon,
Khoon Lim,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Small test Module 1 quiz
Mix of SAQ + MCQ
20% Week 05
Due date: 01 Sep 2023 at 20:00
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Practical report
Practical report
20% Week 06
Due date: 10 Sep 2023 at 23:59
up to 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Small test Module 2 quiz
Mix of SAQ + MCQ
20% Week 09
Due date: 06 Oct 2023 at 20:00
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Diuretics activity
10% Week 10
Due date: 15 Oct 2023 at 23:59
up to 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment group assignment New technologies in physiology
Oral presentation
10% Week 12
Due date: 26 Oct 2023 at 17:00
10 min presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Small test Module 3 quiz
Mix of SAQ + MCQ
20% Week 13
Due date: 03 Nov 2023 at 20:00
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

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

Mastery of topics showing extensive integration and ability to transfer knowledge to novel contexts; treatment of tasks shows an advanced synthesis of ideas; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is very well presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an outstanding level


75 - 84

Excellent achievement, consistent evidence of deep understanding and application of knowledge in medical science; treatment of tasks shows advanced understanding of topics; demonstration of initiative, complex understanding and analysis; work is well-presented; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a superior level


65 - 74

Confident in explaining medical science processes, with evidence of solid understanding and achievement; occasional lapses indicative of unresolved issues; treatment of tasks shows a good understanding of topic; work is well-presented with a minimum of errors; all criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to a high level


50 - 64

Satisfactory level of engagement with and understanding of topic; some inconsistencies in understanding and knowledge of medical science; work is adequately presented, with some errors or omissions, most criteria addressed and learning outcomes achieved to an adequate level


0 - 49

Unsatisfactory achievement and engagement with the medical science discipline; inadequate understanding or fundamental misunderstanding of topics; most criteria and learning outcomes not clearly or adequately addressed or achieved; lack of effort/involvement in the unit

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.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

All assignments must be submitted by the due date and quizzes and exams attended when they are scheduled. Students are expected to manage their time and prioritise tasks to meet deadlines. Assessment items submitted after the due date without an approved extension using a special consideration or special arrangement form or request will incur penalties. Failure to meet assessment deadlines will incur mark deductions of 5% of the maximum awardable mark available for every day past the due date (for electronic submissions, days late include Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays). These deductions will continue for 10 calendar days, until the solutions for the assignment are released, or marked assignments are returned to other students. At that point, the mark awarded will be zero. For example, on an assignment given a mark of 70/100, the penalty would be 5 marks if submitted up to 24 hours late, resulting in a final mark of 65/100. If the assignment is submitted 6 days late, the penalty would be 30 marks and the final mark would be 40/100. If the assignment is more than 10 days late, submitted after the solutions for the assignment are released, or marked assignments are returned to other students, the final mark will be 0/100.

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 Unit overview and Module 1 Introduction Lecture (1 hr)  
Energetic Pathways in Muscle During Exercise #1 Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Energetic Pathways in Muscle During Exercise #2 Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 02 Fuel Sources during aerobic exercise Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Respiration, oxygen delivery and aerobic exercise Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Software skills Workshop (2 hr) LO3
Cardiovascular system and aerobic exercise Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 03 Metabolic Adaptations to Exercise Training Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Cardiovascular Adaptations to Exercise Training Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Thermoregulation and aerobic exercise Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Exercise physiology 1 Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 04 Fatigue and aerobic exercise Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Module 1 review / AMA Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Report writing skills Lecture (1 hr) LO3
Exercise physiology 2 Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 GI Control: Understanding Physiology and it's applications Lecture (1 hr) LO1
GI Control: Cellular Mechanisms Lecture (1 hr) LO1
GI Control: Applications Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Practical report and data analysis Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO4
Week 06 Central Nervous System: Mechanism of Pain and Analgesics Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Treatment of Pain Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Pain Research Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 07 Applied renal physiology Nephron Function Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Renal Transport Mechanisms Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Renal Interventions Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 08 Structure and function of the ear – How do we hear? Lecture (1 hr) LO1
The inner ear and auditory pathways Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Cochlear implants and improving the bionic interface Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Renal practical Practical (3 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 Module 3 introduction (bioengineering and physiology) Lecture (1 hr)  
Typical materials Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Foreign body response - old paradigm of biomaterials Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 10 Situation specific materials - new design paradigm Lecture (1 hr) LO1
In vitro models of cell-biomaterial interactions Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Animal models of cell-biomaterials interactions Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Bioengineering practical Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Blood and its relevance to materials Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Studying blood in vitro Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Blood contacting materials Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Week 12 Case study #1 Grafts Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Case study #2 Heart valves Lecture (1 hr) LO1
Module 3 review Lecture (1 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

The current standard workload for a 6 credit point unit of study is up to 6 hours per week of teaching contact hours and an additional approximately one hour of out-of-class time independent study for each timetabled hour. This means for every face-to-face hour you are expected to undertake an independent student effort of 1 hour for each unit of study.

In PHSI2008 all lectures will be delivered live in person.  It is encouraged that you attend the live lectures during their scheduled time.  It is important to note that although lectures will be recorded, we cannot guarantee that every lecture will be recorded successfully. Lecture notes and recordings are intended to support, not replace, your attendance at lectures.  Remember, you are in control of your own study strategy and it is up to you to devise a study plan that best suits you.

Attendance is essential for the successful completion of this course. Practical classes are COMPULSORY and any missed class without approved special consideration will be marked absent and deemed not to have met the threshold learning outcomes for this unit of study.  Faculty guidelines stipulate a minimum 80% attendance to ALL scheduled classes must be maintained.  Failure to attend may lead to an Absent Fail being awarded.

The assessments, as outlined on Canvas, are COMPULSORY, and failure to attend/complete an assessment may result in a grade of Absent Fail (AF) for the Unit of Study. Each assessment task has marking criteria established and the marks generated should comply with University assessment policy. It is important to note that raw marks for individual assessments may be moderated in accordance with University Academic Board guidelines. Where this occurs, moderated results will be indicated as such with postings and notifications provided on Canvas.

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. Understand and describe key human physiological processes in detail, as they integrate and adapt to specific changes in environment or situation e.g., exercise or medical device implantation.
  • LO2. Evaluate and integrate physiological knowledge to describe the role and relevance of physiology research findings to society including the translation to clinical and medical outcomes.
  • LO3. Define a physiological problem, formulate a hypothesis, and test the hypothesis by analysing data, and creating a report to communicate your findings.
  • LO4. Select and apply practical and/or theoretical techniques or tools to collect, synthesise, analyse and critically evaluate physiological data and information from a range of sources.
  • LO5. Investigate and examine and communicate observations and experimental findings in Physiology and their implications and significance through a broad variety of media to diverse audiences.

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.

No material changes have been made since this unit was last offered in 2022

Additional costs

There are no additional costs for this unit

Site visit guidelines

There are no site visit guidelines for this unit

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory for X-Lab, but not the Exercise Lab
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


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.