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Unit of study_

PHSI3010: Systems Physiology

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit of study will focus on the complex integration of key physiological processes important for basic body functions and for maintaining homeostasis. The approach to learning involves lectures, online activities, practicals and assessments designed to help you practice, solidify and integrate key concepts. As a final year Medical Science subject, assessments are designed for you to practice skills for entering postgraduate vocations including 1. Stakeholder engagement, 2. Research and 3. Clinical applications. The Unit is divided into three modules: 1. Muscle and Nerve: Explore a top down approach of the function and cellular makeup of the nervous system and muscle and their interaction in addition to nervous system control of organs in order to undertake activities of daily living. Practical classes will have you apply your physiology knowledge to undertake assessments commonly used in a clinical settings in the field neuromuscular pathologies. 2. Cardiovascular Physiology: Explore important cellular and mechanical forces which play a role in physiological organ function. Lectures will provide insight into the links between tissue structure and function of the major mechanical systems, focusing on the cardiovascular system. Practical classes will apply key principles in a wet lab setting and seminar sessions with practicing researchers will be provided for you to engage with leaders in the field. 3. Developmental Biology: This module will provide an introduction to developmental biology and regenerative medicine. The learning activities aim to equip you with a foundation of key concepts to understand classical approaches used in modern developmental biology and regenerative medicine and, begin building skills to enhance your critical thinking to interrogate diverse aspects of modern biology. Assessments and practicals are designed to help you build these inquisitory skills and begin formulating scientific investigations to test your hypotheses.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PHSI3010
Academic unit Department of Medical Sciences
Credit points 6
(PHSI2X05 and PHSI2X06) or (PHSI2X07 or MEDS2001) or [BMED2401 and an additional 12cp from (BMED2402 or BMED2403 or BMED2405 or BMED2406)] or [12cp from (BCMB2X02 or BIOL2X29 or GEGE2X01)]
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Anna Waterhouse,
Lecturer(s) Munira Xaymardan,
Anna Waterhouse,
Mathias Francois,
Elizabeth Clarke,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Module 3: Developmental Biology - research proposal
Interpret existing data and use this to design a research proposal
15% Formal exam period
Due date: 11 Jun 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 11 Jun 2023
Max 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2 LO5
Online task Module 1 Quiz
Online quiz for Module 1
15% Week 05
Due date: 24 Mar 2023 at 16:00

Closing date: 24 Mar 2023
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO3 LO2
Assignment Module 1: Muscle and Nerve - Clinical Education
Clinician education material on pathophysiology of a neuromuscular disease
20% Week 06
Due date: 02 Apr 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 02 Apr 2023
Max 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO2 LO3
Assignment group assignment Module 2: Cardiovascular Physiology: stakeholder education
Podcast educating the community about the outcomes of CV research/trials
20% Week 08
Due date: 23 Apr 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 23 Apr 2023
Max 12 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Online task Module 2 Quiz
Online quiz for Module 2
15% Week 09
Due date: 28 Apr 2023 at 16:00

Closing date: 28 Apr 2023
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO3 LO2
Online task Module 3 Quiz
Online quiz for Module 3
15% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 16:00

Closing date: 26 May 2023
30 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO3 LO2
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

The assessments in this unit are designed to help you recieve feedback on your progress througout the semester. There will be 1 module test per module (x3) and 1 hand in assessment per module (x3 including 1 group assignment).

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy (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

Work of exceptional standard: 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

Work of superior standard: 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

Competent work demonstrating potential for higher study: 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

Work of acceptable standard: 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

Work not of acceptable standard: Unsatisfactory achievement and engagement with the 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

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 to 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 includes 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 Muscle and Nerve: 1. Overview 2. Motor Control and learning 3. Development of Motor control - walking Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 02 Muscle and Nerve: 4. Walking and Balance 5. Walking and Balance 6 Disease Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 03 Muscle and Nerve: 7. ANS intro and organ control 8. Ingest and digest 9. Excretion: defecation and micturition 10. Disease Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Muscle and Nerve: Tutorial Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Muscle and Nerve: 10. Clinical Case/Guest 11. Clinical Case/Guest 12. Overview Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Muscle and Nerve: Clinical testing Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Cardiovascular Physiology: 1. Cell environments 2. Heart structure/function 3. Vasculature structure/function Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 06 Cardiovascular Physiology: 4. Contractility 5. Tissue Vasculature 6.Heart Diseases Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Cardiovascular Physiology: 7. Ischemia, 8. Atherosclerosis, 9. Atherothrombosis Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Cardiovascular Physiology/Disease: Tutorial Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Cardiovascular Physiology: 10. Devices 11. Heart Failure 12. Revision Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Cardiovascular Physiology: myocardium contraction (wet lab) Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Developmental Biology: 1. Introduction to Developmental Biology 2. Cellular and molecular basis of vascular development. 3. Transcriptional regulation and endothelial cell specification Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 10 Developmental Biology: 4. Lymphangiogenesis 5. Imaging vascular processes 6.Germ layers Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 11 Developmental Biology: 7. Heart development 8. Heart development and disease 9. Pharyngeal arches Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Developmental Biology: Tutorial Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Developmental Biology: 10. Cranial development 11. Bone development 12. Revision Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Developmental Biology: Data analysis, interpretation and designing an investigation Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

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 communicate effectively key physiological principles relating to musculoskeletal/nervous system, the cardiovascular system and/or reproduction/development
  • LO2. Compare and contrast pathological data to data taken from a healthy population
  • LO3. Apply physiology knowledge to understand diseases of the musculoskeletal/nervous system, cardiovascular system and/or in reproduction/development
  • LO4. Collaborate with peers to understand and communicate with stakeholders (community, clinical populations and researchers) about physiological principles pertaining to the musculoskeletal/nervous system, cardiovascular physiology and/or reproduction/development.
  • LO5. Acquire and interpret research data and develop research communication skills in relation to systems physiology

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 changes in response to student feedback have been necessary.


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.