Explore the amazing physiological systems that keep us alive

Physiology is the study of normal function within living things. It examines and explains how organisms, organs and cells carry out the chemical and physical processes that keep us going.

This course, in partnership with the Physiological Society, will take you beneath the surface of three key physiological systems – respiratory, cardiovascular and nervous – allowing you to explore the discipline of physiology.

You will also examine some of the practical uses of physiology and consider the exciting career opportunities available if you study physiology.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 – The Respiratory System
Week 2 – The Cardiovascular System
Week 3 – The Nervous System

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to…

– Describe the cardiac cycle (atrial systole, ventricular systole and diastole) and relate the structure and operation of the mammalian heart to its function, including the major blood vessels.
– Describe the roles of the sinoatrial node (SAN), the atrioventricular node (AVN) and the bundle of His, and how the use of electrocardiograms (ECGs) can aid the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other heart conditions.
– Explain how variations in ventilation & cardiac output enable rapid delivery of oxygen removal of carbon dioxide to tissue, including how the heart rate and ventilation rate are controlled, and the roles of the cardiovascular control & ventilation centres
– Describe how to investigate the effects of exercise on tidal volume and breathing rate using data from spirometer traces.
– Describe how a nerve impulse (action potential) is conducted along an axon including changes in membrane permeability to sodium and potassium ions and the role of the nodes of Ranvier.

Who is the course for?

The course might be of particular use for 16-19 year olds studying biology and physiology, and considering further studies in these areas on degrees like medicine, dentistry or other healthcare and life sciences. However, we would hope that anyone who enrols on this course would enjoy the learning experience and gain useful knowledge about the human body.
What do people say about this course?

I’m a FutureLearn addict, severely disabled from a long term medical condition. This course looks like it might enable me to combine that addiction with a greater understanding of the posture problems that arise from long-term wheelchair use.

Who developed the course?
University of Liverpool logo

The University of Liverpool is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.
Physiological Society logo


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