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    An undergraduate course in Science.

Human biology

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This course presents human biology in a way that connects it directly with health and disease. It starts with the concept of a healthy body and explores the mechanisms that enable it to maintain its integrity. Although you’ll deal with the physiology of each body system separately, the overall emphasis is on interaction and coordination. You’ll acquire sufficient background to appreciate how systems can fail and which medical interventions can be successful. The course will suit science students – especially those with a biology background; anyone interested in health; or people working in health and social care or other professions allied to medicine.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

An additional fee for the examination may apply.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2016.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

The course is presents the biological foundations of physiology and health as a dynamic process. The core of the course is concerned with an integrated study of human biology, drawing on the disciplines of anatomy, physiology, immunology, biochemistry, and endocrinology. It includes all the biological ‘facts and figures’ familiar from traditional courses in human biology, but they are presented as part of a functional account that is different from the usual format, which rarely assembles the parts into an integral human being. A distinctive feature of the course is a series of case reports integrated within each chapter; these reports explore individuals’ experiences associated with particular disease states.

The course is presented in four books, accompanied by a Study Guide and a range of other materials.

Book 1 begins with an introduction to the course, explaining both its scope and approach. It first discusses how living processes are maintained before considering diet and nutrition in depth.

Book 2 looks at communication and control (nervous and endocrine systems), and responses to the world around us (sensory and musculo-skeletal systems).

Book 3 continues to guide us around the anatomy and physiology of body systems: circulation and respiration; fluid regulation and excretion; and responding to non-self (the immune system).

Book 4 considers some of the challenges of life: obesity; sleep; stress; reproduction; and our varied responses to them in the context of genetic and environmental diversity.

Entry

This is a Level 2 course and you need to have a good knowledge of the subject area, obtained either through Level 1 study with the OU, or by doing equivalent work at another university.

To gain the appropriate study skills we particularly recommend Introducing health sciences: a case study approach (SDK125) or Exploring science (S104), or An introduction to health and social care (K101).  It would also be an advantage to have studied biology or human biology to GCSE or, preferably, A-level standard. 

As well as being a suitable choice for science students, especially those who have a background in biology and health, the course can also provide a sound grounding in human physiology for social-science students who are particularly interested in health. It is very appropriate for health and social-care workers, and particularly for people in professions allied to medicine. If you have not taken our Level 1 course Exploring science (S104), or Introducing health sciences: a case study approach (SDK125), this course can serve as a refresher, perhaps for nurses returning to work or others who want to update their knowledge. 

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

Students who particularly wish to improve their study skills are advised to read The Sciences Good Study Guide (1997) by A. Northedge, J. Thomas, A. Lane and A. Peasgood.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Please note that this course makes substantial use of complex visual material and includes a significant number of interactive animations on CD-ROMs. You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and probably also the internet.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Course books, study texts and other printed materials, CD-ROMs.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, for use with a web browser. There is also software to download and install on your computer.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device you may have difficulties with some software, check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and encourage and moderate your tutor-group conference, mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day–schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course. 

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with the OU before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014. We expect it to be available once a year.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“What a challenge! I despaired at times and throughout the course was convinced I would fail the dreaded exam. However, ...”
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“A thoroughly well written and enjoyable course. This was my fifth Level two course. This is no doubt the best ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code SK277
Credits 30
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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