Anatomy and Physiology – Definitions
Anatomy: a branch of science relating to bodily ‘structures’ of living organisms
Physiology: a branch of science relating to bodily ‘functions’ of living organisms
Origin of Anatomy and Physiology; the birth of Biology, also known as the study (logos) of life (bios), occurred around 500 BC. Historical scientists Herophilus, Alexandria, Erasistratus (300 BC) and Galen (200 AD) made discoveries in the field of Anatomy. In 1540, Andreas Vesalius publicly proved wrong the earlier discoveries as he had a breakthrough in determining human anatomy. He now is recognised as the founder of modern anatomy by most scholars. (O’Malley, 1964). Following in his footsteps, William Harvey published a book outlining the anatomy of the heart and blood vessels, along with explaining the function of these structures (Ribatti, 2009). At present, due to vast technological advancements, Anatomy and Physiology can be easily studied in laboratories using microscopes and specific diagnostic equipment.
Studying Anatomy and Physiology – what is it and where can it be studied; the purpose of this subject is to enhance students’ understanding about the structure and function of cells, organs and organ systems of living organisms. This subject can be studied as a standalone course at degree level or as a part of a medical science degree, including Medicine, Biomedical Science, Medical and Clinical Physiology. A variety of universities* offer this subject at undergraduate level: Anatomy and Human Biology BSc (Hons), BSc Anatomical Sciences and Human Physiology M-Biol, BSc. For entry onto these courses, A Level Chemistry and Biology are required. Universities also accept BTEC Level Diplomas in Applied Science in place of A Levels.
Anatomy and Physiology is also studied at GCSE and A Level. The specific courses that specialise in this subject are the Pearson Edexcel IGCSE Human Biology, OCR A Level Biology A and OCR A Level Biology B (advancing Biology).
Studying Anatomy and Physiology – what are the benefits; students will gain a variety of invaluable skills during the course of their degree. A wide range of modules employed in these courses will enable students to further their critical thinking, critical analysis and writing, communication, clinical, experimental, teamwork and leadership skills. Students who choose clinical based degrees will often be placed in teaching hospitals where they will have certain competencies marked off as they progress. These competencies include skills acquired operating medical equipment and performing diagnostic testing on real patients. Studying human Anatomy and Physiology not only enables students to provide health service and medical help/advice to other people, but it also helps the intrigued learn about their own bodily functions. This type of knowledge is invaluable since this knowledge can be turned into actions, and these actions can help improve quality of life.
Here are a few links that can help further students’ understanding of Anatomy and Physiology:
Ted-Talks on physiology.
Edexcel International I-GCSE – Human Biology Specification:
OCR A Level – Biology A & Biology B specifications:
*List of some universities offering Anatomy and Physiology
University of Liverpool – Anatomy and Human Biology BSc (Hons):
University of Glasgow – Anatomy BSc/MSci:
Kings College London – Anatomy, Developmental & Human Biology BSc:
University of Manchester – BSc Anatomical Sciences:
University of Bristol – BSc Applied Anatomy:
University College London – BSc Physiology:
University of East London – BSc (Hons) Medical Physiology:
St George’s, University of London – Healthcare Science (Physiological Sciences) BSc (this degree leads to a cardiology-based career):
Middlesex University – Medical Physiology BSc Honours:
University of Nottingham – Medical Physiology and Therapeutics BSc:
University of Leeds – Human Physiology MBiol, BSc:
University of Aberdeen – Physiology, BSc: