Anatomy and Physiology 101

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Course Description

This self-paced, online anatomy and physiology course covers all the bodily systems playing a major role in human anatomy. The material is presented in a practical and comprehensive manner. The focus of the course is on the need-to-know facts that must be understood in order to pursue any healthcare career or related education in the field of science. These easy to follow lessons are ideal for anyone requiring a solid understanding of how the human body works.

Lessons include the following topics:
The Skeletal System

The Integumentary System

The Muscular System

The Nervous System

The Sensory System

The Endocrine System

The Cardiovascular System

The Lymphatic System

The Respiratory System

The Digestive System

The Urinary System

The Reproductive System

Anatomy and physiology are the opposite sides of the same biological coin. Anatomy is the study of the body's internal and external structures while physiology studies the function of those structures, both singularly and in conjunction with one another.

, which is sometimes called morphology, provides a map of how a body is put together, human or otherwise.

is akin to an instruction manual. Form and function must both be considered to fully understand the human body.
The Major Characteristics of Life

Physiology is the study of living things, but what exactly does it mean to be alive? It is difficult to isolate a single characteristic that separates all living entities from non-living ones. For example, some might say the ability to reproduce is a necessary trait to indicate life. But mules--which are definitely living offsprings of a horse and donkey--cannot reproduce. So physiologists consider a number of traits that all living things have in common and thus identify life based on the following characteristics:

  • Absorption: the passage of nutrients from digested food through membranes and into body fluids
  • Assimilation: the ability to change nutrients of absorbed substances into chemically different forms
  • Circulation: movement of substances throughout the body via body fluids such as blood
  • Digestion: chemically breaking down food into its molecular components and getting rid of wastes
  • Growth: in general, defined as increasing in size without changing basic shape
  • Movement: the ability to change position or internal structures
  • Reproduction: creating offspring
  • Respiration: can mean the act of breathing but on a cellular level; it's a metabolic process that uses oxygen to release energy from glucose
  • Responsiveness: reacting to one's environment, such as pupils contracting in light, the rush of adrenalin when confronted with danger or fear, or a plant bending toward sunlight
  • Excretion: the removal of wastes created by metabolic activity 

Everything that is alive--from cells to elephants--relies on homeostasis, which is the way the physiological systems work together in living organisms to maintain a stable internal environment, despite changing external or environmental conditions. In humans, that means regulating things like temperature, pH, hydration, and blood oxygen levels.

All living things also require some sort of metabolism, which is commonly understood to mean breaking food down and turning it into energy. But in physiological terms, it refers to the entire range of an organism's biochemical processes. These metabolic pathways involve enzymes that transform one substance into another substance, by either breaking one down (catabolism) or creating a new one (anabolism).

Levels of Anatomical Organization

Anatomists organize the human body into different levels, each level increasing in complexity.

  • Atoms join together to form molecules, such as H2O.
  • Molecules combine to form macromolecules such as polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates), monosaccharides (simple sugars), and fats (lipids).
  • Macromolecules combine to create organelles like mitochondrion and ribosomes.
  • Organelles are part of a cell, the basic unit of a body.
  • Cells are organized into tissues such as muscle, neural, and cardiac.
  • Tissues are organized into organs, from the brain to the large intestine and everything in between.
  • Organs working together are organ systems, which include the digestive system, the endocrine system, and the nervous system.
  • Organ systems make up an organism, such as humans, dogs, or plants.

Spatial Organization of the Human Body

To accurately reference the structures they study, anatomists use positional and directional terms. In order to have a common standard for describing those positions of body parts, it is assumed the person is in what is called anatomical position: the body standing upright, feet together, palms facing forward. From this starting point, all the directional terms are relative to the anatomical position.
There are three main body planes: the sagittal, which divides the body into left and right halves; the frontal which divides the body into front and back halves (ventral and dorsal, or anterior and posterior); and the transverse which divides the body into upper (toward the head) and lower (toward the feet) halves (superior and inferior).

Additionally, the outer body is divided into two regions: the axial, which includes the head, neck and trunk, and the appendicular which consists of the limbs.

The same terms are used when describing the skeleton. The skull, ribs, and spinal vertebrae belong to the axial skeleton. These bones protect the major organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs. Also included in the axial skeleton are the three inner ear bones--malleus, incus, and stapes--known collectively as the ossicles, and the hyoid in the throat. There are 80 bones in the axial skeleton.

The appendicular skeleton consists of the 126 bones of our extremities--legs, arms, hands, and feet--which facilitate movement.



The body is a complex organism of cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems. While anatomy describes the structure of how it is physically put together, physiology explains how all the components of the human organism work, individually and together, to maintain life.

Anatomy focuses on the structure, while physiology centers on function. 

Gaining a basic understanding of these two sciences will provide you with a much more intimate understanding of not only our own bodies, but also the make up of many other plants and animals in the world around us.

However, to offer a real comprehensive study, this course will focus on the human "organism", covering the major systems as they work together to keep our bodies functioning properly. 

The beauty of this class is that the course instructor provides a fantastic foundation for any number of potential scenarios.

Situations such as high school and college students who need to improve their grades or grasp of Anatomy and Physiology, or even adults and professionals considering making a career change into the medical or biological sectors. 

In all honesty, this course is ideal for anyone out there who wants to gain a deeper understanding of how their bodies work, and of course, reasons why our bodies sometimes DON'T work.

Regardless of why you want to learn more about anatomy and physiology, you're all out of excuses for procrastination. Enrollment is always open and the instructor is frequently online to respond to any of your questions or concerns.

If you're on the lookout for an extensive, in-depth study of the inner parts and functions of the human body, then this is the course for you!
Whether you're a high school or college student hoping to really ace your finals or an adult long out of school determined to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks, you won't be disappointed.
It is important to note that the material covered in these lessons will require at least an eighth or ninth grade reading and comprehension level. This is due in part to the fact that successful course completion will demand a pretty hefty share of both reading and writing. Anatomy & Physiology 101 is broken down into a total of 16 lessons and is entirely "self-contained". That means that everything you'll need in order to succeed is already waiting for you as soon as you enroll -  right down to 72 web-links you'll likely bookmark before the class is complete.
Each of the 16 lessons will serve to satisfy one of four primary goals:
1. It will teach you to identify the major systems of the body as well as understand the major roles of each.
2. And you'll be able to both identify and explain major cells, tissues and organs.
Although this class is a bit more informal than a traditional classroom setting, don’t make the mistake of thinking the grading will be. There's a LOT of material to cover and, more importantly, retain. To help keep you on top, the instructor has included not only simple true and false or multiple choice questions, but also essays and other written assignments. And, just like any serious Anatomy & Physiology class, there will be a thorough 350 point final exam.
Of course, in the end, all that hard work will have paid off. You'll have completed a rigorous class and made leaps and bounds in your understanding of the form and function of the human body that will give you a cutting edge in the medical and biological scenes.
Better yet, you can get started right now! Stat!
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

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Lesson 1. Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology

This introductory lesson will define and outline the organization of human anatomy and physiology. 66 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7064.pdf
  • Review Video: Intro to Structure and Function of the Body
  • Complete Assignment: Introduce Yourself
  • Complete: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology Assignment
  • Complete: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology Quiz

Lesson 2. Chemistry Basics

Chemistry Basics and definitions of chemistry terms. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7065.pdf
  • Review 7 Articles: Atoms; Chemical Bonds; Covalent Bonds; Lipids; Nucleic Acids; What are proteins and what do they do?; What is an element?
  • Review Video: Anatomy and Physiology Chemistry Lecture
  • Complete Assignment: Review of Basic Chemistry:
  • Complete: Basic Chemistry Quiz

Lesson 3. Cells - The Foundation of Life

Cells and their importance in life. 53 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7066.pdf
  • Review 7 Articles: Rough and Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum; Golgi apparatus; Role of Mitochondria; Flagella and cilia; Centrioles; Cell cycle; Chromatin
  • Review 4 Videos: Cells - The Foundation of Life; Cells The Basic Units of Life; Biology: Cell Structure; Cell Structure and Function
  • Complete Assignment: Review of Cells
  • Complete: Cells Quiz

Lesson 4. Tissues (Different Types and Functions)

Tissues: learn about different types and functions. 49 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7067.pdf
  • Review 2 Videos: Integumentary System : Types of Epithelial Tissues; Cells Tissues and Skin
  • Complete Assignment: Review of Tissues
  • Complete: Tissue Quiz

Lesson 5. The Integumentary System

The Integumentary System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 60 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7068.pdf
  • Review 2 Videos: Integumentary System; Integumentary System for Anatomy and Physiology
  • Complete: The Integumentary System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Integumentary System

Lesson 6. The Skeletal System

The Skeletal System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 90 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7069.pdf
  • Review 2 Videos: Skeletal System; Skeletal System Structures and Functions
  • Complete: The Skeletal System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Skeletal System

Lesson 7. The Muscular System

The Muscular System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 95 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7070.pdf
  • Review Video: Muscle Tissue
  • Complete: The Muscular System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Muscular System

Lesson 8. The Nervous System

The Nervous System: What is it? What does it do? And how does it work? 100 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7071.pdf
  • Review Article: Spinal Cord Segments
  • Review 2 Videos: Neurology - Divisions of the Nervous System; Autonomic Nervous System Introduction
  • Complete: The Nervous System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Nervous System

Lesson 9. The Sensory System

The Sensory System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 85 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7072.pdf
  • Review 3 Videos: The Sensory System; How Sound is Transferred to the Inner Ear; Human Sensory Organs - Eyes
  • Complete: The Sensory System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Sensory System

Lesson 10. The Endocrine System

The Endocrine System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 70 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7073.pdf
  • Review 2 Videos: The Endocrine System; Endocrinology - Overview
  • Complete: The Endocrine System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Endocrine System

Lesson 11. The Cardiovascular System

The Cardiovascular System: what is it, what does it do, and how it works. 37 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7074.pdf
  • Review 3 Videos: Human Circulatory System; Cardiovascular System 1, Heart, Structure and Function; Anatomy and Physiology of the Cardiovascular System: Heart Anatomy
  • Complete: The Cardiovascular System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Cardiovascular System

Lesson 12. The Lymphatic System

The Lymphatic System: what is it, what does it do, and how it works. 65 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7075.pdf
  • Review Video: The Lymphatic System
  • Complete Assignment: The Lymphatic System
  • Complete Exam: The Lymphatic System

Lesson 13. The Respiratory System

The Respiratory System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 85 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7076.pdf
  • Review 3 Videos: The Respiratory System; Respiratory System - Overview; Respiratory Anatomy
  • Complete: The Respiratory System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Respiratory System

Lesson 14. The Digestive System

The Digestive System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 65 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7077.pdf
  • Review Video: Digestion in Human Beings 3D CBSE Class 7 Science
  • Complete: The Digestive System Assignment
  • Complete Exam: The Digestive System

Lesson 15. The Urinary System

The Urinary System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 18 Total Points
  • Lesson 15 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7078.pdf
  • Review 2 Videos: The Urinary System; Urinary System - The Kidneys
  • Complete Exam: The Urinary System

Lesson 16. The Reproductive System

The Reproductive System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work. 38 Total Points
  • Lesson 16 Video
  • Review Practice Worksheet: optional-WordSearch-Activity-7079.pdf
  • Review Article: Reproductive System
  • Review Video: The Reproductive System
  • Take Poll: End of Class Poll
  • Complete Exam: The Reproductive System

The Final Exam

The Final Exam 332 Total Points
  • Take Poll: End of Course Poll
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define anatomy and physiology.
  • Know the chemistry behind anatomy and physiology.
  • Describe cells - the foundation of life.
  • Describe tissues (different types and functions).
  • Describe and recognize all parts of the integumentary system.
  • Recognize the important parts of the skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, and sensory system.
  • Know the major parts of the endocrine system.
  • Recognize the major parts of the cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, and the respiratory system.
  • Know the major components of the digestive system, urinary system, and the reproductive system, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: Anatomy and Physiology 101
Course Number: 8900157
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: College Level (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 2.1 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Cheryl Reinerio, RN, BC, MSN
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $65.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $90.00

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Student Testimonials

  • "The material that was provided was very helpful, because I understand anatomy and physiology alot better. I have tried taking this course before in a classroom, and I could not get the understanding of anatomy and physiology, because it was very fast paced...The material provided is awesome. Most of all I can understand the material, and how anatomy and physiology relates and works together." -- Tamakia M.
  • "Thank you once again for all you help, time, energy and wisdom! I will be forever grateful for this terrific learning experience! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" -- Ami A.
  • "These courses I took were great because I don't have much time with work to got to school. I could take my time doing the courses I took...and it was such a wonderful laid out course." -- Georgina K.
  • "I found every lesson very helpful. All the lessons were broken down to layman's term to better understand each part associated with it....This course was an excellent learning experience for me. I never studied anatomy and physiolgy in school so it was a challenge for me. I enjoyed the feedback by the instructors who seem very knowledgeable." -- Michael I.
  • "I liked the way the course built from the basic building blocks up to the complex various systems. It was a good progression and it was important to start out very basic because I did not have any background before going into this class." -- Diane M.
  • "I found the picutures to be most helpful to me. I am a visual learner so to have the explanation and the picture right in front of me was great." -- Marissa R.
  • "Thank you for instruction." -- Elana D.
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