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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.

High school students, college students and those entering various healthcare fields will find this self-paced Anatomy and Physiology course to be extremely beneficial. Course goals include the following: 1.) Be able to identify the major body systems and understand what each body system does, 2.) Be able to relate how each body system works, 3.) Be able to identify and explain major cells, tissues, and organs, and 4.) Be able to identify and explain functions of central muscles and bones.

Class lessons will cover the following topics: Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Cells, Tissues, The Integumentary System, The Skeletal 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, and The Reproductive System.

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  • Self-Paced
  • Instructor Feedback
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

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Anatomy and Physiology 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 2 Articles: Homeostasis; Levels of Organization
  • 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 10 Articles: Atoms; Chemical Bonds; Covalent Bonds; Enzymes; Hydrogen Bonds; Lipids; Monosaccharides; 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 12 Articles: Virtual Cell; Cell Structure; Rough and Smooth Endoplasmic Reticulum; Ribosomes; Golgi apparatus; The Cytoskeleton; Role of Mitochondria; Flagella and cilia; Centrioles; Process of Endocytosis; 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 Article: Anatomy of the Integumentary System
  • 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 4 Articles: Bone types; Hand anatomy tutorial; Skull anatomy tutorial; The bones in the Skeletal System
  • 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 3 Articles: Major Muscles in the body; Muscle movement through contraction-; Muscle Types
  • Review 2 Videos: Muscle Tissue; Muscle Naming
  • 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 5 Articles: Structure of the Neuron; The Autonomic Nervous System; The Brain; The Spinal Cord; 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 Articles: Overview of the Sensory System; The ear; The eye
  • 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 3 Articles: Chemistry of Hormones; Overview of The Endocrine System; Pancreas
  • 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 6 Articles: Blood plasma; Capillaries; Cardiac cycle; Heart Rate; Structure of the Human Heart; Veins
  • 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 4 Articles: Lymph; Lymph Vessels; Spleen; Thymus
  • 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 2 Articles: Mechanisms of Breathing-; Overview of Respiratory System
  • 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 10 Articles: Gallbladder; Liver; Overview of the Digestive System; Pancreas; Stomach; The esophagus; The Large Intestine; The mouth; The pharynx and the larynx; The Small Intestine
  • 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 Articles: Kidneys and the urinary tract; Overview of the urinary system
  • 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: Overview of the female 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

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: Anatomy and Physiology 101
Course Number: 8900157
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: College Level
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
Course Review: Read Editorial Review
Course Fee: $65.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $90.00

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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.

Student Testimonials

  • "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.
  • "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.
  • "Great job!" -- Jason A.
  • "I liked the over all experiance but it was good to see the links to other web pages to see their explanation on the subject." -- Dan A.
  • View More Testimonials...

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