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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.
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.

  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Instructor Feedback
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
IACET Accredited Provider
Universal Class, Inc. has been approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). In obtaining this approval, Universal Class, Inc. has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is widely recognized as the Standard of good practice internationally. As a result of their Accredited Provider status, Universal Class, Inc. is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its courses that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

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Anatomy and Physiology Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating: (2950 votes)
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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.
  • Lesson 2. Chemistry Basics

    Chemistry Basics and definitions of chemistry terms.
  • Lesson 3. Cells - The Foundation of Life

    Cells and their importance in life.
  • Lesson 4. Tissues (Different Types and Functions)

    Tissues: learn about different types and functions.
  • Lesson 5. The Integumentary System

    The Integumentary System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 6. The Skeletal System

    The Skeletal System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 7. The Muscular System

    The Muscular System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 8. The Nervous System

    The Nervous System: What is it? What does it do? And how does it work?
  • Lesson 9. The Sensory System

    The Sensory System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 10. The Endocrine System

    The Endocrine System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 11. The Cardiovascular System

    The Cardiovascular System: what is it, what does it do, and how it works.
  • Lesson 12. The Lymphatic System

    The Lymphatic System: what is it, what does it do, and how it works.
  • Lesson 13. The Respiratory System

    The Respiratory System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 14. The Digestive System

    The Digestive System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 15. The Urinary System

    The Urinary System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • Lesson 16. The Reproductive System

    The Reproductive System: what is it, what does it do, and how does it work.
  • The Final Exam

    The Final Exam

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
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Review: Read Editorial Review
Course Fee: $65.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $90.00

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define anatomy and physiology.
  • Describe chemistry basics.
  • Describe cells - the foundation of life.
  • Describe tissues (different types and functions).
  • Recognize summarize the integumentary system..
  • Recognize the important parts of the skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, and sensory system.
  • Summarize the major parts of the endocrine system.
  • Recognize the major parts of the cardiovascular system, lymphatic system, and the respiratory system.
  • Summarize 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.
Introduce YourselfAssignment1
Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology AssignmentAssignment20
Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology QuizExam55
Review of Basic Chemistry:Assignment50
Basic Chemistry QuizExam35
Review of CellsAssignment50
Cells QuizExam38
Review of TissuesAssignment50
Tissue QuizExam34
The Integumentary System AssignmentAssignment25
The Integumentary SystemExam50
The Skeletal System AssignmentAssignment50
The Skeletal SystemExam75
The Muscular System AssignmentAssignment50
The Muscular SystemExam80
The Nervous System AssignmentAssignment50
The Nervous SystemExam85
The Sensory System AssignmentAssignment50
The Sensory SystemExam70
The Endocrine System AssignmentAssignment50
The Endocrine SystemExam55
The Cardiovascular System AssignmentAssignment50
The Cardiovascular SystemExam22
The Lymphatic SystemAssignment50
The Lymphatic SystemExam50
The Respiratory System AssignmentAssignment50
The Respiratory SystemExam70
The Digestive System AssignmentAssignment50
The Digestive SystemExam50
The Urinary SystemExam18
The Reproductive SystemExam38
The Final ExamExam339
Total Points:1810

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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.
  • "All contents of this course are helpful not only to my career but most specially to my interest of knowing the human body, how it works and what is it made up of....First, allow me to say thanks for sharing to me your knowledge. This course is so helpful." -- Samia T.
  • "She is a wonderful teacher and she lets you know where you messed up to remember it later when you need it." -- Crystal B.
  • View More Testimonials...

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