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Physiology: The Science of Life

University of Liverpool via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Discover the amazing physiological systems that keep us alive

Physiology is the study of normal function within living things. It examines and explains how organisms, organs, and cells carry out the chemical and physical processes that keep us going.

This three-week course from the University of Liverpool, in partnership with the Physiological Society, will take you beneath the surface of three key physiological systems (respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous), giving you an in-depth exploration of the discipline of physiology.

Delve into the basics of physiology, from respiration to the cardiovascular and nervous system

On this course, you’ll journey through three physiological systems, exploring how they work both separately and together, and how our understanding of human physiology has changed throughout history.

Explore a number of physiological disorders and how they affect the body

Each physiological system in our body is fine-tuned to make sure our cells and organs get enough oxygen and our body can carry out a wide range of functions. Any disruption can cause a number of disorders.

Alongside understanding how these systems work, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss how and why they can fail, and the number of respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological disorders this can create.

Discover tests to analyse each system in action such as the Harvard step test and spirometry

With our physiological systems being so vital, it’s important that we can test each system’s health.

You’ll look at ways that these systems can be analysed. You’ll start by exploring how to use a Bendict-Roth Spirometer to analyse lung volumes before looking at a Vitalograph to analyse both static and dynamic lung volumes.

You’ll also learn how you can complete a modified version of the Harvard Step Test to check your own level of cardiovascular fitness.

This course is designed for anyone currently studying biology or physiology, specifically students aged 16-19 considering further studies in medicine, dentistry, or other healthcare areas and life sciences.

It may also be of interest to anyone looking to learn more about the human body and the systems that keep us alive.


  • Respiration
    • Welcome to the Course
    • Human Respiration
    • Respiration in Action
    • A Different Perspective ...
    • Summary
  • Cardiovascular
    • Cardiovascular System
    • Cardiovascular System in Action
    • A Different Perspective ...
    • Summary
  • The Nervous System
    • Nervous System
    • Nervous System in Action
    • A Different Perspective ...
    • Summary and Next Steps

Taught by

Terry Gleave


4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 33 ratings

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