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Best Courses Guides

From Cells to Systems: 5 Best Free Human Physiology Courses for 2024

Learn physiology alongside anatomy or opt for a straight physiology course. Learn the signs of possible heart, respiratory, or circulatory issues.

Physiology goes hand-in-hand with anatomy, but you’ll understand it better if you have done some anatomy first. In fact, having a basic knowledge of chemistry, biochemistry, and biology will make it much easier to learn physiology. And you can join the anatomy and physiology subreddit at r/AnatomyandPhysiology.

You’ll find physiology courses from Duke and Penn as well as some that include anatomy in this Best Courses Guide (BCG), compiled from ratings and reviews in Class Central’s catalog of over 100 physiology courses. And if you’re interested in related topics, take a look at our Anatomy, Neuroscience and Genetics BCGs.

Click on the shortcuts for more details:

Here are our top picks

Course Highlight Workload
Best General Physiology Course (Duke University) 34 hours
Also Great General Physiology Course (Armando Hasudungan) 12 hours
Best Anatomy and Physiology Course (CrashCourse) 8 hours
Also Great Anatomy and Physiology Course (Professor Dave Explains) 4-5 hours
Best Course Relating Physiology to Health (University of Pennsylvania) 13 hours

Best Courses Guides. Start Learning, Stop Procrastinating.

BCG Stats

  • All the courses are free or free-to-audit.
  • 2 courses offer a verified certificate when you pass the graded quizzes.
  • The two Coursera courses have a combined enrollment of over 800K.
  • The three YouTube courses combined have been viewed around 30M times.

Best General Physiology Course

Introductory Human Physiology is a rigorous course from Duke University that is on Class Central’s Best Online Courses of All Time list. You’ll start with a comprehensive look at homeostasis before learning about the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal, and reproductive systems. It’s an excellent resource for students, for MCAT preparation or a refresher for people in the medical field, but interested non-medical learners will also benefit. Also available in Chinese.

“You learn a lot from this! Very interesting, the two professors make the learning experience great by making the complex material (for a beginner) understandable!” – Anonymous

Course Introductory Human Physiology
Provider Coursera
University Duke University
Instructors Emma Jakoi and Jennifer Carbrey
Time Commitment 34 hours
Enrollment >460K
Class Central Rating 4.5
Cost Free audit
Quizzes/Assessment Items Free
Certificate Paid

Also Great General Physiology Course

Armando Hasudungan has used his excellent drawing skills to create many videos, including the Physiology playlist that’s been viewed over a million times. Follow along as he explains many aspects of physiology, building up a visual story. Starting with gastric acid secretion, you’ll learn about the various organs and systems and their functions, plus some common disorders. You’ll even learn about the physiology of coughing and vomiting.

“Oh my goodness, thank you so much for this video!!! It’s 10000000x more understandable than my textbook. This is going to definitely help me for my essay. Thanks so much again!” – @afhskwifbwkl5900

Course Physiology
Provider YouTube
Instructor Armando Hasudungan
Time Commitment 12 hours
Views >1M
Cost Free
Quizzes/Assessment Items No
Certificate No

Best Anatomy and Physiology Course

With more than 26 million views, Anatomy & Physiology by CrashCourse is the most popular course in both this list and our Anatomy BCG. The ever-reliable Hank Green from CrashCourse will teach you about the chemistry and cell biology of systems in the human body and how tissue types define the function of each organ system. You’ll learn how the failure of an organ system can lead to disease, how energy is changed into different forms throughout the body, and how to break down the names of anatomical systems using Greek and Latin root words.

“The educational videos were so good as they helped me understand the anatomy and physiology of the human body…” – Myrielle Anne Francisco.

Course Anatomy & Physiology by CrashCourse
Provider YouTube
Instructor Hank Green
Time Commitment 8 hours
Class Central Rating 5.0
Views >26M
Cost Free
Quizzes/Assessment Items No
Certificate No

Also Great General Anatomy and Physiology Course

Anatomy & Physiology by Professor Dave Explains (Dave Farina) is another popular video course covering anatomy and physiology. You’ll learn about epithelial and connective tissues, bones, joints, and muscles, then move on to the endocrine, nervous, and circulatory systems. Then you’ll study the immune, respiratory, respiratory, digestive, and urinary systems. Finally, reproduction, the heart, the brain, and the digestive system are explored.

“I’ve learned a lot by attending this course. The lecturer is very good…” – Folorunso Olamilekan Mathew.

Course Anatomy & Physiology
Provider YouTube
Instructor Dave Farina
Time Commitment 4-5 hours
Class Central Rating 4.8
Views 2.6M Subscribers
Cost Free
Quizzes/Assessment Items No
Certificate No

Best Course Relating Physiology to Health

Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us. Maybe you’re not in the medical field but would like to know more about how your body works. Or maybe you are in the medical field and want a practical course that explains in clear terms what various signs and symptoms mean. Presented by a Professor of Nursing, the six modules cover pulse and heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, temperature, respiration rate, and pain. Normal and abnormal cases are discussed. Models, graphs, and diagrams will help you grasp the material in this engrossing course that is also in Class Central’s Best Online Courses of All Time list. I took this course back in 2015 and am considering repeating it to refresh my knowledge.

“This is a course that I should have taken even before medical school…” – Aedrian Abrilla

Course Vital Signs: Understanding What the Body Is Telling Us
Provider Coursera
University University of Pennsylvania
Instructor Connie Scanga
Time Commitment 13 hours
Enrollment >343K
Class Central Rating 4.5
Cost Free audit
Quizzes/Assessment Items Free
Certificate Paid

Why You Should Trust Us

Class Central, a Tripadvisor for online education, has helped 60 million learners find their next course. We’ve been combing through online education for more than a decade to aggregate a catalog of over 150,000 online courses and 200,000 reviews written by our users. And we’re online learners ourselves: combined, the Class Central team has completed over 400 online courses, including online degrees. I’ve personally completed over 150 online courses in a variety of topics including physiology.

How We Made Our Picks and Tested Them

Trying to find “the best” can be daunting, even for those of us who live and breathe online courses. Here’s how I approached this task.

First, I combed through Class Central’s Catalog to find a variety of courses, some with certificates. You don’t need to enroll in a university to learn about physiology.

I extracted information from course syllabi and reviews, and compiled their ratings, leveraging the Class Central database with its thousands of course ratings and reviews written by our users as well as available course provider enrollment numbers and ratings. I watched some course videos to sample courses I hadn’t already taken. Then, I defined the scope for these recommendations. A physiology course can cover various areas, so I chose top courses from a range of sub-fields.

Ultimately, I used a combination of data and my own judgment to make these picks. I’m confident these recommendations will be a reliable way to learn about physiology.

Best Courses Guides. Start Learning, Stop Procrastinating.

Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 200+ online courses completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org

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