Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Human Biology 3A BIOL4228

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

In this course, you will explore the scientific principles that underlie investigations into the function of the human body from a molecular and cellular level to a whole body level. Human Biology 3A is intended to build on the Level-2 Life Sciences courses, developing a balanced understanding of the biology of the function of the human body. This will range from cellar to whole body biology and be underpinned by a programme of laboratory practicals and discussion of current research and possible clinical implications.


This course will consist of five teaching blocks, each consisting of approximately 12 one-hour lectures and supporting labs and workshops, lasting 2-3 hours in most cases. Five one-hour tutorials sessions and sessions on scientific skills and graduate attributes will also run throughout the semester. The timetable will vary week to week to accommodate staff and resource availability and to meet the educational needs of the block. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally, this course is only open to students admitted to Level-3 of a programme for which this is a compulsory course. The course may also be available to visiting students, at the discretion of the School's Chief Adviser.

Excluded Courses

BIOL4104 Physiology 3 and BIOL4062 Integrated Human 3




The course will be assessed by means of a 1-hour examination (10%) in the winter diet, a 3-hour examination (60%) in the spring diet and in-course assessment (30%) including a laboratory work portfolio, group work assignment and an essay.

Main Assessment In: December and April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


The group work assignment will not be available for reassessment.

Course Aims

The aims of the course are:

■ To provide a broad-based knowledge and understanding of Human Biology;

■ To develop practical skills relevant to laboratory techniques;

■ To develop skills relating to the systematic acquisition and analysis of factual information and data;

■ To develop the ability to solve problems and to critically analyse, interpret and discuss factual information and data;

■ To provide opportunities to practise and improve written and oral communication skills.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

■ discuss the central facts and the experimental basis of current scientific thinking about human biology from cellular physiology to whole body approaches; 

■ appraise the use of modern scientific technologies; 

■ demonstrate practical skills in fundamental laboratory techniques; 

■ communicate experimental, interpretative and ethical aspects of science, using oral presentations, written work and information technology;

■ plan and carry out an experiment and apply appropriate methods, including statistics, to analyse experimental data;

■ identify and critically evaluate relevant scientific literature.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.