BSc Physiology - University College London

Programme title:
Physiology (Integrated)
Final award (BSc, MA etc):
BSc (Hons)
(where stopping off points exist they should be
detailed here and defined later in the document)
UCAS code:
(where applicable)
Cohort(s) to which this programme
specification is applicable:
Intakes from 1998
(e.g. from 2015 intake onwards)
Awarding institution/body:
University College London
Teaching institution:
University College London
Life Sciences
Parent Department:
Division of Biosciences
(the department responsible for the administration of
the programme)
Divisonal Web page address:
(if applicable)
Method of study:
Criteria for admission to the
Length of the programme:
Completion of Phase 1 MBBS with a good overall mark and a
genuine interest in physiology as demonstrated by the students
module choices, personal statement and other submissions.
1 Year
(please note any periods spent away from UCL, such
as study abroad or placements in industry)
Level on Framework for Higher
Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
(see Guidance notes)
Relevant subject benchmark statement
Advanced Level (Level 6)
(see Guidance notes)
Brief outline of the structure of the
(see guidance notes)
Board of Examiners:
Students take 4 cu worth of study in Physiology at advanced level.
This can be made up of 1.0 cu and 0.5 cu taught modules (PHOL and
certain ANAT) and must include either a 1.5 cu laboratory research
project or a 1.0 cu library research project
Name of Board of Examiners:
Board of Examiners in Physiology
Professional body accreditation
(if applicable):
Date of next scheduled
accreditation visit:
To provide the core knowledge, understanding and practical skills that are central to physiology and to allow
students to develop their knowledge in depth in chosen areas.
To bring students to an advanced level in the subject, so that they work at the frontiers of knowledge and possess
the judgement to develop their own opinions and to question established ideas.
To meet the demand for graduates who have a detailed understanding of physiology and who can apply this
knowledge in a research environment.
To develop critical and analytical skills that will enable graduates to confront complex problems and to cope with
new developments as necessary for employment in the biosciences or in other careers.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding,
qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas:
A: Knowledge and understanding
Knowledge and understanding of:
1. selected advanced courses in
2. a selected research or reading
3. specific advanced research
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
All courses are taught through lectures, tutorials and
practical classes. Students are encouraged to use web
based interactive teaching. Acquisition of 2 emphasises
experimental design and statistical analysis of data.
Students are encouraged to undertake independent
reading to consolidate and supplement their knowledge.
Students are required to undertake assignments during
the term; these comprise essays and practical reports.
During this third year, the emphasis is on reading
recently published papers in journals, there is very little
use of text books. Students will learn to use web based
search engines for researching particular topics. Much of
the teaching is seminar based and critical discussion is
encouraged. Students will either undertake a research
project in the laboratory of a member of staff or a
reading project. To undertake a research project,
students must learn the relevant experimental
techniques and generate and then analyse their data.
These must then be critically evaluated and a word
processed report produced. Students also produce a
poster which they have to defend. Students undertaking
a reading project will word process a report reviewing a
topic of their choice under the guidance of a member of
staff and also produce a poster which they have to
A combination of unseen examinations and assessed
course work (essays, practical reports). Literaturebased dissertations are also accompanied by poster
presentations. These reveal depth and grasp of
knowledge. Similarly, the research project dissertation,
and its defence, test depth of knowledge in specific
areas, as well as the ability to cope with complex ideas.
B: Skills and other attributes
Intellectual (thinking) skills:
1. analysis and integration of
information gathered from a
range of analysis sources:
experimental, published and
2. critical evaluation and
interpretation of evidence.
3. construction of arguments and
formulation of hypotheses using
available lines of evidence.
4. identification of problems and
finding appropriate ways of
solving them.
5. development of creativity and
independence of mind.
6. An awareness of health and
safety and other ethical issues in
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
All of the teaching and learning methods outlined in A
contribute to the development of intellectual skills (1-5).
Feedback is a key element and in written course work
students are encouraged to produce coherent, insightful
accounts (1, 2). Guided and independent reading for
supervised essays and dissertations, give confidence (2,
5). In the final year research project, there is continual
interaction with supervisors (1-5). Feedback is also an
important element in class discussions, in tutorial
sessions, in interactions with demonstrators and
teachers in practicals, and from teachers and peers in
oral presentation sessions (1-5).
All the listed skills are tested in all the forms of
assessment in A. In particular, the end of year
examinations depend on the selection and presentation
of relevant information and ideas (1-3). Coursework
essays and literature-based dissertations also test skills
1-3. Laboratory practicals require the acquisition,
analysis and interpretation of data, from which
conclusions must be drawn and justified, as well as
dealing with unexpected problems (2-6). The research
project dissertation and its defence are indicators of
skills 1-6.
C: Skills and other attributes
Practical skills (able to):
1. obtain expertise in the
assessment of scientific evidence
and the analysis of data.
2. use quantitative concepts that are
relevant to experimental design
and analysis in the context of
3. access scientific papers, reviews,
specialist books and text books
from library collections and
electronic sources.
4. perform experiments safely.
5. plan experiments to tackle
specific research problems.
6. undertake a unique laboratory
based project using advanced
techniques specific to the subject
of the project.
7. Exploit computer-based teaching
software fully
8. Employ basic experimental
techniques specific to physiology
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
The research project enhances practical skills (1, 2 , 4
and 8). Lectures on data evaluation and statistics form
an element of the research project.
Computer-based teaching (LAPT, Moodle etc) is
extensive and expanding. It is used principally in the first
two years (7). Coursework essays and literature-based
dissertations enable development of skills 1, 2, and 3.
Laboratory practicals provide opportunities for students
to acquire skills 4, 5 and 8. In the laboratory research
project, students learn (or improve) skills 2-8. Teaching
on data evaluation and statistics forms an element of the
research project (2).
Student usage of computer-based teaching resources is
monitored so that ineffective use is detected (7).
Coursework essays and literature-based dissertations
are all marked by academic staff (1,3). Laboratory
practicals are overseen by staff and demonstrators and
reports are marked (1, 2, 4). Project supervisors assess
performance in the laboratory and the dissertation
requires an understanding of current literature (3) as well
as data evaluation (1). Written examinations indirectly
test 3.
D: Skills and other attributes
Transferable skills (able to):
1. manage time, prioritise work,
meet deadlines.
2. use computers/IT to produce
essays, reports and visual aids
for oral presentations and web
3. communicate information and
ideas effectively in written and
oral form.
4. present numerical and graphical
data effectively.
5. work in co-operation with others,
sharing resources.
6. work independently and take
responsibility for personal
learning and development.
Teaching/learning methods and strategies:
Effective time management is an essential. Advice is
provided by course organisers and personal tutors (1).
Use of computers/IT to prepare written work may be
self-taught or acquired with peer help. Advice is also
provided at tutorials and there is feedback from the
marked work. Presenting information and ideas in
written and oral form is improved by feedback from
marked work. In laboratory practicals and in the project,
it is important to be able to work effectively as a member
of a group (5). At the same time, as students progress
through the year, they are encouraged to become more
autonomous (6). Note that guides on acquiring all the
transferable skills are also provided on the College web
site (Key Skills Grid).
Completing coursework assignments on time and
assembling the project report by the deadline (1).
Marked coursework, including oral presentations gives
evidence of skills 2-4, while successful practicals
depend on 5. All forms of work at the most advanced
levels in the third year provide evidence of independent
thought and research (6).
The following reference points were used in designing the programme:
 the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
 the relevant Subject Benchmark Statements (;
 the programme specifications for UCL degree programmes in relevant subjects (where applicable);
 UCL teaching and learning policies;
 staff research.
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the
learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes
full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes,
content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found on the Faculty
web site and individual module’s Moodle pages. The accuracy of the information contained in this document is
reviewed annually by UCL and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.
Programme Organiser(s)
Dr Ian Edwards
Date of Production:
April 2003
Date of Review:
February 2015
Date approved by Head of
February 2015
Date approved by Departmental
February 2015
Teaching Committee:
Date approved by Faculty
February 2015
Teaching Committee
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