Course Syllabus

Course Description

BIO 264: Human Anatomy and Physiology I is the first part of a two-semester course that prepares students for further study in the health and medical fields. The second course is BIO 265: Human Anatomy and Physiology II. Both of these courses have a corresponding lab that is taken separately (BIO 264L and BIO 265L). Most students must take BIO 264 and BIO 265 as well as the corresponding lab courses to fulfill prerequisite requirements to apply for specific medical professional programs. This course includes 12 modules. The modules begin by examining important physiological chemistry principles. Then the course instructs students in the biology and physiology of the cell. The rest of the course will examine the nervous and muscular systems. Please note that this course is not acceptable for biology major credit. If you are a biology major, you should probably be in a different course.     

Course Outcomes

  1. Students will learn the fundamental structure of the cell.
  2. Students will be able to identify the fundamental components of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems.
  3. Students will understand the normal physiology of the organ system studied.
  4. Students will become aware of some common pathological processes that occur in the body and how these illnesses relate to and impact normal physiology.

Module Structure

Important: This course is structured differently than other online courses at BYU-Idaho. Modules do not correspond with weeks in the semester. Some modules have items that are due over several weeks. See the Calendar for due dates.

Course Outline & Module Objectives

Module 01: Terminology and Homeostasis

  • 1.1 Terminology
    • Learn definitions for common anatomy and physiology vocabulary.
  • 1.2 Homeostasis
    • Explain homeostasis and each component of a homeostatic control system.
    • Explain negative and positive feedback loops.
    • Apply understanding of negative and positive feedback loops to clinical examples.

Module 02: Principles of Inorganic Chemistry

  • 2.1 Matter
    • Understand what matter is and how to read a periodic table of the elements.
    • Understand the structure of an atom and how the atomic mass and the atomic number can be used to calculate the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in various elements and their isotopes.
    • Explain how electrons are configured in electron shells and how the chemical properties of an element are determined by the number of electrons in the outer shell.
    • Define cation and anion and understand how changes in the number of electrons of any given element impact its stability and electrical charge.
    • Understand how atoms combine into molecules or compounds through ionic bonds, polar covalent bonds, nonpolar covalent bonds, and hydrogen bonds.
  • 2.2 Water
    • Understand the unique characteristics of water, water’s role in chemical reactions, and the structure of the water molecule.
    • Explain how water’s heat capacity and heat of vaporization help to stabilize body temperature.
    • Identify the difference between hydrophilic and hydrophobic substances.
    • Explain how electrolytes are ionized and their role in body processes.
    • Determine the difference between a solvent and a solute and how to calculate the concentration of solutes.
    • Develop a solid understanding of mole, molecular mass, molarity, and osmolarity.
  • 2.3 Acids, Bases, pH, and Buffers
    • Understand how an acid or a base can be defined by the concentration of hydrogen ions.
    • Understand the critical need for pH to be balanced in the body and how the concentration of hydrogen ions can lead to a state of alkalosis or acidosis.
    • Explain how the bicarbonate buffer system works to maintain pH balance.
    • Apply understanding of the bicarbonate buffer system to clinical examples.

Module 03: Principles of Organic Chemistry

  • 3.1 Carbohydrates
    • Describe a carbohydrate and give examples of monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.
  • 3.2 Lipids
    • Describe a lipid and discuss the unique characteristics of triglycerides, phospholipids, and steroids.
    • Explain fatty acids and how they can be saturated and unsaturated. Describe the unique characteristics of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids.
    • Explain "cis" and "trans" double bonds and how these bonds can affect the properties of a fatty acid.
    • Explain what lipoproteins are and how they function in the body. Discuss LDLs and HDLs. Recall what a lipid profile is and the normal values expected in this profile.
  • 3.3 Proteins
    • Describe what an amino acid is and how these amino acid monomers can be organized to form a protein. Describe the levels of protein organization.
    • Describe what an enzyme is and how enzymes function.

Exam 01

  • Covers content from Modules 01, 02, and 03

Module 04: Cell Biology

  • 4.1 Cell Structures
    • Explain the function, structure and relationship of each of the following cellular organelles:
      • Cell nucleus
      • Endoplasmic reticulum
      • Ribosomes
      • Golgi apparatus
      • Mitochondrion
      • Lysosomes
      • Proteasomes
      • Peroxisomes
      • Cytoskeleton
      • Plasma membrane
    • Describe the components of the endomembrane system.
    • Explain why the cell nucleus is considered the “control center of the cell” and how it is structured to protect its inner contents.
    • Describe how DNA is packaged in chromosomes within the nucleus.
    • Understand the central dogma of biology and the process for how DNA is transcribed to RNA and then translated to a protein.
    • Define transcription and translation in a biological context.
    • Compare and contrast the structure and functions of the rough and smooth endoplasmic reticulum.
    • Describe how the Golgi apparatus completes the processing of and transporting of proteins.
    • Explain how the mitochondrion generates energy through ATP for the cell.
    • Understand how the lysosomes maintain an acidic environment to break down proteins.
    • Describe the process of proteasome degradation to recycle proteins in the cell.
    • Compare and contrast the structure and function of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubule filaments of the cytoskeleton.

Module 05: Biological Membranes

  • 5.1 Structure of the Cell Membrane
    • Explain the fluid mosaic model of the cell membrane and the structure and role of various parts of the cell membrane.
    • Describe the G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) complex and the processes it uses to signal or activate a cell.
  • 5.2 Membrane Transport
    • Compare and contrast the various means employed by cells to move ions and molecules across the cell membrane utilizing different types of membrane proteins and the various methods of passive, active, and bulk transport.
    • Explain simple diffusion and the factors that impact the rate of simple diffusion of solutes.
    • Explain facilitated diffusion and how solutes are transported through the cell membrane utilizing various types of carrier proteins and channel proteins.
    • Describe the active transport processes used to transport solutes against their concentration gradient including specific examples of primary active transport, secondary active transport, and bulk transport.
    • Understand how the sodium/potassium ATPase pump works to actively transport solutes and the role this pump plays in relation to membrane potential.
    • Apply understanding of the movement of water across cell membranes by osmosis and distinguish between osmolarity and tonicity.
    • Be able to identify if a solution is hypotonic, isotonic, or hypertonic in comparison to body fluids.
  • 5.3 Introduction to Electrophysiology
    • Explain the principles behind how an electrochemical gradient impacts the transfer of ions through a semipermeable membrane.
    • Describe how voltage-gated ion channels open and close in response to changes in voltage or ion movement in the membrane.
    • Explain the role of the various protein carriers, protein channels, and ions involved in establishing the resting membrane potential, the graded potential, and the action potential.
    • Describe each phase of the action potential as it depolarizes and repolarizes.
    • Describe the process of how action potentials propagate from cell to cell.

Exam 02

  • Covers content from Modules 04 and 05

Module 06: Introduction to The Nervous System

  • 6.1 Organization of the Nervous System
    • Explain the organization of the nervous system including the central nervous system (CNS), peripheral nervous system (PNS), autonomic nervous system (ANS), and enteric nervous system.
    • Describe the process for information to be communicated between the CNS and PNS. Understand the role of the efferent neurons, afferent neurons, control centers, receptors, and effectors.
    • Explain the structure of a neuron (soma, dendrites, axon, myelin, axon terminals) and the neuron's unique features in lifespan, metabolic rate, and mitotic ability.
    • Describe the neuroglia cells of the CNS and PNS (astrocyte, oligodendrocyte, ependymal cells, microglial cells, satellite cells, and Schwann cells) and their form, function, and relationship with neurons.
    • Explain the process of salutatory conduction and how myelin sheaths speed up the sending of the action potentials along the axon nodes of Ranvier.
  • 6.2 Physiology of the Neuron
    • Compare and contrast chemical and electrical synapses.
    • Explain the concepts and mechanisms of synapse and the process of synaptic transmission.
    • Explain summation and how the sum of the EPSP and IPSP contribute to the propagation of action potential in the axon. Include understanding of concepts of spatial and temporal summation.
    • Compare and contrast excitatory and inhibitory synapses, including types of neurotransmitters, membrane channels, ions, and other factors involved in each.

Module 07: Skeletal Muscle

  • 7.1 Functions and Properties of Muscle Tissue
    • Understand the functions muscles perform in the body and how the properties of contractility, excitability, extensibility, and elasticity contribute to those functions.
    • Compare and contrast the properties of skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle.
  • 7.2 Skeletal Muscle Organization
    • Describe skeletal muscle organization and the role or function of each of the many component parts from the largest structure down to the intercellular features of skeletal muscle.
  • 7.3 Neuromuscular Junction, Excitation Contraction Coupling, Sliding Filament Theory, Contractures, and Cramps
    • Explain the steps of the excitation contraction coupling in skeletal muscles including the following:
      • The release of acetylcholine in the neuromuscular junction.
      • How calcium is released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
      • The action of the power stroke to shorten the sarcomeres.
      • The action of the recovery stroke in cross-bridge cycling to contract skeletal muscles.
      • The concepts of the sliding filament model of muscle contraction.
    • Describe the process for how the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is broken down by acetylcholinesterase and recycled.
    • Be able to explain on a physiological level muscle contracture, rigor mortis, and muscle cramps.
  • 7.4 Whole Muscle Contraction
    • Explain how motor units are different for fine motor movements compared to large muscle movements.
    • Describe the phases of skeletal muscle twitches (latent, contraction, and relaxation periods) and how muscle tone coordinates muscle movements.
    • Compare isometric, isotonic, concentric, and eccentric muscle contractions and give examples of when each type is used.
    • Explain the factors that influence the force of muscle contraction including recruitment of motor units, wave summation, initial sarcomere length, and muscle fatigue.
    • Describe the four ways ATP is obtained for contraction: cytosolic ATP, creatine phosphate, glycolysis, and aerobic and oxidative respiration.
    • Explain the classification for speed of twitching of skeletal muscles into Type I, Type IIA, and Type IIX, and the factors influencing how quickly a muscle can respond.
    • Distinguish between agonist and antagonist medications and be able to apply this understanding to a clinical situation in predicting muscle response based on the drug given.

Exam 03

  • Covers content from Modules 06 and 07

Module 08: Metabolism

  • 8.1 Energy Cycle, ATP, and Electron Carriers 
    • Explain the energy cycle and how the body creates energy from plants, the sun, oxygen, food, and water, and then returns carbon dioxide and water back into the cycle.
    • Distinguish between oxidation and reduction reactions, as well as anabolic and catabolic reactions.
    • Describe what ATP is, its role in the body, and how ATP is created by both substrate-level phosphorylation and oxidative phosphorylation.
    • Be able to describe the function and role of NAD+, NADH, FAD, and FADH2 in metabolism.
  • 8.2 Glycolysis
    • Be able to summarize the metabolic processes of glycolysis in detail.
    • Calculate how many ATP can be derived from one molecule of glucose through the total process of metabolism and during each phase.
    • Compare and contrast aerobic and anaerobic metabolism.
    • Be able to describe the function and role of each of the following components in metabolism:
      • Pyruvate
      • Acetate
      • Acetyl CoA
      • Oxaloacetate
      • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
      • Water (H2O)
      • Oxygen (O2)
      • H+
  • 8.3 Citric Acid Cycle 
    • Be able to summarize the process of the citric acid (Krebs) cycle in metabolism.
    • Be able to describe the function and role of each of the following components in the citric acid cycle:
      • NAD+ and NADH
      • FAD and FADH2
      • Pyruvate
      • Acetate
      • Acetyl CoA
      • Oxaloacetate
      • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
      • Water (H2O)
      • Oxygen (O2)
      • H+
      • Protein synthase
  • 8.4 Electron Transport Chain 
    • Be able to summarize the process of the electron transport chain in metabolism.
    • Explain the process of oxidative phosphorylation.
    • Be able to describe the function and role of each of the following components in metabolism and the electron transport chain:
      • NAD+ and NADH
      • FAD and FADH2
      • Pyruvate
      • Acetate
      • Acetyl CoA
      • Oxaloacetate
      • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
      • Water (H2O)
      • Oxygen (O2)
      • H+
      • Protein synthase
  • 8.5 Lipid and Protein Metabolism 
    • Be able to explain the process of beta oxidation and when it happens.
    • Be able to explain protein metabolism. 

Module 09: Control of Body Movement

  • 9.1 Voluntary and Reflexive Control of Muscles 
    • Describe the organization of the neuron pathway of the somatic nervous system.
    • Explain each step of how a movement is executed through voluntary control and the structures involved.
    • Describe the basic components of a reflex arc, different types of receptors that are stimulated, and how these components generate a reflex response.
    • Compare and contrast the five different involuntary somatic reflexes: the stretch reflex, the Golgi tendon organ reflex, the withdrawal reflex, the reciprocal innervation reflex, and the crossed extensor reflex. Explain how all the reflex components work together to specifically generate each type of stretch.
    • Define agonist and antagonist muscle groups. Explain reciprocal inhibition and how antagonist muscle groups are inhibited.

Module 10: Autonomic Nervous System

  • 10.1 Organization of the Nervous System 
    • Differentiate between the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and autonomic nervous system. Describe the conditions when each division is most active.
    • Explain the organization and function of the autonomic nervous system.
    • Compare and contrast the anatomical and functional differences between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous systems.
    • Be able to predict physiologic effects for major body organs following sympathetic or parasympathetic stimulation.
  • 10.2 Physiology of the ANS
    • Explain the main neurotransmitters of the ANS and the neurons that release them.
    • Describe the main receptors of the ANS and which neurotransmitters bind to them. Differentiate between cholinergic (nicotinic and muscarinic) and adrenergic α1, b1, and β2 receptors
  • 10.3 Actions of the Autonomic Nervous System 
    • Be able to predict physiologic effects for major body organs following sympathetic or parasympathetic stimulation.
    • Be able to predict the effect of a medication on the nervous system and the body based on your understanding of antagonist and agonist responses, as well as cholinergic, adrenergic, and nicotinic α1, b1, and β2 receptors.

Exam 04

  • Covers content from Modules 08, 09, and 10

Module 11: Brain

  • 11.1 Overview of the Brain and Cerebrum 
    • Understand the basic structural anatomy of the brain. 
    • Understand the general function and attributes of all prominent anatomical brain regions. 
  • 11.2 Diencephalon, Brainstem, and Cerebellum
    • Understand the basic structural anatomy of the brain. 
    • Understand the general function and attributes of all prominent anatomical brain regions. 
  • 11.3 The Limbic System, Basal Nuclei, and Reticular Activating System
    • Understand the function of the following: limbic system, reward center, and reticular activating system. 
  • 11.4 Higher Brain Functions: The EEG, Sleep, and Learning 
    • Describe the different types of memory and learning. 
    • Explain higher brain functions of sleep and memory. 
  • 11.5 The Meninges, Cerebral Spinal Fluid, and Cranial Nerves
    • Examine the origin and destination of cranial nerves.
    • Describe the formation and circulation of cerebral spinal fluid.
    • Describe the meninges of the brain and the characteristic symptoms of trauma associated with various meningeal layers.

Module 12: Special Senses

  • 12.1 The Sense of Taste and Smell
    • Describe the location, structure, and function of taste receptors. 
    • Explain the olfactory pathway. 
  • 12.2 Vision: Structure of the Eye
    • Describe the structure and function of the optical and neural components of the eye. 
  • 12.3 Convert Light to Action Potentials 
    • Describe how photons of light are converted to action potentials. 
  • 12.4 The Inner Ear: Sense of Hearing and Equilibrium 
    • Describe the structures of the ear and how they relate to sound transduction.
    • Explain how the ear distinguishes between sound, pitch, and loudness.
    • Describe how the semicircular canals and the otolith organs are associated with balance.

Exam 05

  • Covers content from Modules 11 and 12


Comprehensive Final Exam

  • Covers content from modules 1-10. The exam includes 50 questions. 

Required Materials


This course does not require you to purchase a textbook.

We understand the financial burdens that a student can face and we as Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) teachers want to do our part to help out. Therefore, we have created a compilation of our own readings, videos, web links, tutorials, and other such digital media to help you through this course. The readings and associated material are designed so that a student who is adequately prepared can expect to spend 9–12 hours studying per week and be very successful in the course. 

However, we need our students to realize and understand that the materials in this course are not perfect (although they are always getting better) and that some students may be coming into the course less prepared than others. (For example, some students may be returning to school after many years of not attending school and other students may be coming in with very little experience in biology.)

We expect that for students who feel unprepared, the learning experience may be much more complete if the student acquires a supplementary textbook or at least develops very good research skills outside of the materials we provide. As with any college-level course, students should expect to research beyond the materials in this class to help themselves more fully understand concepts. If you decide that you would like a textbook to help understand concepts, then it does not matter which textbook it is as long as it is a two-semester A&P course textbook. Even the edition of the textbook that you get does not matter very much in most cases. For this reason, students can often find a very good reference textbook online for quite cheap.

Below are some textbooks that previous students found helpful:

  • Anatomy and Physiology by Seeley, Stephens and Tate (any edition, but newer is better)
  • Seeley's Anatomy & Physiology by Vanputte Regan and Russo (any edition)
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology by Elaine N. Marieb and Katja Hoehn (any edition, but newer is better)
  • Other textbooks are fine as well, just look for an anatomy and physiology textbook that is used for a two-semester general A&P course.
  • You may even consider a free online textbook. One of the best resources is OpenStax.

Quality internet research is also an effective way for students to increase their knowledge, with or without the use of an additional textbook. Students who are willing to spend the time and effort to complete quality internet research will learn the material very well.

As we improve the materials we create for this class, we welcome your input. If you want to make a suggestion that would improve the materials or the course, please send your idea to your instructor in an email. Please avoid the temptation to complain about things that are not likely to change (for example, the difficulty of the course or the exams, the amount of material to learn, etc.). We know the course is difficult. It has been a difficult course for many decades and is necessarily so as the A&P courses provide the science foundation for health care professions.

Access to a Computer with Internet

It is your responsibility to arrange use of a computer with internet access. (The higher speed you have for your internet access, the easier the course will be for you to complete.)

Access to a Web Camera, a Microphone, & Headphones

An important course activity are the Teaching Sheets. You will be expected to attend teaching sessions with a TA via Zoom. In order to get the most out of these sessions, you will need access to a web camera and microphone. 

Exams must be taken on a computer with a webcam and microphone (see the Exams section below). To improve your experience while attending study sessions, you will need a web camera, a microphone, and headphones.

Course Activities

Teaching Assignments

One of the most significant activities in the course is Teaching Assignments. Each unit has a corresponding set of principles and ideas that are the most crucial and, oftentimes, most difficult to understand. In order to fully master those principles, you are expected to teach the material from the Teaching Assignment to five (5) different people people; one of those people being a TA or Instructor. You will not be assessed on the quality of how you teach the material (though it is important that you teach correct principles) but simply on how many times you taught it to others. One of the most powerful ways to learn something is to teach it. Out of all the different activities to prepare for exams, we have found that Teaching Assignments has the most impact. 

Perusall Discussions (Optional)

Each week of study has a corresponding Perusall Discussion. Perusall is a social annotation tool that will allow you to complete the section readings with your peers and ask questions directly to your instructor or TA. Each of these discussions are optional but highly recommended, especially for those who cannot make a study session with a TA or instructor. For more information on Perusall, please see Readings in Perusall.


You will complete a quiz for each textbook section. There are 20 questions in each quiz. Quizzes contribute 72 total points to your final grade. You have unlimited attempts on the quizzes. The highest score earned before the due date is retained. After the due date, your score cannot change (even if you answer more questions correctly). The quiz will close on the same day as the corresponding unit exam.

Please keep taking the quizzes (even after the due date) to study and review. Explain why each answer option is correct or incorrect. You are strongly encouraged to work with a partner or group and to pose questions to each other.

During quizzes, you may use any resource such as a textbook, a study guide, online searches, conversations with classmates in study groups or via the Perusall discussions, etc. However, it is a violation of university policy and copyright law to post quiz questions on a website or to pass quiz answers to others, including future students.

Study Guides

You are provided with a study guide for each section of the textbook. There is no course requirement to fill these out and turn them in, but it is highly recommended that you use the study guides to master the course material. 


Five exams are administered in the course:

  • Five proctored exams (each worth 100 points)
  • One proctored comprehensive final (100 points)


You are required to take all BIO 264 exams in I-Learn using a remote proctoring service called Proctorio. You do not need to find your own proctor. Proctorio requires a webcam, microphone, and software plug-in. During Module 02, you will download the required plug-in.

Please contact your instructor with any questions or concerns about exams.


Point Structure

There are 745 points possible in this course. The course grade will be determined by the following:

  • Ice Breaker Discussion (1 point)
  • Research Consent Quiz (0.5 points)
  • Syllabus Quiz (1 point)
  • Practice Proctored Exam (0.5 points)
  • Teaching Assignments (70 points)
  • Quizzes (72 points)
  • Five proctored exams (500 points)
  • One proctored comprehensive final (100 points)

You are responsible for your learning, so be engaged and be involved in completing all the preparatory work so you will perform well on the exams.

Grading Scale

Letter Grade Percentage Range
A 93% - 100%
A- 90% - 92%
B+ 87% - 89%
B 83% - 86%
B- 80% - 82%
C+ 77% - 79%
C 73% - 76%
C- 70% - 72%
D+ 67% - 69%
D 63% - 66%
D- 60% - 62%
F Less than 60%

Extra Credit

Your instructor may allow 25 points of extra credit per student during the semester. The manner in which you may earn extra credit and the points associated with the activities is at your instructor's discretion. Please communicate with your instructor to discover more details about these possible points.

Course Policies

You should read the following course policies and make sure that you understand what these policies mean to you regarding your interactions with the instructor and other students in this course. If you have questions about any of these policies, you should contact your instructor immediately.

Time Requirement

On average, you should plan to spend 9–12 hours per week to study and complete the assigned activities. This is the amount of time that you should expect to spend if you want to get a passing grade (C). If you want a higher grade, you may need to put in more study time. In order to keep up with the assignments and learn the most from this class, you should make sure you schedule regular time each day to study for this class. 

Late Policy

Students should not ask instructors to extend deadlines or allow makeups. However, it is understood that emergencies happen. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor of such emergencies. If the student fails to notify the instructor of an emergency, a late test will be permitted but docked one letter grade.

Personal Honor

In this class, our interactions with each other should be guided at all times by the following principles of personal honor:

Principles of Personal Honor: "True at all Times"

  • Personal honor is integrity in fulfilling commitments, responsibilities, and covenants.
  • Personal honor begins with willing obedience and is fully developed when we consistently govern ourselves by true principles.
  • Personal honor increases spiritual strength through the ministry of the Holy Ghost.
  • Personal honor is central to every aspect of our lives, including the BYU-Idaho experience.
  • Personal honor brings us joy and happiness; deepens our desire to love, serve, and lift others; and ultimately helps us to become more like the Savior.

You should make sure that you understand the above principles of personal honor. It is important for all class members to strive to follow the above principles in our associations with one another.

If you have any questions about how personal honor is related to academic honesty or the university's dress and grooming standards, you may visit the CES Honor Code web page to get more information.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course uses complex human anatomy and physiology images that students are required to visually identify, so detailed alt text cannot be provided. If you have a disability that prevents you from accessing these images, please contact Disability Services.

This course may require synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due