Human Anatomy and Physiology

Human Anatomy and Physiology focuses on the structure and function of the human body. In this course, we will examine how your body is organized, its basic chemistry, the human cell, cancer, heredity, and the anatomy and physiology of your body's organ systems. We'll also explain how your organ systems work together to allow you to process sensations, think, communicate, grow, move, reproduce, and stay alive. In addition, we will discuss different diseases and disorders, recent advances in medicine, and ways to take care of your body.

6 Weeks / 24 Course Hrs
Starting  June 14, 2023
Offered in partnership with your preferred school


Change School
Learning method

Course code: hap

If the idea of human anatomy and physiology seems scary, don't worry. This course will alleviate any fears you may have by covering these topics in an approachable and relatable format. This course will enable you to feel more confident about how all the intricate functions and systems of the human body work together and connect what you learn about anatomy and physiology to what you already know about your own body. Consider this your user guide to the human body. Some may say you can't live without it!

This course will also cover the major systems of the body and explain how they work and why they don't sometimes. In addition, it will examine different diseases and disorders, recent advances in medicine, and ways to take care of your body. Lessons include real-life examples and interactive exercises, allowing you to think critically about your own experiences and make connections with the lesson. Printable flashcards are used throughout the lessons that provide you with necessary study material to keep for this course and beyond as you continue your education or career. By the end of this course, you will have a greater appreciation and understanding of the marvelous complexity of the human body.

What you will learn

  • Describe the characteristics and requirements of a living organism, basic chemistry of the human body, and the importance of maintaining homeostasis (the ability to keep the body in balance)
  • Identify the functions of the various parts of the cell, how cells divide, and the causes, treatment, and prevention of cancer
  • Explain the structure of genes, how information contained in genes is used to build proteins, the creation of sperm and egg cells, and the causes of genetic diseases
  • Describe the anatomy, functions of the structures, and disorders of the nine organ systems

How you will benefit

  • Acquire essential skills that apply to most healthcare and medical careers
  • Discover skills that apply to career fields other than healthcare and medical, such as education, tattoo artists, personal trainers, and massage therapists
  • Understand anatomy and physiology—a prerequisite for most health education programs—and essential for future career success
  • Analyze the human body and its parts, including your own, which can lead to a healthier, longer life

How the course is taught

  • Instructor-led or self-paced online course
  • 6 Weeks or 3 Months access
  • 24 course hours

The first lesson will introduce you to the fascinating subject of human anatomy and physiology. Since chemical reactions drive all of your body's functions, this lesson will start by reviewing some basic chemistry. It will then discuss the organization of the human body and the four main types of molecules it contains. The course will even touch on a little history because humans used to have some pretty funny ideas about living organisms. Later, you'll learn why a living human being is so different from one who's died. Finally, you'll learn about homeostasis—that drive your body has to keep many different variables (like temperature and blood pressure) within a narrow range. By the time you're done with this lesson, you'll be ready to learn more about the structure and function of your body.

The smallest living unit of the body is the cell, and it's so amazing, it deserves a lesson of its own. Even though almost all cells are microscopic, they're packed with many distinct kinds of organelles and surrounded by complex membranes. You'll be amazed at their complexity as you learn about their functions. You'll also learn how cells reproduce. The lesson will end with a discussion on cancer—which is cell reproduction gone amok.

This lesson will tackle the subject of heredity and the basics of genetics. You'll learn how genes affect your physical and mental characteristics, and how your parents' genetic material influenced these traits. You'll learn the significant differences between reproductive cells and all of the other cells in your body. The lesson will also spend time on a man who lived in the 1800's—Gregor Mendel, the Father of Genetics—because his insights paved the way for the modern understanding of heredity. The lesson will close with information on specific mutations in the genetic code that can cause genetic disorders.

This lesson focuses on the nervous system. You'll learn how it's organized, its different functions, and the structures that make thinking, feeling, and moving possible. You'll also learn how the nervous system works when you think you're in danger or you've suddenly experienced physical pain. You'll use your knowledge of chemistry in this lesson when it explains how neurons (nerve cells) generate nervous impulses. The lesson will end with a discussion of six different disorders of the nervous system—what causes them and how they affect the people who suffer from them.

Your bones have several functions, and some aren't very obvious. For example, red blood cells are made in your bones, and bones store minerals that are essential for the function of your nerves and muscles. This lesson on the skeletal system will explore the structure and function of bones, and then cover the different types of joints and the amazing structure of your spinal column. You'll learn about three common disorders of this system and what you can do to keep your bones strong.

Like the skeletal system, the muscular system is crucial for movement, but it has other functions, too. Like bones, muscles are also a lot more complicated than they appear. You'll spend time learning about both the structures that you can see and the structures that you can't see without a microscope. The lesson will go over some of the specific muscles in the body and how they work together to perform specific movements. You'll also learn why even simple movements involve chemical reactions and a close coordination between the muscular system and the nervous system. The last chapter will cover several common injuries to various parts of the muscular system.

This lesson focuses on the respiratory system. As you're probably aware, it's the group of organs that allow you to get that crucial substance, oxygen, to all the cells in your body. You'll learn about the anatomy of your respiratory organs and which muscles are crucial for breathing. You'll also become aware of the differences between ventilation, external respiration, internal respiration, and cellular respiration. You'll also learn about illnesses that can affect the respiratory system, compromising a person's ability to breathe.

This lesson will explore the composition of blood, the various blood cells, and the various kinds of blood vessels in your body. The heart is a crucial part of the circulatory system, so this lesson will teach you about its chambers, valves, coronary vessels, and electrical system. You'll learn how blood travels around your body and its essential functions. The last chapter will spend time on two of the most common health problems people experience—high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. You'll finish this lesson knowing why it's so important to take care of this organ system.

In this lesson, you'll learn all about the disease-fighting ability of your body. This lesson will explain the several types of germs that can make a person sick, as well as some of the many ways your body fights back to keep you well, including defenses you're born with and those you develop later on. Your body also has a system of vessels (similar to blood vessels) called the lymphatic system. You'll learn about its disease-fighting role as well as some of its other functions. You'll also learn about some of the other organs in your body that engage in the battle against disease. The end of this lesson will teach you how the body's disease-fighting ability can be compromised, and why sometimes the body turns on its own cells.

This lesson will take a close look at two different organ systems—the integumentary system (the skin and its accessory organs) and the urinary system. Both of these systems work to get rid of waste products that would kill you if they built up in your body. You'll learn, too, how important these two systems are in maintaining homeostasis. This lesson will spend quite a bit of time on the structure of these two systems. People are often surprised to learn how complex even the skin can be. And the structures and functions of the urinary system, particularly the kidneys, are quite amazing. At the end of this lesson, you'll learn about kidney failure and the challenges of dialysis and kidney transplantation.

You may never think about food the same way again after this lesson on the digestive system! You'll learn about all the different structures involved with converting food into the chemicals your body needs to grow, repair tissues, and perform all the functions of life. The lesson also covers the role of the three main types of foods and the importance of many different vitamins and minerals. By the time you've finished this lesson, you'll understand the value of eating a variety of foods and how healthy food choices will enhance your well-being. The last chapter will cover two common digestive system disorders and one of the most common kinds of cancer—colon cancer.

This course ends with a discussion about the endocrine and reproductive systems. You'll learn how the endocrine and nervous systems work together to regulate all of your body's functions. You'll learn about different endocrine glands, the hormones they produce, and how they influence each other. Homeostasis again becomes something important to talk about because of the crucial role of the endocrine system. This lesson also covers both the male and female reproductive systems. You'll learn about their anatomy and how the endocrine system affects their organs, making reproduction possible. We'll end this chapter with a discussion about three fairly common disorders—diabetes, prostate cancer, and endometriosis.

Holly Trimble

Holly Trimble earned a bachelor's degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Colorado, a master's degree in Pediatric Physical Therapy from Boston University, a master's degree in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a doctoral degree in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University. After working as a physical therapist for many years, Dr. Trimble transitioned into teaching. She has lectured on health-related topics to all age groups and has taught middle and high school science courses in both private and public school settings. Holly also taught Human Anatomy and Physiology for a local community college system for 16 years. She received the Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award both of the years she was nominated and is the author of the eBook, "College Success Now!"

Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.


There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.

Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.​

Self-Paced: Your course begins immediately after you enroll.​

Instructor-Led: Once a course session starts, two lessons will be released each week for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends. You will interact with the instructor through the online discussion area. There are no live sessions or online meetings with the instructor.

Self-Paced: You have 3 months of access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period. You will have the opportunity to interact with other students in the online discussion area.

Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes two weeks after each lesson is released, so you're encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release. However, you will have access to all lessons from the time they are released until the course ends.​

Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons within the allotted access period. Discussion areas for each lesson are open for the entire duration of the course.

Instructor-Led: Students enrolled in a six-week online class benefit from a one-time, 10-day extension for each course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.​

Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.