Online Anatomy & Physiology Courses
The courses we'll discuss here are among the most commonly offered online anatomy and physiology courses.
- A basic anatomy course can be taken independent of physiology. This type of course teaches the purpose and location of different parts of the human body. Students learn basics of anatomical terminology and then work through the parts, organization and relationships of major body systems.
- A basic physiology courses, sometimes called medical physiology, can also be taken independently of anatomy. Most of these courses are designed for students planning to follow programs in nursing or allied health sciences. Physiology courses build on knowledge of anatomy and add functions of organ systems. Basic concepts include homeostasis and cellular chemistry.
- A distance education course combining the study of basic anatomy and physiology is also designed for students planning to pursue a health care career. Along with a focus on structures of organs and their systems, this class includes studies of cells, tissues, and human development.
- There are a number of specialized human anatomy and physiology distance education courses. Some of these courses are for those planning a career in audiology and focus on the anatomy and physiology of the auditory system. Those interested in pharmacology may take a physiology course that teaches drug actions and pathophysiology. Allied health imaging sciences students often take a distance course in sectional anatomy.
- Medical doctors, nurses and other health care specialists are not the only ones needing to know anatomy and physiology. An animal anatomy and physiology courses is for veterinarians and their allied career partners who need to understand the anatomy and physiology of animals. Besides basic courses in animal anatomy and physiology, there are specialty online courses that focus on either small, also labeled domestic, or large animals.
- Additional specialized anatomy and physiology courses include a cardiovascular and respiratory systems class in which students explore blood characteristics, functions and disorders as well as the symptoms and diseases that may affect the respiratory and circulatory systems.
- There are also nervous system courses focused on the anatomical aspects of this part of the body. Students become familiar with the brain, spinal cord and nerve tissues while also studying sensory motor integration and special senses.
- Students interested in examining the applications of physiology can enroll in an exercise physiology course. Topics of instruction explore how exercise affects the body's functioning. The curriculum usually focuses on the cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular systems.
Online anatomy and physiology courses can be completed by students working toward a larger science-based undergraduate or graduate degree, such as biological or environmental sciences. They may also be completed independently from a degree program as part of general education requirements or continuing education. Some schools also offer these classes as part of post-baccalaureate certificate programs designed to help students meet prerequisites for a health professions program. Additionally, members of the army and others in army-related positions may take both anatomy and physiology online courses for free through the U.S. Army Medical Department. Some schools offer virtual lab components through which students use computer programs for simulations. In contrast, other schools offer lab courses that can be completed from home but require students to perform dissections. In these cases, students purchase lab kits and may dissect such specimens as a sheep brain, sheep heart, cow eye and rodent. After completing these dissections, students may be assigned to take pictures and document their findings on the course's virtual learning platform.
Depending on the school, online courses can be offered at specific days and times each week as live virtual class experiences. In other instances, students may access online learning platforms featuring course content, which may include pre-recorded videos at their own pace. Hybrid courses combining online studies and on-campus experiences are also available.
For students who are interested in anatomy and physiology, there are general introductory courses available online as well as classes that cover more specialized topics within the field.