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Online Anatomy and Physiology Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online anatomy and physiology school. Read more to get an overview of the program options, on-campus factors, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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Individuals interested in pursing anatomy and physiology programs online have several options at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Whether the program is offered entirely online, what format the program is in and its educational level are all factors a student may want to consider.

How to Select an Online Anatomy and Physiology School

Students can take online anatomy and physiology courses through health programs such as kinesiology or nursing. These programs are offered by health sciences schools, community colleges, vocational schools and universities. Students should then factor in the program level and type.

Program Type

Online anatomy and physiology courses often are components of degree programs in health-related disciplines, such as nursing, human movement, exercise physiology, sports science, cell biology and medicine. Most online programs with anatomy and physiology components involve lecture and lab courses. Lectures are delivered virtually, and some schools also offer anatomy and physiology labs entirely through online simulation. In addition, assignments and communication between faculty and students generally occur through course management systems, e-mail and message boards.

Program Level

Before selecting an online school, students should consider which educational level could best prepare them for their professional goals. Anatomy and physiology courses at the undergraduate level generally emphasize basic systems and structures that offer direct application in patient care professions, such as nursing or sports science. Graduate programs approach anatomy and physiology courses on a more advanced level to help students prepare for management, research or clinical careers. Although rare, online certificate programs are also available and can be used to provide supplemental training in anatomy and physiology.

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Common Online Anatomy and Physiology Degree Programs

Online Bachelor's Degrees

Courses in human anatomy and human genetics lay foundational knowledge for students to understand physiological concepts, such as biomechanics and metabolic exercise physiology. Anatomy courses usually cover related areas like movement and other essential topics. Although few programs offer undergraduate anatomy and physiology degrees entirely online, students participating in specific online courses should be prepared to work independently through course management systems. Anatomy and physiology courses generally focus on topics like:

  • Movement anatomy
  • Kinesiology
  • Molecular physiology
  • First aid safety

Online Master's Degrees

Online anatomy and physiology courses in graduate degree programs are also limited. Students can expect to learn about the theory and application of topics like human movement and anatomy. Some courses are available entirely online, though many include a brief on-campus residency, project or other graduation requirement. Coursework generally covers advanced areas of anatomy and physiology, such as:

  • Exercise science
  • Psychology, physical activity and health
  • Genetics
  • Fundamental biomechanics
  • Muscular fitness

Schools with Online Anatomy and Physiology Programs

Penn Foster offers an online certificate program in human anatomy and physiology. This program is designed for individuals who are considering further studies in this field and want to see what it is like, as well as for allied health professionals who want to gain more knowledge in the area. The program consists of two courses.

Students who are ready for more involved studies could consider enrolling in the Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology program at California Baptist University. This program could be completed in as little as 18 months, depending on whether a student has taken any previous college level courses. Courses cover topics including injury prevention, the psychological benefits of exercise and health issues in the community.

An option for students who have already completed their undergraduate studies is the Graduate Certificate in Anatomy and Physiology from the American College of Healthcare Sciences. This certificate can be completed entirely online and is comprised of 15 credits. A.T. Still University offers a Master of Science degree in kinesiology that can be completed online, except for a required week in the summer at the Mesa campus. This degree is designed for professionals working in health and fitness, so it offers a level of flexibility to allow students to maintain their jobs while still competing their studies.

In summary, there are both undergraduate and graduate level programs offered online in anatomy and physiology. Students have a number of options depending on what kind of career they ultimately hope to pursue and how long they want to spend completing their studies.

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