Human Physiology, Technology, and Medical Devices

Course Information

BIOL 1015 is a freshman-level introduction to human physiology that satisfies the U of M liberal education core requirement for a biological science with lab.

It is a life-science course organized around the core principles of human physiology. Students first learn the concept of hierarchical organization of the body (e.g., molecules, cells, tissues, etc.) then examine how these interrelationships lay the foundation for principles such as matter and energy transfer, causal mechanisms, information flow, and homeostasis. Relationships between structure (anatomy) and function (physiology) are stressed. Using homeostasis to tie the core concepts together leads to discussions of both normal and abnormal (pathological) functioning.

Physiology—the study of function—readily lends itself to asking questions, constructing hypotheses, and designing experiments. In the lab section of the course, students are required to use the scientific method to confirm or refute hypotheses. Lab activities will be reinforced in the lecture section of the course where data and conclusions will be synthesized into larger, well-established, concepts in human physiology. Students discover that a scientific "way of knowing" is one of many types of knowledge within a liberal education.

Sample Syllabus

Other Considerations

This course must be taught over an entire high school academic year.

Class size limit: Capacity of lab

U of M Catalog Description

This life-science course is organized around the core principles of anatomy and physiology, such as homeostasis, information flow, causal mechanisms, structure and function relationships, and the levels of organization. Interrelatedness between body systems (cardiopulmonary, skeletal-muscular) will be used as a theme throughout the course.

Student Qualifications

Students enrolling in BIOL 1015 must be juniors or seniors in high school and have earned a B or better in a rigorous high school chemistry course.

Instructor Qualifications

Instructors apply and are selected by faculty in accordance with the U of M policy governing Academic Appointments with Teaching Functions. Once approved, an instructor is appointed as a Teaching Specialist 9754 (University Job Title and Code) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. Instructor qualifications are determined by the sponsoring University department.

View the Instructor Applicant Handbook for course-specific qualifications and application steps. 


  • Visual Essentials of Anatomy & Physiology, Martini, F., Ober, W., Bartholomew, E., Nath, J. (2012), Benjamin Cummings, publisher, is recommended. ISBN-10:0321780779 | ISBN-13: 978-0321780775. (Cost was approximately $67 in 2013.)
  • Teachers may use another text, if approved by the CIS faculty coordinator.
  • Lecture Study Guide by Murray Jensen (made available without cost to CIS teachers who choose to use it).

Lab handouts (made available without cost to CIS teachers who choose to use them).

Frequently Asked Questions

Are the texts and readings specified or mandated by the University of Minnesota? If not, what are some of the choices?
CIS does not require schools to use the textbook used in BIOL 1015 on the University campus. CIS instructors may choose from a variety of the introductory anatomy and physiology texts offered by major publishing companies; the chosen text must, however, be approved by the faculty coordinator. Currently there are five to ten different texts to choose from. Instructors are not required to use either the lecture guide or lab handouts.

Do teachers have a choice in assignments? Are there required assignments?
All schools are required to implement cooperative quizzes and use inquiry-based instructional methods.

Who creates the exams?
Individual teachers create their own exams.

Is there a training and mentoring system for BIOL 1015 teachers new to CIS?
Yes. When you begin teaching BIOL 1015 you will be joining a group of high school teachers who share ideas and materials with each other through email and teacher workshops held in the summer and throughout the school year. New teachers also benefit from an orientation to College in the Schools that will familiarize them with the support available through CIS as well as prepare them for administrative tasks such as registering students and posting grades.

High school class schedules vary; can a teacher in the block system teach BIOL 1015?
This course must be taught over an entire high school academic year.

What happens at typical teacher workshops?
Typical activities at CIS workshops include meeting University faculty and hearing about their recent research in the discipline; reviewing and/or developing student assessment tools; sharing instructional materials; discussing particular content, pedagogy, or assessment of the University course; and receiving updates on CIS program policies and practices. BIOL 1015 workshops focus especially on discussion of class assignments and the development of new curriculum.

High Schools Offering This Course

Academy of Sciences and Agriculture
Apple Valley High School
Bethlehem Academy
Cretin-Derham Hall
Dover-Eyota High School
Eagan High School
Eastview High School
Elk River High School
Faribault High School
Hill-Murray High School
Hmong College Prep Academy
Hopkins High School
Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School
Johnson Senior High School
Jordan High School
Mahtomedi High School
Minnehaha Academy
New London-Spicer High School
Pine City High School
Plainview-Elgin-Millville High School
Richfield High School
Rogers High School
Rosemount High School
Shakopee High School
St. Clair High School
Stillwater Area High School
Ubah Medical Academy
Wabasha-Kellogg High School
Washington Technology Magnet School
Watertown-Mayer High School