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Develop your knowledge of the human body and earn 10 undergraduate degree-level credits from the University of Aberdeen.

Learn about the different structures, components and systems that work together to keep us alive and healthy.

Understanding the Body consists of three short online courses that look at the workings of the human body, and one final assessment course.

Accessible on desktop, tablet or mobile, the courses can be taken in any order, although it’s recommended that you start with What is the Body?

You can study them for free, just for fun, or upgrade and pass the assessment course to earn academic credits.

What you’ll study

You’ll study the following online courses, each covering different aspects of the body:

You can then complete a two-week final assessment course to qualify for your 10 credits.

By the end of this programme, you’ll be able to…

  • Describe and identify the basic components that make up cells, tissues and organs within the body, and explain their function.
  • Describe the key molecules that make up the human body and compare their structure and function.
  • Describe the key molecules involved in protein synthesis and compare the different stages of this process.
  • Explain the importance and types of communication between different components of the body, and summarise the key principles involved.
  • Describe the importance of homeostasis and synthesise examples of when and how this process is used in the body.
  • Summarise the structure and relevance of DNA and describe the processes involved in its production.

How you’ll study

Understanding the Body is an 11-week programme, delivered entirely online via FutureLearn. You can study anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

The course is delivered by academics and health researchers from the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Applied Health Sciences. It features a range of online resources, including videos, articles, discussion and quizzes.

You will study for around four hours per week on this programme.

  • Each course takes three weeks (nine weeks in total).
  • Your final assessment course takes two weeks.

Accessible on desktop, tablet or mobile, the three courses can be taken in any order, although it’s recommended that you start with What is the Body?


The assessment course for Understanding the Body is completed online, directly with the University of Aberdeen.

It will bring together all your learning, helping you understand how all the parts of the body interlink and communicate to work effectively.

Through a series of tutor-led activities, you will have the opportunity to ask questions and work through exercises that apply your knowledge. You’ll then take the final assessment, which covers material from across the programme as a whole.

To gain academic credit from this programme you need to:

  • upgrade the first three courses on FutureLearn and successfully complete the Certificate of Achievement on each
  • work through at least 90% of each course and score an average of 70% or above on the end-of-course tests
  • pass the final assessment course.

The total cost for upgrading the three courses is £156 (£52 per course).

The tutor-supported final assessment course costs £344.

For more information please see FutureLearn or contact

Registering for Understanding the Body

For details on start dates for the individual courses, please refer to the course pages:

It’s recommended that you start with What is the Body?

Where this will take you

Completing this programme successfully can earn you 10 credits at SCQF Level 9 (undergraduate degree level) from the University of Aberdeen.

These credits can be built up towards higher qualifications. Find out more about credits.

The programme can be particularly useful if you’re considering postgraduate study. If you haven’t covered enough science in your undergraduate degree to qualify, these 10 credits in a science subject can help you raise your qualifications.

We have a range of postgraduate Health degrees available to study on campus and online that might interest you.

Further learning

If you’re keen to learn more about the human body, the Institute of Applied Health Sciences offers a fascinating range of short courses and postgraduate degrees in this area:

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