Discover how the human body works.

From cells to organ systems, learn about the basic components that make up the human body.

This course is for anyone interested in what the body is made up of. You do not need any existing knowledge of biology or chemistry to join us.

This course is part of our Understanding the Body programme

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

Find out more about Understanding the Body.

What you’ll study

You’ll discover what molecular structures are and classify the different types within the body.

You’ll find out about the basic elements that make up cells and tissues and recognise their purpose.

You’ll understand the different organ systems within the body, and describe what they do.

You’ll gain basic physiological knowledge and learn how to influence the body’s function.

You’ll cover the following topics:

  • What are molecules?
  • Cellular components and structure.
  • What are tissues?
  • The key organs in the body.
  • Organ systems.

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

  • Classify the different types of molecular structures used in the body.
  • Describe and identify the basic components that make up cells and tissues within the body.
  • Describe and identify the organs within the body.
  • Compare the organ systems within the body and describe their function.

How you’ll study

What is the Body? is a three-week short course, 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 our Institute of Applied Health Sciences. It features a range of online resources, including videos, articles, discussion and quizzes.

Study hours

You’ll spend around four hours per week on this course.

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

This course is part of our online Understanding the Body programme.

The credits you earn from successfully completing this programme and assessment could help you gain entry to our:

Build your learning

The programme could also help you prepare for one of our online Applied Health short courses.

If you’re keen to learn more about the human body:

Your teaching team

Dr Alison Richmond

Alison is a Research Assistant at the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, working alongside the researchers in the Centre for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Health.

She has a PhD in Biochemistry and a MSc in Human Nutrition and an interest in supporting the learning of others.

Dr Elizabeth Hay

Elizabeth is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. She has a PhD in molecular biology and is currently researching genetic factors that influence joint health and arthritis.