In this pre-college course students will study the major organ systems of the body, investigate normal and pathologic anatomy and physiology, and examine common diseases and injuries that affect the body’s organ systems.

High School students considering a career in the health professions will find this course provides a solid foundation in the study of human form and function, and emphasizes the perspective of the practicing medical professional.

This pre college course will also teach students to become better stewards of their own health, and learn to interact more effectively with their own doctors.

Students study the normal anatomy and physiology of these organ systems:

  • Skeletal system
  • Muscular system
  • Nervous system
  • Digestive system
  • Respiratory system
  • Cardiovascular system

Students will learn about the normal and pathologic anatomy and physiology of the selected systems, and will consider the effects of disease and injury within each system, including:

  • How the normal anatomy and physiology is changed by disease
  • The most common causes of disease
  • Steps one may take to decrease the risk of disease
  • How the injury or disease process affects the patient’s life
  • The epidemiology of the disease
  • Common, emerging, and alternative treatments
  • Outcomes of treatments

Course Outline

Week 1 Fundamental concepts in anatomy and physiology, and introduction to diagnostic imaging

Week 2 Skeletal System

Week 3 Muscular System

Week 4 Nervous System

Week 5 Digestive System

Week 6 Respiratory System

Week 7 Cardiovascular System

Week 8 Final Projects and wrap up

How you will learn:

Students complete online learning modules, conduct their own web-based research, participate in on-line discussions, writing assignments, and quizzes, and attend virtual anatomy lab visits, radiology sessions, and surgeries.

  • Explore human anatomy and physiology through diagnostic imaging, self-paced learning modules, and case studies
  • Visit the virtual human anatomy lab for an up-close view of the brain, liver, and other anatomical structures
  • Perform virtual interviews with specialists in each of the areas studied
  • Explore disease processes and how they impact normal human anatomy
  • Test, diagnose and treat virtual patients with anatomical and physiological abnormalities
  • Utilizing knowledge gained during the course, create a patient case study including disease description, treatment options and recommendations


One year of high school biology is recommended.

Additional course books and supplies:

No additional books are required for this course.

Technical requirements for this online course:

  • Computer with an internet connection
  • Internet access
  • Internet browser
  • Headphones or speakers
  • Microphone
  • Valid and active Brown ID (you will receive these credentials upon registering for the course)

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Brown University Online Courses
Refund Policy: Students who withdraw before the class starts will receive a full refund less $300 non-refundable deposit. Students who withdraw after the start of class through the fifth day of class will receive a 50% refund, less $300 non-refundable deposit. Students who withdraw after the fifth day of class will not be eligible for a refund.