BI2APM-Medical Applications of Physics

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Lindsey Thompson


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module will provide students with a good understanding of how fundamental principles are essential to how the body functions. The focus is to relate understanding to diagnosis and treatment of specific common conditions. Students will gain experience of the full process and will be provided with opportunities to discuss treatment options and choices at the clinical level. No previous knowledge of Physics is required.


Lectures will provide an opportunity for students to understand fundamental concepts and relate them to ideas in biomedicine at the level of diagnostics and treatment of a variety of health issues. Associated practical/visit/ tutorial sessions will allow them to apply their knowledge and combine this with skills such as scientific calculations, communication, report writing.

Further aims include:

  • To provide an opportunity to develop problem solving skills.

  • To provide an illustration of the link between physics and scientific application.

  • To provide students with experience in scientific laboratory report writing, research report writing, poster production and presentations.

  • To provide students with a deeper understanding of the relationship between physics and biology.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Describe the anatomy of the eye and explain how vision can be corrected using lenses. Describe a range of corrective eye surgery techniques such as lens replacement and cataract removal.

  • Describe the anatomy of the ear and how it enables differentiation of responses to frequency and loudness. Understand the principles of auditory testing, Describe the surgery involved in cochlea implants

  • Describe how nerve cells create electrical signals. Understand brain function on an electrical level and the operation of a simple EEG machine and what it can tell us. Evaluate the use of Electric shock therapy as a treatment option.

  • Explain a range of electrical signalling disorders and treatment.

  • Explain the electrical action of the heart and techniques for correction of rhythm. Describe the action of a simple ECG machine and interpret outputs.

  • Understand how basic mechanics can be applied to the healthy body. Discuss examples of how biomechanics influences the design of prosthetics

Additional outcomes:

Students should obtain an understanding of the application of fundamental principles to medicine at the whole body level. They will gain practical experience of various diagnostic and imaging techniques as well as an overview of what can go wrong and how we can diagnose and treat.

Outline content:

This module will provide a fundamental understanding of the role of basic principles in medicine and its application in both diagnostics and treatment.

Students will engage in a series of lectures, tutorials, practicals and visits that will provide a competence in the links between fundamental principles and biology at the level of medicine. Students will have the opportunity to apply the principles they have learnt to in practical contexts. There will be approximately 10 hours of practicals with calculation, analysis, writing and planning sessions provided throughout the course to support training of students in these areas.

Sample lecture content includes:

  • The Eye: Function correction of sight, common problems and treatments.

  • The Ear: Function, common problems and treatments.

  • The Nervous System and the brain: Function, common problems and treatments.

  • The Heart: Electrical function, common problems and treatments.

  • Biomechanics of the healthy body and in prosthetic design.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

There will be lectures each week for a period of 10 weeks. Practical classes will be a mixture of performing experiments, as well as calculations and analysis sessions to support students prior to assessment.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Practicals classes and workshops 5
Guided independent study: 75
Total hours by term 100 0 0
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Set exercise 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Two hours

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Late arrivals may not be allowed to join practicals for reasons of safety. 

Formative assessment methods:

An MCQ Blackboard test will be released in the 6th week of the course.  Full feedback on each answer is given so students can understand the principles behind each answer. Feedback groups will be given 121 sessions.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    August re-examination 

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 10 December 2019


    Things to do now