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BYU Course Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the anatomic and physiologic terminology necessary for written and oral communication about the body, its functions, and its interaction with all other species on this planet.
  2. Students will demonstrate understanding of human biology at the chemical, microscopic, anatomical, physiological, and ecological levels.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to connect understanding of the body and its function with the function and survival of the world we live in.

Course Materials

The textbook, Human Biology, Concepts and Current Issues , 5th Edition, by Michael D. Johnson (Pearson Education, 2010) is required reading for this course.

It is an excellent textbook designed to teach human biology in a clear and memorable way. The color illustrations, tables, and review questions are useful and have been woven into the course.

Your textbook will help you succeed in this course. To study and learn about human biology is to become conversant in a new language. Boldfaced headings and highlighted descriptive terms will direct you to the most salient information. The concluding material at the end of each chapter will be of great help in reviewing critical concepts, and ascertaining your understanding of such. This course is designed so that your grade will reflect how much effort you put forth.

As you read each chapter, pay particular attention to the section headings and terms in bold.

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Course Organization

The course is broken down into three units: lessons 1–8, lessons 9–17, and lessons 18–25. As you complete the course, you will complete Lesson Assignments, write a term paper, and take three exams. There are three steps that will help you learn the material and prepare to take the exams:

Lesson Lecture Presentations

Each lesson includes a lecture presentation that includes important information for you to review. The lecture presentations enhance the textbook material and focus your attention on important concepts, ideas, and information.


Self Checks

As you read the chapters assigned in each lesson, complete the questions in the Self Checks. Use this as a study guide. It is for your reference only. You should check your answers with the correct ones in the appendix. These assignments do not count towards your grade, but they are beneficial. Please don't cheat yourself by skipping them!

Lesson Assignments

The course includes a total of eight Lesson Assignments, each worth 1 percent of your total course grade. These assignments contain true/false, multiple-choice, and identification questions. This table shows what lessons each Lesson Assignment covers:

Lesson Assignment Contains Questions from Lessons
Lesson 3 1–3
Lesson 6 4–6
Lesson 9 7-9
Lesson 12 10–12
Lesson 15 13–15
Lesson 18 16–18
Lesson 22 19–22
Lesson 25 23–25

Term Paper

This course provides you with the opportunity to develop and display expertise in a specific area of human biology that is of interest to you (subject to approval of the course instructor). See the Term Paper section after lesson 25 for a list of previous topics and detailed instructions for your topic proposal and term paper.

This assignment accounts for 13 percent of your final grade.

I will evaluate your acquired expertise in a written paper, which shall conform to these criteria:

  1. You will select a topic and send it to me for approval before you begin writing the term paper.
  2. The term paper will be no less than 6 and no more than 8 pages (excluding your list of references and illustrations) of 1.5 line-spaced, type-written text (12 point font).
  3. It will cite at least two peer-reviewed, primary (i.e., articles from the scientific literature containing original, newly-published research data) publications of information dealing with your area.
  4. It will use information you garnered from four additional sources (a minimum of 6 total references).
  5. You will submit your term-paper topic proposal and the paper itself electronically through Independent Study in the Term Paper section of your course.

Note: BYU standards expect English language proficiency for all courses. Therefore, your term paper should reflect English fluency. If you are not highly fluent in English, I strongly recommend that you have your term paper edited by someone who is fluent in English.

What is a peer-reviewed, primary publication?

Betsy Spackman Hopkins, science librarian at BYU has composed the following response to this question: “For your research paper, you must use at least two peer reviewed, primary sources. An article in a peer reviewed journal has been critically examined by experts on the subject before it is accepted for publication. Reviewers will return comments to the editor and author, and sometimes the author must make significant revisions before publication. The easiest way to determine if a journal is peer reviewed is to use the database Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, or Ulrichsweb. Look up the journal name in the database, and if there is a referee shirt icon next to the title, then the journal is refereed, or peer reviewed.

A primary source is one in which authors report new information, usually from original experiments or observations of the natural world. Read the abstract of each article in Pubmed to determine if the article reports new information. Secondary sources, otherwise known as literature reviews, will describe a topic but will not describe any experiment, since none was conducted.

If you have any questions about using Pubmed, peer review, primary sources, or the HBLL’s resources to complete your paper, please contact the science reference desk (, 801-422-2987).

You will find additional instructions, the rationale for the assignment, and helpful suggestions to creating a fantastic paper in lesson 26. You will also there find a list of topics that others have chosen to write about.

Submitting Your Paper

To make sure that I can open and read your paper, please save it as a Word .DOC or .DOCX file.

Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, PDBIO205_KimJones_TermPaper_BadBloodandFamilies.docx.

Submit the topic proposal and the completed term paper files through the Term Paper section (after lesson 25) for grading.

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The midcourse and final exams will consist of multiple-choice, matching, and true/false questions.

The two midcourse exams are worth 24 percent each and the final exam accounts for 32 percent of your course grade.

Note: BYU standards expect English language proficiency for all courses. Therefore, dictionaries of any kind will not be allowed for testing.

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Grading Criteria

Your grade will be based on the following scales:

8 Lesson Assignments 8 percent
Term Paper 12 percent
2 Midcourse Exams 48 percent
Final Exam 32 percent

Grading Scale

Your final grade will be determined on this grading scale:
Grading Scale
A 100 – 94
A- 93.9 – 88
B+ 87.9 – 84
B 83.9 – 80
B- 79.9 – 76
C+ 75.9 – 72
C 71.9 – 68
C- 67.9 – 64
D+ 63.9 – 60
D 59.9 – 55
D- 54.9 – 50
E (fail) 49.9 – 0

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


8 computer-graded assignments, 1 instructor-graded assignment. Resubmissions are allowed for a fee.

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


2 proctored, computer-graded midcourse exams; 1 proctored, computer-graded final exam. 1 retake is allowed for each exam for a fee. You must pass the final exam to pass the course.

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514