Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

Applied Human Biology focuses on the human body - building up knowledge from biological molecules and cells, through to human body systems and how they function. The course offers some excellent practical work, especially in aseptic techniques and microbiology, as well as developing research skills and critical analysis.

A BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate is equivalent in UCAS points to an A Level.

Course Content

The course is divided into four units, split across two years:

Unit 1:  Principles of Applied Human Biology: We will study how the human body functions at a genetic, cellular and tissue level. You will gain understanding of how human biology and lifestyle factors interact to affect the health of individuals and populations. We will also explore the many ways that this knowledge can be applied in order to improve diagnostic and health outcomes.

Unit 2: Practical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases: In this unit we will link your understanding of cell and tissue adaptation, function of biological molecules and the relationship between the structure, function and processes of key body systems with your knowledge of the immune response to understand how diseases develop, as well as learning the significance of microorganisms in their role as pathogens. You will carry out a typical clinical microbiologists’ investigation into the effect of antimicrobial agents on the growth of microorganisms, and gain an understanding of the importance of disease management to modern human society.

Unit 3: Human Biology and Health Issues: We help you to develop skills to analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, and learn how to assess the reliability of sources of published scientific information for a given health issue. We will explore science reporting and how the defined audience, medium and purpose affect the way information is conveyed. You will also learn to evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative evidence and justify your judgements.

To explore the impact of health issues on the world we live in, we will consider a range of health issues from developments in food nutrition and healthy diets to advances in medical treatments, including stem cell therapy and genetic engineering, and research their potential benefits and disadvantages. Furthermore, you will gain understanding of the different organisations and individuals and their influence on various health issues and initiatives.

Unit 4: Functional Physiology: We will explore growth and development of four body systems and homeostasis and its role in the body. There will be opportunity to research common disorders, their causes in relation to these systems and the impact they have on a person’s life. The unit provides a strong foundation for human biology study, giving you a theoretical knowledge of the structure, function and role of the muscular, skeletal, nervous and endocrine systems.

Methods of Teaching

The teaching will be done using a variety of approaches and resources. You will also be expected to work independently and use online resources. In each year of the course, you will learn scientific investigation skills and techniques. There is practical work throughout the course to help students develop skills necessary to monitor health and disease.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

BTEC Applied Human Biology is a modular qualification and is assessed using a combination of internal and external assessment. Internal assessments help students gain skills required for lab work, as well as research, analysis and presentation skills required for university.

  • In Year one, students will complete Unit 1 - which is externally assessed via a 90 minute exam which will include a range of question types,  including multiple choice, calculations, short answer and open response. Unit 2 will be assessed via coursework as an internal assessment.
  • In Year two, students will complete  Unit 3 , this will be assessed in a three hour supervised task which is synoptic also assesses knowledge from Unit 1 and 2. The completed task is externally marked.  Unit 4 will be assessed via coursework via an internal assessment.

Where Could It Take Me?

Applied Human Biology focuses on physiology and maintenance of health, in addition to the prevention and treatment of disease. BTEC Applied Human Biology is for learners who are interested in furthering their scientific knowledge and are considering careers in healthcare or medical research.

The qualification has been carefully designed to develop learner's understanding, knowledge and practical skills in key scientific areas to support progression into higher education or a variety of careers, for example: Nursing, Midwifery, Paramedic Science, Laboratory technician and many more.

Learners studying Applied Human Biology may take a wide variety of additional subjects, however, subjects which would complement Applied Human Biology include Psychology, BTEC Health and Social Care, Sociology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, or BTEC Sport. If students wish to study a subject at university related to nursing or midwifery, they will need to score highly in this qualification, take a second scientific qualification alongside and undertake independant work experience.

Financial Implications

Students are expected to purchase a hardcopy of the textbook resources for the course.There will also be a small cost to cover printing and other course requirements. The college has a Student Support Fund for students needing help in meeting these costs.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including a minimum of grade 4 in GCSE Mathematics, English and two grade 4’s in Science.

Please note that Applied Human Biology and Biology A Level cannot be studied together.