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Human Biology

Human Biology

This Human Biology course is designed for students who wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of the science behind human physiology, introducing students to the basic scientific principles behind human biology, inspiring curiosity about more than they have covered in school classes.

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Course Summary

This Human Biology course is designed for students who wish to extend their knowledge and understanding of the science behind human physiology. It uses class discussion, debates, roleplays, worksheets, quizzes and games to help students understand the basic scientific principles behind human biology and to get them thinking about some ideas and topics that they might not have encountered in the science teaching they have received at school.

The class is an interactive and fun introduction to human sciences, and so students are expected to get involved in discussions and to participate fully in class activities. These are varied in order to engage all types of learners and include plentiful use of examples and props.


The course is assessed by means of a piece of written work and a roleplay, thus allowing students to display their strengths regardless of whether those strengths lie more in written or spoken work. The written work takes the form of a practical report on an experiment performed in class and the roleplay is performed in pairs, where one student is a doctor and one student is a newly-diagnosed patient, in order to assess the students’ understanding of their work on diseases and their ability to convey their knowledge in spoken form.

Course Outcomes

During the two-week course, students learn the basic principles of human biology, including cell biology, homeostasis and genetics; gain an insight into how a medical research study is designed and carried out; and develop a greater understanding of specific areas of human biology, including hormones and diabetes, infectious diseases, the cardiovascular system, cell growth and death, the immune system, DNA and genetic diseases. In this way, students get a solid overview of the subject of Human Biology that may help inform their decision if they are considering studying Biology, Medicine or Human Biology specifically at university.

Furthermore, students get the chance to learn about what is being done at the cutting edge of human biology, such as genetic engineering and cloning; controversial topics that students are encouraged to discuss and debate with their peers. Similarly, in the class on vaccination, students vote on a motion and then debate it with the class, both as a means of testing their knowledge of the subject in ensuring that they debate with the correct facts in hand, and as means of honing discussion skills and rhetorical and persuasive ability. Biology as it pertains to humans can often lead to divisive or controversial topics and it is important that students learn how to discuss these in a mature, respectful and constructive manner, both for the purposes of this course and for their future studies.

What will you get out of the Human Biology Summer Course?

The class will stimulate curiosity in students about their own physiology, and aims to send them back to their schools with a reinforced comprehension of biology, and with a firm desire to know more. Throughout, questions will be encouraged and answered, in order to iron out misconceptions and permit the free play of learning. In classroom discussions, students will become more confident in their own abilities to think, and in the use of argument to further learning. By the end, students should have a greatly improved understanding of human biology from a sub-cellular to a macro-physiological level, and should be well-equipped for a continuation of their studies during the year- perhaps ultimately with the intention of returning to Oxford or Cambridge themselves.


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

Cambridge University Accommodation

  • Location Cambridge
  • Ages Ages: 13-15, 16-18
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1209 (University of Cambridge)

Further Information

How to Enrol

Human Biology is part of the New Perspectives programme.

To visit New Perspectives and take Human Biology as a course option, just click the button below and follow the instructions.

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