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The University of Southampton

OCCT1030 Principles of Health Sciences for Occupational Therapy

Module Overview

This module builds upon the preceding 'Foundations of Health Sciences' module. You will advance your understanding in key aspects of musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, physiology and anatomy. You will also be introduced to fundamental aspects of pharmacology and relevant psychosocial and mental health topics that can influence health behaviours. A key feature of the module is an investigation of pain mechanisms and pain theory where the complexities and multifactorial nature of painful experiences will be addressed. As this is a shared teaching module, there is an expectation that you will take responsibility for your own learning and applying the general theory of health and illness to occupational therapy practice and your learning across the modules.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Build on your basic understanding gained in semester one to describe the detailed structure and function of relevant body systems, e.g. musculoskeletal/nervous system.
  • Describe key anatomical and physiological changes associated with a range of common pathologies and health conditions e.g. pain and common musculoskeletal or neurological disorders and how these link to occupational therapy practice
  • Describe pharmacological principles relevant to clinical practice e.g. theories of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and the mode of action of common therapeutic drugs.
  • Describe key psycho-social factors, such as adherence, memory, mental health and related models, which can influence health behaviours.
  • Understand the legal framework for supplementary and independent prescribing, working under patient group directions and patient specific direction.


Links will be made with relevant topics studied in Foundations of Health Sciences to underscore the progression from foundation knowledge to advanced aspects of anatomy, physiology, health psychology and pharmacology developed within this module. Students will be encouraged to build upon the framework that recognises the inter-dependence of body systems and psychology of the individual. The material delivered in the shared lecture programme may include: Musculoskeletal System - Human Anatomy: exploration of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems from a practical, 'hands-on' point of view in a participatory anatomy class setting. This will be supported through self-directed study with access to key electronic learning resources such as Anatomy.TV - Pathophysiology: nerve damage, effects of ageing on the neuromuscular system Nervous System - Structure and function of the spinal cord and brain, including reticular systems, vestibular system, basal ganglia, brain stem and cerebellum - Motor and sensory systems, afferent and efferent pathways - Integration of motor & sensory systems - Muscle tone, balance and co-ordination - Pathophysiology: e.g. acute or chronic pain conditions, neurodegenerative disorders Pharmacology - Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics including relevant examples of commonly used drugs. Current guidelines for independent prescribing. Psychosocial Science - Mental health - Aspects of memory and development across the lifespan - Adherence - Perception

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module will use a blended-learning approach, with a range of teaching and learning activities. You will be directed to attend lead lectures, practical anatomy classes and/or seminars which are identified as essential to underpin your knowledge and future practice. You should also develop the skills and initiative necessary to manage your own independent learning as part of your professional responsibility.

Independent Study147.5
Practical classes and workshops6
Blended Learning34
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Acland's video atlas of human anatomy. (Access usually free at the point of use during studentship).

LWW Health Library Online (Access free at the point of use during studentship).

Marieb, Elaine N (2015) Human Anatomy & Physiology (10th Ed.) Pearson. 

Anatomy.TV (Primal Pictures Online) (Access free at the point of use during studentship).





MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

Linked modules


To study this module, you will need to have studied the following module(s):

OCCT1029Foundations of Health Sciences for Occupational Therapists


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


No additional costs associated with the module although you will require the lab coat that you will have purchased for Foundations of Health Sciences.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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