Explore Physiology and its Role in Medicine!

Are you fascinated by how the human body operates? Do the inner workings of various organ systems intrigue you? Physiology is the study of how the systems work together in a healthy body, and what can go wrong. This course provides a deep dive into the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems and how they work in harmony. Hear from practicing physicians who will describe the pathological complications they may encounter.

Program Dates

Multi-length courses available throughout the year


For students ages 13 and up



Discover Physiology

Delve into the Core Concepts of Physiology

Explore the importance of physiology and how it impacts our daily life using examples you see every day. Gain a thorough understanding of the core concepts of physiology, such as flow and resistance, active and passive transport, and core electrical concepts.

Identify the Workings of the Nervous System

Understand how to not only identify the parts of a neuron, but also how it communicates with other neurons and muscles. Explore how changes in ion concentrations and neuron structure play pivotal roles in determining signal propagation.

Explore the Harmony of the Muscular System

Learn about the structure, appearance, and various types of skeletal muscles. Explore how different muscles interpret neuron signals to generate various forces. Characterize the steps necessary for a contraction to occur. Distinguish between the various muscle contractions.

Examine the Heart and the Cardiovascular System

Determine how the heart drives blood throughout the body. Delve into the vessel properties and the mechanical/electrical features of the heart that determine cardiovascular health. Learn to identify the heart’s chambers and valves and the general sequence of events involved in pushing blood from the right atria to the aorta.

Learn the Intricacies of the Respiratory System

Explore the anatomy of the respiratory system, highlighting the structural and functional differences between the conditioning and gas exchange regions. Be able to describe the inhalation and exhalation process, what anatomy is responsible and how Boyle’s Law is related. Determine how oxygen and carbon dioxide are carried in the blood.

Explore Majors and Careers Related to Physiology

Topics covered in this course offer a good background for potential college majors and career paths related to physiology and medicine, such as physician, surgeon, exercise physiologist, pharmacist, or lab technician.

How You Will Benefit

  • Describe the components and functions of the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. 
  • Determine how ion concentration differences determine excitation of neurons and muscle contraction.
  • Identify muscle contraction types and associated applications.
  • Explain how electrical conduction determines heart functions. 
  • Pinpoint the role of mechanical properties, such as compliance in the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
  • Earn a Certificate of Completion from Rice University.

Three Learning Advantages Designed for You

Capstone Project

This online course culminates in a Capstone Project that allows you to demonstrate what you’ve learned throughout the course, which you can add to your portfolio. Create models that showcase the physiological properties of the body’s healthy and pathological organs and systems.


You’ll receive guidance from a mentor who can support you and deepen your learning experience. You can expect:

  • Encouragement and direction on all assignments. 
  • Inspiration, motivation, and confidence to help you excel in your studies. 
  • Brainstorming and ideation to help you prepare for your capstone project.

Flexible Learning

  • 100% online learning that works with your schedule.
  • Flexible format: you’ll learn through video lectures that allow you to tune in anytime that works for you.
  • 20-30 hours of total instruction and course work, 
  • Tech-forward interactions, including engaging multimedia, real-life simulations, and curated assignments.
  • Guidance and support from mentors.

Apply Now for the Next Available Course

December 18 - January 1

Physiology: The Foundations of Medicine

Length: 2 weeks

Cost: $1195

Application Deadline: Saturday, December 10, 2022

March 5 - April 2

Physiology: The Foundations of Medicine

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: $1195

Application Deadline: Saturday, February 25, 2023

March 19 - April 2

Physiology: The Foundations of Medicine

Length: 2 weeks

Cost: $1195

Application Deadline: Saturday, March 11, 2023

All course options have the same educational content, learning materials, and number of assignments. We are offering a condensed version of the course in order to accommodate students’ individual schedules.

Dr. Sabia Abidi, Ph.D.

Course Designed by Rice University Faculty

Professor Sabia Abidi

Sabia Abidi, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor in the bioengineering department at Rice University.

Abidi teaches courses in Systems Physiology, Troubleshooting of Clinical Lab Equipment, and Senior Design. Abidi earned a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas, Austin and completed postdoctoral research at NYU School of Medicine and MIT. She has research experience in stem cell differentiation methods, microbiological techniques, and microfluidic technologies for hematopoietic associated disease applications, such as sickle cell anemia and malaria. She is committed to mentorship and STEM outreach through her advisory and mentor roles at Rice, IEEE WIE, Big Brother/Big Sister, and serving as a judge for Rice related and Future City competitions.

How to Apply

It’s easy. No transcripts or letters of recommendation are needed. Our application requires basic contact information for you and your parent or guardian. Then, tell us why you wish to take this course. Include your personal story through writing, video, photos—or any medium you prefer.

Begin the guided process. It should take only a few minutes to answer the questions.

Want to Know More?

Sign up for more information and we’ll be in touch.


Our application process is easy. You can expect a prompt decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will you be graded? What are assignments like? How much time do you have to turn around a project? When do you find out if you’re admitted? Find answers to your questions here.


We offer need-based scholarships in each cohort to students exhibiting high potential and an inability to pay full tuition. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship but you:

  • Haven’t applied to the program, complete your application now. The scholarship application is included.
  • Applied to the program and didn’t fill out a scholarship request, reach out to us at support@precollege.rice.edu for assistance.
  • Are unsure about whether or not you applied for a scholarship, reach out to us at support@precollege.rice.edu for assistance.