Physiology: The Foundations of 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

Study physiology and how it impacts life using everyday examples. Understand the core concepts of physiology: flow and resistance, active and passive transport, and electrical concepts.

Identify the Workings of the Nervous System

Understand how to identify the parts of a neuron and how it communicates with other neurons and muscles. Review changes in ion concentration and neuron structure.

Explore the Harmony of the Muscular System

Name the structure, appearance, and types of skeletal muscles. Learn how muscles interpret neuron signals to generate various forces. Describe the steps for a contraction to occur.

Examine the Heart and the Cardiovascular System

Identify how the heart drives blood throughout the body. Discuss the vessels and the mechanical/electrical features  that determine cardiovascular health. Understand the heart’s chambers.

Learn the Intricacies of the Respiratory System

Explore the anatomy of the respiratory system, and the differences between the conditioning and gas exchange regions. Describe inhalation and exhalation and how Boyle’s Law is related.

Explore Majors and Careers Related to Physiology

This course offers a 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.

Teenage boy working on a computer

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

June 30 - July 14

Length: 2 weeks

Cost: $1,495.00

Application Deadline: Sunday, June 23, 2024

July 7 - July 14

Length: 1 week

Cost: $1,495.00

Application Deadline: Sunday, June 30, 2024

July 7 - August 4

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: $1,495.00

Application Deadline: Sunday, June 30, 2024

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.

Meet Your Mentors

Kayla | Rice University Physiology Course Mentor


Received a B.S. in Biology of Global Health and a minor in Statistics. Currently working with the CDC as a research assistant for the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH).

Madison | Rice University Physiology Course Mentor


Received a B.S. in Biology of Global Health and a minor in Psychology.

Jane | Rice University Physiology Course Mentor


Holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and currently a second year medical student.

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.

Teenage girl working on a computer

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, resume your application and click “Apply for Scholarship”.
  • Are unsure about whether or not you applied for a scholarship, reach out to us at for assistance.