Human Histology – BMS 4136C

Advanced Undergraduate Course for Pre-Health Students
Approved Elective for CALS and CLAS Biology Majors (link)

Course Information

Credits: 4
Days and Times: Tuesdays and Thursdays, periods 3-4, 9:35-11:30 AM
Location: CG-11 (Communicore Bldg in UF Health Science Center)

Course Faculty

John P. Aris, PhD, course director –
William A. Dunn, Jr. PhD –


Permission of Instructor (contact Dr. Aris)
or Essential Cell Biology (PCB 3023)
or Eukaryotic Cell Structure and Function (PCB 3134)

Course Description

Human Histology is a lecture and laboratory course that covers the structure and function of human cells and tissues in the context of modern molecular cell biology. The overall goals are to teach students (1) structures and functions of human cells and tissues in lecture, (2) identification of cells and tissues and their spatial relationships in lab, and (3) introduce basic pathological mechanisms. Put simply, students will correlate what they learn in lecture with what they see in lab. In addition, disease mechanisms and pathological processes will be included to promote application of knowledge and understanding. For example, the functional effects of mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) will be used to illustrate aspects of epithelial cell and tissue function.

Course Faculty Teaching Experience

Drs. Aris and Dunn direct and teach in many professional and graduate courses at UF, including many medical and dental school courses. Many of the topics covered in the Human Histology course are identical to topics covered in preclinical courses in professional schools or didactic courses in graduate school at UF. For this reason, the Human Histology course provides a realistic preview of cell and tissue biology topics and content that is delivered in professional and graduate courses, both at UF and other institutions.

Student Comments

  • “This course helped me prepare for the MCATs much more than expected. I don’t think I understood the big picture of immunology until we covered the lymphatic system.”
  • “There was also lots of overlap with biochemistry that helped me ‘connect the dots’ as Dr. Dunn would say.”
  • “Labs fit with lectures to reinforce the same content and make it stick.”
  • “Labs were great and started with a review that went over what to focus on.”
  • “Labs were pretty relaxed and our group got together to review before exams.”
  • “I really appreciated that quiz and test questions came from slides rather than from something said in lecture that was not in lecture and lab PDFs.”
  • “It was not easy but grading was more than fair.”
  • “Dr. Aris and Dr. Dunn were great about writing letters for AMCAS and met with me to hear more about my background and be able to write something more personal.”
  • “They also teach in the medical and dental school, which helped me know what to expect.”

Student Testimonials

“As a first-year medical student here at UFCOM, I can confidently say that taking BMS4136C has been an invaluable asset in feeling prepared for our first unit of Foundations of Medicine. Dr. Aris and Dr. Dunn are engaging lecturers and do an incredible job of weaving together big-picture concepts while also emphasizing pertinent details. I can’t recommend enough that any pre-health student take a Human Histology class prior to medical school, as it is excellent exposure to necessary basic science with relevant clinical correlations. It gave me an awesome first deep dive into what it would be like to take a medical school-esque course.”

“I am happy to let you know that I have recently been accepted to the FSU and UCF colleges of medicine!  During my FSU interview, they mentioned how impressed they were by the good word that my recommenders put in about me.  As you know, this is a very hard and lengthy process.  So for someone like me, who has been living in the US for less than 6 years and has encountered some challenges along the way, having two acceptances already is an unbelievable accomplishment.  I truly appreciate your support and honestly cannot thank you enough for everything!”

Student Input

We always welcome comments from students on all aspects of the course, especially clinical connections. In the past, students have shared their experiences in professional and graduate school to help maintain the high quality of the course.  After the final exam, we have held “Histology Hurrahs” for students at Madrina’s and Bahama Breeze (complimentary drinks and appetizers from course faculty).

Letters of Recommendation

A total of 123 students have taken the Human Histology course since the spring of 2017.  Faculty have written letters of recommendation for more than half of our students, who have applied to postbac, dental, graduate, medical, PA, and other programs.  Notably, dozens of our students have been successful in taking the next step!

Big Picture!

At the end of the course you will be able to identify and interpret all of the micrographs in the collage image below:

Human Histo