Course Title: Biotechnology and Biomedical Science Honours (Part B)

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 036304

Course Title: Biotechnology and Biomedical Science Honours (Part B)

Credit Points: 48

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Course Coordinator: Dr Ian A Darby

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7624

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 223.2.12

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

A degree in biological or biomedical sciences with a major study in subjects which are appropriate to the research project chosen. An overall credit average in the undergraduate degree.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to:
• Prepare students for research and higher-level employment in biomedical science, by developing further their knowledge of these fields, capacity for independent work and scientific communication skills, in an environment where the students’ further development is guided by experienced staff.
• Provide appropriate training in scientific method, laboratory skills and communication skills, to prepare students for higher degree programs in these areas.
• Enhance the academic and scientific skills of students, in order to enhance the opportunities of such graduates to obtain employment in a competitive environment.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course is particularly important in the graduate capabilities of:
• Ability to engage personally with a body of knowledge through an independent supervised original research project.
• Ability to engage in problem solving and research, including both critical and lateral thinking in the context of the research project.
• Ability to work and learn independently and collaboratively as part of a team.
• Ability to locate, evaluate, manage and use a range of information in the context of the research project and associated activities.
• Ability to communicate in written, visual and oral formats.

At the end of the course, the student should have:
a. Specialist laboratory skills in an area of biotechnology and biomedical science;
b. An appreciation of scientific method;
c. Enhanced ability to think critically and logically;
d. Independent decision-making skills, relevant to scientific research;
e. Communication skills relevant to the dissemination of experimental findings; and
f. A greater depth and breadth of knowledge in their major study discipline.

Overview of Learning Activities

Students attend a formal program of lectures, tutorials and workshops, but most teaching takes place from supervisors, who are members of the department academic staff, during the conduct of a research project in a research team in an active research area in biotechnology and biomedical science. Flexible learning is provided in the assignments to be completed and in the location of the projects.

Students have the responsibility of attending scheduled formal sessions, completing formal items of assessment, performing the research project and its reporting requirements diligently and intelligently and undertaking these with care and attention to the legal and moral requirements of a professional scientist.

The course will be reviewed annually after oral and written feedback from the students. This will be considered by the Program/Course Team and changes necessary will be made.

Students will undertake a supervised research project, will present seminars on their project, attend workshops, write an assignment and they will write a thesis on their research project.

Overview of Learning Resources

Various reference manuals from regulatory authorities and original articles on scientific research will be consulted as well as the textbooks below, and computer help functions.
Distributed Learning System (DLS)
The DLS Blackboard pages have copies of documents handed out during scheduled classes, including the lecture notes and the assignments.
Prescribed Text
Lindsay, D. (Current Edition). A Guide to Scientific Writing. Longman Cheshire, Melbourne.

Anderson, J., and Poole, M. (1994). Thesis and Assignment Writing, 2nd edn. John Wiley & Sons, Brisbane.

Day, R.A. (1988). How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, 3rd edn. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.

Pechenik, J.A. (1993). A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, 2nd edn. Harper Collins College Publishers, New York, USA. (rather basic)
Commonwealth of Australia (1994). Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 5th edn. AGPS, Canberra.

RMIT (1994). Manual on Scientific Writing. RMIT TAFE Publications, Melbourne.

Australian Institute of Medical Scientists. (1995). Instructions to Authors. Australian Journal of Medical Science.

Also see instructions to authors by your preferred journal.

Thoroughly recommended for all research degree students (and a good read)

Phillips, E.M., and Pugh, D.S. (1994). How to Get a Ph.D., 2nd edn. Open University, Buckingham, U.K.

For literature reviews and project work, students work mostly from recent literature in journals and reference books, rather than from textbooks.

Overview of Assessment

In order to graduate from the Honours program a student must complete parts A, B, C and D.
The assessment items are:

A. Research Methods (10%)
This comprises a variety of exercises, including assignments, examinations (timed and take-home) on a range of topics including literature searching, time management, writing a research proposal, research writing style and conventions, logical and statistical analysis and report writing.

B. Project Proposal (2.5%)
This comprises an oral presentation with an outline of the problem, the approach to be taken, the methods to be used, and the relative times planned for each. The presentation should be timed for 10 min (7 min + 3 min questions).

C. Literature Review (10%)
This comprises a critical review of current knowledge in the field of the research project. It comprises 5% oral presentation (10+5 min) and 5% written presentation (5000 words maximum).

D. Research Project (75%)
This comprises critical oral and written presentations of the outcomes of the research project and an oral ‘thesis’ defence. It comprises 10% oral project presentation (15+5 min) and 65% written (thesis-style) report (50 text pages maximum).

E. Participation (2.5%)
This comprises participation in research presentations given publicly by others, as advised by the Program Team.
Students will receive a mark on attendance and audience participation at seminars run throughout the academic year, as assessed by the Honours co-ordinator.