Course Title: Masters Science

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Masters Science

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Coordinator: Professor Peter Daivis

Course Coordinator Phone: 9925 3393

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 14.06.06

Course Coordinator Availability: Please email for an appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Knowledge and understanding of plant and animal structure and function, as obtained in BIOL2156/ BIOL2157 Plant Structure & Function and BIOL2258/ BIOL2259 Animal Structure & Function, or equivalent courses; and knowledge and understanding of molecular biology, as obtained for example in BIOL2032/ BIOL2184 Advanced Molecular Biology, or an equivalent course or evidence of equivalent capabilities.

Course Description

This course aims to familiarise you with molecular techniques that are currently used to enhance conventional plant breeding. It will also introduce you to a few of the emerging technologies which are likely to have significant impact on agriculture in the near future.

The lecture series will include topics in the areas of plant transformation, the use of molecular markers (marker-assisted selection and marker-assisted backcrossing), genome mapping, and molecular assessment of germplasm diversity. Practical sessions will be conducted on plant transformation, PCR techniques and the use of several computer packages for genome mapping and bioinformatics. You will play a key role in your own education by researching, preparing and delivering a mini-lecture on a topic related to molecular plant breeding or plant transformation.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes of the MC204 Master Nanotech & Smart Materials:

PLO1. Acquire, investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information, concepts and theories relating to cutting edge developments in nanotechnology and smart materials.

PLO2. Demonstrate advanced knowledge of research principles and methods applicable to future nanotechnology inquiry in theoretical and applied (industry) contexts.

PLO3. Identify and critique aspects of the interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology research and smart materials development drawing upon their practical experience in state-of-the-art laboratories (including RMIT Micro Nano Research Facility and RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility).

PLO4. Apply relevant knowledge and skills with intellectual independence, creativity and initiative to solve problems and devise solutions to contemporary and emerging, local and global challenges in the field of nanotechnology and smart materials.

PLO5. Exhibit requisite communication skills to disseminate research findings appropriate to the intended audience and the medium of communication.

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:
CLO1. Identify and discuss the uses of molecular genetics in plant breeding
CLO2. Apply plant transformation in the laboratory, and discuss the uses of this technique for fast-tracking the production of novel plant varieties
CLO3. Employ specialized software for the genome mapping of plants, and for genetic diversity assessment
CLO4. Deliver a short lecture on a topic related to molecular plant breeding or plant transformation.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

  • Lectures during which information will be presented and topics illustrated with demonstrations and examples
  • Tutorials and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding
  • Written assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter
  • Private study, working through the course material as presented in lectures and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.
  • Research, preparation and delivery of a short lecture to your peers.

Total study hours

Face-to-face lectures are normally 2 hours per week. In addition, tutorials, laboratory sessions, and meetings with the lecturer to discuss your mini-lecture will consume another 2-4 hours, depending on the week. You are also expected to conduct self-directed learning for an additional 3-4 hours per week.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will have access to extensive course materials on myRMIT Studies (Blackboard), including detailed learning objectives, lecture notes, digitised readings, worksheets, external internet links and access to RMIT Library online.

Overview of Assessment

Note that this course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment for this course comprises the following:
1. A theory examination (40%). This assessment supports CLOs 1 and 2.
2. Online theory tests (18%). This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 and 4.
3. Practical reports (30%). This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2 and 3.
4. Mini-lecture (12%). This assessment supports CLO 4.