Course Title: Plant Structure and Function

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Plant Structure and Function

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr Nitin Mantri

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7152

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 223.1.28

Course Coordinator Availability: Email for appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This is an introductory enabling course requiring no formal prerequisites, but you will find that knowledge of biology and chemistry at VCE level will be an advantage.

Course Description

This course is intended as an introduction to plant structure and function and has a vocational focus. It introduces you to the morphology and anatomy of plants (how they are constructed) and to the physiology of plants (how they work, in particular the process of acquisition of water and ions, photosynthesis, and control of growth and development). The aim of the course is to provide knowledge and understanding in plant science for future employment in biotechnology, agricultural, horticultural and environmental areas. You will study the structure and function of plants, especially higher plants. The topics of photosynthesis, water relations, ionic relations and nutrition, and plant growth and development are related to structure, ecology and survival, especially under stress. You are guided through the course by structured lectures preceding relevant practical classes in the laboratory or in the field to achieve competence in technical skills.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program learning Outcome (PLO)

  • PLO 2. Scientific knowledge

    2.1 You will be able to demonstrate a coherent understanding of biological science by explaining the role and relevance of biological sciences in society.

    PLO 3. Inquiry and problem solving: 

    3.1. You will be able to critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by gathering, synthesizing and critically evaluating information from a range of sources.

     3.3. You will be able to critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by selecting and applying practical and/or theoretical techniques with technical competence in conducting field, laboratory-based, or virtual experiments.

     3.4.You will be able to critically analyse and solve problems in biological sciences by collecting, accurately recording, interpreting, and drawing conclusions from scientific data.

  • PLO 5. Personal and professional responsibility:

    5.2. You will be accountable for individual learning and scientific work by working effectively, responsibly, ethically, and safely in an individual or team context.


On successful completion of the course you should be able to 

  1. Explain the structure of plants, including their tissues and organs, and the functions of each
  2. Explain the way in which plants take in water and mineral nutrients, transport them to sites where they are used and metabolise them to allow the plant to survive and grow. 
  3. Explain the process of photosynthesis and the way in which the products are used and translocated by the plant both locally and throughout the plant 
  4. Explain the mechanisms by which plants regulate growth and development, and the economic applications of this knowledge, including tissue culture 
  5. Conduct experimental work, analyse the data and draw appropriate conclusions 
  6. Demonstrate knowledge and use basic information services available in the library, including computer-based services, e.g. catalogues, databases, to find specific information relevant to topics. 
  7. Interpret statistics (Minitab) in written reports and use computer applications  for word-processing (Word), spreadsheet/database/graphics (Excel) 
  8. Demonstrate ability to write adequate practical reports in standard biological format.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities included in this course are:

• attendance at lectures where syllabus material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
• completion of tutorial questions and laboratory projects designed to give further practice in the application of theory and procedures, and to give feedback on your progress and understanding;
• completion of written assignments by individuals and teams consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter; and
• private study, working through the course as presented in classes and learning materials, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems.

Total Study Hours

Approximately a total of 9 hours/week, comprising of: 2 hours of lectures, 3 hours of laboratory practical plus a minimum of 4 hours of independent study.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be provided with lists of relevant texts, library resources (Including appropriate journals) and freely accessible Internet sites. Other material will be provided in class. 
You will be able to access course information and learning material online.

Overview of Assessment

Note that:

☒This course has no hurdle requirements. 

The hurdle requirement is attendance on the Practical sessions. Learning from the Practicals is assessed directly in item 2 below. Additionally, knowledge and experience gained on the Practicals will benefit you for assessment items 1, 3, and 4.

 Assessment tasks 

  1. Online quizzes: You are expected to complete one online quiz every 3 to 4 weeks. The quizzes are based on weekly lectures.

Weighting: 10%

This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. 

  1. Practical reports: You are expected to submit one report per practical.

Weighting: 30%

This assessment supports CLOs 1 to 8.

  1. Mid Semester Test: You are expected to complete Mid Semester test based on weekly lectures prior to the test.

Weighting: 10%

This assessment supports CLOs 1, 2, 6 and 7 

  1. Final Exam: You are expected to complete the Final Exam based on all topics covered in the course. 

Weighting: 50%

This assessment supports CLO 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.