This course is available for entry:
- Semester 1 (February)
- Semester 2 (July)
200 credit points taken over 2 years full-time.
This course is available as full or part-time for domestic students.
The Master of Science (BioSciences) offers three streams: Genetics, Plant Science and Zoology.
Your course will comprise of:
- Discipline core subjects (25 points)
- Discipline elective subjects (25-37.5 points)
- Professional skills subject (12.5-25 points)
- Research project (125 points) taken over four consecutive semesters, beginning in the semester of entry
Sample course plan
Core subject Elective subject Professional Skills subject Project subject
|Students complete a 125 credit point research project, and:|
|Professional Skills Subjects||Points|
|Communication for Research ScientistsOther||12.5|
Communication for Research Scientists
As a scientist, it is not only important to be able to experiment, research and discover, it is also vital that you can communicate your research effectively in a variety of ways. Even the most brilliant research is wasted if no one knows it has been done or if your target audience is unable to understand it. In this subject you will develop your written and oral communication skills to ensure that you communicate your science as effectively as possible. We will cover effective science writing and oral presentations across a number of formats: writing a thesis; preparing, submitting and publishing journal papers; searching for, evaluating and citing appropriate references; peer review, ma...
Detailed Information SCIE90013
|12.5 credit points selected from:|
Biological knowledge is increased by an iterative process of developing ideas, collecting data to assess those ideas, analysing and interpreting those data, and communicating the conclusions. Those conclusions are used to develop new research ideas, improve human health, and to make decisions about environmental management. For this process to be successful, we must collect the right data, enough data, and we must analyse and interpret those data correctly. Biologists must also be able to interpret colleagues’ analyses and interpretation critically. This subject provides recommendations on appropriate was of collecting data, introduces the most common statistical tools applied to biologic...
Detailed Information BIOL90002
|Thinking and Reasoning with DataCore||12.5|
Thinking and Reasoning with Data
What conclusion can be drawn from a pool of data? How can a scientist draw meaningful conclusions while not overreaching? How can modelling help the scientist interpret data? This subject will address these questions by teaching students critical thinking and data analysis skills. After completing this subject students will understand the basic principles of sampling and experimental design, how the results of statistical analyses are reported, the statistical thinking behind common statistical procedures and will be able to carry out a range of standard statistical techniques.
Detailed Information MAST90044
|12.5 credit points selected from:|
|Graduate Seminar in Ecology & EvolutionCore||12.5|
Graduate Seminar in Ecology & Evolution
This subject provides advanced critical appraisal of contemporary and controversial issues in population biology, including terrestrial and marine population ecology, evolutionary biology, and behavioural ecology. Each week, students will provide a seminar of a particular issue (reflecting a fundamental idea or a controversy of competing ideas or empirical evidence), which will form the basis of subsequent critical discussion. The choice of issues will be determined at the start of the subject.
Detailed Information ZOOL90007
|Advanced Seminars in PhysiologyCore||12.5|
Advanced Seminars in Physiology
This subject uses Research Seminars as a vehicle to teach students the experimental approach to contemporary physiological questions. The seminars will be presented by a mixture of Physiology Department faculty, invited speakers from outside the department, and postgraduate students. The seminars will be chosen to cover each of the three main research areas of the department; Cardiovascular Physiology, Neurophysiology, and Muscle and Exercise Physiology. Students will engage with a diverse range of physiological questions and the experimental strategies used to address them. Students will learn to critique seminars and to focus on the scientific essentials, i.e. what question is being add...
Detailed Information PHYS90008
|Current Topics In Developmental GeneticsCore||12.5|
Current Topics In Developmental Genetics
This subject will provide an in-depth coverage of cellular and developmental genetics with respect to recent advances and insights. This subject will extend basic knowledge in these areas gained during a student’s undergraduate degree and will consist of blocks of lectures, literature review and analysis where published papers are analysed and discussed and of student oral presentations. The subject provides students with skills and knowledge for understanding original research and enhanced written and oral communication skills. The course will be offered on alternating years.
Detailed Information GENE90020
|Graduate Seminar: Environmental ScienceCore||12.5|
Graduate Seminar: Environmental Science
This subject will examine current topics in the discipline of environmental science. The choice of topics will be driven by the students in the subject under the direction of the subject coordinators. Students will organise, lead and participate in discussions of relevant material such as journal articles, media stories and environmental impact assessments. Students will also deliver an oral presentation to communicate their research into a current topic in environmental science.
Detailed Information EVSC90019
|25 credit points selected from Masters-level science disciple subjects as relevant to your Research Project, and approved by your supervisor. This may include:|
|Seminars in Anatomy and NeuroscienceElective||12.5|
Seminars in Anatomy and Neuroscience
This subject uses Research Seminars as a vehicle to teach students the experimental approach to contemporary research questions. The seminars will be presented by a mixture of departmental faculty, invited speakers from outside the department, and postgraduate students. The seminars will be chosen to cover each of the three main research areas of the department; Neuroscience, Cell and Developmental Biology, and Human Structure and Function. Students will engage with a diverse range of research questions and the experimental strategies used to address them. Students will learn to critique seminars and to focus on the scientific essentials, i.e. what question is being addressed? What led up...
Detailed Information ANAT40002
Climate change is one of the most important environmental issues facing the world today. This subject will cover the basics of climate science, including climate change and climate variability, extremes, and climate prediction. This will be accompanied by an analysis of climate impacts on society, ecosystems and economies. Knowledge about the climate system in order to make sound decisions will be analysed. Climate policy and law at the national level (eg National Greenhouse Strategy) and international level (e.g., UN conventions) will be discussed. The relevance to societies, people and the environment will be covered under the umbrella topic of climate ethics, including issues such as p...
Detailed Information ATOC90002
|Microscopy for Biological SciencesElective||12.5|
Microscopy for Biological Sciences
Microscopy is the key technique for imaging fine structure in biological specimens. This subject will introduce the range of methods and capabilities of light microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and laser scanning confocal microscopy, as well as the methods of specimen preparation for standard histochemical and immunocytochemical techniques. The principles and scientific basis underpinning the various methods and techniques will be explained, and applications to current cutting-edge science and technology will be discussed. Practical and project work will include demonstration of equipment and analysis of images and data.
Detailed Information BIOL90001
|Tissue Engineering & Stem CellsElective||12.5|
Tissue Engineering & Stem Cells
AIMS Students studying Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells will become familiar with the history, scope and potential of tissue engineering, and the potential role of stem cells in this field. This subject will address the use of biomaterials in tissue engineering; major scaffold materials and fabrication methods, scaffold strength and degradation; cell sources, selection, challenges and potential manipulation; cell-surface interactions, biocompatibility and the foreign body reaction; the role and delivery of growth factors for tissue engineering applications; in vitro and in vivo tissue engineering strategies, challenges, cell culture, scale-up issues and transport modelling; ethical and r...
Detailed Information BMEN90011
|Flora of VictoriaElective||12.5|
Flora of Victoria
This subject is designed for students wishing to take a summer course, and who are interested in the biology of native plants and plant communities and environments in Victoria. It is suited to students studying environmental science or environmental studies. Topics covered include: biogeographic regions of Victoria: climate, landforms, geology, soils and vegetation types; biology of Victorian plants: intraspecific variation and adaptation to local conditions, ecotypes and clines, mallee plants, coastal plants, alpine plants; conservation and threats to the Victorian flora: weeds, diseases, pests, fire, extinctions.
Detailed Information BOTA90005
|Advanced Molecular Biology TechniquesElective||12.5|
Advanced Molecular Biology Techniques
This subject is focussed on the use of molecular techniques to study gene and protein functions in a range of organisms. It aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of the strategies and techniques used in molecular biology of relevance both to the biotechnology industry and to advanced molecular biology research. Topics will be drawn from the current literature and ongoing research in molecular biology.
Detailed Information BTCH90005
|Genomics and BioinformaticsElective||12.5|
Genomics and Bioinformatics
This subject describes current technologies used to sequence genomes - the starting point for comparative analyses of genes and proteins. The field of informatics has evolved to analyse and interpret large amounts of data generated by the new biotechnologies. Advanced topics will include transcriptome technologies, genome evolution and sequence similarity analysis techniques to identify protein orthologues and paralogues. The subject will cover bioinformatic analysis of protein structure and motifs at the secondary and tertiary levels, and modelling studies aimed at drug design. This subject will explore the latest developments in bioinformatics and detail how systems biology is helping t...
Detailed Information BTCH90009
|Genetically Modified OrganismsElective||12.5|
Genetically Modified Organisms
This subject investigates genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their potential benefits for humankind in the 21st century, against the background of controversy and public concern triggered by the release of transgenic plants and animals into the food chain. The course examines the contrast between (i) the established use GMOs for many years in drug synthesis, getting limited negative attention, and (ii) the environmental release of agricultural genetically modified plants and animals, which has been accompanied by much public concern regards to safety and societal implications.
Detailed Information BTCH90010
|Global Environmental ChangeElective||12.5|
Global Environmental Change
Environmental change scenarios may elicit alarmism or a false sense of security depending on one's perspective. Science and scientists are frequently called upon to act as arbiters of contested perspectives. This subject equips participants with an understanding of the role and limitations of science in environmental debates and decision-making. You will explore contemporary global environmental issues such as chemical processes in the environment, biodiversity loss, desertification, climate change and the spread of infectious disease. You will gain an appreciation of strengths and limitations in the diversity of scientific approaches used to understand and manage environmental problems. ...
Detailed Information EVSC90017
|Environmental Risk AssessmentElective||12.5|
Environmental Risk Assessment
Environmental Risk Assessment aims to provide you with the skills to undertake and critically evaluate environmental risk assessments. We outline the history and social context of risk and explore the psychology of risk perception. You will be introduced to quantitative and qualitative tools with the objective of giving you the ability to select, apply and assess technical and socially based risk assessment. The subject is structured to develop your skills in writing reports and participating in group exercises. While the contact period is six intensive days, the learning period is longer. Reading materials are distributed in September and a small assessment task is set to encourage you...
Detailed Information EVSC90014
Modelling is a fundamental component of Environmental Science, being used for prediction, monitoring, auditing, evaluation, and assessment. This subject introduces students to a wide range of models used by environmental scientists including models of climate change, population dynamics, pollution, hydrology, habitat and species distributions. Both deterministic and stochastic models are used as examples. The subject explains how to develop conceptual models that can then be quantified and analysed using mathematical and statistical methods. Topics covered include development of the basic model structure, estimation of parameters and calibration, methods of analysis, sensitivity analysis,...
Detailed Information EVSC90020
|Environmental Impact AssessmentElective||12.5|
Environmental Impact Assessment
This subject prepares students for environmental management roles by providing them with the principles of how human impacts on the environment might be detected and managed. The principles will be placed within the legal and social contexts of environmental impact assessment. At the completion of the subject, students should understand three aspects: prediction of the kind of changes that might occur with human activities; the design and implementation of proper monitoring programs that can detect changes; and assessment of those changes. Additionally, a strong emphasis is placed on the practical implementation of principles.
Detailed Information EVSC90015
|Monitoring Environmental ImpactsElective||12.5|
Monitoring Environmental Impacts
AIMSThe subject has a strong practical component with a five-day field camp during the mid-semester break involving student-led environmental monitoring. There is also a semester long project to design and implement an environmental monitoring program supported by weekly practice classes.Component skills taught in this subject: Conceptualising environmental responses Selecting and using environmental measurement techniques (considering scale issues) Analysis of environmental monitoring data. This subject is a critical foundation for a career for environmental engineering but is also relevant to civil and other engineering disciplines where environmental impacts of engineering projects m...
Detailed Information ENEN90028
|Urban Soils, Substrates and WaterElective||12.5|
Urban Soils, Substrates and Water
Urban soils can present distinct and unique challenges to the land manager, landscape architect or horticulturist responsible for developing, maintaining or improving urban landscapes. Often compacted, contaminated, or otherwise unsuitable for plant growth, urban soils require assessment, solutions and practical methods to ensure successful outcomes. This applications-oriented subject covers several fundamental soil science issues with direct relevance to urban landscape impacts, uses and requirements. Topics covered include compaction, nutrition, contamination, water supply, drainage and structural soils.
Detailed Information ERTH90028
|Bushfire & BiodiversityElective||12.5|
Bushfire & Biodiversity
The course covers the basic effects of fire on aspects of biodiversity and ecological processes. Managers are committed to developing science-based ecological burning strategies which achieve both biodiversity and asset protection objectives. Increased knowledge of the ecological impacts of fire on plants and animals facilitates a better understanding of how more effective management can be achieved.
Detailed Information FRST90026
|Forest Assessment and MonitoringElective||12.5|
Forest Assessment and Monitoring
This subject promotes understanding of quantitative assessment of forest carbon, timber and biodiversity. Specifically, the aim is to: Present the state of the art of forest assessment for carbon, timber and biodiversity Present methods for formulating and planning an effective and efficient forest assessment Enable participants to implement a modern assessment and determine the advantages and disadvantages of available methods Enable participants to analyse assessment data to determine reliable estimates and confidence limits Topics include: introduction to statistics and sampling theory, issues in forest assessment design, modern measurement tools and techniques, Geographic Informatio...
Detailed Information FRST90019
|Forests, Carbon and Climate ChangeElective||12.5|
Forests, Carbon and Climate Change
This subject will investigate the role of forests in the carbon cycle and in a changing climate. Students will learn the scientific basis for climate change and the impact that a changing climate might have on tree physiology and forest ecology. We will discuss the role forests play in the global carbon cycle and the degree to which forests or plantations can be used as a carbon sequestration option. We will evaluate the requirements for forest carbon accounting and will apply carbon accounting tools in hands-on accounting sessions with industry partners. This scientific understanding will be extended to discuss policy instruments under consideration in Australia and in the international ...
Detailed Information FRST90032
|Integrated River & Catchment ManagementElective||12.5|
Integrated River & Catchment Management
Rivers are amongst the hardest of natural resources to manage. They are long and thin, and so maximise the impact of catchment changes; they also focus environmental, social and production pressures. Rivers are the archetypal example of the conflict between private and public goods. In most western countries we have done an effective job of degrading these resources. The last 20 years has seen a transformation in the way rivers have been managed. We are now less concerned with protecting people from rivers (via flood mitigation), and more focused on environmental rehabilitation and protection. This subject equips students to manage rivers more effectively by integrating catchment manageme...
Detailed Information GEOG90003
|Foundations of Spatial InformationElective||12.5|
Foundations of Spatial Information
AIMS Spatial information is ubiquitous in decision making. Be it in urban planning, in traffic or disaster management, in way-finding, in issues of environment, public health and sustainability, or in economic contexts: the question of 'where' is a fundamental one. Spatial information is also special in many respects, such as its dimensionality and autocorrelation, its volume, its links to the Internet of Things (which are located), social networks (which exist in space and time), streaming data from sensors everywhere, or intelligent (location-aware) systems. The subject provides the foundations for more specialized subjects on spatial data management, spatial data analysis and spatial d...
Detailed Information GEOM90008
|Elements of ProbabilityElective||12.5|
Elements of Probability
Randomness is inherent in biological data and the analysis of data arising in both Bioinformatics and Biostatistics requires knowledge of sophisticated probability models and statistical techniques. This subject develops the underlying probability theory that is necessary to understand these models and techniques. Computer packages are used for numerical and theoretical calculations but no programming skills are required. Elements of Probability will be co-taught with MAST20006 Probability for Statistics.
Detailed Information MAST90057
|Management of Plant and Animal InvasionsElective||12.5|
Management of Plant and Animal Invasions
Invasions are natural ecological phenomena. Dispersing individuals encounter suitable habitat, establish, spread and evolve. In this way, species have radiated outwards from their origins, colonised distant offshore islands, and species have spread in response to changes in climate. Human-induced invasions of plants, animals and diseases in modern times have dramatically altered the scales of time and distance over which invasions take place. Their impacts can be considerable, wiping out unique communities, endangering rare species, adding considerable costs to agriculture, horticulture and forestry, and having effects on the health, leisure and livelihoods of people. Tools such as pestic...
Detailed Information NRMT90002
|Community Natural Resource ManagementElective||12.5|
Community Natural Resource Management
In this interdisciplinary subject, a range of ideas and theories from the social sciences are applied to situations in which members of the community are involved in natural resource management. Subject teaching includes lectures, group exercises and case studies, including a one day field trip. The subject is presented under nine main headings: philosophy and evolution of participation and community management; models of community management of forests and other natural resources - overseas and in Australia; understanding communities and stakeholders; issues of power and knowledge in community management; policy and institutional issues in community management; process and techniques in...
Detailed Information NRMT90007
|Metabolomics and ProteomicsElective||12.5|
Metabolomics and Proteomics
Proteomics and metabolomics analyse the final cellular state resulting from the interaction of the environment and cellular gene expression. Proteomic techniques describe the protein composition of a cell or tissue resulting from gene expression, post-transcriptional and post-translational modifications. Metabolomics is the study of the unique chemical profile that specific environmental and cellular processes create. These techniques are increasingly applied to areas as diverse as reproductive biology, environmental toxicology and plant and animal diseases. The aim of this subject is to develop knowledge and skills in the application of these technologies. This subject will be taught by ...
Detailed Information SCIE90002
|From Lab to LifeElective||12.5|
From Lab to Life
What does it take to develop something innovative and then move it from the laboratory out into the real world? Scientists must negotiate a labyrinth of hurdles, ranging from conducting bullet-proof data analysis, designing clinical trials, developing and managing intellectual property, assessing contracts, and setting up Total Quality Management systems in a biotech setting. Students will learn how to navigate these hurdles as applied to a range of possible inventions, such as therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, GMOs and other bio-science-related creations.
Detailed Information SCIE90011
Topics that will be covered in this subject include: Biological and legal definitions of wildlife and the goals of management Population dynamics and the measurement of abundance; the roles of competition, predation, harvesting and disease in the regulation of populations Physical and chemical techniques of capture and restraint Management of overabundant and pest species (native and exotic) including lethal (poisons, shooting, pathogens) and non-lethal (deterrents, fertility control, relocation) methods of control; methods of euthanasia and ethical considerations Management of threatened species, including roles of habitat loss, predation and disease in population declines, management o...
Detailed Information VETS90016
|Stochastic Calculus with ApplicationsElective||12.5|
Stochastic Calculus with Applications
This subject provides an introduction to stochastic calculus and mathematics of financial derivatives. Stochastic calculus is essentially a theory of integration of a stochastic process with respect to another stochastic process, created for situations where conventional integration will not be possible. Apart from being an interesting and deep mathematical theory, stochastic calculus has been used with great success in numerous application areas, from engineering and control theory to mathematical biology, theory of cognition and financial mathematics.
Detailed Information MAST90059
An introduction to the forests and woodlands of southeastern Australia based on lectures and field visits to forests across a broad rainfall gradient. The subject aims to provide a sound theoretical and practical understanding of the major ecosystem processes in forests, including a focus on regeneration and recovery following both low- and high-intensity fire. Field visits to mallee, box-ironbark, Eucalyptus open forests and cool temperate rainforest and associated practical work will ensure that students obtain direct experience of a range of forest ecosystems. These field visits and associated lectures develop knowledge of state-of-the-art methods to analyse ecosystem processes, such a...
Detailed Information FRST90015
|Modelling Species Distributions & NichesElective||12.5|
Modelling Species Distributions & Niches
This online subject focuses on statistical models of the distribution of species and ecophysiological models of species niches. These two areas of environmental modelling have grown substantially in the last decade or two, and have become core parts of ecology. They are closely related, but they differ philosophically and practically. They are both used for understanding and predicting the distributions of species. The statistical models (also known as habitat suitability models, bioclimatic envelopes or ecological niche models) use observed geographical distributions to characterise relationships between a species and its environment and can be considered ‘top-down’ in approach. Ecophysi...
Detailed Information EVSC90026
|Climate Modelling and Climate ChangeElective||12.5|
Climate Modelling and Climate Change
This subject describes the physics of the climate system, and how the system is represented in numerical models. Key aspects include - Radiation balance and heat balance of the earth Carbon dioxide, water vapour and other Greenhouse Gas absorption spectra Other key climate drivers including solar variability, aerosols and clouds The global carbon cycle including fossil fuel emissions Impacts of climate change including sea level rise and extreme events It covers aspects of uncertainty and chaos to understand why climate models are imperfect but invaluable tools. Students will build a simple climate model and run numerical experiments with different greenhouse gases. The subject will als...
Detailed Information ERTH90026
|Additional 12.5 credit points of discipline elective subjects OR one of:|
|Professional Skills Subjects||Points|
Why is it essential that scientists learn to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences? What makes for engaging communication when it comes to science? How does the style of communication need to change for different audiences? What are the nuts and bolts of good science writing? What are the characteristics of effective public speaking? Weekly seminars and tutorials will consider the important role science and technology plays in twenty-first century society and explore why it is vital that scientists learn to articulate their ideas to a variety of audiences in an effective and engaging manner. These audiences may include school students, agencies that fund research, the media, g...
Detailed Information SCIE90012
|Systems Modelling and SimulationOther||12.5|
Systems Modelling and Simulation
Modern science and business makes extensive use of computers for simulation, because complex real-world systems often cannot be analysed exactly, but can be simulated. Using simulation we can perform virtual experiments with the system, to see how it responds when we change parameters, which thus allows us to optimise its performance. We use the language R, which is one of the most popular modern languages for data analysis.
Detailed Information MAST90045
|Ethics and Responsibility in ScienceOther||12.5|
Ethics and Responsibility in Science
What is conflict of interest? What should a scientist do when he or she finds fraud is occurring on a scientific research team? How does a scientist write and defend an animal ethics submission and get it approved? What are the ethical issues associated with peer review? This subject is intended to give students a broad overview of research ethics in a scientific context. It will include topics on scientific integrity; conflicts of interest; data recording management; authorship and peer review; animal experimentation and regulations; privacy and confidentiality of records; and, finally, research in humans.
Detailed Information SCIE90005
|Business Tools: Money People & ProcessesOther||12.5|
Business Tools: Money People & Processes
This subject will give an overview of the tools required to operate successfully in an organisational environment. The focus of the subject is the internal workings of an organisation and specifically addresses three main areas: working with people, managing budgets and understanding basic accounting, and managing processes and projects.
Detailed Information BUSA90403
|Science in SchoolsOther||12.5|
Science in Schools
This subject will provide an understanding of your university studies within Victorian schools through a substantial school based experience. The subject includes a placement of up to 20 hours within a Victorian school classroom, offering an opportunity to collaborate as a Tertiary Student Assistant (TSA) under the guidance of a qualified teacher.
Detailed Information EDUC90839
|Science and Technology InternshipOther||12.5|
Science and Technology Internship
This subject involves completion of an 80-100 hour science or technology work placement integrating academic learning in science areas of study, employability skills and attributes and an improved knowledge of science and technology organisations, workplace culture and career pathways. The placement is supplemented by pre- and post-placement classes designed to develop an understanding of science and technology professions, introduce skills for developing, identifying and articulating employability skills and attributes and linking them to employer requirements in the science and technology domains. The placement will draw on students’ specific discipline skills associated with the scienc...
Detailed Information SCIE90017