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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

NOTE: This area of study has been updated - please refer to the Undergraduate handbook change register for details.

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered bySchool of Biological Sciences
Course coordinatorDr Richard Reina (School of Biological Sciences)


Biology is the study of life processes and living organisms. It is concerned with microbes, plants and animals, and their structure, function, development, evolution and ecology.

The School of Biological Sciences offers students a choice of units leading to a double major (72 points), a major (48 points), or a minor sequence (24 points) in the following sub-disciplines: biology, biotechnology, ecology and conservation biology, genetics, marine and freshwater biology, molecular biology, plant sciences, and zoology. Many of the units are also suitable for students enrolled in course 2230 Bachelor of Biomedical Science or 2340 Bachelor of Environmental Science, and many units may be sensibly combined with units from other fields of study such as chemistry, microbiology, physiology, geography and environmental science, biochemistry or geosciences, to provide valuable training for particular career paths.

Students may undertake a fourth year of study for course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science in a course combining studies of advanced topics with a research program under supervision.


Level one

Level two

  • BIO2011 Ecology and biodiversity
  • BIO2022 Evolution and systematics
  • BIO2040 Conservation biology
  • BIO2050 Genetics in ecology and conservation
  • BIO2181 Evolution of plant diversity
  • BIO2231 Animal diversity
  • BIO2242 Animal structure and function
  • BIO2282 Plant structure and function
  • GEN2040 Foundations of genetics
  • GEN2052 Human and population genetics
  • MOL2011 Molecular biology: Genes and their expression
  • MOL2022 Molecular biology: Gene technology and its application

Level three

  • BIO3011 Research methods in biology
  • BIO3021 Marine biology
  • BIO3052 Animal behaviour
  • BIO3082 Plant responses to the environment
  • BIO3091 Ecology of Australian vegetation
  • BIO3111 Ecological management
  • BIO3122 Freshwater ecology
  • BIO3132 Biology of Australian vertebrates
  • BIO3610 Plant and cellular biotechnology
  • BIO3820 Tropical terrestrial biology
  • BIO3990 Biology in action research project
  • GEN3030 Genetics of development
  • GEN3040 Genomics and molecular genetics
  • GEN3051 Medical and forensic genetics
  • GEN3062 Conservation and ecological genetics
  • GEN3990 Genetics in action research project

Sequence requirements

Minor sequence in biology (24 points)

Major sequence in biology (48 points)

  • BIO1011, and either BIO1022 or BIO1042
  • at least 12 points of BIO, GEN or MOL units at level two
  • at least 18 points of BIO or GEN units at level three
  • any remaining points to be made up from BIO or GEN units at level two or three

The unit BIO3011 is a prerequisite for admission to honours in Biology.

Minor and major sequences are also offered in the sub-disciplines of biotechnology, ecology and conservation biology, genetics, marine and freshwater biology, molecular biology, plant sciences and zoology. For details and contacts regarding these sub-disciplines refer to the entry for each area of study in this section of the Handbook.


Level one

The School of Biological Sciences offers three 6-point units at level one: BIO1011 in first semester is followed by either BIO1022 or BIO1042 in second semester. BIO1022 emphasises genetics, microbiology and animal biology, while BIO1042 emphasises environmental aspects of biology. A 12-point sequence in biology at level one is a prerequisite for the level-two units BIO2022, BIO2181, BIO2231, BIO2242, GEN2041 and GEN2052.

First-year students planning to take biological science units in subsequent years should take note of the level-one prerequisites for units at level two.

Level two

Various combinations of level-two units are possible. Students are recommended to take one or more of the preferred combinations listed as sub-disciplines above. Students wishing to enrol in other combinations of units are strongly advised to discuss their proposed course plan with a sequence coordinator.

Level three

Any student who intends to enrol in level-three units offered by the School of Biological Sciences should have completed a total value of at least 12 points of level-two units offered by the school. Students should note, however, that some level-three units do have some specific level-two units as prerequisites. Details of these are given in the unit descriptions.

Students wishing to proceed to honours in biology must complete BIO3011.


The unit BIO3011 is a prerequisite for admission to honours in biology.

Full details regarding entrance requirements and course structure for honours is described in the course entry in this Handbook for the course 0051 Honours degree of Bachelor of Science.