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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Course

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

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Science

Managing facultyScience
Abbreviated titleBBiotech
CRICOS code067946G
Total credit points required192
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)
Contact details


Course coordinator

Dr Philip MacKinnon (Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Clayton)


  • Part-time enrolment is only available for levels 1-3 of the course. The maximum time for completion of the course is 10 years, including any periods of intermission. Students cannot take additional units that exceed the 192 credit points required for the course. Students wishing to take additional units can only do so on a single subject basis (full-fee paying basis) with the approval of the faculty.


The course provides graduates with a strong foundation in the enabling science disciplines of biology, chemistry and mathematics as well as skills and techniques in molecular biology, microbiology and biochemistry. Students complete core units at each stage specifically addressing issues relevant to the biotechnology industry, including ethics, business and law. Students also complete a major sequence to specialise in an area of biotechnology. The area of specialisation is selected after stage one from one of the following areas:

  • biomolecular processing
  • chemical biotechnology
  • medical biotechnology
  • materials and nanotechnology
  • pharmacological chemistry
  • plant and animal biotechnology.

At stage four of the course students either complete an honours year program involving independent research, analysis and a combination of coursework and project unit covering commercialisation aspects of biotechnology, or a program of advanced coursework.


Upon completion of this course, students will have advanced knowledge and skills in at least one of the scientific areas that contributes to the biotechnology industry and related research. The core units provide graduates with theoretical and practical knowledge of the biotechnology industry so that they will understand how research and development in that context differs from non-commercial research. During the course, students will also have developed generic skills and knowledge appropriate to employment in science including quantitative literacy, data analysis and presentation, communication skills and teamwork skills. The fourth year provides students with a higher level of experience in independent analysis and research in the chosen field of expertise and brings together the science and industry perspectives.

Course progression requirements

Students must have completed all of the stage 1-3 requirements, and achieved an average mark of at least 70 in at least 24 points of level-three units, including BTH3012 (Biotechnology science, industry and commercialisation), to be able to undertake the honours program of the course. Students who have completed all of the stage 1-3 requirements but do not meet this progression requirement will complete the coursework program at level four to be eligible for the award of Bachelor of Biotechnology, or can apply to transfer to course 0050 Bachelor of Science to graduate.

Students who transfer to the Bachelor of Science course after successfully completing all of the requirements for stages 1-3 are eligible to apply to graduate with either an untagged Bachelor of Science or a tagged Bachelor of Science (specialist stream) based on their program of study. For example a student who completes all of the level 1-3 requirements including the requirements for the specialist stream in Medical Biotechnology is eligible to graduate with the tagged degree qualification Bachelor of Science (Medical Biotechnology).


Core studies

In addition to the core science units, students must complete the core biotechnology units at each year level (stages 1-3), foundation scientific studies (at stages 1-2), units towards an approved scientific specialisation stream (at stages 2-3), as well as two approved elective units at stage one. The fourth stage involves either a major laboratory research project along with project work specifically relating to commercial product development or advanced coursework.

Areas of study

Students must complete an approved specialisation stream in an area of biotechnology. Details of the requirements of each stream are described below. Although students are not required to select their specialist stream until the completion of stage one of the course some streams involve units that have specific level one prerequisite units. For example, biomolecular processing requires students to complete MTH1030 (Techniques for modelling), which in turn, may require students to complete MTH1020 (Analysis of change).


Over the four stages of the course, all students must complete the following:

(a.) eight foundation science units at stages 1-2 (48 points)

  • BIO1011 Biology I and BIO1022 Biology II
  • CHM1011 Chemistry and CHM1022 Chemistry
  • MOL2011 Molecular biology: genes and their expression and MOL2022 Molecular biology: gene technology and its application
  • BCH2011 Structure and function of cellular biomolecules
  • MIC2011 Introduction to microbiology and microbial biotechnology

(b.) a mathematics or statistics unit at stage 1 (6 points)

  • either STA1010 Statistical methods for science or MTH1030 Techniques for modelling (some specialist streams require MTH1030 as a prerequisite for level two units)

(c.) a biotechnology core unit at each of stages 1-3 (18 points)

  • BTH1011 Biotechnology, science, business, law and ethics 1
  • BTH2012 Biotechnology regulation, law and ethics
  • BTH3012 Biotechnology science, industry and commercialisation

(d.) ten specialist units in an approved biotechnology stream at stages 2-3 (60 points)

(e.) two elective units from any faculty (12 points).

At stage four of the course, all students must complete a final year program of study (48 points). The program of study at stage four will be determined by the course progression requirements and will comprise either:

  • an honours research project in biotechnology (36 points) and a commercialisation of biotechnology coursework and project unit (12 points)
  • or additional coursework units (48 points).

No more than 60 points of level-1 units can be counted towards the requirements of the course, and at least 36 points of relevant level-3 units must have been completed.

Students who do not meet the progression requirement at the end of stage three to complete the honours year program will either apply to transfer to the Bachelor of Science in order to graduate, or complete advanced coursework units at stage four and graduate with a Bachelor of Biotechnology.

Recommended program of study

Stage one

Students complete 48 points of units, comprising:

Stage two

Students complete 48 points of units, comprising:

Stage three

Students complete 48 points of units comprising:

  • BTH3012
  • five units to complete the core component of one of the approved streams
  • two related 'selective' units as approved for the chosen stream

Stage four

Students who satisfy the progression requirements at stage three to be eligible to complete the honours program complete 48 points of units comprising:

The grade of honours awarded for students who graduate with a Bachelor of Biotechnology with Honours will be determined by the Board of Examiners using the points-weighted average of the marks for BTH4100 and BTH4200, with a variation of up to two discretionary marks.

Students who do not satisfy the progression requirements at stage 3 to complete the honours program complete 48 points of advanced coursework comprising the following:

  • BTH4200 (12 points)
  • 36 points from relevant units to complete an individual program developed between the student and the course coordinator. This program will involve units in areas relevant to biotechnology, including a unit that requires a substantial literature review.

The units could be chosen from, but not limited to, the following list:

  • BTH3990 Biotechnology in action research project
  • GSB5011 Pathways from science to wealth
  • LAW7119 Patents for inventions
  • SCI3090 Technology management for scientists
  • SCI3094 Technology management for scientists II

Specialist stream requirements

Biomolecular processing (60 points)
  • BCH2022 Metabolic basis of human diseases
  • BCH3031 Advanced molecular biology: Modern concepts and applications
  • CHE3171 Bioprocess technology
  • CHE4171 Biochemical engineering
  • CHM2922 Spectroscopy and analytical chemistry
  • ENG1010 Process systems analysis
  • MTH1020 Analysis of change*
  • MTH2051/MTH3051 Introduction to computational mathematics

plus two units from:

  • CHE3172 Nanotechnology and materials 1
  • CHE4172 Nanotechnology and materials II
  • CHM3180 Materials chemistry
  • ECE4084 Biomechanics of human musculoskeletal systems
  • ECE4086 Medical imaging technology
  • ENE3608 Environmental impact assessment and management systems
  • ENE4607 Environmental risk assessment
  • GES2460 Environmental policy and management
  • MIC2022 Microbes in health and disease
  • MTE2541 Nanostructure of materials
  • MTE2544 Functional materials
  • MTE3545 Functional materials and devices
  • MTE4593 Materials and environment
  • MTE4596 Biomaterials II

* Students who successfully completed VCE Specialist Mathematics must complete MTH1030 instead of MTH1020 as part of the specialist stream (if not already taken as part of the course core units).

Chemical biotechnology (60 points)
  • CHM2911 Synthetic chemistry I
  • CHM2922 Spectroscopy and analytical chemistry, and one of CHM2962 Food chemistry or CHM2942 Synthetic chemistry II
  • CHM3941 Advanced inorganic chemistry
  • CHM3922 Advanced organic chemistry, and one of CHM3911 Advanced physical chemistry or CHM3952 Advanced analytical chemistry
  • two CHM elective units at level three
  • plus two level-three units from one of the approved areas of study - units listed in this handbook with the prefix DEV, BCH, BIO, GEN, HUP, IMM, MIC, BNS, PHA, or PHY

Medical biotechnology (60 points)

  • BCH2022 Metabolic basis of human diseases
  • IMM2011 Function of the immune system
  • one of: BMS2042 Human genetics, MIC2022 Microbes in health and disease, or PHY2032 Physiology of human health
  • BCH3031 Advanced molecular biology: modern concepts and applications
  • BCH3052 Protein biology: From sequence to structure and disease
  • BMS3021 Molecular medicine and biotechnology

plus four level three units (two pairs) from the following combinations:

  • BCH3021 Cellular organisation: Organelle structure and function in health and disease, and BCH3042 Cell signal transduction: Role in cancer and human disease
  • GEN3040 Genomics and molecular genetics, and GEN3051 Medical and forensic genetics
  • IMM3031 Molecular and cellular immunology, and IMM3042 Clinical immunopathology
  • MIC3011 Molecular microbiology or MIC3022 Molecular virology and viral pathogenesis, and MIC3032 Pathogenesis of bacterial infectious diseases
  • PHA3011 Principles of drug action, and PHA3042 Modern drug development
Materials and Nanotechnology (60 points)
  • CHE3161 Chemistry and chemical thermodynamics
  • CHE3172 Nanotechnology and materials 1
  • CHE4172 Nanotechnology and materials 2
  • CHM2911 Synthetic chemistry I or CHM2922 Spectroscopy and analytical chemistry
  • CHM3180 Materials chemistry
  • ENG1010 Process systems analysis
  • MTE2541 Nanostructure of materials
  • MTE2544 Functional materials
  • MTE3544 Management and practice in materials engineering
  • MTE4596 Biomaterials II
Plant and animal biotechnology (60 points)
  • BIO2282 Plant structure and function
  • BIO3011 Research methods in biology
  • BIO3082 Plant responses to the environment
  • BIO3610 Plant and cellular biotechnology
  • CHM2922 Spectroscopy and analytical chemistry or CHM3180 Materials chemistry
  • GEN2041 Foundations of genetics
  • GEN3030 Genetics of development
  • GEN3040 Genomics and molecular genetics


Pharmacological chemistry (60 points)
  • PHY2011 Neuroscience of sensation, brain and movement or BMS1052 Human neurobiology
  • CHM2911 Synthetic chemistry I
  • CHM2922 Spectroscopy and analytical chemistry
  • BTH3960 Interdisciplinary advanced practical in pharmacology and chemistry, or an additional level 3 chemistry unit subject to the approval of the course convenor
  • CHM3911 Advanced physical chemistry
  • CHM3922 Advanced organic chemistry
  • CHM3941 Advanced inorganic chemistry
  • PHA3011 Principles of drug action
  • PHA3021 Drugs in health and disease
  • PHA3042 Modern drug development

Alternative exit(s)

Students may exit after completing levels 1-3 with a Bachelor of Science or tagged Bachelor of Science award providing all requirements for the relevant degree have been met.


Bachelor of Biotechnology

Bachelor of Biotechnology with Honours

Where more than one award is listed the actual award(s) conferred may depend on units/majors/streams/specialisations studied, the level of academic merit achieved, or other factors relevant to the individual student's program of study.