Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2013 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2013 and 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)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details


Course coordinator

Dr Lynne Mayne (Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Clayton)


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • The honours year program at stage four of the course is only available on a full-time basis. 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 must complete core units at each stage specifically addressing issues relevant to the biotechnology industry, including ethics, business and law. Students also complete an approved combination of units to specialise in an area of biotechnology. The area of specialisation is selected after stage one.

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.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate Attributes. For more information refer to

Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that graduates will be able to:

  • demonstrate broad knowledge and technical skills in at least one area of science that contributes to the biotechnology industry and a basic understanding of technological innovation and commercialization
  • generate, develop, apply and integrate scientific knowledge from within disciplines related to biotechnology to analyse challenges and to develop effective solutions in a professional context
  • collect, organise, analyse, interpret and present data meaningfully, using mathematical and statistical tools as appropriate to the discipline of specialisation
  • convey ideas and results effectively to diverse audiences and in a variety of formats
  • work and learn in both independent and collaborative ways with others to encompass diverse abilities and perspectives
  • exercise personal, professional and social responsibility as a global citizen

In addition students graduating with honours will be expected to be able to:

  • work independently to undertake a scientific literature review, and to design, develop and implement a research project
  • convey ideas and results effectively to diverse audiences and in a variety of formats, and present scientific work in a potentially publishable way

Course progression requirements

To be admitted to the Honours program students must have completed 144 points of units including all of the stage one to three requirements for the course with at least a distinction grade average (70%) in 24 points of level three units, including BTH3012 (Biotechnology science), industry and commercialisation, and 18 points of units relevant to the honours research project. Students who have completed all of the stage one to three 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 are eligible to apply to graduate with 0050 Bachelor of Science.


Core studies

In addition to the core science units, this course consists of core biotechnology units at each year level (stages one to three), foundation scientific studies (at stages one to two), units towards an approved specialisation stream (at stages two to three), as well as two approved elective units at stage one. Stage four 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 one of the following areas of biotechnology:

  • biomolecular processing
  • chemical biotechnology
  • materials and nanotechnology
  • medical biotechnology
  • pharmacological chemistry

Details of the requirements of each specialist stream are described below.

Although students are not required to select their specialisation 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) depending on their mathematics background.


Students must complete the following:

(a.) eight foundation science units at stages one to two (48 points):

  • BIO1011 Biology I and BIO1022 Biology II
  • CHM1011 Chemistry I or CHM1051 Chemistry I advanced, plus CHM1022 Chemistry II or CHM1052 Chemistry II advanced
  • BCH2011 Structure and function of cellular biomolecules
  • MIC2011 Introduction to microbiology and microbial biotechnology
  • MOL2011 Molecular biology: Genes and their expression and MOL2022 Molecular biology: Gene technology and its application

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

  • STA1010 Statistical methods for science, or MTH1030 Techniques for modelling*

* Some specialisation streams require MTH1030 as a prerequisite for level two units.

(c.) a biotechnology core unit at each of stages one to three (18 points):

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

(d.) ten units in an approved biotechnology specialisation stream at stages two to three (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 one of the following:

  • Honours program: an honours research project in a discipline relevant to the specialist stream in biotechnology (36 points) and BTH4200 (The practice of biotechnology) (12 points)
  • Coursework program: additional coursework units, including BTH4200 (48 points).


Students who do not meet the progression requirement at the end of stage three to complete the honours year program can either apply to graduate with course 0050 Bachelor of Science, or complete advanced coursework units at stage four and graduate with a Bachelor of Biotechnology without honours.

Recommended program of study

Students must complete 48 points at each stage.

Stage one

Stage two

Stage three

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

Stage four

Honours program

Students who satisfy the progression requirements at stage three to be eligible for the honours program complete:

  • BTH4200 (12 points)
  • a 36 point honours project unit in a discipline relevant to the specialisation stream.
Coursework program

Students who do not satisfy the progression requirements at stage three 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.

These units can be chosen from, but are not limited to, the following:

  • GSB5011 Pathways from science to wealth
  • LAW7119 Patents for inventions
  • level three research project units (requires permission from the teaching school)

Specialisation stream requirements

Biomolecular processing

  • 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
  • MTH1030 Techniques for modelling*
  • MTH3051 Introduction to computational mathematics

plus two units from:

  • ATS2548 Environmental policy and management
  • 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
  • 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 have not successfully completed VCE Specialist Mathematics must complete MTH1020 prior to MTH1030 as part of the specialist stream (if not already taken as part of the course core units).

Chemical biotechnology

Materials and nanotechnology

  • CHE3161 Chemistry and chemical thermodynamics
  • CHE3172 Nanotechnology and materials 1
  • CHE4172 Nanotechnology and materials II
  • 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

Medical biotechnology

  • BCH2022 Metabolic basis of human diseases
  • IMM2011 Basic immunology: The body's defence 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
  • GEN3030 Developmental and cellular genetics and GEN3040 Advanced molecular genetics and its applications or 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

Pharmacological chemistry

  • 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 three 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 who successfully complete all of the requirements for stages one to three and who do not wish to proceed to stage four 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 one to three 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).


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.