Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please 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 or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Biomedical Sciences
Monash Passport categoryDepth (Enhance Program)
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Ramesh Rajan


This unit examines how humans conceptualize, respond to and treat illness and well-being.
It is a Monash Passport II "Depth" unit designed to help students to broaden and deepen their understanding of the world from different disciplinary bases. These units will be linked to the 'Enhance' Program of The Monash Passport II, a distinctive suite of programs in which students are given the opportunity to develop a range of skills and abilities that not only serve as a foundation for career development, but can also be applied to transform local and international communities. Successful completion of the depth units will be noted in both student transcripts and in Australian Higher Education Graduation Statements (AHEGS).
This unit will use a case-based and thematic approach to understand humans approach illness and well-being. Two study areas will be used, from a pool of 6-8 broad-ranging conditions which may include areas such as Obesity and the formation of body image, Autism and awareness of self and others, Schizophrenia and concepts of free will, Depression and the meaning of happiness, Alzheimer's disease and the sense of being human, Ageing and decay, and conceptions of mortality.
A weekly theme-based approach to learning will be used, with themes from the perspectives of Biomedicine, Art, Philosophy among others and the unit will be taught by staff from different disciplines across Monash. The unit aims to be very strongly research-centred to allow students to develop an evidence-based attitude to health and illness in particular, and to life in general. The evidence-based multi-disciplinary approach will allow students to develop the broadest possible perspective and understanding of human concepts, attitudes and responses to health, well-being and illness. They will also help instill attitudes and skills critical to involvement in transforming local and international communities.


On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  • describe the impact of illness on the daily lives of those who are afflicted directly and indirectly by that illness
  • describe the societal conceptions of disease/illness in general and of the specific condition under study, in philosophy, literature and art
  • explain the epidemiological characteristics of the illness under study
  • describe the behavioural consequences of the illness under study
  • describe the medical basis of the illness under study, including the physiology, pharmacology and molecular biology of the condition
  • describe the therapeutic treatments and public health considerations of the illness under study
  • critically analyze research articles across a broad spectrum of disciplines related to illness and well-being
  • present data and ideas to a broad audience via a journal club or lecture style presentation
  • work constructively in a small group/team
  • develop a cogent and coherent writing style and an ability to demonstrate a reasoned understanding of the subject content through a written essay on a broad theme focused on one of the cases under study.
  • learn how to design and present web-based information in a manner easily accessible to the general public but also to develop a structure that allows for depth of information to be delivered


Journal club presentations (group work): 20%; Lecture style presentations (group work): 25%; Design portfolio for a website (group work): 25%; Essay (individual work): 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

4 hours of workshops, 2 hours of student led research centred activities per week and 2 hours of journal club presentations per week. An additional 6 hours of private study is recommended.