Monash University

Undergraduate - Area of study

Students who commenced study in 2015 should refer to this area of study 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 area of study.

print version

This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2015 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. Any 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 byDepartment of Anatomy and Developmental Biology
CoordinatorDr Robert de Matteo and Dr Helen Abud


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.


Developmental biology is one of the most exciting and fast-moving fields in modern biomedical science. It is the discipline concerned with the development of an adult organism from a single cell. The study of developmental biology covers such topics as classical embryology, body structure and design, gene expression and molecular mechanisms of development, organogenesis, causes of birth defects, stem cell biology, regenerative biology and medicine, and tissue engineering. All these aspects are featured in the developmental biology units. Commencing at level two, the concept that the many specialised cell types in the adult human body are derived from a single fertilised egg is introduced. How the body plan is established during embryogenesis, how tissues combine to form organs and how organ systems form the adult body structure are described in lectures and examined in practical classes.

At level three, studies progress to the major molecular and cellular processes that regulate the development of differentiated cells, tissues and organs during embryonic and fetal development, and to what can go wrong in early development leading to congenital abnormalities and/or propensity for long-term adult disease. At level three the diversity of developmental biology research will be introduced including topics such as: the molecular and genetic regulation of organ development and specific transcription factors and post-transcriptional gene regulation in development, identification of tissue-specific stem cells and their roles in development, organ regeneration and cancer, causes of premature birth and the developmental origins of adult health and disease.

Learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad understanding of the key cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying human and animal development
  • perform and apply practical and laboratory techniques integral to the study of developmental biology incorporating cellular, molecular and imaging techniques
  • apply the concept of genetic and environmental impact to an understanding of congenital abnormalities and predisposition to adult disease
  • demonstrate proficiency in the analysis, reporting and interpretation of scientific data
  • demonstrate the ability to critically interpret and discuss modern developmental biology research using effective written and oral communication skills including the ability to retrieve relevant information from the literature and online resources
  • develop skills in the presentation of scientific information, and collection of laboratory data both individually and as part of a team
  • demonstrate a knowledge of the current scientific, regulatory, ethical and commercial standards in developmental biology and their application within a scientific and social context.


Level two

  • DEV2011 Early human development from cells to tissues
  • DEV2022 Principles of organ and body design

Level three

  • DEV3011 Fundamentals of developmental processes
  • DEV3022 Developmental pathways to health and disease
  • DEV3032 Stem cells and the foundations of life
  • DEV3990 Action in developmental biology research project

Sequence requirements

Minor in developmental biology (24 points)

Minor in molecular biology (24 points)

Major in developmental biology (48 points)

Note: MOL2011 is a recommended unit for all level three DEV units.

* This unit has compulsory level one and/or level two prerequisites that will need to be taken in addition to the level one and two units listed above.

Requirements for honours in anatomy and developmental biology

  • 24 points of relevant level-three units, of which normally 18 points are developmental biology or biochemistry, human pathology, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology and physiology units

Refer to the above science areas of studyscience areas of study ( in this Handbook for details of relevant level-three units.

Additional information

Level two

The prerequisite units for DEV2011 are BIO1011 or BIO1022.

In order to undertake DEV2022, it is necessary to undertake DEV2011.

MOL2011 is a recommended unit for all level-three DEV units.

Level three

The prerequisite units for the third year units DEV3011 and DEV3032 are DEV2011 and DEV2022.

DEV3011 is a prerequisite for DEV3022.

In order to undertake DEV3990, 12 points of study in the discipline area at second year level and a distinction over 24 points at second year level is required or, under extraordinary circumstances, by permission of the unit convenor or head of department.

BCH3021 and GEN3030 have additional prerequisites at level one and/or level two which are not part of the major sequence in developmental biology.


Coordinator: Associate Professor M. Jane Black

In addition to the requirements listed above, students must meet the entry requirements for the science honours program relevant to their course of enrolment. Enrolment in an honours project is subject to approval of the supervisor and the head of department. See the entries for:

  • S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours)
  • 0051 Bachelor of Science (Honours)
  • 2188 Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program) (Honours)

Full details regarding the course structure for honours in this area of study are outlined in course 0051 Bachelor of Science (Honours).

Relevant courses

Single degrees

  • S2000 Bachelor of Science
  • S3001 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours)
  • S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours)

Double degrees

  • 4642 Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
  • 0530 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science
  • 1469 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science
  • D3005 Bachelor of Education (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
  • 4646 Bachelor of Environmental Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
  • 4069 Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Science
  • L3007 Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
  • 3517 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
  • 4638 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
  • S2003 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Global Studies

Honours degrees

  • 0051 Bachelor of Science (Honours)
  • 2188 Bachelor of Science (Science Scholar Program) (Honours)