Biological Design

About the major

Nature has long been an important source of inspiration in the built environment. Design has mimicked nature from the construction of cathedrals to Velcro and even secure banknotes. Biological design goes beyond mimicry addresses issues of human and planetary wellbeing through the practical application of the life sciences to a wide array of complex problems identified by design thinking.

Through the biological design major, students develop lab and studio skills to identify ways that living organisms can be used as a partner in design, to create interactive technologies and future materials.

The core units of the biological design major will develop students' thinking through:

  • learning in an interdisciplinary environment
  • considering the ethical implications of the use of new technologies
  • speculative design and evaluation of the impact of science on society
  • applying scientific research to real-world problems
  • identifying and addressing issues of human and planetary health through iterative design methods.
Pathways through the major

To achieve a major in Biological Design, students must complete 48 credit points comprising:

  • 6 credit points of 1000-level biology selective units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 1000-level design and engineering selective units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 2000-level core unit of study;
  • 6 credit points of 2000-level design selective units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 2000-level biology and medical selective units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 3000-level core unit of study;
  • 6 credit points of 3000-level or above selective units of study.
  • 6 credit points of 3000-level interdisciplinary project units of study.
Pathway through the Biological Design minor

To achieve a minor in Biological Design, students must complete 36 credit points comprising:

  • 6 credit points of 1000-level biology selective units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 1000-level design and engineering selective units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 2000-level core unit of study;
  • 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units of study;
  • 6 credit points of 3000-level core units.
  • 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units.
Further information

For further information regarding study in the Biological Design Major at the University of Sydney, please contact the Program Director, Dr Phillip Gough .

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Biological Design will be able to:

  1. Develop innovative, human centred, design-driven biological concepts in interdisciplinary teams
  2. Apply scientific and design thinking methods
  3. Define human-centred problems from user-research
  4. Explain and justify design choices in an interdisciplinary context
  5. Evaluate the application of biotechnology to human-centred problems