Talented Student Program - Guidelines

The Talented Student Program is administered by the Faculty of Science, and students are selected by the Dean on the basis of academic performance in the preceding year. Students with an interest in biology can choose to conduct aspects of the TSP within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences.

At Junior level, TSP students can take part in a range of activities which provide opportunities for them to enhance or extend their interests in biology and environmental sciences, and in the process help them to develop closer links with individual members of staff within the School.

In first semester, the Faculty of Science runs the TSP Showcase. Each year a theme is chosen and all schools within the Faculty of Science design projects around that theme. TSP students then work in teams of about 5 students with a third year mentor to do their own research project. At the end of semester, there is a presentation evening during which all Showcase projects are presented. The Showcase is really worthwhile and we encourage all first year TSP students to participate.

In addition to the TSP Showcase, we strongly recommend TSP students to enrol in the Special Studies Program whenever that is offered. Most of our Junior Units of Studies run Special Studies Programs for high achieving students. The idea is not to make the units more difficult, but more interesting. Special Studies Programs are run both in first and second semester in first year. Have a look here to find out more about the SSP we offer in First Year.

At Intermediate and Senior levels, TSP students can become directly involved in the ongoing research projects of staff members, and may be permitted to substitute part or all of a standard unit of study with a tailored research project that will earn credit points towards their degree.

In first year in first year semester you can enrol in Special Studies Program in Concepts and Human Biology (BIOL1991 and BIOL1993). Both Units aim to challenge the typical first-year practical experience in that we want you to solve biological problems. To do this, we accelerate you through the learning of fundamental biological techniques and thought processes in order to equip you with the tools and knowledge to address topical questions in molecular and evolutionary biology.

The course involves 3 hour practicals each week, combined with the lecture series of either Advanced Concepts in Biology (BIOL1991) or Advanced Human Biology (BIOL1993). In the practical course, we start off with some fundamental skills every biologist should know. We then move on to study molecular evolution in humans, where you will use your own cellular material to extract mitochondrial DNA. You will then analyse your own mitochondrial DNA to construct a phylogenetic tree of hominids and work out your place in the global diversity of humans. After this, you will be all geared up to tackle a real-life problem. In collaboration with forensic biologists at the Australian Museum, we have collected several biological samples. You will use the skills and tools that you have learnt to become a forensic biologist and identify these samples. Are the samples what people say they are? What are the legal and/or environmental concerns? We want you to find out.

During this unit, we will introduce you to some of our best researchers. They will help you in the practicals, and, during the School of Life and Environmental Sciences Showcase midway through the semester, a few of them will let you in on their research stories.

At Intermediate and Senior levels, TSP students can become directly involved in the ongoing research projects of staff members, and may be permitted to substitute part or all of a standard unit of study with a tailored research project that will earn credit points towards their degree.

For example, Intermediate and Senior TSP students may conduct research projects within the School worth 4-3, 6 or 12 credit points per semester. The number of hours of work per week should correspond with the credit point value of the unit of study. Supervision of the research project may be organised between Academic staff and appropriate postdoctoral research staff. The project would normally comprise a mini Honours-style exercise during which the student can perform independent thinking and research activity. The aim is to strengthen and/or extend the student's knowledge and skills in the chosen field in a way that is complementary to elected coursework units. Assessment is based on submission of a research report and the presentation of a talk/seminar on the research project to associated research staff/students. The research performance of the student is also assessed by the supervisory team

If you are interested in participating in one of the TSP options offered by the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, please contact Dr Hannah Nicholas, Associate Professor Dieter Hochuli, Professor Madeleine Beekman or Professor Balwant Singh as soon as possible.

  1. Send an e-mail to make an appointment to meet with the coordinator
  2. Bring your Faculty TSP Enrolment Form to the meeting