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In First Year Biology we introduce you to modern biology and how biologists carry out scientific investigation. Topics range from genes and DNA, to understanding the human body, to theories of evolution. There are many reasons why you may want to study biology. It could be an excitement in the growing field of biotechnology, a desire to conserve the environment, a love of animals, or just a curiosity in life itself. If you haven’t done HSC biology or just want a refresher, we offer Bridging Courses in biology every year before semester one of First Year Biology. Courses last for one week and are for prospective students of all ages and abilities.

Units of Study

BIOL1001 Concepts in Biology

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Classes: 2x1 hr lectures and 1x3hr practical per week. Unit Coordinator: Dr Charlotte Taylor Prohibitions: BIOL1911, BIOL1991. Assumed knowledge: None. However, semester 1 students who have not completed HSC Biology (or equivalent) are strongly advised to take the Biology Bridging Course (in February). Assessment: 1x2 hr exam, assignments, quizzes (100%). Campus: Camperdown/Darlington. Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

Note: Students should attempt no more than two of the three Junior BIOL units of study; thus this unit can be taken with BIOL1002/1902 OR BIOL1003/1903/1993.

A photo of an ant 
					in a flower

Concepts in Biology is an introduction to the major themes of modern biology. The unit emphasises how biologists carry out scientific investigations, from the cellular/molecular level to the level of ecosystems.Practical classes focus on the design and analysis of robust scientific experiments based on modern biological techniques.Topics covered in lectures and include: introductory cell biology, with particular emphasis on cell structure and function; an introduction to molecular biology through the role of DNA in protein synthesis and in the genetics of organisms; theories of evolution and phylogenetic analysis, and how they are used to interpret the origins of the diversity of modern organisms; and interactions between organisms in biological communities, with particular emphasis on Australian examples.

Textbooks

Knox R B et al. Biology, An Australian Focus. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill. 2010

BIOL1002 Living Systems

Credit points: 6 Unit Coordinator: Dr William Figueira Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1 hr lectures and 1x3 hr practical per week and tutorials every few weeks. Prohibitions: BIOL1902 Assumed knowledge: HSC 2-unit Biology. Students who have not completed HSC biology (or equivalent) are strongly advised to take the Biology Bridging Course (in February). Assessment: 1x2 hr exam, assignments, quizzes (100%) Campus: Camperdown /Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

Note: Students should attempt no more than two of the three Junior BIOL units of study; thus this unit can be taken with BIOL1001/1911/1991 OR BIOL1003/1903/1993.

A photo of kookaburras

Living Systems deals with the biology of organisms as individuals, within populations and as part of communities and ecosystems. A broad range of taxa are covered, from bacteria to large plants and animals, and emphasis is placed upon understanding the ways in which they can live in a range of habitats. Behaviour is discussed as a key process linking organismal-level processes to population and community dynamics. The importance of energy in living systems, and how elements are used and recycled in biological communities, are introduced as the basis of ecosystems. The unit of study includes lectures and laboratory classes on the physiology and behaviour of animals and plants, the ways in which organisms control and integrate their activities and the processes controlling dynamics of populations and community. These themes are revisited within applied contexts to discuss issues such as management and conservation.

Textbooks

Knox R B et al. Biology. An Australian Focus. 4th ed. McGraw-Hill. 2010.

BIOL1003 Human Biology

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Unit Coordinator: Dr Osu Lilje Classes: 2x1 hr lectures/week (3 lectures in some weeks), 1x3 hr practical class/fortnight, 1x2hr workshop/fortnight, 6-9 hrs HBOnline work/fortnight covering online practical activities, prework and homework. Prohibitions: BIOL1903, BIOL1993. Assumed knowledge: HSC 2-unit Biology. Semester 1 students who have not completed HSC biology (or equivalent) are strongly advised to take the Biology Bridging Course (in February). Assessment: 1x2 hr exam, assignments and tests (100%) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

Note: Students should attempt no more than two of the three Junior BIOL units of study; thus this unit can be taken with BIOL1002/1902 OR BIOL1001/1911/1991.

A photo of a Human Biology lab session

This Unit of Study has four main components: lectures, practicals, workshops and HBOnline activities. The unit of study provides an introduction to human anatomy and physiology. It includes an overview of cell and tissue structures, the skeletal system, nutrition, digestion and excretion. Human Biology will also look at how our bodies respond to environmental stimuli with respect to the endocrine, nervous and immune systems. After discussion of reproduction and development, it concludes with an overview of modern studies in human genetics.

Textbooks

Van Putte, C., Regan, J. and Russo, A. (2011) Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, McGraw Hill. The edition comes with a custom publication of: Mader, S.S. (2006) Human Biology, 11th edition, McGraw Hill. (Chapters 19, 24, 26)

BIOL1902 Living Systems (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Unit Coordinator: Dr William Figueira Session: Semester 2 Classes: 2x1 hr lectures and 1x3 hr practical per week and tutorials every few weeks. Prerequisites: Distinction or better in the BIOL1001/1911/1991 or BIOL1003/1903/1993 OR HSC Biology equal to 90 or greater OR an ATAR equal to 95 or greater Prohibitions: BIOL1002 Assessment: 1x2 hr exam, assignments, quizzes, independent project (100%) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day.

Note: Department permission required for enrolment. Note: Students should attempt no more than two of the three Junior BIOL units of study; thus this unit can be taken with BIOL1001/1911/1991 OR BIOL1003/1903/1993.

This unit of study will cover generally the same topics as BIOL1002 but material will be discussed in greater detail. Roughly 50% of the material in lectures and practicals will be different from BIOL1002. Students enrolled in BIOL1902 will have separate lectures and practical sessions from BIOL1002.

Textbooks

As for BIOL1002.

BIOL1903 Human Biology (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Unit Coordinator: Dr Osu Lilje Classes: 2x1 hr lectures/week (3 lectures in some weeks), 1x3 hr practical class/fortnight, 1x2 hr workshop/fortnight, 6-9 hours HBOnline work/fortnight covering online practical activities, prework and homework. Prerequisites: HSC Biology result in the 90+, OR Distinction or better in a University level Biology unit OR an ATAR equal to 95 or greater Prohibitions: BIOL1003, BIOL1993. Assessment: 1x2 hr exam, assignment, group project presentation, discussion activities and tests (100%) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

Note: Students should attempt no more than two of the three Junior BIOL units of study; thus this unit can be taken with BIOL1002/1902 OR BIOL1001/1911/1991.

This unit of study is the same as BIOL1003 except it includes a special lecture series with guest speakers from different scientific fields. The speakers present their research and a personal perspective of career paths into scientific research. The Independent Project encourages students to find out more about a human biology related topic that interests them.

Textbooks

As for BIOL1003

BIOL1911 Concepts in Biology (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Session: Semester 1 Unit Coordinator: Dr Charlotte Taylor Classes: 2x1 hr lectures and 1 x3 hr practical per week and tutorials every few weeks. Prerequisites: 80+ in HSC 2-unit Biology (or equivalent) or Distinction or better in a University level Biology unit, or an ATAR of 95 or greater. Prohibitions: BIOL1001, BIOL1991. Assessment: 1x2 hr exam, assignments, quizzes (100%). Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day.

Note: Students should attempt no more than two of the three Junior BIOL units of study; thus this unit can be taken with BIOL1002/1902 OR BIOL1003/1903/1993.

A photo of Quolls

Concepts in Biology (Advanced) builds on the main themes introduced in HSC Biology, with emphasis on current research in biology.Topics covered in lectures and include: introductory cell biology, with particular emphasis on cell structure and function; an introduction to molecular biology through the role of DNA in protein synthesis and in the genetics of organisms; theories of evolution and phylogenetic analysis, and how they are used to interpret the origins of the diversity of modern organisms; and interactions between organisms in biological communities, with particular emphasis on Australian examples. Research-based lectures will expand on the general lecture topics and include current investigations of such diverse topic areas as cancer therapies, metabolic malfunction, anarchy in beehives, evolutionary studies of snake reproductive strategies, plant phylogeny and global environmental change.

Textbooks

As for BIOL1001.

BIOL1991 Concepts in Biology (Special Studies)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Simon Ho, Dr Nate Lo Session: Semester 1 Classes: Lectures and tutorial: as per BIOL1911; Practicals: 1x3-hour prac per week Prerequisites: ATAR of at least 99.0 OR a Band 6 result in Biology HSC OR medalist in International Biology Olympiad Prohibitions: BIOL1001, BIOL1911,BIOL1993 Assessment: Assessments not related to the practical sessions are identical to BIOL1911 (non-practical assessments: 40% of total Unit of Study mark). Assessments related to the practical sessions (60% of total Unit of Study mark): Two practical reports (first report: 30% of total practical mark; second report: 50% of total practical mark), Laboratory note book (5% of total practical mark), Seminar presentation (15% of total practical mark) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

Note: Department permission required for enrolment.

Entry to Special Studies Program in Concepts in Biology is restricted to students who have done exceptionally well in their HSC and/or have shown extraordinary aptitude in Biology. The practical work syllabus for BIOL1991 is very different from that of BIOL1911 (Advanced) and consists of special project-based laboratory exercises. All other unit of study details are the same as those for BIOL1911 (Advanced).

Textbooks

Knox, B., Ladiges, P., Evans, B. and Saint, R. (2010) Biology, 4th edition. (McGraw Hill: Sydney)

BIOL1993 Human Biology (Special Studies)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinators: Dr Simon Ho, Dr Nate Lo Session: Semester 1 Classes: Lectures and tutorial: as per BIOL1903; Practicals: 1x3-hour prac per week Prerequisites: ATAR of at least 99.0 OR a Band 6 result in Biology HSC OR medalist in International Biology Olympiad Prohibitions: BIOL1003, BIOL1903,BIOL1991 Assessment: Assessments not related to the practical sessions are identical to BIOL1903 (non-practical assessments: 40% of total Unit of Study mark). Assessments related to the practical sessions (60% of total Unit of Study mark): Two practical reports (first report: 30% of total practical mark; second report: 50% of total practical mark), Laboratory note book (5% of total practical mark), Seminar presentation (15% of total practical mark) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

Note: Department permission required for enrolment.

Entry to Special Studies Program in Human Biology is restricted to students who have done exceptionally well in their HSC and/or have shown extraordinary aptitude in Biology. The practical work syllabus for BIOL1993 is very different from that of BIOL1903 (Advanced) and consists of special project-based laboratory exercises. All other unit of study details are the same as those for BIOL1903 (Advanced).

Textbooks

Van Putte, C., Regan, J. and Russo, A. (2010) Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, McGraw Hill. The edition comes with a custom publication of: Mader, S.S. (2006) Human Biology, 11th edition, McGraw Hill. (Chapters 19, 24, 26)

MBLG1001 Molecular Biology and Genetics (Intro)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Dale Hancock Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1-hour lectures per week; one 1-hour tutorial and one 4-hour practical per fortnight Prohibitions: AGCH2001, BCHM2001, BCHM2101, BCHM2901, MBLG2101, MBLG2901, MBLG2001, MBLG2111, MBLG2771, MBLG2871, MBLG1901 Assumed knowledge: 6 credit points of Junior Biology and 6 cp of Junior Chemistry Assessment: One 2.5-hour exam, in-semester skills test and assignments (100%) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

A photo of a student in the lab

The lectures in this unit of study introduce the "Central Dogma" of molecular biology and genetics -i.e., the molecular basis of life. The course begins with the information macromolecules in living cells: DNA, RNA and protein, and explores how their structures allow them to fulfill their various biological roles. This is followed by a review of how DNA is organised into genes leading to discussion of replication and gene expression (transcription and translation). The unit concludes with an introduction to the techniques of molecular biology and, in particular, how these techniques have led to an explosion of interest and research in Molecular Biology. The practical component complements the lectures by exposing students to experiments which explore the measurement of enzyme activity, the isolation of DNA and the 'cutting' of DNA using restriction enzymes. However, a key aim of the practicals is to give students higher level generic skills in computing, communication, criticism, data analysis/ evaluation and experimental design.

MBLG1901 Molecular Biology and Genetics (Advanced)

Credit points: 6 Teacher/Coordinator: Dr Dale Hancock Session: Semester 2 Classes: Two 1-hour lectures per week; one 1-hour tutorial and one 4-hour practical per fortnight; four 1-hour seminars per semester. Prerequisites: UAI (or ATAR equivalent) of 95 or minimum Band 5 in HSC chemistry and biology or by invitation Prohibitions: AGCH2001, BCHM2001, BCHM2101, BCHM2901, MBLG2101, MBLG2901, MBLG2001, MBLG2111, MBLG2771, MBLG2871, MBLG1001 Assumed knowledge: HSC Chemistry and Biology OR 6 credit points of Junior Biology and 6 cp of Junior Chemistry Assessment: One 2.5-hour exam, in-semester skills test and assignments (100%) Campus: Camperdown/Darlington Delivery Mode: Normal (lecture/lab/tutorial) Day

The lectures in this unit of study introduce the "Central Dogma" of molecular biology and genetics, i.e., the molecular basis of life. The course begins with the information macro-molecules in living cells: DNA,RNA and protein, and explores how their structures allow them to fulfill their various biological roles. This is followed by a review of how DNA is organised into genes leading to discussion of replication and gene expression (transcription and translation). The unit concludes with an introduction to the techniques of molecular biology and, in particular, how these techniques have led to an explosion of interest and research in Molecular Biology. The practical component complements the lectures by exposing students to experiments which explore the measurement of enzyme activity, the isolation of DNA and the 'cutting' of DNA using restriction enzymes. However,a key aim of the practicals is to give students higher level generic skills in computing, communication, criticism, data analysis/evaluation and experimental design. The advanced component is designed for students interested in continuing in molecular biology. It consists of 7 advanced lectures (replacing 7 regular lectures) and 3 advanced laboratory sessions (replacing 3 regular practical classes). The advanced lectures will focus on the experiments which led to key discoveries in molecular biology. The advanced practical sessions will give students the opportunity to explore alternative molecular biology experimental techniques. A ttendance at MBLG1999 seminars is strongly encouraged.

Textbooks

Introduction to Molecular Biology MBLG1001 & MBLG1901, 2nd edition compiled by D. Hancock, G. Denyer and B. Lyon

Special Studies info

Interested in Biology and invited to join the Faculty of Science’s TSP program?

A photo of Special Studies students

Do you want to analyse your own DNA? Try your hand at modern molecular techniques? Do you love Biology!? If the answer is 'yes' then we want you in our Concepts in Biology (Special Studies) or Human Biology (Special Studies) Program.

The fundamental difference between our Special Studies Program and the Concepts in Biology (Advanced) and Human Biology (Advanced) units is that the practical sessions are specifically designed to challenge and inspire high achieving students and students with a strong interest in Biology.

What you'll be doing

Instead of following the ordinary practical sessions, you will explore human evolution using your own mitochondrial DNA. Using the techniques and concepts learned in the first part of the course, you will then conduct your own piece of research. Our Special Studies Program provides a unique opportunity for a small cohort of students and is taught by some of the best researchers in the School of Biological Sciences.

Entry requirements

To be eligible for this high-level course you must have an ATAR score (or equivalent) of at least 99, or a Band 6 result in Biology HSC, or be a medallist in the Biology International Olympiad.

More unit information

Credit points: 6

Session: Semester 1

Classes: Two hours of lectures/week; one 3-hour practical class/week.

Unit Codes:

  • Concepts in Biology (Special Studies): BIOL1991
  • Human Biology (Special Studies): BIOL 1993

Prerequisites: ATAR score (or equivalent) of at least 99, or a Band 6 result in Biology HSC, or Biology International Olympiad medallist.

Prohibitions:

  • For Concepts in Biology (Special Studies):
    BIOL1001 (Concepts in Biology), BIOL1901 (Concepts in Biology - Advanced) and BIOL1993 (Human Biology - Special Studies)
  • For Human Biology (Special Studies):
    BIOL1003 (Human Biology), BIOL1903 (Human Biology - Advanced) and BIOL1991 (Concepts in Biology - Special Studies)

Questions?

Contact one of the Unit Coordinators, the School of Biological Science’s Talented Student Program Coordinator, or the Director of First Year Biology.

Planning a biology major

Overview

Our first year units of study, Concepts in Biology (biological molecules, cell biology, genetics, evolution and biodiversity) and Living Systems (animals, plants and ecology) together provide a broad overview of key biological concepts and systems. Human Biology is more narrowly focused and is designed for students who plan to focus in a medically related discipline. If you are intending to major in biology we recommend you take Concepts in Biology (BIOL1001/1911/1991) in first semester and Living Systems (BIOL1002/BIOL1902) as well as Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBLG1001/1901) in second semester.

Essential and recommended Biology units

Essential

12 credit points of Junior BIOL or 6 credit points of Junior BIOL and 6 credit points of MBLG1001/1901 are needed to enrol in Intermediate units of study in Biology. For MBLG2072/2972, MBLG1001/1901 and 6 credit points of Junior CHEM is required.

Recommended

Concepts in Biology BIOL1001/1911/1991, Living Systems BIOL1002/1902 and MBLG1001/1901. Students who have not completed HSC or equivalent Biology are strongly recommended to take the Biology Bridging Course in February

A sample timetable

Semester 1 Semester 2
Concepts in Biology (BIOL1001/1911/1991)
6 credit points
Human Biology (BIOL1003/1903/1993)
6 credit points
Living Systems (BIOL1002/1902)
6 credit points
Maths (see suggested units below)
6 credit points
Maths (see suggested units below)
6 credit points
Chemistry
6 credit points
Molecular Biology & Genetics (MBLG1001/1901)
6 credit points
Elective
6 credit points
Elective
6 credit points

Suggested non-Biology units