• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Medical Science, Genetics, Biomedical Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Ruth Arkell
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2016
    See Future Offerings

This course focuses on new discoveries in areas of importance to our understanding of human genetics and disease.  Fuelled by Sequencing of the Human Genome and new methods of investigating biological function, research into the genetic and molecular causes of human disease is advancing at a rapid pace. We will examine not only the genetic abnormalities underlying human disease and disorders but also the breakdown in the physiological and molecular biology caused by the genetic lesion. We will also look at how this knowledge can lead to new treatments for some diseases and explore some of the societal issues raised by new technologies and treatments.

The course includes a component of self-led literature research that can be tailored to the student’s post-graduate course.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1.      show a high level of proficiency in navigating relevant literature, web sites and databases for research into human genetics and in using these sources to develop and test hypotheses in the field of human genetics

2.      describe the approaches used to identify the genetic basis of simple, heterogeneous and complex traits and appreciate the duties, responsibilities and challenges facing the professionals who perform these analyses

3.      explain the theoretical and practical basis of the latest advances in genomic technologies and their application to personalised medicine

4.      explain the changing importance of model species to our investigation of basic principles in human genetics

5.      explain the theoretical and practical basis for the use of modern molecular techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and inherited disease

6.      explain the genetic and epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression control and their role in human inherited disease

7.      identify and analyse the ethical issues and dilemmas raised by new technologies and treatments

Indicative Assessment

Assessment is based on:

    • Significant research report on an area of human molecular genetics of interest to the student (4000 words), and ideally relevant to their chosen area of postgraduate study (25%-65%, LO 1-7 depending upon topic)
    • Take-home assignments to assist with writing skills and essay topic selection (optional)
    • Take-home assignments of computer practicals (3 assignments, 5% each)
    • Final examination to assess students' understanding of the basic principles that underpin the field of human genetics (20%-60%, LO 2-7).  A sliding scale of assessment between the essay and exam permits students to focus on areas of interest and/or strength by designating the weight to different items of assessment.

      The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


      Two to three lectures per week and computer practicals; total workload ~45 contact hours in semester. In addition, the research essay requires a substantial number of self-assigned (i.e. non-contact) hours.

      Requisite and Incompatibility

      Enrolment in Programs Master of Biotechnology, Master of Biotechnology Advanced, Master of Biological Sciences and Master of Biological Sciences Advanced only. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL3204.

      Prescribed Texts

      There is no prescribed text.  Relevant reading will be given to students during the semester.

      Assumed Knowledge

      Requires Bachelor degree with knowledge of  genetics at second year level, or postgraduate courses BIOL6006 or BIOL6161 (or equivalent).


      Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

      If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

      Student Contribution Band:
      Unit value:
      6 units

      If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

      Units EFTSL
      6.00 0.12500
      Domestic fee paying students
      Year Fee
      2016 $3480
      International fee paying students
      Year Fee
      2016 $4638
      Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

      Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

      ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

      The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
      Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

      First Semester

      Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
      3509 15 Feb 2016 26 Feb 2016 31 Mar 2016 27 May 2016 In Person N/A

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