• Class Number 3192
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 to 24 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • AsPr Spencer Whitney
    • AsPr Spencer Whitney
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

The principal component of second year of the Biology Master by Coursework programs is a research project conducted under supervision. In addition, students present seminars on their research work and prepare a thesis for examination. The research project runs from early February to early November or mid-July to mid-May. In addition to meeting the entry requirements for admission to the Research year of their Master by Coursework program, students must have the agreement of a member of the School's academic staff to supervise their project, and the agreement of the Head of Biology Teaching & Learning. Academic staff from the Research School of Biology, John Curtin School of Medical Research, CSIRO and Canberra Hospital may be supervisors or co-supervisors. Students should discuss their intention to undertake a research project with potential supervisors and the Master by Coursework coordinator, several months before the proposed starting date.

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. Plan and engage in an independent and sustained investigation of a chosen research topic supervised by an academic staff.
2. Systematically identify relevant theory and concepts in the chosen field, relate these to appropriate methodologies and evidence, and draw appropriate conclusions.
3. Carry out a specific set of experiments in biology to address a particular research question, at a standard consistent with current published research in the field.
4. Accurately document and analyse laboratory work or fieldwork and research findings
5. Present research findings, both orally and written to a high standard

Research-Led Teaching

BIOL8701 is a Masters Research year with a Biology specialisation.

A full time load is over two semesters. Part time study is possible with approval.

Students undertake a research project under the supervision of an academic from the Research School of Biology. The primary focus of this year of study is research.

Field Trips

Some research projects may have a fieldwork component

The Honours/Masters Biology Handbook and 2019 timetable (timeline). All are available on wattle.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

1. Written feedback is provided by the examiners for the Grant Proposal and Final Thesis

2. Three meeting are held with examiners over the year - with the initial meeting after assessment of the grant proposal, then in mid year progress meeting and lastly in Final Oral discussion of the thesis.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The Masters Research year has a start date of 29 January 2019

The Masters Research year is normally of one year duration - 48 units. With approval it is possible to study part time. The timelines in this outline provide a general indication for a full time student starting in Semester 1 and submitting their thesis at the end of semester 2. Part time study will have an adjustment of the timeline.

The convener details in this summary apply to students beginning in Semester 1 2019.

Students beginning their Masters Research year in Semester 2 (mid year) should refer to the Semester 2 class summary

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Masters Research Year commences on Tuesday 29 January with a welcome session which includes information and induction.
2 Inhouse training courses are scheduled throughout the year. Details on provided on timetable posted onto wattle site. Training required will depend on the requirements of the research project. The timeline and milestone dates will be adapted to suit students studying part time.
3 The focus of the Masters Research year is to complete a research project. This project is undertaken throughout the year (or longer for those with reduced load). There will be milestones to complete during the year. Milestones - please see 2019 Honours/Masters timeline and Handbook for full details. Thesis Submission - 24 October 2019 Timeline modified for part time enrolment . Dates in assessment summary below relate to a full time study load

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Introductory Seminar 0 % 07/03/2019 18/04/2019 5
Grant Proposal 0 % 25/03/2019 18/04/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Mid-term Progress Report 0 % 24/06/2019 30/06/2019 1,3,5
Final Seminar 0 % 19/09/2019 08/11/2019 5
Submission of Thesis 100 % 24/10/2019 08/11/2019 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


There is no examination

Assessment Task 1

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 07/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 5

Introductory Seminar

A 15 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes discussion on the proposal research. This is the first opportunity for other students and academic staff (including examiners) to learn about the research

Assessment Task 2

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 25/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Grant Proposal

It is a written research plan modelled on a shortened version of an ARC or NHMRC grant application

Assessment Task 3

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 24/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,5

Mid-term Progress Report

A short (3-4 page) document detailing progress of research

Assessment Task 4

Value: 0 %
Due Date: 19/09/2019
Return of Assessment: 08/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 5

Final Seminar

A 15 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes discussion on the research findings. This is an opportunity for other students and academic staff to find out how the research project went and the outcome

Assessment Task 5

Value: 100 %
Due Date: 24/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 08/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Submission of Thesis

The thesis is the formal written presentation of the research project

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

Submission of thesis requires 4 hard copies to the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre and electronic submission to rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

AsPr Spencer Whitney
+61 2 6125 2866

Research Interests

AsPr Spencer Whitney

Thursday 10:00 11:00
AsPr Spencer Whitney

Research Interests

AsPr Spencer Whitney

Thursday 10:00 11:00

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