• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Plant Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Michael Djordjevic
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

Life on this planet depends upon the oxygen and food provided by plants. Food security, loss of habitat and biodiversity, land clearing, fish kills in inland waterways due to nutrient runoff and improving the efficiency of photosynthesis are some of the important hot topics relevant to plant biology. So what makes plants “tick”, and can they be improved so that the negative environmental impacts of intensive cropping can be balanced with ensuring food security? Modern plant science holds unprecedented opportunities to link processes at the genetic, molecular and physiological level to patterns at the overall plant level so that future food security can be achieved without compromising the environment. This multidisciplinary course encompasses molecular biology, genetics, plant physiology and development, as well as how plants respond to abiotic stress. This course exposes you to an exciting breadth of contemporary plant sciences so you can develop an understanding of this rapidly changing and fundamental field. You will develop skills and techniques important in contemporary plant science. You will apply your newly honed plant science skills to a detective problem - an intensive research project diagnosing the consequences of specific genetic mutations to plant growth, physiology and development. This research project gives students a taste of a real research environment and is one to consider should you be contemplating a career in plant science.

Note: This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand and critically evaluate the way plants function at a whole organism level - linking gene function with performance in nature
  2. Develop, evaluate and apply a range of contemporary techniques in plant science through guided independent laboratory research: Plant Detectives
  3. Analyse, interpret, evaluate and present results of independent research
  4. Work collaboratively in a group to critically interpret results and present these findings orally
  5. Review of recent advances in particular field based on a chosen paper related to the course. Identify the main research question(s) being addressed and the advance(s) in understanding. Find 2-3 subsequent papers that describe new advances in knowledge in this particular area. Write an essay the presents the important contributions of the selected papers.

Other Information

The Biology Teaching and Learning Centre is located in Building 116. Alternatively you can email rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Theory exam (40) [LO 1]
  2. Practical quizzes (5) [LO 1,2]
  3. Final practical and report written in form of a scientific paper (25) [LO 2,3]
  4. Group symposium presentation around lab project and participations in discussions (8) [LO 1,4]
  5. Review of recent advances in particular field (20) [LO 5]
  6. Participation during lectures. Assessed by active participation in lectures, and answers to study questions. (2) [LO 1,2,3,4]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures each week for the first 10 weeks; 6 x 3 hours practical sessions weekly starting from week 4, and 10 x 1 hours of tutorials throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 30 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

Not yet determined.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL3002 or BIOL2121.

You will need to contact the Biology Teaching and Learning Centre to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Plant Physiology and Development 6th edition (Taiz, Zeiger, Moller Murphy)


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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
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
3411 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person View

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