• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Evolution and Ecology, Biology
  • Major code EEOB-MAJ
Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology Major

This major explores the origins, interactions and future prospects for plant and animal life. It embraces:

  • evolution of species diversity
  • structural consequences of functional adaptation
  • within- and between-species interactions
  • survival and reproductive strategies
  • species/environment interactions, and the impact of climate change


Designated courses provide a theoretical and practical grounding in genetics, evolution, ecology and physiology. With a thorough understanding of the basic principles in each field, and hands-on experience of experimental design and techniques used to develop and test hypotheses, students will be well placed to pursue a career in research and field-based studies in plant and animal sciences, or to make a professional contribution to the development of policy in the areas of conservation, environment, agriculture and fisheries.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the evolutionary processes and the major evolutionary innovations that have led to the diversity of extant plant and animal life.

  2. Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the structures and processes involved in the functioning of plants and animals.

  3. Describe the nature of interactions between and among plants and animals, and describe the important processes governing the dynamics of plant and animal communities.

  4. Explain how biology is an evidence-based discipline involving observation, experimentation and hypothesis testing and how it relates to other scientific disciplines.

  5. Develop and implement experimental strategies to investigate different biological and experimental systems and analyse and present results of these investigations.

  6. Critically assess biological information and apply it to theoretical, experimental and professional contexts.

  7. Employ their collaborative and independent educational experiences of laboratory, project and course work in other contexts.

  8. Clearly communicate biological processes and principles to both science literate and non-science literate audiences.

  9. Recognise how biology contributes to resolving ethical, social and environmental issues and the expectations this places on their professional practice.

Other Information

This major is self contained. There is a pathway through the major that does not require prerequisites outside of the major however:

Students intending to take the Genetics Specialisation will also need to complete:

Students intending to take the Microbiology and Immunology Specialisation will also need to complete:

These courses can form part of a Foundational Science minor, another science minor/major or sequence of science electives. If a student is in a Flexible Double Degree, the courses can only contribute towards one degree.

Advice for first year students:

Students should complete BIOL1003, BIOL1004, and BIOL1009 in first year. While not essential for this Major, CHEM1101 provides students with maximum options for later year courses.

Additional advice:

  • BIOL2202 is the recommended course from the Quantitative Skills list as it has been designed specifically for students to develop quantitative skills in biology. Note that some of the alternative courses listed have prerequisites, and it is your responsibility to choose courses for which you meet the requirements.
  • Students should note that this major only requires 2 x 3000 level coded courses. In order to complete the overall Science degree requirements of 5 x 3000 level course from the Science course list, students will need to complete another 3 x 3000 level Science courses.

Students should seek further course advice from the academic convener of this major.

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This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

 18 units from the completion of the following courses:

BIOL1003 Biology 1: Evolution, Ecology and Genetics (6 units)

BIOL1004 Biology 2: Molecular and Cell Biology (6 units)

BIOL1009 Diversity of Life (6 units)

6 units from the completion of a Quantitative Skills course from the following list:

BIAN3014 Research Design and Analysis in Biological Anthropology (6 units)

BIOL2202 Experimental Design and Analysis in Biology (6 units)

BIOL2001 Introduction to Quantitative Biology (6 units)

ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research (6 units)

PSYC2009 Quantitative Methods in Psychology (6 units)

12 units from the completion of courses from the following list:

BIOL2114 Evolution (6 units)

BIOL2115 Comparative Physiology (6 units)

BIOL2131 Ecology (6 units)

BIOL2151 Genetics (6 units)

BIOL2203 Field Studies in Functional Ecology (6 units)

6 units from the completion of a course from the following list:

BIOL3109 Developmental Biology (6 units)

BIOL3125 Plants and Global Climate Change (6 units)

BIOL3131 Behavioural Ecology (6 units)

BIOL3178 Recovering Threatened Species and Ecosystems (6 units)

BIOL3206 Evolution of Biodiversity (6 units)

BIOL3210 Appreciating Parasites: from Molecules to Ecosystems (6 units)

BIOL3213 Australian Wildlife (6 units)

BIOL3303 Advanced Field Studies in Functional Ecology (6 units)

6 units from the completion of a course from the following list:

BIOL3191 Bioethics and Society (6 units)

BIOL3201 Big Questions in Biology (6 units)

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