• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Medical Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Alexander Maier
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings
  • STEM Course

Every 30 seconds someone is killed by a parasite. Parasites also cause damage to the livestock industry worth several billions of dollars each year. This course offers an overview of the biological and molecular bases of important parasitic diseases and an understanding of the enormous impact parasites have on endemic communities.

In this course we will take a broad and multi-disciplinary approach to the complex and dynamic relationships between parasites and their hosts. We aim to understand the problems we face when fighting parasitic diseases and to identify potential solutions. We will explore both unicellular parasites (protozoa) and multicellular parasites (mainly parasitic worms and ectoparasites). We will also investigate overarching themes like mechanisms that cause disease, transmission, diagnostics, drug development and intervention strategies.

The diverse and comprehensive lecture series is complemented by hands-on practicals that will emphasise particular aspects. These practicals will also provide insights into the current state of parasitological research and strategies that are employed to develop new drugs and diagnostics.


Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Analyse key features of major parasitic diseases and evaluate their impact on human and animal health.
  2. Compare and evaluate different transmission strategies of various parasites.
  3. Compare and evaluate key factors that cause parasitic diseases (both from the parasite and host perspective).
  4. Organise parasites into their phylogenetic relationships and appraise their diversity.
  5. Understand key principles of diagnostic approaches and assess and critique different diagnostic tests.
  6. Assess and evaluate different treatment and intervention strategies.
  7. Identify, analyse and design experimental approaches, that lead to the creation of parasitological knowledge.
  8. Independently research a current topic in parasitology using published literature.

Other Information

The course examines the complex and dynamic relationships between parasites and their hosts. It presents an overview of the biological and epidemiological bases of important parasitic diseases and an understanding of the impact of parasitic diseases on endemic communities.

Please email rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Data analysis (5) [LO 7]
  2. Practical reports (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,7]
  3. Online quizzes (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,7]
  4. Research report (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
  5. Final exam (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]

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 2 x 1 hour lectures per week (total 24 hours). Up to 33 hours of practical or tutorial sessions throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 73 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, reports and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with BIOL3142

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

Prescribed Texts



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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
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
3215 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In Person View

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