• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Human Sciences, Medical Science, Epidemiology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Isabelle Ferru
  • Mode of delivery Online
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

This course is offered in online mode only.

The course situates health and disease within the context of changing human ecologies, such as those being shaped by globalisation processes. 

 Topics covered include:

  • An exploration of the biological bases of human diseases and the impact they have on individuals and communities.
  • Biological, ecological and socioeconomic aspects of infectious, genetic and lifestyle-associated diseases, along with strategies used for their control.
  • Medicine, public health strategies, and economic development.
  • The role of scientific enquiry in the improvement of human health

 Themes include:

  • Globalisation and environmental impacts on human health
  • Natural selection
  • Dynamics of host-pathogen interactions
  • Lifestyle transitions
  • The place of health on today's political agenda. 

 Principles are illustrated with case studies which may include: 

  • Parasitic diseases such as malaria
  • Other infectious diseases including influenza, smallpox, tuberculosis, AIDS and Ebola
  • Immunological diseases such as asthma and type 1 diabetes
  • Chronic degenerative disease such as vascular diseases and cancer
  • Lifestyle associated diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes


Note: This course is an online course with no face to face lectures. All the course content will be available online.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand select human diseases in their biological, historical and social context.
  2. Describe and contrast important current human infectious diseases and chronic degenerative diseases.
  3. Appraise the impacts of important human diseases (both infectious and degenerative diseases) on human’s societies.
  4. Develop own thinking, opinions and attitudes to global health issue.
  5. Independently research current topics in health and disease using published books, original papers, electronic resources and other materials.
  6. Further develop computer, library and internet research skills.
  7. Produce a substantial piece of individual research.

Other Information

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

You will need to provide a summary of the courses you have completed so far (i.e. transcript). Background in human biology, cell biology and microbiology is strongly recommended to undertake this Master course.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Online quizzes (30) [LO 1,2,3,6,7]
  2. Research Report on a current topic in health and disease (total to 70%) including: Selecting sources of information (3%); ideas of topic for the report (5%); topic of the report (2%); detailed outline for the report (15%) and final research report (2,000 word argumentation essay) (45%). (70) [LO 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.


This course is fully online course. The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • There are no synchronous activities associated with this course. Students are expected to spend up to 100 hours of engaging with the online materials and forums, reading relevant scientific literature, completing quizzes designed to test course content understanding, selecting a literature research subject within the framework of the course, researching up-to-date information on the selected subject and assembling a critical literature research report on the selected topic.
  • In addition student will need to dedicate up to 30 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for quizzes, literature research or research report and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions in the online forum.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

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

Prescribed Texts

Note, the readings for this course are a compilation of journal articles and reviews and book chapters that will be available on the course Wattle site at the beginning of semester

Assumed Knowledge

Background in human biology, cell biology and microbiology is strongly recommended to undertake this Master course.


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 $5160
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6840
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
3044 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 Online View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions