• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Biology

 “What would the world be like without parasites?” – this is the guiding question for this 2-week intensive course based at the ANU Kioloa Coastal campus. During the course we will look into the role, history, lifestyle, evolution, ecology and diversity of parasites in the biosphere. Through lectures, workshops and practical experiments we will explore the terrestrial and aquatic parasites found in the local environment and contemplate on the challenges parasites face, the bases for their survival and their impact on the environment.

Through adopting a big picture biological inquiry of parasites the course considers:

  • parasites in their environment;
  • their evolutionary past;
  • the complex flow that is the organism/s;
  • forms of communicating and interaction that occur at the organismal and population levels; and
  • the dynamic complexity and yet specificity of host-parasite interactions.

This is a multi-disciplinary course that ranges from molecular sequencing to evolutionary ecology. Since the course is designed to be a collaborative learning journey, we value a diverse background of the participants. A willingness to contribute and the ability to work in a team are a requirement for participation.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain the interaction and diversity of parasite and host populations within the Kioloa environment.
  2. Analyse and relate the evolutionary trajectories of specific/local parasite and host populations to their habitats.
  3. Apply disciplinary and interdisciplinary frameworks in a systems level appraisal of parasite/host ecology.
  4. Design and apply relevant experimental techniques to a cycle of collaborative research.
  5. Evaluate how interdisciplinary research can deepen complex life sciences research inquiry and personal learning.

Other Information

This course will be held during the Spring Session at the end of November at the Kioloa ANU Coastal Campus. Students need to register their expression of interest online at expression of interest form . Applications will close on 3 August 2022. Please include a short paragraph of why you want to take this course including your expectation and what you hope to gain from this course. Students will be notified of the outcome by mid August.

Field trip costs are in addition to the tuition fees and can paid through Scienceshop .

Indicative Assessment

  1. Field/lab book (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Four blog postings based on interdisciplinary parasite host perspectives (group based) (20) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Group oral presentations based on 'the big things we don't know about parasites' (10) [LO 1,2,3]
  4. Oral presentations (5) [LO 1,2,3]
  5. Web based science reports on student host-parasite research (15) [LO 1,2,3]
  6. Final Host-Parasite Research Report (2000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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 delivered intensively. The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the session including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 10 x 3 hours based on lectures/workshops each day. 10 x 3 hours of practical (lab/field) and 10 x 1.5 hours interdisciplinary working group.
  • Approximately 55 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

This is a field course and students must participate in the 2 week field trip in Kioloa. In order to participate in the trip, students must be able to:

  • Travel to the field location and stay in field accommodation such as shared basic cabins or dorm rooms;
  • Monitor and manage their own health while studying and living with a small group of people in an isolated field location;
  • Understand and respect the needs of other participants and act professionally throughout the trip.

Students who cannot meet these requirements will not be able to participate in the trip and therefore cannot complete the course. For more information, please refer to the

trip information page.

In addition, in order to participate in some of the activities on the trip, students must be able to:

  • Safely traverse 2-3km over uneven ground at a moderate pace.

Students who can provide evidence they are unable to meet this requirement, or can otherwise only participate in part of the trip activities may be able to negotiate

alternative participation and assessment requirements with the course convenor.

Requisite and Incompatibility

24 units of relevant disciplinary coursework in Biology and/or Environmental Science at the 2000 level

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

Prescribed Texts

Key readings will be provided in the course site within Wattle

Assumed Knowledge

24 units of relevant disciplinary coursework in Biology and/or Environmental Science at the 2000 level


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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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.

Spring Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9176 01 Oct 2025 24 Oct 2025 24 Oct 2025 31 Dec 2025 In Person N/A

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