• Offered by Biology Teaching and Learning Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Biology
  • Areas of interest Immunology and Microbiology, Plant Science, Biology, Public Health
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Benjamin Schwessinger
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

Biosecurity is essential to protect human, animal, plant, and environmental health in Australia under ever changing global environmental conditions. Threats to our collective health are many fold ranging from SARS-COV2 to invasive plant pathogens like myrtle rust and animal disease like foot and mouth disease. Incursions of these pathogens have severe societal and economic impact once they are introduced into our communities and environments.

This course starts off with providing an introduction to policies and legislation that frame the collective biosecurity discussions in Australia. It moves on to introduce the biology of plant pathogens that pose biosecurity risks. It explores novel technologies that improve detection and identification of organisms that pose biosecurity risks. It introduces models that aim to quantify these risks. The course then puts SARS-COV2 and COVID-19 in a biosecurity and public health perspective. At the end it finishes off with an Indigenous view on biosecurity before exploring future employment opportunities in the biosecurity sector.

Honours Pathway Option (HPO)

Entry to this option will be subject to approval by the course convener. Students who take this option will have to attend two additional tutorials (one in week 4 and one in week 10) with a focus on literature reviews on plant biosecurity risks and SARS-CoV2, respectively. HPO students will be assessed at a higher standard which will be reflected in a separate marking rubric for practical reports and the critical essay on biosecurity.


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Research and evaluate biosecurity information with a specific focus on its value in the Australian context.
  2. Contrast the principles underlying policies used to manage biosecurity.
  3. Classify the biological attributes that make feral animals, weeds, parasites and pathogenic micro-organisms a biosecurity threat.
  4. Critically analyse the science that underpines our understanding of new biosecurity threats.
  5. Demonstrate and evaluate the application of scientific principles and methods in a biosecurity context using specific case studies.

Other Information

Participation in 80% of tutorials and 80% of practical laboratories are a course requirement. Submission of an critical essay on a biosecurity topic of choice is also a course requirement.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Quizzes (20) [LO 2,3,4]
  2. Four Practical/Laboratory reports (50) [LO 1,3,4,5]
  3. Critical essay on a biosecurity topic of choice (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.


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

The workload each week includes the following as indicated:

  • 2 x 1 hour lectures per week (total 24 hours) of which most will be available as short online mini-lectures.
  • 1 x 1 hour in person tutorial (total 12 hours) for which attendance is required as there are essential to address LO 3-5 which are directly linked to all assessments. Students who don't attend tutorials will be seriously disadvantaged.
  • 10 x 3 hour practical labs across the Semester

In addition throughout the course students are expected to spend approximately 64 hours of self-directed study which will include preparation for lectures, tutorials, practical laboratories and assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with BIOL6106. This course requires basic molecular laboratory skills which student might have acquired taking any one of the following courses: BIOL1004, BIOL2171, BIOL2161, BIOL2142, BIOL2162 or equivalent. Please contact the course convenor if you are interested in this course and lack basic molecular biology skills to identify potential suitable prior training opportunities.

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
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3614 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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