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

Course not offered in 2021 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

This is a research-focused course involving hands-on experience in studying wild animals. It is run as an intensive three-week course during the mid-year break. The primary aim is to expose students to two different ways of approaching field biology and to illustrate how the combination of them produces a deeper and more rounded insight into wild animal behaviour and conservation. We will explore ways to apply Western scientific methodology, protocols and experimental designs to a real field-based research project. In addition, the course is co-taught by several Indigenous Elders and Rangers who will explain the Indigenous scientific methods of studying animal behaviour and conservation. By understanding the ways that Indigenous Australians have studied nature over hundreds of centuries, and by combining this with the Western scientific approach, we will illustrate what makes Australian biology so special. 

 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. Use literature searches to identify the current state of knowledge about a specific research question in field biology
  2. Formulate testable hypotheses based on an understanding of the research literature
  3. Conduct field research using appropriate practical skills and methods from both Indigenous and Western- Scientific methods
  4. Analyse the information from both scientific and Indigenous knowledge systems, and combine them to produce a synergistic approach to the research problem
  5. Collaborate as a group to accomplish research goals and demonstrate leadership in collaborations with undergraduate students
  6. Present research results clearly and concisely, in both written and oral formats.

Other Information

This course will be held intensively (three weeks) in the Winter Session during late June to mid-July. The location of the course, the study topic, and the costs will be advertised each year. For 2021, the course will be run in Darwin, the project will be on animal behaviour (including wallabies, magpie geese, ddler crabs, marine turtles and more). The cost will be approximately $650 (excluding flights). More details will be published in the class summary. The field trip costs are in addition to the tuition fees and can paid through ScienceShop.

Enrolment is limited to 10 students only and selection will be based on merit. Please ll in an Expression of Interest Form. Application will be opened early in December and closed at the end of March. Students will be notified of the outcome in mid-April. For more information, please email rsb.studentadmin@anu.edu.au

Indicative Assessment

  1. Individual written introduction to a research problem (10) [LO 1,2,5,6]
  2. Participation in the group's research effort (10) [LO 3,4]
  3. Individual written essay on ‘two-way’ learning (20) [LO 4,5,6]
  4. Oral presentation on ‘two-way’ learning in Australia and globally (10) [LO 4,5]
  5. Individual research paper based on the whole project (50) [LO 1,2,5]

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 session including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 60 hours of workshops/fieldwork/tutorial sessions throughout the session.
  • Approximately 70 hours of group work/data analysis/self-study which will include preparation for the field trip, presentations, group work reports and other assessment tasks. 

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To complete this course, students must participate in the two- week long field trip to a domestic field location. 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, some of the trip options may require students to:

  • Safely traverse 1-2km over uneven ground at a moderate pace.


Students who can provide evidence they are unable to meet this requirement may be able to choose other options or negotiate alternative participation and assessment requirements with the course convener.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed BIOL3232.

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
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4556 01 Jul 2022 TBA TBA 30 Sep 2022 In Person N/A

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