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Honours subject area

Microbiology is the study of organisms that are too small to be seen by the unaided human eye. Such organisms include protozoa, algae, fungi, lichens, bacteria and viruses. Microbiology is one of the most important and exciting of the biological sciences. Not only is it a basic biological science, which has provided us with much of our understanding of the chemical and physical principles behind living processes, but it is also an applied biological science, dealing with aspects of medicine, agriculture, biotechnology, food technology and pollution control.

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About honours

Specific additional academic requirements for microbiology honours are:

  • a minimum of 24 completed credit points of senior units of study relating to the intended honours area in microbiology
  • either a credit average in 48 credit points of relevant intermediate and senior units of study or a SCIWAM of at least 65.

Honours students in microbiology are required to:

  • undertake a major research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff;
  • write a thesis based on this research;
  • present an introductory and final seminar describing their work;
  • undertake research skills training involving six tutorials and an examination; and 
  • attend the weekly school seminar

Your research thesis (65%) is expected to be approximately 50 pages in length (<12,000 words).

You will also undertake a short (20-30 minute) oral examination to defend your research. You will present a final seminar (10%) of approximately 20 minutes describing the aims of your project, the results you obtained, and the significance of the results in the context of the published literature.

The research skills training task (25%) consists of approximately six 2-hour tutorials run by the honours committee in small groups of six to ten students. In these tutorials, each student will be assigned a scientific paper and will run a discussion amongst the group on that manuscript.

You will be assessed on your presentation as well as your participation in the group discussions.

In the final examination, you receive a scientific paper and are required to write an appraisal of that paper, highlighting your opinions of the research described.

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Units of study in honours

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The course information on this website applies only to future students. Current students should refer to faculty handbooks for current or past course information.

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