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Unit of study_

BIOL3888: Biology Interdisciplinary Project

Our ever-changing world requires knowledge that extends across multiple disciplines. The ability to identify and explore interdisciplinary links is a crucial skill for emerging professionals and researchers alike. This unit presents the opportunity to bring together the concepts and skills you have learnt in your discipline and apply them to a real-world problem. For example, you will participate in one of a range of biology projects that will traverse cells to ecosystems, applying your understanding of biological mechanisms to problems that are big challenges for the 21st century. In this unit, you will continue to understand and explore disciplinary knowledge, while also meeting and collaborating with students from across the University through project-based learning; identifying and solving problems, collecting and analysing data and communicating your findings to a diverse audience. All of these skills are highly valued by employers. This unit will foster the ability to work in interdisciplinary teams, and this is essential for both professional and research pathways in future.


Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Unit code BIOL3888
Unit name Biology Interdisciplinary Project
Session, year
Semester 2, 2020
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Completion of 72cp of units of study, including 12cp from (BIOL2XXX or IMMU2X11 or GEGE2X01 or MICR2X31)
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Lucy Mercer-Mapstone,
Lecturer(s) Dominic Murphy ,
Lucy Diana Mercer-Mapstone,
Hamutal Mazrier,
Greg Sutherland,
Tutor(s) Januar Harianto ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Teamwork evaluation
Two short questionnaires
15% Multiple weeks Two short questionnaires
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO6
Assignment Disciplinary statement of contribution
Individual written essay.
35% Week 04
Due date: 20 Sep 2020 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO2
Presentation group assignment Group pitch presentation
In-class oral presentation
10% Week 06
Due date: 27 Sep 2020 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment group assignment Final consultancy report
Written group report
30% Week 11
Due date: 15 Nov 2020 at 23:59
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Reflective statement
Reflective essay
10% Week 12
Due date: 22 Nov 2020 at 23:59
750 words
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO6 LO7
group assignment = group assignment ?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

At High-distinction level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject as well as a detailed and comprehensive understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding to produce original solutions for novel or highly complex problems and/or comprehensive critical discussions of theoretical concepts.


75 - 84

At Distinction level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a well-developed understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply their subject knowledge and understanding of the subject to produce good solutions for challenging problems and/or a reasonably well-developed critical analysis of theoretical concepts.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad general understanding of the unit material and can solve routine problems and/or identify and superficially discuss theoretical concepts.


50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 How does disease interrelate with society and why does an interdisciplinary approach matter? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Unpacking interdisciplinary & disciplinary cultures Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO5 LO6
Introduction to disciplinary sessions; What is ‘culture’? Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 02 What can we learn from what historical examples show us about the way government and different areas of society react to and are impacted by epidemics/disease? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Intro to Project work: Teamwork & collaboration, team formation and analysis, team charters Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6
What is science and scientific culture? Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 03 What is the interrelationship between climate change and disease? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Cultural competence & reflection, revisit team charter Workshop (2 hr) LO5 LO6
What constitutes your own disciplinary culture? Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 04 What are the opportunities and risks of genetic selection programs and gene editing to prevent or reduce disease? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Identifying & scoping an interdisciplinary research problem Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6
What can we learn from other science/disciplinary cultures? PLUS Drop-in session with coordinator for disciplinary statement of contribution assessment and project pitch assessment Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Is COVID-19 the new norm? Learning for the future from differential approaches to and outcomes from dealing with a pandemic Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Individual group bookings: one on one times with a coordinator Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO7
Biostatistics session one Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Pitch Proposal Presentations Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Pitch Proposal Presentations Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6 LO7
Biostatistics session two Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 07 What is our ethical obligation as scientists to drive social change to prevent disease? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Communicating interdisciplinary ideas for diverse non-technical audiences Workshop (2 hr) LO6 LO7
Biostatistics session three Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 Human’s best friends or dangerous pathogen reservoirs for zoonotic diseases? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Considering ethics and ethical thinking in interdisciplinary research Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6
Reflection and reflective writing Tutorial (1 hr) LO5 LO7
Week 09 Will Silicon Valley save humanity? Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Using interdisciplinary research to influence policy; Peer review Workshop (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 10 Looking back and looking forward: Making recommendations from interdisciplinary projects Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO7
Individual group bookings: one on one times with a coordinator Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Drop-in session with coordinator for project report assessment Tutorial (1 hr) LO1
Week 11 Time to work on project output Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Individual group bookings: one on one times with a coordinator Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Drop-in session with coordinator for reflection assessment Tutorial (1 hr) LO1
Week 12 Time to work on reflective summary Lecture (2 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7
Projects show case Workshop (2 hr) LO7

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Apply disciplinary knowledge to solve problems in an interdisciplinary context.
  • LO2. Find, define and delimit authentic problems in order to address them.
  • LO3. Create an investigation strategy, explore solutions, discuss approaches and predict outcomes.
  • LO4. Analyse data using modern information technology and digital skills.
  • LO5. Demonstrate integrity, confidence, personal resilience and the capacity to manage challenges, both individually and in diverse teams.
  • LO6. Collaborate with diverse groups and across cultural and disciplinary boundaries to develop solutions(s) to the project problems.
  • LO7. Communicate project outcomes effectively to a broad audience.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
This is the first time this unit has been offered.


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