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Techniques in Molecular Science (BCMB20005)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeBCMB20005
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 1
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This is a subject suitable for students taking life science and biomedical subjects. It offers an introduction to the techniques used in many areas of molecular science.

Students taking the course will develop practical skills in the laboratory and an understanding of the techniques used in biochemistry and molecular biology to investigate biological problems.

Students will develop practical and research skills by exploiting the physico-chemical properties of molecules in a variety of experimental techniques, and interpreting the data they generate.

Students will apply these skills to the:

  • separation and characterisation of proteins; and
  • isolation, manipulation and characterisation of nucleic acids: and
  • examination of cellular structures.

Students will report on their practical work and learn to relate principles to practical outcomes.

The lectures will cover the theory of standard laboratory techniques central to biochemistry and molecular biology and new methods driving the fields of genomics and proteomics.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of the subject, the student should:

  1. understand the theory of many techniques used in molecular and cell biology and protein biochemistry;
  2. have developed the skills necessary to carry out experimental protocols in molecular biology, protein biochemistry and cell biology, and generate data for analysis;
  3. have developed the ability to perform biochemical calculations and analyse data (including trouble-shooting errors or inconsistencies) and make quantitative assessments of experimental results;
  4. understand how to collate and present data in a conventional standardised format for concise scientific reports;
  5. have developed the ability to work effectively in the laboratory, either in small groups or individually.

Generic skills

By completion of the subject, students should have:

  • gained hands-on experience in a number of biochemical techniques;
  • analysed experimental data and made quantitative assessments of their results;
  • learnt to write concise and accurate scientific reports;
  • gained the ability to understand and follow simple experimental protocols;
  • gained experience in working with others towards common goals.

Eligibility and requirements



Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
CHEM10003 Chemistry 1
Semester 1
Semester 2
CHEM10004 Chemistry 2
Summer Term
Semester 2

Or One of:

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
CHEM10006 Chemistry for Biomedicine
Semester 1
CHEM10009 Chemistry for BioSciences
Semester 1

Other combinations of subjects that provide a similar background may be considered by the coordinator.

Pre-requisites CANNOT be taken concurrently.



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

For BSc students

Level 1 biology is recommended.

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
BCMB20002 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Semester 1
Semester 2

is strongly recommended. Students may take BCMB20002 and BCMB20005 concurrently or in alternate semesters.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Continuous assessment: weekly performance in practical classes (10%)
  • Assessed Practical performance (Week 12) (5%)
  • Weekly computer-based quizzes (10 MCQ each) (6% total)
  • Written reports based on experimental data (4 reports, total of 2000 words) due thoughout semester (49%)
  • 2-hour written final examination held during the examination period (30%)

Students who are absent for more than 20% of practical classes and/or tutorials in this subject might be ineligible for the final exam assessment (coordinator decision).

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorAmber Willems-Jones
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours5 hours per week: 1 x lecture (online), 1 x tutorial, 1 x practical class (3 hours)
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period27 February 2017 to 28 May 2017
    Last self-enrol date 5 February 2017
    Census date31 March 2017
    Last date to withdraw without fail 5 May 2017
    Assessment period ends23 June 2017

    Semester 1 contact information

    Subject Coordinator

    Dr Amber Willems-Jones


    Administrative Coordinator


  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorAmber Willems-Jones
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours5 hours per week: 1 x lecture (online), 1 x tutorial, 1 x practical class (3 hours)
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period24 July 2017 to 22 October 2017
    Last self-enrol date 2 July 2017
    Census date31 August 2017
    Last date to withdraw without fail22 September 2017
    Assessment period ends17 November 2017

    Semester 2 contact information

    Administrative Coordination


Time commitment details

60 contact hours per semester with an estimated total time commitment of 170 hours.

Additional delivery details

An enrolment quota of 210 students per semester (50-54 students per practical class over 4 days per week) applies to this subject.

For detailed information on the quota subject application process, refer to the Quota Subject link on the School of Biomedical Sciences Current Student Information webpage: http://biomedicalsciences.unimelb.edu.au/study/current-student-information/quota-subjects

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts


    Recommended texts and other resources

    Keith Wilson and John Walker, Principles and Techniques of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 6th Ed (2005) Cambridge University Press.

  • Subject notes
    • This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc and BBiomed.
    • This subject is a specific prerequisite for completion of majors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pathology and the Biotechnology-Biochemistry stream.
    • If a BSc student wishes to complete a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, they must complete this subject and ‘Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’ (BCMB20002)’.
    • If a BBiomed student wishes to complete a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, they must also complete ‘Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine’ (BIOM20001).
    • It is strongly recommended that a student wishing to complete a Biochemistry major also completes ‘Biochemical Regulation of Cell Function’ (BCMB20003).
    • Students must enrol for one of the available laboratory days via the student portal before the start of the semester. Be aware that each day has limited places.
    • Students undertaking this subject are required to have regular access to an internet-enabled computer.
  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    quota subject - application deadline as per http://biomedicalsciences.unimelb.edu.au/study/current-student-information/quota-subjects

  • Available to Study Abroad and Exchange students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad.

Last updated: 16 June 2018