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Genetically Modified Organisms (BTCH90010)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeBTCH90010
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject investigates genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and their potential benefits for humankind in the 21st century, against the background of controversy and public concern triggered by the release of transgenic plants and animals into the food chain. The course examines the contrast between (i) the established use GMOs for many years in drug synthesis, getting limited negative attention, and (ii) the environmental release of agricultural genetically modified plants and animals, which has been accompanied by much public concern regards to safety and societal implications.

Intended learning outcomes

At the completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • appreciate the broad economic consequences of technological innovation in biology, and the global context of public policy on agricultural biotechnology;
  • recognise the similarities and differences between DNA transfer and rearrangement as it occurs in nature as compared to deliberate genetic manipulation the laboratory; and
  • be able to articulate the opportunity costs and human welfare benefits of public policies concerning biotechnology.

Generic skills

At the completion of this subject students should gain:

  • experience in examining critically, synthesising and evaluating knowledge across a range of disciplines;
  • expanded analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences relating to public policy and technological risk assessment; and
  • knowledge to be active global citizens and accept social and civic responsibilities, and be advocates for improving the sustainability of the environment based on comprehensive and open-minded consideration of evidence.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


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



One 2000 word essay, due mid-semester (50%); a two-hour end-of-semester examination (50%).

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorDavid Tribe
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36 hours comprising 3 one-hour lectures per week.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

170 hrs

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts


    Recommended texts and other resources

    None (selected reading from the literature and general media will be provided during the course).

  • Subject notes

    Students undertaking this subject will be expected to regularly access 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.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 9 November 2018