Biotechnology in Modern Society (Sci.3)

Subject 136-337 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Between 10-12 weekly tutorials and between 20-24 lectures, normally two per week
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours/week, 6.5 additional hours/week. Total of 9.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Usually two second-year HPS subjects. Alternatively, Biology 141 and 142 and two second-year zoology, botany, genetics, microbiology or biochemistry subjects.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Ms Stephanie Lavau


Dr Gerhard Wiesenfeldt
Subject Overview: This subject will introduce students to selected research and commercial applications of modern biotechnology in order to discuss the broader issues that arise from them. A range of topics will be covered in this subject, which may include the recombinant DNA debate, biotechnology in agriculture, genetically modified food, public attitudes towards gene technology, cloning, the human genome project, genetic testing and gene therapy. Students will consider some of the social, ethical, risk and regulatory issues that arise from these applications of modern biotechnology, and will examine some of the debates about these issues that have taken place in the wider community.
Objectives: Students who sucessfully complete this subject will
  • develop a critical appreciation of the social, ethical, risk and regulatory issues that arise from recent research and industrial applications of biotechnology;
  • be familiar with the theory and practice of several sociological and ethical approaches to the issues that arise from the application of biotechnology in modern society.
Assessment: Written work totalling 6000 words comprising a tutorial assignment of 1500 words 20% (due during semester), an advanced topic of 2000 words 30% (due during semester), a research essay of 2500 words 40% (due during the exam period), class participation and contribution 10%. A hurdle requirement of attendance at eight tutorials is applicable.
Prescribed Texts:
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who sucessfully complete this subject will
  • develop skills in written and oral communication;
  • conduct independent research;
  • make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument;
  • form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments;
  • be able to communicate complex ideas clearly and simply;
  • experience working as a team.

Formerly available as 136-332. Students who have completed 136-332 (Biology in Modern Society or Biotechnology in Modern Society) are not eligible to enrol in this subject. Students cannot gain credit for both this subject and 136-222/322 before 1999 or 136-037 after 1998. Only available at science third year; for other levels, see HPSC20003 (Biotechnology in Modern Society) . This subject is intended for students who are majoring in biological science. This subject is based on 136-037 but involves additional work.

This subject is available for science credit for students enrolled in the BSc (pre-2008 degree only), or a combined BSc course (except for the BA/BSc).

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History and Philosophy of Science

Download PDF version.