Master of Science (Botany)

Course MC-SCIBOT (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Year and Campus: 2011 - Parkville
CRICOS Code: 062189B
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 24 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Associate Professor Ed Newbigin


Melbourne Graduate School of Science
Faculty of Science
The University of Melbourne

Tel: + 61 3 8344 6128
Fax: +61 3 8344 3351
Course Overview:

The Master of Science - Botany is one of the research training streams of the Master of Science. The research training streams give students the opportunity to undertake a substantive research project in a field of choice as well as a broad range of coursework subjects including a professional tools component, as a pathway to PhD study or to the workforce.


The objectives of this course are to provide students with:

  • high-level experience in, and ability to conduct independent research in a field of plant science;
  • ability in reviewing and assessing scientific literature;
  • ability in hypothesis testing, design of laboratory and/or field experiments;
  • ability in advanced scientific techniques, data analysis and interpretation;
  • written and oral presentations;and
  • potential to proceed to the PhD degree.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Students must complete 200 points comprising:

50 or 87.5 points of discipline subjects;
25 or 37.5 points of Professional Tools subjects; and
a 125 point major or a 75 point minor Research Project

Discipline Subjects (50 or 87.5 points)

Students will enrol in subjects available through the Master of Science programs, in particular the Master of Science (Biotechnology) ( ), Master of Science (Environmental Science) ( and through the Office for Environmental Programs ( and the Master of Forest Ecosystem Science (

Subjects will be selected in consultation with the research supervisor and approved by the School’s Postgraduate Coordinator. Subjects will be selected both to broaden the student’s training and to enhance the skills relevant to the chosen research area. Where appropriate and with approval, a student may complete up to two 300 level subjects.

Professional Tools Subjects (25 or 37.5 points)

Depending on the choice of a Major or Minor Research Project in Botany, students will take two or three of the following subjects:

  • 600-619 Scientists, Communication and the Workplace
  • 615-668 Critical analysis in Science
  • 615-505 e-Science
  • 600-615 Thinking and Reasoning with Data
  • 600-617 Systems Modelling and Simulation
  • 600-616 Science in Context
  • 600-618 Ethics and Responsibility in Science
  • 600-614 Business Tools: Money, People and Processes
  • 600-622 Business Tools: The Market Environment

Research project (125 or 75 points)

A major 125 point or a minor 75 point research project provides an opportunity for independent research under supervision in the School of Botany, in the areas of cellular, molecular and functional plant sciences, plant systematics and evolution, marine botany and environmental science. The major thesis allows a student to focus on a substantial project while the minor thesis allows a student to maximise coursework training. Both are pathways to the PhD. Each project will be designed in consultation with a supervisor(s) and approved by the School’s Postgraduate Coordinator. The research project will provide: experience in reviewing scientific literature (3,000 words; 10% for the Major and 15% for the Minor), hypothesis testing, design of laboratory and/or field experiments, training in experimental techniques, data analysis and interpretation, and development of written (thesis; 85% for the Major and 80% for the Minor) and oral presentation skills (40 minute seminar; 5% for the Major and 25 minute seminar; 5% for the Minor). The research project will be assessed by thesis (Major, 17,000 - 22,000 words and Minor 10,000 – 12,000 words).

Depending on whether a student is completing a 125 point major research project or a 75 point minor research project, a student may enrol in a combination of research project subjects as indicated below (each of which is available in the summer semester, semester one and semester two) over their two years of full-time study or over their four years of part-time study, to ensure they have completed a total of either 125 points for the major research project or a total of 75 points for the minor research project by the end of their course.

125 point Major Research Project:

  • 606-671 Botany Research Project Major – 12.5 points
  • 606-672 Botany Research Project Major – 25 points
  • 606-673 Botany Research Project Major – 37.5 points
  • 606-675 Botany Research Project Major – 50 points

75 point Minor Research Project:

  • 606-639 Botany Research Project Minor – 12.5 points
  • 606-638 Botany Research Project Minor – 25 points
  • 606-637 Botany Research Project Minor – 37.5 points
  • 606-636 Botany Research Project Minor – 50 points
Subject Options:

Professional Tools

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2011
Not offered in 2011
Not offered in 2011

125 point Major Research Project

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2

75 points Minor Research Project

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Entry Requirements: Bachelor degree with a major in an appropriate discipline with at least an H3 (65%) average in the major or equivalent.
Core Participation Requirements:

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.

Further Study: The Research Training programs offer a pathway to a PhD.
Graduate Attributes:

Graduates will:

  • have the ability to demonstrate advanced independent critical enquiry, analysis and reflection;
  • have a strong sense of intellectual integrity and the ethics of scholarship;
  • have in-depth knowledge of their specialist discipline(s);
  • reach a high level of achievement in writing, research or project activities, problem-solving and communication;
  • be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning;
  • be able to examine critically, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a broad range of disciplines;
  • have a set of flexible and transferable skills for different types of employment; and
  • be able to initiate and implement constructive change in their communities, including professions and workplaces.

Links to further information:

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