Master of Science (Zoology)

Course MC-SCIZOO (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Year and Campus: 2013 - 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.


Dr Devi Stuart-Fox

Dr Tim Dempster


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 (Zoology) is a coursework masters degree incorporating a substantial research project.
The Master of Science gives 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 skills component, as a pathway to PhD study or to the workforce.


At the completion of this course, students should have gained:

  • familiarity with the kinds of data generated by biological and environmental research programs;
  • a detailed understanding of selected contemporary issues in biological sciences;
  • the ability to exercise critical judgement, independent thinking and problem solving;
  • skills in conducting and managing a research project;
  • the ability to writing scientific reports and communicate results in oral presentations; and
  • time management and self-management skills.
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Students must complete 200 pts over a two year full-time (or four year part-time). The program will begin on the Monday of semester of entry (semesters 1 and 2) and continue for up to 88 weeks until the end of the fourth semester, minus recreation leave of between 4 and 8 weeks, and will comprise:

  • Discipline Core subject (12.5 points);
  • Discipline Elective subject (12.5 points);
  • Further Discipline Elective subjects (25 points);
  • Professional Skills subjects (25 points);
  • Research Project (125 points).
Subject Options:

Discipline core

Students must take:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013

or equivalent subject at the 900-level with the approval of the program coordinator

Discipline Elective

Students must take one of:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013

Further Discipline Electives

Students will select 25 points of elective subjects appropriate to their research project, in consultation with their supervisor. A student may complete a third-year level subject if no suitable alternative is available at the graduate level. Students wishing to take a second-year subject or more than one third-year subject will need the approval of the MSc Coordinators and the Associate Dean.

Professional Skills

Students must select two subjects:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013

Research Project

This subject provides students with the opportunity to design and conduct, under supervision, independent research. Students will also develop skills in critically evaluating new knowledge within a scientific paradigm. Specific research projects will depend upon the availability of appropriate expertise, but will address questions in ecology, conservation, animal behaviour, marine biology, reproductive physiology and developmental biology. Students will take responsibility for their own research project, including the design and management of field and/or laboratory experiments; collection, analysis and interpretation of data; and communicating the results through oral and written presentations. The assessment for the research project consists of a research proposal in the first year (up to 4000 words; 15%), a final oral presentation (20 minutes; 10%); research performance evaluation from the supervisor(s) (10%) and a final research report (up to 10,000 words, 65%).

The project will be taken over four consecutive semesters and will begin on the Monday of semester of entry (semesters 1 or 2) (indicative for 2013: March 4 and July 29) and continue for up to 88 weeks until the end of the fourth semester, minus recreation leave of between 4 and 8 weeks (22 weeks per semester over the four semesters).

For how long and at what time within the enrolment the actual period of leave is to be taken needs to be negotiated with a student’s supervisor.

The Research Project will be due for submission by the end of the formal examination period of the fourth semester of enrolment if an earlier date is not specified.

Exceptions can be negotiated with the supervisor and with approval from the subject coordinator, including for part-time study in the course, as long as the consecutive enrolment requirement is met.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2013
Not offered in 2013
Entry Requirements:

An undergraduate degree with a major in Zoology, Biomedicine, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science, Genetics, Physiology, or Veterinary Science, with at least an H3 (65%) in the major, or equivalent.

Quotas may be applied and preference may be given to applicants with evidence of appropriate preparation or potential to undertake research. Entry is subject to the capacity of the department to provide adequate supervision in, and resources for, a research project appropriate to the interests and preparation of the individual student and may be subject to the agreement of a member of academic staff to supervise the project module. Selection is not automatic and, in particular, is subject to competition.

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 Master of Science offers 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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