Human Sciences: From Cells to Societies

Subject SCIE10004 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 48 hours: 2 x 2-hour classes in weeks 1 to 12
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Some familiarity with, and interest in, knowledge from both the sciences and humanities, that has developed in past (e.g. school level) study.

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:


Dr Celia Mcmichael


Subject Overview:

This subject will introduce the perspectives of the major, and the scales at which the varied scientific disciplines of Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, Psychology and Geography understand ‘the human’. This will take up the first 3 weeks of the subject. A question will be identified, that will be analysed by each of the four disciplines in turn; this will take up the next 8 weeks of the semester. (The questions chosen will vary year by year, as the subject is taught by staff with different specialist interests). For example, questions chosen for study in the subject might be: how does a particular disease, in a certain time and place, spread from being an epidemic to a pandemic; what is the relationship of humans to particular natural disasters; over the next century, should (and will) most humans become vegetarian? In the final week of semester, the views of ‘the human’ that are held by the four disciplines will be compared and contrasted, in light of what has been revealed in studying the question chosen for focus. This concluding discussion will demonstrate the aspects of the human to which each discipline gives priority, and at which scales.

Learning Outcomes:

At the completion of this subject, students will have:

  • Understanding of the varied manner in which scientific disciplines understand ‘the human’, at the scales of the cell, body and society, and how this can form a multi-faceted ‘human sciences’ perspective
  • Basic knowledge of the ways in which the four disciplines of Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, Psychology and Geography , contribute to a ‘human sciences’ perspective
  • Capacity to articulate and communicate the contrasting approaches of different disciplines in the study of the human
  • 4 x in-class tests (20 minutes each) due the end of weeks 5,7,9,11 (40% total - 10% each)
  • Major assignment, containing analytical and essay components (2,000 words) due in final assessment period (60%)
Prescribed Texts: None
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:

Upon completion of this subject, students will have skills in:

  • Identifying and comparing questions asked by selected disciplines
  • Appreciating the different kinds of evidence that can be used scientifically
  • Communicating verbally and in writing their own responses to questions chosen for issues-based study
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

Download PDF version.