University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Cell and Developmental Biology

Study in Cell and Developmental Biology is offered by the Disciplines of Anatomy, Histology and Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, in the Sydney Medical School, as well as Developmental Biology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

Cell and Developmental Biology aims to understand how a single cell undergoes divisions and cell differentiation to give rise to different cell and tissue types in a coordinated manner to lead to a whole organism. A comprehensive understanding of cell biology in the context of development provides a means to understand processes that lead to diseases such as cancer. Cell and Developmental Biology provides undergraduate units of study that are transdisciplinary in nature.

Requirements for completion

A major in Cell and Developmental Biology requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 6 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 1000-level selective units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(v) 24 credit points of 3000-level selective units

A minor in Cell and Developmental Biology is available and articulates to this major.

Pathway through the major

The requirements for a major in Cell and Developmental Biology are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Cell and Developmental Biology major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Cell and Developmental Biology major (48 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 1 or 2

Selective: CHEM1XX1 Chemistry 1A, BIOL1XX6 Life and Evolution

Semester 2

Core: BIOL1XX7 From Molecules to Ecosystems


Semester 1

Core: BIOL2X29 Cells

Semester 1 or 2

Selective: BCMB2X02 Proteins in Cells or GEGE2X01 Genetics and Genomics


Semester 1

Selective: 3000-level units listed for major

Semester 2

Selective: 3000-level units listed for major

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Cell and Developmental Biology y section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, which must include a minimum of 24 credit points in a single subject area at 4000-level, including a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Space is provided for 12 credit points towards the second major (if not already completed). 24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Requirements for Honours in the area of Cell and Developmental Biology: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Honours units of study will be available in 2020.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9036 5417

School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Level 5, Carslaw Building (F07)
Eastern Avenue
The University of Sydney NSW 2006

School of Medical Sciences
Anderson Stuart Building (F13)
Eastern Avenue
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Professor Maria Byrne
T 61-2-93515167

Professor Frank Lovicu
T +61 2 9351 5170

Associate Professor Mary Byrne
T +61 2 9114 0978

Associate Professor Stuart Fraser
T +61 2 9036 3313
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Cell and Developmental Biology will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of cell and developmental biology and the coherence of these disciplines
  2. Demonstrate an in depth understanding of the methods in cell and developmental biology and how current knowledge in this field is both contestable and testable through further inquiry.
  3. Through coherent understanding explain the role and relevance of cell and developmental biology in society.
  4. Demonstrate creativity in thinking and problem solving.
  5. Appreciate the significant role of cells and development to health and the continuation of life.
  6. Exhibit breadth of knowledge by demonstrating an in-depth understanding of core concepts in cells and development.
  7. Exhibit depth and breadth of knowledge by showing how these core concepts are interconnected with those in other disciplines.
  8. Gather, synthesise and critically evaluate information about phenomena in cells and development from a range of sources.
  9. Critically analyse observations of cells and developmental biology through proposing and testing hypotheses.
  10. Design and conduct experiments in cells and development.
  11. Collect, accurately record, interpret, analyse, and draw conclusions from data generated in the enquiry of cells and developmental biology.
  12. Effectively synthesise and communicate core concepts and results from enquiry in cells and development across a range of modes (including oral, written, and visual) for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  13. Be accountable for their own learning by being independent and self-directed learners.
  14. Work effectively, responsibly and safely in individual and peer or team contexts.
  15. Demonstrate knowledge of the regulatory frameworks and ethical principles relevant to their sub-disciplinary area within cells and developmental biology, and apply these in practice.