Skip to Content

Major: Human Biology

Major Details

Human Biology


Department of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 36 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

6cp from
Human Biology (3)
Genes to Organisms (3)
Biology in Practice (3)
Foundations of Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences 1 (3)
Introduction to Anatomy (3)
Introduction to Psychology I (3)
3cp from
Human Biology (3)
Organisms to Ecosystems (3)
Genes to Organisms (3)
Biology in Practice (3)
Biological Basis of Behaviour (3)
Foundations of Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences 1 (3)
Foundations of Chemical and Biomolecular Sciences 2 (3)
Introduction to Psychology I (3)
Introduction to Psychology II (3)
Introduction to Anatomy (3)
Anatomy of Limbs and Back (3)
Human Evolution and Diversity (3)
Introductory Statistics (3)

200 level

Systems Physiology (3)
Neurophysiology (3)
9cp from
Illness and Healing (3)
Genetics (3)
Comparative Physiology (3)
Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biology (3)
Analysis and Measurement (3)
Biochemistry and Cell Biology (3)
Microbiology and Molecular Biology (3)
Organic Synthesis (3)
Microbiology (3)
Biochemistry (3)
Molecular Biology (3)
Contemporary Health Issues (3)
Anatomy of Head, Neck and Trunk (3)
Neuroanatomy (3)
Principles in Health and Disease 1 (3)
Evolution, Mind and Culture (3)
Psychology, Health and Wellbeing (3)
Biopsychology and Learning (3)

300 level

Advanced Human Physiology (3)
9cp from
Human Genetics Theory (3)
Symbiosis in Health and Disease (3)
Medicinal Chemistry (3)
Macromolecules (3)
Medical Microbiology (3)
Biochemistry and Cell Biology (3)
Radiographic Physics, Practice and Protection (3)
Research Methods for Health Sciences (3)
Research Methods for Health Sciences (3)
Health Promotion (3)
Radiographic Physics, Practice and Protection (3)
Principles in Health and Disease 2 (3)
Principles in Health and Disease 3 (3)
Philosophy and Cognitive Science (3)
Principles of Behaviour Change (3)
Clinical and Experimental Neuroscience (3)
Biostatistics and Epidemiology (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program The human biology major is concerned with the structure and function of humans from the whole body to the molecular level with the unifying theme provided by the designated physiology units. The flexibility within the major as part of the BSc allows for a broad focus on the health sciences or for specialization in areas such as biochemistry and cell biology, genetics or psychology. The strong research focus of many of the units offered in this major means that students can acquire a suitable background for medical and health research. As well, with an appropriate selection of units students will be eligible to apply for a wide variety of post graduate degrees in allied health fields.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. describe the function of human body systems and the regulation of the internal environment in health and disease (K, T)
2. identify relationships between form and function in biology, at molecular, cellular, and whole-organism levels (K, T)
3. demonstrate a detailed understanding in a combination of the core disciplines that
4. constitute the health sciences, and recognise that investigating complex biological systems requires an interdisciplinary approach (K, T)
5. identify the major health issues currently affecting the population and the current research initiatives focussing on these problems (K, T, A).

6. demonstrate a high level of proficiency in producing written and oral presentations at the different levels appropriate for a professional audience and the general population (C)
7. demonstrate the interpersonal skills and the ability to balance leadership and cooperative input required to develop an effective team (C, J)
8. apply scientific methods, including formulation of hypotheses and experimental design, collection of experimental data, analysis using appropriate statistical methods and development of a logical argument based on the experimental evidence (T, P, I)
9. demonstrate proficiency in measuring basic human health parameters including blood pressure and ECG and in adhering to the appropriate workplace health and safety requirements when handling biologically and chemically hazardous material (K)
10. develop and express an informed and considered approach to the ethical issues arising from investigations in the health sciences and understand the legal and moral ramifications involved (E, A, J)
11. articulate the need for continual intellectual development and the mastery of new skills in a divers and rapidly changing world throughout one’s working life (L).
Learning and Teaching Methods Human Biology is a multidisciplinary major that is designed to provide you with a broad background in the:
• biomedical disciplines of physiology, anatomy, genetics, pathology, biochemistry, immunology and microbiology
• allied health areas including psychology, philosophical and cultural considerations of health and disease, contemporary health issues and health promotion
• methods that currently underpin biomedical research including molecular biology, statistics and data analysis.

There are a combination of required and elective units. For each unit you will complete several tasks during the semester and these range from essays, literature reviews, critiques of articles in the scientific literature and popular media, research proposals, case studies, practical reports, tutorial reports and seminars. These tasks are designed to further your abilities and enthusiasm for independent research, enhance problem solving skills and practice the use of logic and the development of coherent arguments. Importantly they provide the opportunity to develop your communication skills using various media. Within each unit you will have opportunities to work on assignments as a team or individually. The specific requirements expected for each task will be clearly explained to you and detailed feedback from staff and on occasion from other students in your group will provide you with a measure of your progress and also provide advice to help you improve your skills.

All of the units include two or three formal lectures a week and a practical class and/or a tutorial session. Typically tutorials reinforce and extend material presented in lectures, further explain conceptually difficult material and practice problem solving and in some cases involve numerical calculations. They are a forum for interaction between you and your fellow students and with your tutors. By participating in practical classes you will become proficient in the manual and analytical skills that are integral to application or research in each specific discipline. In most practical classes you will be performing complex tasks as part of a team so you will need to develop an ability to plan, communicate and co-operate with your peers to achieve a successful outcome.

All the required units and most of the elective units in this major are presented in internal and external modes. Therefore depending on your circumstances or preference you may decide to enrol into the internal mode and attend practicals and tutorials on campus each week. Or alternatively you may choose to enrol as an external student and complete all the practicals and/or tutorials for the semester on one weekend (two days) and in the mid-semester break (two to three days). Whether you are an internal or external student you can attend live lectures or download the electronic version at your convenience.
Assessment You will need to complete a formal exam in all but two of the 40 required and elective units in the human biology major. The percentage of the total marks for the exams ranges from 25% to 60% with an average of 50%. In some cases you be required to pass the exam to pass the unit. All the details concerning the format of the exam, the types of questions and the marks for each question will be explained to you before the exam and for most units the exam paper from the previous year is available in the library for review.

Most units also have a mid-semester test that contributes to your overall mark. These tests are used as an incentive for you to revise material already covered, to allow you to assess whether you are making satisfactory progress in the unit and as a “practice” for the final exam. Following these tests discussion of the answers with your peers and your tutor provides a valuable opportunity to identify and explain concepts you find difficult. In some units you will also need to complete regular (often weekly) quizzes. These quizzes are online, may be on lecture or practical class material and each quiz usually contributes only a small proportion of the total mark for the unit. The quizzes serve a similar purpose to the mid-semester test and are included to provide regular feedback and encourage you to keep up with the unit content during the semester.

The remaining marks are from assessable tasks completed throughout the semester and these assignments include essays, literature reviews, critiques of articles in the scientific literature and popular media, research proposals, case studies, practical reports, tutorial reports and seminars.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Employment opportunities for graduates in the BSc with a major in Human Biology are in various health related fields (e.g., anesthesic, cardiographic, perfusion, and renal dialysis technologists). Possible employment could be as administrators in heath care in hospitals or in government, councils and policy bodies. Graduates would also have an appropriate background for employment in pharmaceutical and scientific supply companies and in primary and secondary school teaching.

A proportion of the students completing the human biology major is expected to continue on to a Masters and PhD program to prepare for a career as a research scientist. With a suitable combination of units within this major, students can also acquire the academic prerequisites required to apply for a wide variety of postgraduate degrees related to the health sciences. These include a Doctor of Physiotherapy (at Macquarie University) and postgraduate medicine and dentistry, nutrition & dietetics, pharmacy, occupational therapy, genetic or rehabilitation counselling, orthoptics and podiatry. Due to changing demographics the prediction is for a long-term shortage of allied health professionals in Australia. Therefore a BSc majoring in Human Biology provides a gateway to career paths with excellent employment prospects.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148