Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit deals with the development and mature organisation of the nervous system in a wide range of animals. The unit examines the complex wiring of the brain and how this organisation relates to an animal's behaviour, ecology and environmental needs. As examples, the unit includes studies of deep-sea fish and those birds and mammals which span the aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Animals with highly specialised senses, such as owls, are also considered. The unit provides a unique perspective of neuroscience—students gain a non-human centric view of the central nervous system and acquire a better understanding and appreciation for brain variation and adaptation across the animal kingdom. The laboratory classes provide practical experience in the examination of the nervous system and instruction in methodology and experimental design.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) understand neurobiological principles in a range of animal species; (2) learn to present, analyse and interpret original data collected in the laboratory; (3) engage with conventions of scientific publications; and (4) analyse and present large and complex datasets using R.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) online quizzes; (2) manuscript assignment; and (3) experimental design and data analysis tasks. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Jennifer Rodger and Associate Professor Jan Hemmi
Unit rules
Successful completion of
or Enrolment in
one level 2 Unit(s) BIOL2xxx
or PHYL2xxx
or ANHB2xxx
or ANIM2xxx
or PSYC2xxx
Enrolment in
71520 Master of Biomedical Science
Advisable prior study
any Level 1 CHEM unit
or WACE Chemistry
or TEE Chemistry
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour per week
labs: 3 hours per week for 8 weeks
This unit involves dissection of postmortem animal material under strict ethical guidelines

Bear, M. F. et al. Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain: Williams & Wilkins 1996

Foster, R. G. and Kreitzman, L. Rhythms of Life: the Biological Clocks that Control the Daily Lives of Every Living Thing: Profile Books Ltd 2005

Jacobson, M. Developmental Neurobiology: Plenum Press 1991

Purves, D. and Lichtman, J. Principles of Neural Development: Sinaeur Assoc. Inc. 1985

Sanes, D. H. et al. Development of the Nervous System: Academic Press 2000

Land, M. F. and Nilsson, D. E. Animal Eyes: Oxford Animal Biology Series 2006

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.