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


The topics of this unit include comparative reproduction and patterns of development in brain, limbs, kidneys and associated ducts, aortic arches and associated heart organisation. Development of non-mammalian species is investigated in detail (fish, amphibians) as well as a focus on marsupials. Systems are interpreted from the view of structure and function as well as the evolutionary pathways and constraints imposed on animals by their phylogeny. Content is delivered through lectures, workshop/discussions and practical classes.

The main objective of the unit is to gain insight into principles of vertebrate development with focus on non-standard models and a comparative approach. Research culture is emphasised by focusing on areas of research strength within the School of Biological Sciences (reproductive biology, neuroscience, developmental plasticity). Students gain experience in science communication by presenting results of practical classes to peers and participating in a formal debate.

6 points

Students are able to (1) describe early stages of vertebrate development; (2) understand patterns of development in limbs, kidneys and associated ducts, aortic arches and associated heart organisation; (3) understand systems from the view of structure and function as well as the evolutionary pathways and constraints imposed on animals by their phylogeny; (4) become familiar with non-standard models of vertebrate development and explore a comparative scientific approach; and (5) gain skills in scientific note-taking, data collection and interpretation.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) practical and theory exam; (2) debate; and (3) laboratory worksheets and presentations. 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)
Dr Jennifer Rodger and Dr Alex Tang
Unit rules
Enrolment in
71520 Master of Biomedical Science (ID 359) Specialisation Neuroscience
or 71540 Master of Health Science (ID 384) Specialisation Human Biology
or Neuroscience
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
laboratory sessions: 2 hours per week for 9 weeks of semester
  • 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.