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


What does it mean to be human in the twenty-first century? What will it mean to be human in the future? We live in an age in which fundamental aspects of the human condition are coming into contact with new technologies and new ways of being, doing and thinking. Responding to the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century and charting new courses for the future requires an understanding of why people think and act the way they do and how human realities change. This unit explores the basic dimensions of human experience as well as currents of change in the new millennium in order to generate insights into what motivates our actions as a species and foresight into what it might be like to be human in the future. In exploring human biology, psychology and culture, the unit focuses on the ecological relationships between humans and the natural and built environments in which they live across the planet and on the social relationships that determine our interactions with one another. Students also examine the role of culture and world view in determining the way we treat the natural environment and relate to others, as well as the way we see ourselves. They then identify fundamental human needs and motivations within this broad perspective. Students apply these general understandings to a range of contemporary questions that relate to the human condition. As scientific frontiers are crossed in areas such as genetics, computer science and nanotechnology, what will it mean to be human in the future? Will the human species itself be transformed or will there simply be more gadgets for those who can afford them? Will science unlock the secrets of human experience or will some aspects always remain a mystery? What do we mean by words and phrases like 'psyche' and 'spirit' in an age of high technology and virtual reality? Students discuss these questions and more as they collaboratively develop understandings about the nature and current predicament of humankind.

6 points

Students gain (1) cross-disciplinary understandings of what it means to be human in the twenty-first century and what it will mean to be human in the future; (2) an understanding of how human nature affects our ability to respond to global challenges; (3) an understanding of how the human condition is being changed by social and technological revolutions; and (4) the ability to use online technologies to collaborate with others and build shared understandings.


This comprises a portfolio of activities (50 per cent), an assignment including website production (25 per cent) and contribution to group activities (25 per cent).

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

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Neville Bruce
Unit rules
IHST5801 Humans in a World of Change (formerly IHST8801 Orientation to Integrated Human Studies)
or taken concurrently
Contact hours
approx. 6 hrs per week on the online learning modules, readings, forum postings, project and group activities and attendance at regular face-to-face (on-campus) or live online tutorials (distance learning)
  • 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.