Handbook Public View

This page displays current curriculum information. For staff view, please login

Unit (2019)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2019 academic year.

What is Science? (BSC150)

Organisational Unit College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Credit Points 3
Availability MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external, S2-internal, S2-external
Teaching Timetables Murdoch S1
Murdoch S2
Description The challenges of the future require creative thinking and an interdisciplinary approach to solve complex social, health, technological and environmental problems. This unit will introduce you to the history and philosophy of Science and the interconnected nature of the scientific disciplines. It explores how scientific ways of thinking and knowing have emerged and how science informs and is framed by non-scientific ways of thinking and broader social agendas. Be prepared to challenge what is known/unknown in your discipline.
Unit Learning Outcomes On successful completion of the unit you should be able to:
1. Identify the common features of scientific methods of inquiry and to contrast these with non-scientific methods of inquiry.
2. Critically evaluate the advantages and limitations of the scientific approach to knowledge.
3. Describe the major ideas developed within the philosophy of science, and recognise real life examples of these ideas being applied to actual scientific research
4. Identify some commonly used research methods in disciplines outside your home discipline.
5. Demonstrate an awareness of the different perspectives that can arise from different scientific disciplines, the reasons for these differing perspectives, and their possible consequences.
6. Discuss the role of science in society.
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 1 hour per week; laboratories: 2 hours per week, commencing in week 2.
Unit Learning Experiences A series of face to face lectures (also available online) will introduce you to the core concepts in the unit. The core concepts will be reinforced by a diverse series of workshops, in which you will explore practical examples of the philosophical concepts through media, drama, computer modelling, laboratory and other activities. More complex topics and interactions are developed by way of panel discussions, based on questions posed by the student body. Periodic reflection on the content and activities is a central part of your learning in this unit. You will further explore topics through reading material and audiovisual material that supports and develops the key areas.
There are required, assessable, supporting materials including online content (text and video) and a small unit textbook.
Assessment Lecture & workshop assessment (35%) In-class assessment and online quizzes promote engagement, content review, and comprehension.
Contribution to panel discussions (15%). Question submission encourages prior consideration of the topic before the panel, as well as an understanding of the diverse views of other students. The panel promotes understanding of different scientific disciplines and the role of science in society.
Reflective journal (20%). Weekly reflection on theoretical and practical activities, promotes integration and consolidation of philosophical concepts, reflection on similarities and differences between disciplines, and awareness of science's role in society.
Examination (30%). A sixty question multiple choice examination paper draws together material from the lectures, Q and A panel sessions, required supporting materials and lab activities.
Prerequisites Nil.
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
Animal Health (BSc) [New in 2015]
Animal Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Biological Sciences (BSc) [New in 2014]
Biomedical Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Business Information Systems (BSc) [New in 2014]
Chemistry (BSc) [New in 2014]
Chiropractic Science + Clinical Chiropractic (BSc)+(BClinChiro) [New in 2015]
Clinical Laboratory Science (BSc) [New in 2015]
Computer Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Conservation and Wildlife Biology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Criminology + Forensic Biology and Toxicology [Combined] (BCrim)+(BSc)
Crop and Pasture Science (BSc) [New in 2016]
Cyber Security and Forensics (BSc) [New in 2014]
Engineering Technology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Environmental Management and Sustainability (BSc) [New in 2014]
Environmental Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Forensic Biology and Toxicology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Games Software Design and Production (BSc) [New in 2014]
Games Technology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Genetics and Molecular Biology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Internetworking and Network Security (BSc) [New in 2014]
Laboratory Medicine (BSc/BLabMed) [New in 2016]
Law + Science [Combined] (LLB)+(BSc) [New in 2014]
Marine Biology (BSc) [New in 2017]
Marine Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Mathematics and Statistics (BSc) [New in 2014]
Mineral Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Mobile and Web Application Development (BSc) [New in 2014]
Physics and Nanotechnology (BSc) [New in 2014]
Psychology (BSc) [New in 2017]
Sport and Health Science (BSc) [New in 2014]
Veterinary Science (BSc)+(DVM) [New in 2014]
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


Unit Coordinator
No co-ordinators found for this unit.
Unit Contacts
No contacts found for this unit.
Fee Calculator
Handbook help
Information for Students


The University reserves the right to cancel, without notice, any course, major, minor or unit if the number of students enrolled falls below limits set by the University.

Regulations and Rules

Students should ensure they are familiar with the University's internal legislation, including provisions specifically relevant to their studies. See the University Regulation overview and view legislation online.