The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


Provides a basic understanding of reproductive physiology and development in mammals for those students who wish to major in biology, cell and molecular biology, biotechnology or environmental science. The course focuses on: the processes involved in the production of gametes and how their development is synchronized in males and females to achieve fertilization. Within this context, the course considers: the processes involved in sexual differentiation; the specialization of the male and female gametes and how they achieve fertilization and subsequent development; and the reproductive strategies which have been adopted in order to achieve fertilization and birth at the most suitable times of the year. The roles of the endocrine system and signal transduction processes in controlling reproduction are examined. Topical examples of reproductive adaptations and technologies are considered, such as the evolution of reproduction in humans, the development of contraceptive methods for humans and pest animals, and clonal technologies.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Developed an appreciation for the scientific philosophy associated with research in biological sciences.

2. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms of early development

3. An understanding of the mechanisms involved in sexual differentiation.

4. An understanding of the processes involved in the specialization of gametes

5. An understanding of the processes and adaptations involved in achieving fertilization.

6. An understanding of how reproductive processes are regulated by the endocrine system.

7. Learnt how to carry out physiological studies in the laboratory.

8. The ability to interpret physiological data critically.

9. The skills to write a laboratory report.


  1. Endocrine system and principles of control


  1. Hypothalamus and pituitary
  2. Steroid hormones
  3. Signal transduction


  1. Molecular mechanisms of early development


  1. Sexual differentiation


  1. Development of gonads
  2. Development of accessory organs & characteristics


  1. Gamete development and fertilization


  1. Reproductive strategies


  1. Female sexual cycles and adaptations
  2. Strategies of sperm production


Students must have successfully completed BIOL2020 to be enrolled in this course.

Assumed knowledge

BIOL1001 and BIOL1002

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Examination: Formal *

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory Exercises & Reports *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: There is a compulsory attendance requirement in this course. - Students must participate in all scheduled laboratory sessions.
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions. - In order to participate in this course, students must complete a compulsory lab induction.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must submit all lab reports.
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must obtain a passing grade of at least 50% in the laboratory assessments to demonstrate that they have acquired the practical skills required to meet course objectives 7, 8 & 9.
  • Formal Examination: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must obtain a passing grade of at least 50% in the final examination to demonstrate that they have acquired the theoretical knowledge and to meet course objectives 1-6.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 7 hour(s) per Week for 6 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term