Available in 2021
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


This course provides an introduction to the skills and knowledge needed to design, execute and analyse the results of experimental work. The course will focus on (i) why experimental research should be undertaken (ii) experimental design failures and repercussions (iii) ethical and safety considerations and their influence on experimental design (iv) blinding, randomisation and repeatability in experimental design (v) experimental noise and other sources of variance and their influence on experimental design and (vi) the influence of social, political, career, and economic factors on the design process. This course will give students a framework to plan and execute scientifically and ethically sound experimental work involving both human and non-human subjects.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

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

1. List and understand the principles of experimental design.

2. Understand the consequences of poor experimental design.

3. Understand how to conduct research within an ethical framework, taking into consideration end user and/or consumer needs, professional constraints, and relevant legislation.

4. Understand the limitations of biological models and assays and how these limitations need to be factored in during experimental design.

5. Understand how social, political and professional incentives shape experimental design.

6. Understand statistical approaches as they relate to the design and interpretation of experimental results.

7. Effectively communicate experimental results.


1. The influence of context on experimental design.

2. The repercussions of good and bad experimental design.

3. Key building blocks of good experimental design.

4. Ethical considerations in experimental design.

5. Safety considerations in experimental design.

6. Skills required to design and execute experiments to deliver meaningful outcomes.


This course is only available to students who are active in the Bachelor of Biomedical Science [40097] or the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Honours) [12328] programs.

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: In Class Worksheets

In Term Test: Mid Semester Exam

Formal Examination: Final Exam *

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

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

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Formal Examination: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 35.5 hour(s) per Term Full Term

2.5 hrs per week for 11 weeks and 2 hrs per week for 4 week.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.