Gold CoastSession 1Session 1
LismoreSession 1Session 1
OnlineSession 1N/A

Unit description

Provides an understanding of the foundations and world of science including its philosophy, history, and the role it plays in the functioning of our society. Science is a tool used by researchers, doctors, psychologists, educators, engineers, managers and legislators to facilitate change and maintain our social and ecological systems: the value of science and its limitations for these uses needs to be recognised. A range of examples is used to investigate these topics including climate change, unconventional gas expansion, genetically modified crops and immunisation. Effective communication often determines the eventual utility of science and this aspect will be explored, with an emphasis on building skills in critical interpretation and communication of science and research.

Unit content

The following topics will be addressed:

  • Introduction to the philosophy and history of science: What is 'science'? The development of the 'scientific method' will be examined, from ancient Greece to the present day.
  • Critical evaluation of science and the scientific method. Processes of scientific reasoning and  limitations of science will be explored, including ethical considerations of research practice and communication.
  • The role of science in society and vice versa. The ways that science can affect the functioning of societies, and social influences on the operation of science will be investigated, using case studies of globally important scientific issues.
  • Exploring the complementary nature of Indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge, including differences, and connections between, these knowledge systems.
  • Communicating science effectively. Effective communication of science is required to allow science to optimise its benefit to society. We will examine the basic strategies and techniques that underpin the effective communication of science.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 1

  • There are prescribed readings for each weekly topic, including the Study Guide and associated links which will be assessed (excluding anything on Facebook): (various authors), A shortcut to MyReadings available in left navigation bar.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment

Gold Coast

Teaching method
Lecture on-site 1.5 hrs (12)
Tutorial on-site 1hour (12)
Lecture on-site 30 mins (12)
Short written response15%
Critical review40%


Teaching method
Lecture on-site 1.5 hours (12)
Tutorial on-site 1 hour (12)
Lecture on-site 30 minutes (12)
Short written response15%
Critical review40%


Teaching method
Lecture online 2 hours (12)
Tutorial online 1hr (12)
Short written response15%
Critical review40%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2020 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.