Unit description

Provides an understanding of what science is (its philosophy, sociology, and history) and of the roles that science plays in the functioning of our society. Science is a tool that is used by managers, regulators and legislators to facilitate change and maintain our social systems: the value of science and its limitations for these uses needs to be recognised. Examples will be used to investigate these issues including climate change, atomic energy, cold fusion and genetically modified food. The effective communication of science often determines the eventual utility of science and this aspect will be explored.

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 the 17th Century to the present.
  • Critical evaluation of science and the scientific method. The main theories of scientific reasoning and the limitations of science to the provision of verifiable theories and models will be examined.
  • The role of science in society and vice versa. Science and society influence each other. The ways that science can affect the functioning of societies, and the social influences on the operation of science will be explored using case studies of globally important scientific issues.
  • 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

  • No prescribed texts.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


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 2014 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.