Course Outline

MBT352 Molecular Biotechnology

Course Coordinator:David McMillan ( School:School of Science, Technology and Engineering

2022Semester 2

USC Sunshine Coast

USC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


MBT352 been designed to provide students with knowledge of the scientific principles and techniques that underpin molecular biotechnology, and how these techniques are applied using real world examples. Topics covered include manipulation of DNA, cloning DNA into bacteria, plants and animals, expression of recombinant proteins, and modification of genomes. The ethics of molecular biotechnology are also covered.  

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Asynchronous learning material 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Laboratory 1 – Laboratories will be used to demonstrate key concepts in Molecular biotechnology. Each laboratory will be two hours in length. The preferred format for these laboratories is face to face. However COVID-19 restrictions may result in an altered delivery format and schedule. 2hrs Week 2 6 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Computer based tutorials will be used for students to learn how to design and analyse and utilise bioinformatic data. 2hrs Week 1 7 times

Course Topics

Major themes that will be covered include: 
•genetic manipulation of bacteria, plants and animals, including humans 
•protein biotechnology 
•medical biotechnology 
•plant and animal biotechnology 
•ethical and social implications of molecular biotechnology    
The laboratory component of the course will equip students will technical and analytical skills used in this discipline. These will include: 
•PCR, nucleotide sequencing and analysis 
•Protein expression and purification 
•Forensic biology 
•Molecular diagnostics 
•Advanced Microscopy 
•Aquacultural biotechnology 

What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Design, describe and critically review strategies for cloning DNA, the production of genetically modified organisms, and expression and purification of recombinant proteins. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
2 Describe and analyse how molecular biotechnology is applied in different settings, using real world examples. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
3 Synthesise, discuss and critically analyse ethical and societal issues surrounding biotechnology. Creative and critical thinker
4 Demonstrate practical and analytical skills in relation to laboratory and bioinformatical techniques. Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


MBT252 or LFS252


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Understanding of basic concepts in molecular biology and biochemistry as taught in prerequisite units

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

You will sit a formative multiple choice exam in week 4. The exam will cover content covered in the course that point. Feedback on the correct answers, with relevance to the final exam, will be provided.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Oral Individual 20%
10-15 min
Refer to Format Online Submission
All 2 Report Individual 40%
3000 words
Week 13 Online Submission
All 3 Examination - Centrally Scheduled Individual 40%
2 hours
Exam Period Exam Venue
All - Assessment Task 1:Oral Seminar presentation
Describe an issue or challenge in science, medicine, agricultural other industry, and how
you will apply a biotechnological technique to provide insight or to solve this issue.
Product: Oral
1. You are required to prepare and deliver an 15 min oral presentation with visual aids. 

2. The seminar will have relevance to modern biotechnology, and should include
• A description of the topic, issue or problem that is being addressed
• How biotechnology is, or could be used to address these issues
• A description of one of the biotechnological processes chosen to address the issue
• A description of what has  or is hoped to be achieved by implementation of the technology
• Limitations and/or unexpected outcomes
• Ethical, societal or other considerations

Visual aids will be submitted prior to the Assessment. Oral presentations will be delivered in Weeks 10 and 11.  Depending on student numbers enrolled in the course, the oral seminars may be given in pairs.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Mastery of the subject matter presented
1 2
Ability to answer questions that demonstrate a higher order understanding of key concepts covered in the seminar
1 2 3
Oral presentation skills
1 2
Quality and appropriateness of visual aids
All - Assessment Task 2:Research proposal
Prepare and submit a research proposal that describes a current issue or problem and the
application of biotechnological technique to solve or provide insight or to this issue.
Product: Report
The research proposal will be written as a cohesive 3000 word document, containing the following sections: Project Title, Project Summary, Background. Research Aims. Research Plan, Expected or actual Outcomes, Significance of the Research, Potential limitations and/or alternatives, References.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Mastery of the subject matter presented
1 2
Ability to interpret, synthesise and present information from multiple sources
2 3
Overall report presentation
1 2
All - Assessment Task 3:Final exam
You will demonstrate and apply knowledge, analyse relationships and solve problems in molecular biotechnology
Product: Examination - Centrally Scheduled
Multiple choice, short answer and medium answer format
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Your knowledge and explanation of scientific and biotechnological principles and applications covered in the course
1 2 4
Your ability to apply concepts covered in the course
1 2 3
Your knowledge and capacity to discuss ethical and societal impacts of molecular biotechnology

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Recommended Bernard R. Glick,Cheryl L. Patten 2017 Molecular Biotechnology Fifth edition ASM Press

Specific requirements

Students are required to comply with laboratory safety rules.

How are risks managed in this course?

Risk assessments have been performed for all laboratory classes and a moderate level of health and safety risk exists. Moderate risks are those associated with laboratory work such as working with chemicals and hazardous substances. You will be required to undertake laboratory induction training and it is also your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate (the rates are cumulative): 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day 
- 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. 
To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

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