Courses & Units

The Sciences and Society XBR204



We live in a world of sciences. From the pure physics of string theory to the applied sociology of interventions, from the study of nanoparticles to broadband strategies. Science, in its various forms, plays an important role in how we as individuals and as a society, perceive, understand, and make decisions in the world. However, such knowledge is influenced and shaped by broad social, cultural, economic and political issues, which influence how this knowledge is produced and used (or not used). Yet despite the importance of science people can have trouble explaining what science is and what scientists do.

The Sciences and Society unit provides the opportunity for individuals to understand what science is and what scientists do, the need for ethical behaviour in scientific endeavour and scientific debate, and the need for scientific literacy in order for individuals to be able to develop informed views and attitudes and make rational and considered decisions about science in society. The unit approaches this broad goal in three ways:

  • developing understanding of the foundations of science;
  • developing the capacity to engage in rational debate and communication about science;
  • developing a sense of the importance of science in society

The unit will deliver on its outcomes through a range of student-centred learning experiences that emphasise engagement with the learning leaders and other students, and problem solving activities. High quality learning materials including print, audio and video artefacts of scientific findings, documentary, and media broadcasts will facilitate a high level of engagement with students.

Ethical behaviour in science will be embedded in the topics throughout the unit with a particular focus on the importance of ethical behaviour in the practice and reporting of science by providing both philosophical and regulatory perspectives on ethics. Controversial case studies of questionable and fraudulent scientific practice and reporting will be used to illustrate the importance of ethical behaviour in the practice and reporting of science

You may enrol in this unit if you are a 1st or 2nd year student required to undertake breadth units as part of your chosen degree. You may study the unit in Distance Mode (fully online).


Unit name The Sciences and Society
Unit code XBR204
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School DVC Students & Education
Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT)
Discipline Chemistry|Philosophy and Gender Studies|Politics and International Relations|Sociology and Criminology
Teaching staff

Dr Susan Turland, Dr Andrew Seen, Dr Peta Cook, Dr Graham Wood, A/Prof Fred Gale

Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? Yes


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Launceston Semester 2 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

Units are offered as On-campus where the majority of teaching will occur at the campus identified.  Units offered Off-campus generally have no requirement for attendance at a physical university campus unless the unit has practical or fieldwork components*:  the campus indicated for an Off-Campus unit is the one at which teaching is administered from.

*Please read the Unit Introduction in the Course and Unit Handbook for attendance requirements for units offered in Off-campus mode.

Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 17/7/2017 10/8/2017 4/9/2017 20/10/2017

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2017 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2017 will be available from the 1st October 2016.

About Census Dates



Band CSP Student Contribution Full Fee Paying (domestic) Field of Education
2 2017: $1,131.00 2017: $2,055.00 019999

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.


Teaching Pattern

Online learning resources and workshop/discussion group activities


Scientific methods on-line quiz (30%); Critique of media report (30%); Understanding of science reflection (40%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable


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The University reserves the right to amend or remove courses and unit availabilities, as appropriate.