Courses & Units

The Sciences and Society XBR204


This unit is being phased out, no new enrolments are being taken.


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.
The unit has a combination of assessable, hurdle and student engagement tasks, as detailed in the Assessment schedule. Hurdle tasks, whilst not assessed, are included to support your learning across the unit, providing opportunities to reflect on your understanding of science, with these reflections then available to you for completing assessable tasks. Student engagement activities are included to verify your engagement in the unit and failure to complete these activities may lead to cancellation of your enrolment in the unit.


Unit name The Sciences and Society
Unit code XBR204
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Sciences and Engineering
School of Natural Sciences
Discipline Chemistry|Philosophy and Gender Studies|Politics and International Relations|Sociology and Criminology
Coordinator Associate Professor Andrew Seen
Available as student elective?
Delivered By Delivered wholly by the provider


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


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 12/7/2021 10/8/2021 30/8/2021 17/10/2021

* 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 (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2021 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2021 will be available from the 1st October 2020. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  • explain what scientists do in practice and how this may differ by discipline and purpose.
  • articulate the different arguments about the nature of scientific knowledge.
  • debate the role of the sciences in society and the nature of the science-policy interface.
  • evaluate and apply (where relevant) ethical behaviour in scientific endeavour and scientific debate.
Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2 Domestic Full Fee
019999 $993.00 $993.00 not applicable $2,354.00
  • Available as a Commonwealth Supported Place
  • HECS-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility3
  • FEE-HELP is available on this unit, depending on your eligibility4

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

If you have any questions in relation to the fees, please contact UConnect or more information is available on StudyAssist.

Please note: international students should refer to What is an indicative Fee? to get an indicative course cost.


Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:



AssessmentTest or quiz|Test or quiz (30%)|Assignment (40%)|Abstract (30%)|Discussion posts (online)|Discussion posts (online)
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Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

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