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Diploma of Science

  • Direct entry to the 2nd year of the Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Science, Environmental Science (majors in Management and Sustainability, Wildlife and Conservation Biology), Forensic Science, Zoology and Animal Science
  • Supportive learning environment provides the best possible preparation for Deakin University
  • Study on a Deakin University campus with full access to accommodation, support services

Key Information


8 or 12 months


  • March
  • June
  • October


Geelong Waurn Ponds



The Diploma of Science leads to Deakin University’s Bachelor degrees in science, biomedical science, environmental science, forensic science or zoology and animal science. Graduates may work in a wide range of cutting-edge and rapidly growing fields and could be involved in the scientific developments that hold the key to the future.

Employment and career options upon completing your Bachelor degree

Work in:

  • Biomedical science
  • Environment and natural resources
  • Forensics
  • Genetic engineering
  • Insurance investigation
  • Laboratory technology
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Medical research
  • Pest management officers
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Pharmaceutical production or sales
  • Research science
  • Risk analysis
  • Quality assurance
  • Education
  • Quarantine officers

Course Structure

Complete and pass 8 units+:

HBS107 Understanding Health

The concepts of health, the social determinants of health, academic integrity, health systems, the biological and environmental determinants, health promotion, indigenous health, settings for health, marginalised populations and global health.This interdisciplinary unit examines a determinants approach to health and wellbeing, including:the complex range of interactions that influence the health of individuals and populations; the determinants of selected health issues in urban and rural Australia, as well as in global contexts, and explores a range of models and approaches and their impact on health outcomes.

Assessment: Academic Integrity 5%, Self-awareness audit and reflection 25%, health plan review 35% and group oral presentation 35%

HBS109 Human Structure and Function

This interdisciplinary unit provides an overview of the basic sciences of human anatomy and physiology, exploring issues of relevance to the health sciences. Specific topics to be addressed will include: organisation of the human body, outlining anatomicalterms, chemical and structural bases of cell function, body tissues including integument, homeostasis and physiological control via neural and hormonal mechanisms that maintain a constant internal environment. Support and movement through an understandingof the musculo-skeletal system, and maintenance of key systems, including cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary and immune systems.

Assessment: 10% practical related tasks, 20% MCQ intratrimester quizzes (4 x 5%), 40% Case Based Learning (2000 word essay, Draft 10%, Final 30%), 30% Final Exam

HSN101 Foundations of Food Nutrition and Health

This unit provides students with foundation knowledge in food, nutrition and health, including food sources of nutrients, food and nutrient recommendations for health and methods for measuring food intake and behaviour, historical perspective of why we consume the foods we do today and how our scientific knowledge may influence foods we eat in the future. Students also gain an understandingof interactions between the environment, technologies developed to produce and harvest foods and scientific advances in food and nutrition. The topics include: food history, Australian food culture, food production, food sources of nutrients, food and nutrient recommendations and their relationship with health and methods used to measure food intakes and behaviours. Students also have an opportunity to align their interests and values to future career options.

Assessment: Assessment task 1: Three multiple-choice cloud (online) tests (5% each) 15%, Assessment task 2: Written assignment (1300 words) 30%,Assessment task 3: Career activity, reflection and infographic (800 words) 20% Assessment task 4: Examination (1.5 hours) 35%

SIT191 Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis

Data is everywhere in the world. Without knowing how to interpret or use information from the data it would be difficult to understand its meaning. Statistics is both a method and a tool for interpreting information, testing hypotheses and analysing the inferences people make about the real-world. SIT191 aims to aid students develop knowledge in using statistics to summarise, describe and interpret numerical and graphical data and perform statistical inferences. In this unit, students will develop knowledge of the fundamentals of probability for reasoning real-world situations.Students will be required to use statistical software and calculators to analyse data and interpret results for tests on population means and proportions, chi-square tests, correlation and linear regression, and one-way ANOVA.

Assessment: Examination 40%, three problem solving tasks (10%, 15% and 15%) 40%, quiz 10%, class participation and attendance 10%. To be eligible to obtain a pass in this unit, students must achieve a mark of at least 40% in the examination and an overall pass.

SIT194 Introduction to Mathematical Modelling

This unit includes: functions and limits; derivatives and integrals of combinations of polynomials, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions; sequences, seriestests and power series; vectors, lines and planes; first order differential equations. Applications studied include graph sketching; approximations to solutions of equations and integrals; formulation of models to solve science and engineering problems.

Assessment: 40% four assignments (4 x 10%), 60% final examination

SLE102 Physical Geography

This unit will examine interactions between the major components of planet Earth -the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere. A particular emphasis is placed on the study of natural disasters and extreme natural events. Major topics will include the formation and subsequent evolution of the earth; plate tectonics; soils, weathering and erosion; the hydrological cycle -including interactions between oceans, rivers, groundwater and polar ice: Earth weather. Minor topics will include studies in the origin of the universe and solar system; the relationship between earth landforms and climate, global environmental change and the earth’s energy and mineral resources.

Assessment: 20% practical tests (2 x 10%), 30% mid trimester test, 20% assignment, 30% final examination

SLE103 Ecology and the Environment

SLE103 introduces students to the science of ecology, investigating relationships between organisms and the environment. In this unit, students will also explore climate change and energy issues. They will learn about the nature of science and the scientific method and how to use a systems framework to investigate environmental issues. This will equip students with the capacity to study key environmental issues such as climate systems and ecological systems and make a difference.

Assessment: 15% group poster presentation, 20% mid trimester test, 25% report, 40% final examination

SLE109 Fundamentals of Environmental Science

In this unit, students will focus on developing strategies and skills that are fundamental to a successful career in any environmental science field. Students will learn these skills using real-world scenarios and case studies of current environmental science issues. Skills and contents covered will include career planning and strategies, scientific data management, fundamental statistical concepts, scientific communication, digital literacy, ethics and their implications, and effective use of feedback and reflective practice.

Assessment: Career planning report 20%, Seminar tasks 45%, Group oral presentation 20% (5% peer feedback, 15% presentation), Reflective report 15%

SLE111 Cells and Genes

In this unit, students will be able to study the characteristics of life that are fundamental for every field in biology. Upon successful completion of Cells and Genes, students will be able to explore, examine and describe the characteristics and structures of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells as well as understand cellular mechanisms such as reproduction, communication, and transport across the membrane and cellular respiration. The genetic basis of cell biology is focused on in the latter part of the unit starting with Mendelian genetics which leads on to interpreting patterns of inheritance, mechanisms and control of gene expression and the principles of DNA technologies -all of which form the second part of the unit.

Assessment: Class test 15%, bioinformatics assignment 7%, practical exercises 33%, examination 45%. To obtain a pass in the unit, students must submit and pass at least 4 of the 5 practical class assessments.

SLE112 Fundamentals of Forensic Science

SLE112 is a fundamental forensics unit, during which students will explore forensic science in an Australian context and learn the challenges and differences of forensic science in a global context. This includes some of the key principles used to study the science, including Locard’s exchange principle, principle of individuality, comparative analysis, and class and individual characteristics. Students will engage in activities that will require them to apply forensic processes from a crime scene to the court. It will also require them to apply introductory forensic analysis including chemical, biological and physical techniques and learn about the legal system including how law is developed, criminal vs civil law, and the laws of evidence.

Assessment: Two in-class tests (15% each) 30%, a reflective report 25%, practical report and practical skills demonstration (3 x 15%) 45%. To be eligible to obtain a pass in this unit, students must achieve at least 50% in the practical report and practical skills demonstration assessment.

SLE115 Essential Skills in Bioscience

This unit is the first of a sequence of professional practice units designed specifically for students in the first year of biosciences. The unit will focus on development of generic skills and will draw upon and extend the scientific content of other core first year units and utilise this context for skill-building exercises. These exercises will include data analysis and presentation, library research methods, scientific writing and referencing, mathematics and statistics.

Assessment: mid-trimester test 20%, literature search 10%, careers report 20%, group presentation 10%, examination 40%

SLE121 Environmental Sustainability

The aim of SLE121 is to examine the scientific, social,cultural and environmental factors that are all integral components of Environmental Sustainability, on International, National and Local scales. This will necessitate a review of what definitions of sustainability there are and how they inter-relate in regards to environmental, social and economic management. The unit aims to develop the ability to: appreciate the diversity and complexity of environmental issues, identify environmental impacts due to human activities, appreciate the range of stakeholders and their viewpoints in relation to particular issues, understand the necessary measures and associated problems in achieving effective sustainable environmental management and understand the principles and applications of sustainable development.

Assessment: Reflective journal and report 30%, sustainability communication tasks (in-class debate 5%, written report 35%) 40%, examination 30%.

SLE123 Physics for the Life Sciences

The unit gives an introduction to physics, particularly applying to biological systems. Topics include kinematics, forces, gravity, energy, heat, fluids, waves, sound, optics, electricity, atoms and molecules. The physical principles of each topic are developed, and then applied to a practical understanding of biological systems and appropriate applications.

Assessment: 30% assignments, 20% experimental demonstration, 50% final examination

SLE132 Biology: Form and Function

SLE132 introduces students to animal and plant biology. Students will explore the relationships between animal structures and their functions, and investigate the physiological processes that enable animals to adjust to environmental changes. They will also learn aspects of animal diversity and behaviour. As students progress learning in this unit, they will study the evolutionary diversity of plants, their structure and functions, morphology and growth, reproductive biology, nutrient acquisition and transport, and their applications in biotechnology, with an emphasis on flowering plants. Examples from other plant groups and the non-plant eukaryotes, fungi and algae, will also be used for comparison and as examples during discussion.

Assessment: 15% Mid trimester tests, 35% practical exercises, 10% Assignment; 40% final examination

SLE133 Chemistry in Our World

SLE133 is a foundation unit designed to develop and consolidate student understandings and skills in basic chemistry. The learning and assessment activities provide students with the opportunity to study atoms, molecules, and ions, how they change during a chemical reaction and how bonding affects properties such as intermolecular interactions, boiling points, ease of evaporation and the ability of substances to dissolve in water. Students will engage in laboratory work in order to develop their hands on skills in chemical safety and measurement and their ability to perform calculations related to substance measurement. Students will then apply these concepts of bonding, chemical change and measurement to determine the acidity and basicity of substances and the formation of buffers.This unit can be taken as a stand-alone unit for students who need some awareness of chemistry to broaden their degree, or can be taken as a foundation for further studies in biochemistry, chemistry, and related areas like food and nutrition, molecular biology and science education.You must have completed SLE010 in the current or a previous trimester, before you can attend any laboratory sessions.

Assessment: Assessment: 20% in-class quizzes, 30% laboratory exercises and reports,10% active tutorial participation, 40% final examination. To be eligible to obtain a pass in this unit, students must achieve at least 50% in the practical component.

SLE155 Chemistry for the Professional Sciences

SLE155 builds on the student’s previous chemistry knowledge about atoms, molecules, properties, reactions, measurement and acidity. Students will extend their knowledge to more advanced chemical naming, structures, and hypervalent bonding. They will be introduced to additional topics such as, chemical equilibria, solution chemistry, simple organic compounds, chirality and thermochemistry.This unit will lead to further studies in biochemistry, chemistry, and related areas such as food and nutrition, molecular biology and science education. This unit can also be taken as an elective unit for students who want a broader knowledge of chemistry to enhance their degree.Students must successfully complete SLE133 before enrolling in SLE155.

Assessment: Assessment: 20% in-class quizzes, 40% laboratory exercises and reports, 40% final examination. To be eligible to obtain a pass in this unit, students must achieve at least 50% in the practical component.

  • + The units you choose will depend on the degree program that you intend to study at Deakin University.
  • All Diploma of Science students must complete a Laboratory and Fieldwork Safety Induction Program (SLE010), which is a 50-minute safety training program. This does not count toward your total units.
  • For SLE102, SLE111, SLE132, SLE112, SLE123 and SLE133 you must complete SLE010 Laboratory and Fieldwork Safety Induction Program as a co-requisite unit. You must successfully complete SLE133
  • Chemistry in our World before enrolling in SLE155 Chemistry for the Professional Sciences (pre-requisite).
  • Students are also required to complete STP050 Academic Integrity (0 credit point unit).


Online and on-campus classes run between 11am and 9pm on weekdays (Melbourne time). Most units run as 2 x 2-hour classes each week. Some units have additional prac sessions. We recommend 4-6 hours of private study per unit, per week.

View a mock timetable

Second Year Entry to Deakin University*

Australian Students


T1 (Trimester 1 entry); T2 (Trimester 2 entry); T3 (Trimester 3 entry)

* See Diploma to Degree transfer criteria.
Choice of majors limited and not available on all campuses.
# These degrees require you to take additional first year degree units when you transfer to Deakin University. The degree may therefore take longer to complete.

International Students


T1 (Trimester 1 entry); T2 (Trimester 2 entry); T3 (Trimester 3 entry)

* See Diploma to Degree transfer criteria.
Choice of majors limited and not available on all campuses.
# These degrees require you to take additional first year degree units when you transfer to Deakin University. The degree may therefore take longer to complete.

Academic Entry Requirements

More Information

For further details about units and availability, trimester structures and more, please download the course outline below.

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