The course

The Melbourne degree structure gives you the flexibility to explore a breadth of topics within your course. It's an exciting opportunity, but it's important to plan your subjects carefully to ensure you get the most out of your studies.

The Bachelor of Biomedicine provides a wide range of options within the Biomedical and Health Sciences. Bespoke integrated subjects in the second and third years of the degree Biomedicine students maintain options for majors in at least seven different core biomedical disciplines. By undertaking alternative pathways through the degree or judicious use of selective subjects in second year students are able to add to the core majors.

  • Standard pathway

    The majority of Bachelor of Biomedicine students take the ‘standard pathway’ through the degree. This pathway includes six compulsory (core) subjects that include key foundation subjects in Biology and Chemistry that familiarise students with modern concepts of molecular and cell biology and basic principles and serve as essential pre-requisites for core second year subjects. The core second year subjects integrate knowledge in a broad range of biomedical disciplines and allow all Biomedicine students to pursue majors in Cell and Developmental Biology, Human Structure and Function, Immunology, Neuroscience, Pathology, Pharmacology or Physiology.

    Three additional subjects provide the broad numeric and physical background essential to the modern biomedical scientist or health professional and complete the set of compulsory (core) first year subjects. First year Physics includes options for those with minimal background (PHYC10007 Physics for Biomedicine) or for those with study scores of 25 in VCE Physics 3/4 (PHYC10006 Physics 2; Life Sciences & Environment). These subjects emphasise the importance of physical principles to biomedicine and develop principles underpinning human structure and function, medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Mathematics and Statistics subjects introduce students to quantitative modeling in biomedicine and provide understanding of experimental design and data analysis in the health sciences. Alternative mathematics subjects exist to extend students with stronger mathematical interests and VCE 3/4 backgrounds.

    Standard pathway sample course plan
    Standard pathway sample course plan
  • Alternative pathways

    Some students choose to commence the degree through one of two alternative pathways - Health Informatics or Bioengineering Systems.  These pathways require an alternative mixture of first year subjects and continuing in the pathway will also add prescription to your choice of 2nd year selective subjects.

    Health Informatics

    The Health Informatics pathway adds the option of completing a Health Informatics major to the core group of seven majors (listed above).  This major enables students to integrate and apply the fundamentals of information and communication technology, information science, computer science and knowledge management to formulate and solve problems in healthcare, biomedical research and public health.  This major will open up pathways for students to work effectively with ehealth and biomedical informatics in future health profession careers.

    The first year Statistics subject (MAST10001) is replaced by Foundations of Computing (COMP10001) with two subjects also prescribed for your second year selectives. These subjects provide you with option of continuing your interest in health informatics by completing a major in this exciting new field of biomedical sciences. Alternatively, you still have the seven core majors available to you as options as you enter your third year.

    Health Informatics pathway sample course plan
    Health Informatics pathway sample course plan

    Bioengineering Systems

    This pathway emphasises the fundamental mathematics of systems modelling with biology, chemistry and physics in the formulation and solution of problems involving biomedical systems. Completing the full pathway involving the Bioengineering Systems major will open up pathways for students leading to accredited professional or scientific research careers in biomedical engineering through further study in the Master of Engineering (Biomedical).

    In this pathway there is a strong focus on the mathematical foundation of the Bioengineering with Physics, Statistics and the standard Mathematics subjects replaced by higher level mathematics and engineering subjects. This pathway requires continuing focus on these disciplines in 2nd year and the prescriptive use of 2nd year selective subjects.  The products of Bioengineering are all around us and most commonly appreciated through developments in orthopedics and bionic implants (ear and eye), and imaging (MRI and CT).

    Bioengineering Systems pathway sample course plan
    Bioengineering Systems pathway sample course plan

A major in Biomedicine represents four subjects (50 points at third-year level), which defines your area of undergraduate specialisation. By completing the two 2nd-year core subjects BIOM20001 (Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine) and BIOM20002 (Human Structure and Function), students are eligible to study any one of seven possible majors. Some students will broaden their major options further through strategic use of their 2nd year selective subjects.

You are encouraged to use your own learning experiences in your early years of the course to assist you in choosing your major for 2018. Most commonly your choice of major should be based on your interest in the subjects, and your passion for the subject areas. Students who love their chosen major are typically engaged, motivated to achieve, and extend themselves further with their studies.

While your choice of major provides the foundation knowledge for further research (e.g. Honours/Masters and PhD studies), your major is not a selection criterion if you are planning to enter into a professional health degree such as the Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Physiotherapy, Doctor of Dental Science or the Doctor of Optometry.

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    Studying Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine in second year was the first time I had been exposed to biochemistry-related content and I discovered that I really enjoyed it. Regina Duffield, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Biochemists and molecular biologists study the structure and function of components of living cells to understand the biological processes that enable all living things to survive and thrive.

    The structure of complex biomolecules, particularly proteins, is closely linked to their role in the cell, so studying structures can provide valuable information about nominal processes and how they can change to cause disease.

    In this major, students will study subjects such as Protein Structure and Function (BCMB30001), Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics (BCMB30002), and Advanced Techniques in Molecular Science (BCMB30010).

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Bioengineering Systems
    I would recommend this major to anyone interested in maths and physics, and in applying these concepts to bioengineering applications such as imaging and scanning, bionic implants and drug design. Vinay Sastray, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Biomedical engineering focuses on the design and operation of medical devices and processes, and applying engineering skills to new medical treatments, instruments and machines. Biomedical engineering is based on biomedical and physical sciences, with specialist knowledge of engineering modelling, measurement, research and design. Biomedical engineers span disciplines to address healthcare-specific problems from a unique perspective.

    In this major, students will study subjects such as Introduction to Biomechanics (BMEN30005), Biocellular Systems Engineering (BMEN30007) and Biosystems Design (BMEN30008).

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Biotechnology
    My lecturers and the academic staff have been supportive and deliver the information in a clear and interesting manner. I feel that I have learned a lot and am very glad I chose to major in Biotechnology! Anneliese Mak, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Biotechnology is the use of biological knowledge to develop new processes and products for use in industry, health, agribusiness, and other areas of human technology.

    Biotechnology advances are based on discoveries made in every area of biomedical sciences. Biotechnological companies convert these research advances into products, and Melbourne is an industry leader in the Asia-Pacific region.  This major will combine knowledge of how the products of scientific research are commercialised, with training in a relevant discipline area.

    Students in this major will study one of four specialisations:

    • Agri-Food Biotechnology
    • Molecular Biotechnology
    • Biomedical Biotechnology
    • Chemical Biotechnology

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Cell and Developmental Biology
    Around the time I chose my major, Japanese stem cell researcher, Shinya Yamanaka received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cell research – very inspiring! Jeong Yoon Kim, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Cells are the building blocks of life. Diseases and disorders like cancer, diabetes, blindness or even a ‘stomach bug’ are caused by dysfunction at a cellular and/or molecular level.

    This major will provide you with a broad understanding of how somatic cells and stem cells function and interact with each other and how these processes regulate embryonic development and tissue homeostasis. This knowledge is critical for understanding disease processes and for developing cutting edge technologies to improve the human condition. The study of cell and developmental biology in health and disease will not only contribute to further advances but will also provide an understanding of how science impacts on ethics and society.

    Students in this major will study one of the following three specialisations:

    • Reproduction and Development
    • Animal Cell Biology
    • Plant Cell Biology and Development

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Genetics
    The lecturers are leading experts in genetics, so you really get to know and understand the frontiers in genetics. It is fascinating to learn about the incredible regulation mechanisms encoded by genes in all organisms. Qiannan Huang, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Genetics is the foundation for studies in biology.  It is the study of the variation between living things and how this variation is inherited. Genetics can include studies of gene regulation, development, neurogenetics, population genetics and evolution along with genetic disease detection, prevention and treatment in humans and other animals and plants.

    A major in Genetics will include molecular genetics, human genetics, evolutionary genetics and genomics which can be applied in areas such as biology, biomedical science, biotechnology, ecology and conservation.

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Health Informatics

    Health Informatics (eHealth) is a transformational force in health around the world, and relies increasingly on a specialised professional workforce.

    The Health Informatics major will enable you to develop knowledge and skills in this fascinating and forward-looking field.

    The Health Informatics major integrates and applies the fundamentals of information and communication technology, information science, computer science and knowledge management to formulate and solve problems in healthcare, biomedical research and public health.

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Human Structure and Function
    Every week we get to see relevant anatomy in workshops, apply what we’ve learned in dissections and finally, put everything into perspective in medical practice through the lectures.

    The Human Structure and Function major will provide you with a deep understanding of the relationship between the structure of the body and how the different parts of the body work together.

    Core subjects of the major focus on anatomical form and function, but you will also have an opportunity to expand on this by studying complementary topics in other specialized areas of interest such as cell and developmental biology, neuroscience, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, biochemistry, microbiology and immunology, genetics and zoology.

    For a solid foundation in any career or research in the health sciences, study Human Structure and Function.

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Immunology

    This major provides students with a detailed understanding of Immunology, the study of our immune system. This major integrates fundamental knowledge in a number of related fields including microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, and pathology

    Immunologists study the mechanisms that lead to protection against infectious diseases, defence against tumours, prevention of organ transplant rejection and prevention of allergic responses and autoimmune diseases. Understanding these immune mechanisms will facilitate the development of treatment options based on the manipulation of the immune system.

    Students in this major will study subjects such as Principles of Immunology (MIIM30002), Medical and Applied Immunology (MIIM30003), and Techniques in Immunology (MIIM30015)

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Microbiology and Immunology
    Microbiology is both interesting and cutting edge. Most biological developments and advances come from immunology and microbiology.

    This major provides students with a detailed understanding of Microbiology and Immunology. It combines the study of infectious microbial agents, predominantly bacteria and viruses, with the study of the host’s immune responses, which are often beneficial, but sometimes detrimental to the host.

    A unique feature of this major is that it offers two specialisations (Microbiology or Infection and Immunity). These specialisations were introduced to specifically cater for students who wish to focus their third year studies in either Microbiology, or in the combination of both disciplines in the Infection and Immunity specialisation.

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Neuroscience
    Studying neuroscience has given me a deep understanding of what we do and how we think. I have gained more insight into human behaviour function than I imagined possible through an undergraduate course. Melanie Wong, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Neuroscience is one of the largest areas of study within the entire sphere of modern biology. It is also an area where Australian research has significant international impact.

    The Neuroscience major will help you understand the fundamental organisation and functional principles of the nervous system from the biology of nerve cells and neural circuits through to neural systems and complex behaviours.

    A multidisciplinary area, Neuroscience combines a wide of range of methods and conceptual approaches united by a single subject matter: understanding the nervous system.

    Students in this major will study subjects such as Principles of Neuroscience (NEUR30003) and Neurophysiology: Neurons and Circuits (NEUR30002).

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Pathology
    The Pathology major provides ample opportunities to apply knowledge of the mechanisms of human disease in a real world context. Working alongside renowned biomedical researchers in a professional laboratory was the highlight of my undergraduate degree. Sophia Gogos, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Pathology is the scientific study of the nature of disease, and is the interface between science and medicine. The discipline considers the causes and consequences of disease at a cellular and molecular level and its relationship with the whole organism. Students will establish a fundamental understanding of the response of tissues and cells to injury, the process of healing and the consequence when healing is unsuccessful. These fundamental processes will be consolidated by theoretical and practical examples of human disease.

    The Pathology major integrates knowledge from a range of disciplines and encourages students to apply this knowledge to problems of human health that are of significance to society.

    Students in this major will study subjects such as Mechanisms of Human Disease (PATH30001), Techniques for Investigation of Disease (PATH30002) and Frontiers in Human Disease (PATH30003).

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Pharmacology
    This is an engaging major that draws on a range of content from entry-level biomedical sciences. It is well-structured and taught by friendly and approachable academic staff. Mark Lai, Bachelor of Science

    Pharmacology is responsible for major advances in the safe and effective treatment of human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, asthma and Parkinson’s disease.

    Breakthroughs are continually being made as new drugs are developed and we gain a deeper understanding of how the body works from knowledge of drug action.

    In pharmacology, you will understand the interaction between drugs or toxins and living matter. You will learn about the mechanisms of action, uses and toxicity of biologically active substances like therapeutic agents and agricultural, household and industrial chemicals.

    Students in this major will study subjects such as Drugs: From Discover to Market (PHRM30008) and Drugs in Biomedical Experiments (PHRM30009).

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.

  • Physiology
    In the Physiology major, you come to understand how various body systems work and how they affect day to day life. With this knowledge base, you are able to explore solutions to health problems. Priscilla Young, Bachelor of Biomedicine

    Discoveries in physiology have a broad impact upon health and medicine, environmental science, industry, nutrition, exercise and reproductive biology. Many of the discoveries from the human genome rely on physiology to understand their impact on the human body.

    The Physiology major will teach you how the body works. You will learn about the ways in which the cells, organs, and the whole body function in an integrated way. By understanding normal function, you will investigate disturbances of whole body systems such as those relating to the endocrine, cardiovascular, musculo-skeletal, developmental and nervous control systems.

    Further information

    For more details about learning outcomes, subject options and prerequisites for this major, please visit the Handbook entry.


An essential and important component of all Bachelor of Biomedicine pathways is the requirement to complete a breadth component. Breadth subjects allow you to gain knowledge and understanding across a broader range of disciplines, enabling you to develop insight, experience, and new ways of thinking in areas distinct from the main fields of study in your degree. You can complete up to 6 subjects (75pts) as breadth study and must complete a minimum of 4 breadth subjects (50pts) within your degree, regardless of the Biomedicine pathway you choose.  Three of these subjects can be taken at Level 1.

Any subject that falls outside the main fields of biomedical or science study is a potential breadth subject, e.g. - Languages, Music, Design, Education, etc.  Many students consider a related group of breadth subjects, termed a breadth track, and this is an ideal way to explore in depth another of your talents or passions.

"University Breadth Subjects" have been specially developed for the Melbourne curriculum and examine current critical issues using techniques and approaches across school, department and even faculty boundaries to study the topics presented.