Study guide

Study guide

Practical classes

Practical work is compulsory. Practical classes may take the form of weekly sessions as listed in the class timetable, or of block sessions (called on-campus sessions by the Centre for Open Education). In some units, both formats are conducted; the Head of Department may recommend a variation to the normal mode of attendance for a student. Such attendance is described as 'composite', and in the Handbook of Undergraduate Studies the symbol 'c' is used to denote units taught in the composite mode.

Laboratory safety

  • Covered footwear must be worn at all times (no thongs (flip-flops), sandals, bare feet).
  • No food or drink is permitted in laboratories.

Field safety

Before doing any practical work in the field, please make sure you are appropriately equipped:

  • Sturdy enclosed footwear (no thongs (flip-flops), sandals, bare feet).
  • Strong, long pants and sturdy shirt or top, preferably with long sleeves.
  • Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and/or rain gear
  • Drinking water


Please note that an adequate performance in all components of a unit is required in order to pass.


Students are directed to consult the University Handbook at the beginning of the year to determine the commencement and finishing dates of University examination periods in order to ensure their availability to attend compulsory examinations. The final examination timetable will become available approximately four weeks before the commencement of the examination period. Please consult the University Examination Timetable to find out when and where your examinations will be held. Failure to attend an examination can only be explained within the definition of 'unavoidable disruption' - please consult the handbook.

Special consideration requests

During Semester:

All requests for special consideration should be submitted through the Student Enquiry Service, Registrar and Vice-Principal's Office. You must also provide your Lecturer with a copy of the documentation lodged at the Student Enquiry Service when submitting assignments. We strongly recommend that you see your Lecturer or Tutor on all such occasions to discuss the matter with her/him.

During Examination Period:

During the examination period, original requests for special consideration plus one copy must be submitted to the Registrar and Vice-Principal, through the Academic Program Section, Level 4, Lincoln Building. The copy will be forwarded to your Division of Registration which will in turn forward it to the Department. The form you will need, including more detailed instructions, can be found on the disruption to studies page. As well as submitting the appropriate documentation through the Registrar and Vice-Principal's Office, if you miss an examination, you must contact your lecturer within 72 hours of the date of the examination so that alternative examination arrangements may be made without delay. Failure to do so will result in the award of an "F" grade.

Please note that the submission of requests for special consideration is monitored by the Department. Repeated requests will result in referral of the student to the Dean of Students for discussion and advice.

Important information, including Undergraduate Student Forms and deadlines for submission, is available at:

Submission of assignments

Internal students should submit their assignments via the relevant assignment box for their unit, which will be located in the reception area of the ELS Centre (Room 101, which is on the ground floor at the western end of Building E7A). The Centre opens from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm on Monday to Friday. Assignments are to be submitted by 5 pm on the date specified and must include a completed and signed cover sheet stapled to the front cover. All marked assignments will be returned in class.


The definition of plagiarism is reproduced here from the University Handbook. All (i.e. internal and external) students are requested to read the definition. If you are still unsure about this issue, please see your Lecturer for further advice. When submitting an assignment, you will be signing a statement confirming that you have read the information on plagiarism. In the event that a Lecturer identifies a case of plagiarism, the University's procedures for suspected cases of plagiarism will be followed by the Department. These procedures are available for perusal at:

If you have any queries relating to these issues, please contact your lecturer or the Head of Department of Biological Sciences.


Academic Senate in June 2001 approved policies and procedures to ensure that the University takes a consistent and equitable approach to plagiarism. The Senate adopted the following definition of plagiarism.

Plagiarism involves using the work of another person and presenting it as one's own. Any of the following acts constitutes plagiarism unless the source of each quotation or piece of borrowed material is clearly acknowledged:

  • copying out part(s) of any document or audio-visual material (including computer-based material);
  • using or extracting another person's concepts, experimental results, or conclusions;
  • summarising another person's work;
  • in an assignment where there was collaborative preparatory work, submitting substantially the same final version of any material as another student.

Encouraging or assisting another person to commit plagiarism is a form of improper collusion and may attract the same penalties which apply to plagiarism.

Senate also approved a statement entitled The Dangers of Plagiarism and How to Avoid it which is as follows:

The integrity of learning and scholarship depends on a code of conduct governing good practice and acceptable academic behaviour. One of the most important elements of good practice involves acknowledging carefully the people whose ideas we have used, borrowed, or developed. All students and scholars are bound by these rules because all scholarly work depends in one way or another on the work of others.

Therefore, there is nothing wrong in a student using the work of others as a basis for their own work, nor is it evidence of inadequacy on the student's part, provided they do not attempt to pass off someone else's work as their own.

To maintain good academic practice, so that a student may be given credit for their own efforts, and so that their own contribution can be properly appreciated and evaluated, they should acknowledge their sources and they should ALWAYS:

  • state clearly in the appropriate form where they found the material on which they have based their work, using the system of reference specified by the Division in which their assignment was set;
  • acknowledge the people whose concepts, experiments, or results they have extracted, developed, or summarised, even if they put these ideas into their own words;
  • avoid excessive copying of passages by another author, even where the source is acknowledged. Find another form of words to show that the student has thought about the material and understood it, but stating clearly where they found the ideas.

If a student uses the work of another person without clearly stating or acknowledging their source, the result is falsely claiming that material as their own work and committing an act of PLAGIARISM. This is a very serious violation of good practice and an offence for which a student will be penalised.

A STUDENT WILL BE GUILTY OF PLAGIARISM if they do any of the following in an assignment, or in any piece of work which is to be assessed, without clearly acknowledging their source(s) for each quotation or piece of borrowed material:

  • copy out part(s) of any document or audio-visual material, including computer-based material;
  • use or extract someone else's concepts or experimental results or conclusions, even if they put them in their words;
  • copy out or take ideas from the work of another student, even if they put the borrowed material in their own words;
  • submit substantially the same final version of any material as a fellow student. On occasions, a student may be encouraged to prepare their work with someone else, but the final form of the assignment must be their own independent endeavour.

Opportunities and temptations for plagiarism have increased with the spread of internet access. Plagiarism is a serious threat to the teaching and accreditation process, and seriously undermines the collegial and ethical principles which underpin the work of a University.

View a full outline of the revised University Policy on Plagiarism on the official Student@Macquarie website. The website includes a general discussion of plagiarism, definitions, examples drawn from concrete cases, procedures that will be followed by the University in cases of plagiarism, and recommended penalties. Students are expected to familiarise themselves with the website.

Assignments are to be your own work. Using someone else's words (either another student's or from a book or journal article or a web site) without clear acknowledgement is plagiarism and can incur serious penalties. If it is ever necessary to use someone else's words for a phrase or sentence, they should be placed in quotation marks and acknowledged at the end of the sentence. If you use or modify a diagram or figure from another author, that must be acknowledged underneath (e.g. Figure 3 from Brown et al, 1995; figure modified from Green, 1997). Lecturers want to read your own words and ideas.

In the event that a Lecturer identifies a case of plagiarism, the University's procedures for suspected cases of plagiarism will be followed. View a full outline of the revised University Policy on Plagiarism.

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