MEDSCI 313 : Reproductive Biology

Medical and Health Sciences

2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Aspects of reproductive biology including: regulation of gonadal function, the menstrual and oestrus cycles, ovulation, spermatogenesis, feto-maternal physiology including placental function, animal reproduction and assisted reproductive technologies.

Course Overview

This course is based upon a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of the biology of reproduction. You will learn aspects of anatomy, biochemistry, and physiology that are involved in the processes that contribute to, and control, normal reproductive function in the human and in other animal species. You will also learn about the disorders of reproduction resulting in infertility, how they are investigated, and how they are treated.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 15 points from BIOSCI 107, 203, MEDSCI 142

Course Contacts

Course Director  
Dr. Lynsey Cree  
Room 502-201H  
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology  
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences  
Ph. 373 7599 ext. 81695  
Course Coordinator  
Dr. Andrew Dubovyi  
Professional Teaching Fellow  
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology  
Building 501, Ground Level, Room 002  
Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences  

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the processes governing reproduction in the human and other animal species (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the technical methods used for manipulating reproduction in the human and other species (Capability 1 and 2)
  3. Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the technical approaches to investigate and treat disorders of reproductive function (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  4. Demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the ethical principles in reproductive medicine (Capability 1, 2 and 6)
  5. Demonstrate their ability to communicate information (written- peer review, poster presentation and oral- poster presentation) to peers and discipline-based experts (Capability 1, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 15% Individual Test
Presentation 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Two lab reports 20% Individual Coursework
Online lab modules 5% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Two lab reports
Online lab modules
Final Exam

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 37h of contact time and 113h of personal study: 

Lectures: 33 x 1h = 33h 

Labs: 4 x 3h = 12h 

Poster Presentation: 1 x 3h = 3h 

Lab reports and a poster: 3 x 10h = 30h 

Test preparation: 1 x 15h = 15h 

MST: 1 x 2h = 2h

Online lab modules: 4 x 1h = 4h 

Final exam preparation: 1 x 48h = 48h

Final exam: 1 x 3h = 3h

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including labs/tutorials/poster presentation/lectures to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials/labs/poster presentations will not be available as recordings. We cannot guarantee that all lectures will be recorded as IT technology failures occur occasionally. 
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the test/exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable/block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The main learning resources for this course are lectures, including lecture recordings, and laboratories.  
Two recommended textbooks are:  
1) Johnson, M. H., and ProQuest. Essential Reproduction. 7th ed. Essentials. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, 2013. 
2) Jones, Richard E. Human Reproductive Biology. 3rd ed. Burlington, MA : Oxford: Elsevier Academic Press ; Academic, 2006. 
A Talis reading list has been set up for this course. This reading list provides details of the recommended texts for the course as a whole, as well as direct links to additional literature that some lecturers have recommended for specific lectures in the course.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

There were 16 responses to SET evaluation out of the 64 students enrolled in this course (25% response rate) in 2022. We have considered the responses carefully and have summarised them below.

Here’s what students said they liked about the course:

Generally, students liked this course and found it intellectually stimulating. They particularly liked that the lectures:labs ratio was considered well-balanced and manageable in term of workload. Respondents enjoyed the tutorial sessions and we will continue to offer those. We will continue to offer the “Fertility NZ session” which was very popular among students as it gave valuable insight into the problem of infertility from patients’ perspective. We were pleased to see that the return to campus and lab experiences were valued by some respondents, as these were extremely difficult for staff to deliver due to staff shortages, therefore we are grateful that students valued these experiences.

 Here’s what you said you would like to see improved:

There was a general consensus that the structure of the lab and guidelines for lab reports should be improved. Detailed guidelines for report writing have been added to the course manual. We are also considering making changes to the structure of our CANVAS page to allow easier access of resources.

Another theme identified was that the weightings of assignments did not always reflect the amount of time/effort that students made. We are considering making changes to the course weightings.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

In line with the spirit of Calendar regulation 12 h (i), no more than one major in-course assessment may be awarded with an aegrotat or compassionate assessment (see page xxi of the course guide). In this course the major in-course assessments are mid-semester test and final exam. If you apply for aegrotat/compassionate consideration for more than one major assessment, aegrotat/compassionate consideration can only be applied to one of these assessments. Once exam marking has been completed, we will perform the usual analysis and apply the most favourable outcome possible to one of these assessments. You will be notified of the outcome in due course. Calendar regulation can be found here

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.