MEDSCI 744 : Project Design in Biomedical Science

Medical and Health Sciences

2023 Semester One (1233) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An individualised course of study in which each student will provide an exposition of the background to a specific research question in the biomedical sciences combined with a proposal of the best methods to investigate that specific question. A holistic consideration, including the ethical, regulatory, budgetary as well as, any other relevant aspects, of the chosen methods will be documented.

Course Overview

MEDSCI 744 is a compulsory course for all students enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma in Biomedical Science and Master of Biomedical Science. There are no lectures assigned to this Course but there are seminars and a workshop to assist you.  Rather, the course is based on developing ideas with a mentor around a research question that will from the basis of a written research proposal. This proposal may become the basis of a Masters research project. The written research proposal may have more resemblance to a grant application rather than just a literature review . It will include sections on background, proposed methods, ethical and regulatory considerations, a budget, responsiveness to Maori and the potential impact on health signicance and/or translational potential to provide an understanding of the holistic requirements for biomedical research

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 30 points from Medical Science at Stage III or higher with a B– or better Restriction: BIOSCI 761, MEDSCI 701, OBSTGYN 705

Course Contacts

Dr Julie Lim
Dept. Physiology

Dr Scott Graham
Molecular Medicine and Pathology

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

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate the ability to work independently with minimal direction/supervision (Capability 5.1 and 5.2)
  2. Demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively, iteratively and in a timely fashion with a supervisor orsupervisors (Capability 3.1 and 3.2)
  3. Prepare and present a large scientific document/research proposal with appropriate structure, grammarand use of appropriate scientific language (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 2.1 and 2.2)
  4. Communicate with the assistance of visual aids, a specific research question, the background to thatquestion and methods for analysis of the question (Capability 4.1 and 4.2)
  5. Demonstrate a clear understanding of the background to a specific research question and of appropriateexperimental approaches to address the hypothesis/aims of that specific question (Capability 2.1, 2.2 and 3.2)
  6. Display an understanding of the holistic requirements for biomedical research including analytic, ethical,regulatory and budgetary aspects of the research (Capability 6.1 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Preliminary research proposal 10% Individual Coursework
Oral presentation 25% Individual Coursework
Research proposal 65% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Preliminary research proposal
Oral presentation
Research proposal

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 are expected to develop a research proposal with guidance by your supervisor. We encourage students at the beginning of the semester to discuss workload expectations with their supervisor.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience or Online & Campus Experience or Online

This course is offered in two delivery modes:

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including the information session, Responsiveness to Maori seminar and workshop to complete components of the course.
The information session and seminar will be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including a Responsiveness to Maori workshop.
The activities for the course are scheduled in the timetable.


Attendance is expected at scheduled online activities including the information session, Responsiveness to Maori seminar and workshop to complete components of the course.
The course will include live online events including a Responsiveness to Maori workshop and this can be recorded.
Where possible study material will be released progressively throughout the course.
This course runs to the University semester/quarter timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

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.

Students are required to consult with their supervisor regarding recommended readings around their research area of interest

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.

Students have indicated that they would like to hear what other students were proposing to do. In the coming year, we plan to organise  students from within a Department or research cluster to give oral presentations as a  group 

We are planning to include R2M as part of the assessment process. We have sent this proposal to Dr Kimi Henare who is currently consulting with his colleagues at the Office of the Tumuaki. 

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.

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.