Cells are a basic building block of life. Diseases and disorders like cancer, diabetes, meningitis or even a 'stomach bug' are caused by dysfunction at a cellular or molecular level.

This major will provide you with a broad understanding of cells and their development, as well as the application of this knowledge to technologies to improve the human condition. It will also provide an awareness of how research in this field impacts on society. You will deal with ethical issues such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), reproductive/therapeutic cloning and genetically manipulated foods and crops. Specialisations available in this major include: Reproduction and Development, Animal Cell Biology, and Plant Cell Biology and Development.

Studies in this discipline are also available via the Bachelor of Biomedicine.

Anna Lieshke

“I chose to do the Cell & Developmental biology major, because I was looking for a major which would not restrict my knowledge to one particular area of science, but rather deepen my understanding of many aspects of human biology. I loved the major because it had the perfect balance of theory and practical work and had enough flexibility to allow students to keep doing subjects in a complimentary area.”


  • Career Outcomes

    Graduates with a major in Cell and Developmental Biology can pursue career paths in research or diagnostic laboratories, biotechnology, government agencies, agriculture, journalism and the medico-legal area.

    Earnings for life scientists, which includes Cell and Developmental Biology, are above average and employment for this occupation is expected to grow moderately to 2019.

  • Graduate Pathways

    Science graduates are well-placed to apply for:

    • Professionally focused graduate degrees in the sciences and technology, including biotechnology, environmental systems, informatics and nanotechnology;
    • Graduate degrees preparing for a wide range of professions including engineering, law, medicine and other health sciences, and teaching;
    • Masters and Honours pathways to research higher degrees in the sciences and technology within the Faculty of Science, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Melbourne School of Engineering, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.

Sample Course Plans
Majoring in  Cell and Developmental Biology

The flexibility of the BSc means you can adapt your study plan to your situation, or combine your major with another study area of interest. See some examples below.