An interdisciplinary approach to foundation study in the Bachelor of Science (Extended)


  • Syd Boydell University of Melbourne
  • David Collis University of Melbourne
  • Lisa Godinho University of Melbourne
  • Michelle Livett University of Melbourne
  • Mick Moylan University of Melbourne
  • Daniel Pyke University of Melbourne


Interdisciplinary curriculum, Indigenous students, Transition to tertiary study, enabling study


BACKGROUND The Bachelor of Science (Extended) is a four-year degree that provides an additional pathway into Bachelor of Science study for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who do not meet the standard degree entry requirements. The BSc(Ext) contributes to increasing Indigenous student participation in tertiary science study, fields in which they are significantly underrepresented. CURRICULUM APPROACH The degree’s extension component comprises eight subjects taken during the first three semesters, in interdisciplinary science, mathematics, communication and Indigenous studies. The extension subjects embed students’ academic skills development, and science and mathematics knowledge and skills, to provide a foundation for success and further study in students’ chosen STEM specialisation. RESULTS Integrating science disciplines, Indigenous Knowledges and mathematics into the science subjects has provided an enriched curriculum that is valued by students, who comment on the importance of foundation knowledge and skills and the multiple ways of learning provided. We will use examples of this approach to highlight its potential, with particular emphasis on Indigenous Knowledges and student impact. DISCUSSION An interdisciplinary thematic approach is a key component of the curriculum design, examining science through lenses of chemistry, physics, biology and Indigenous Knowledges, to prepare students for a range of STEM futures.

Author Biographies

Syd Boydell, University of Melbourne

School of Physics

David Collis, University of Melbourne

School of Mathematics and Statistics

Lisa Godinho, University of Melbourne

School of BioSciences

Michelle Livett, University of Melbourne

Faculty of Science

Mick Moylan, University of Melbourne

School of Chemistry

Daniel Pyke, University of Melbourne

School of Physics