BSc in Biological Sciences

UC offers a range of pathways to make planning your degree easy and still allow you to create a personalised Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences that suits your interests.

As well as core 100-level courses we offer BIOL 116 Human Biology and SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge as additional courses.

Modern biological research is undergoing some exciting changes.

The barriers between traditionally separate areas of biology are breaking down and at the same time researchers trained in mathematics, statistics, chemistry, physics, geology, geography and computer science are collaborating with biologists in new and exciting ways.

This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in everything, but the more you are comfortable talking with and working with scientists from other fields the better prepared you will be for the job market, whether you wish to work in industry, a research university or institute or even science journalism.

Getting started and complementary courses

More and more areas of biology require a basic knowledge of Statistics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics.

Molecular biology and biochemistry both require a working knowledge of chemistry, the study of populations requires some understanding of basic algebra and Statistics, the mathematics of networks applies to areas as diverse as biochemistry and ecological food webs, and to analyse biological data, Statistics is a must.

There are many niches in biological and ecological sciences for those that are not chemically or mathematically inclined, but a background in these areas may expand your options.

If you lack confidence in Mathematics and Statistics or haven't done them at NCEA level MATH 101 and CHEM 114 offer a good grounding tailored to the needs of Biological Sciences students.

UC also offers the summer Headstart programme.

Endorsements and pathways

 An endorsement can be added to your Biological Sciences major in recognition of the fact that your studies have had a particular focus. They are Biotechnology, Biosecurity and Ecology.

Our 200 and 300-level courses provide advanced training in specialised pathways.

  • For recommended courses in a particular pathway see the sections below.
  • UC offers Environmental Science as a double major with other BSc subjects including Biological Sciences.

Pathways

Suggested courses for each pathway in the Biological Sciences major. For a description of the focus of each pathway see the Biological Sciences Undergraduate Handbook

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • BCHM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry [1] (aka CHEM 112)
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]
  • PSYC 105 Introductory Psychology - Brain, Behaviour and Cognition

Year 2

Core

Complementary 

Year 3

Core 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 355 Neurons, Hormones and Behaviour
  • BIOL 371 Evolutionary Ecology
  • BIOL 383 Behaviour Ecology

Complementary 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

Year 2

Core

  • BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis 
  • BIOL 250 Principles of Animal Physiology

Complementary 

 

Year 3

Core 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 351 Cell Biology 2
  • BIOL 354 Animal Ecophysiology
  • BIOL 355 Neurons, Hormones and Behaviour

Complementary 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Year 1

Core 

  • BIOL 111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
  • BCHM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry [1] (aka CHEM 112)

Complementary

 

Year 2

Core

Complementary

Year 3

Core 

Complementary 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. Required if your BSc Major is Biology 
  3. BCHM 381 is essential for postgraduate Biochemistry

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • LAWS 101 Legal System: Legal Method and Institutions
  • LAWS 110 Legal Foundations, Research and Writing
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]

 

Year 2

Core [3]

Complementary [5]

  • BIOL 215 Plant Diversity and Systematics
  • BIOL 203 Introduction to Forensic Biology

Any 2nd-year BIOL courses

Year 3

Core 

  • BIOL 332 Genetics and Evolution of Invasive Species
  • BIOL 352 Plant Development and Biotechnology
  • BIOL 377 Global Change and Biosecurity

Complementary [5]

  • BIOL 305 Practical Field Botany
  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [4]
  • BIOL 313 Advanced Molecular and Industrial Microbiology
  • BIOL 333 Molecular Genetics
  • BIOL 371 Evolutionary Ecology
  • BIOL 375 Freshwater Ecosystems
  • BIOL 378 Population Ecology and Conservation
  • BIOL 384 Marine Ecosystems

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. These courses do not all have to be taken in your second year of study but are required to qualify for the endorsement in Biosecurity
  4. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 
  5. There are two pathways within the Biosecurity endorsement, either molecular/genetics or ecological/applied. See regulations to select appropriate courses. 

Full regulations for endorsements can be found at: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/regulations/award/bsc_schedule_endorsements.shtml

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics
  • LAWS 101 Legal System: Legal Method and Institutions
  • LAWS 110 Legal Foundations, Research and Writing
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge
  • ENGR 101 Foundations of Engineering
  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes [1]

Year 2

Core

Complementary [2]

  • BIOL 215 Plant Diversity and Systematics
  • BIOL 250 Principles of Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 273 New Zealand Biodiversity and Biosecurity
  • BCHM 222 BIOCHEMISTRY B - Metabolism; the reactions of molecules in cells
  • BCHM 281 Practical Biochemistry

Year 3

Core 

  • BIOL 313 Advanced Molecular and Industrial Microbiology
  • BIOL 352 Plant Development and Biotechnology
  • BIOL 333 Molecular Genetics

and a minimum of 30 points from: 

Complementary [2]

  • BCHM 303 Special Topic: Toxicology
  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 331  Biochemistry 3

 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. There are two pathways within the endorsement, either environmental biotech or plant biotech. See regulations to select appropriate courses.
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Full regulations for endorsements can be found at: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/regulations/award/bsc_schedule_endorsements.shtml

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge

 

Year 2

Core

  • BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis 
  • BIOL 213 Microbiology and Genetics
  • BIOL 231 Foundations in Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 253 Cell Biology I
  • BCHM 222 BIOCHEMISTRY B - Metabolism; the reactions of molecules in cells

Complementary

 

Year 3

Core 

Complementary 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 334 Evolutionary Genetics
  • BIOL 335 Bioinformatics and Genomics
  • BIOL 352 Plant Development and Biotechnology
  • BIOL 354 Animal Ecophysiology
  • BIOL 355 Neurons, Hormones and Behaviour
  • BCHM 381 Biochemical Techniques

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes [1]
  • BCHM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry [1] (aka CHEM 112
  • FORE 111 Trees, Forests and the Environment
  • GEOG 106 Global Environmental Change
  • GEOG 109 Physical Geography: Earth, Ocean, Atmosphere
  • GEOL 111 Planet Earth: An Introduction to Geology
  • GEOL 115 The Dynamic Earth System
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge

Year 2

Core

Complementary

Year 3

Core 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 375 Freshwater Ecosystems
  • BIOL 377 Global Change and Biosecurity
  • BIOL 378 Population Ecology and Conservation
  • BIOL 384 Marine Ecosystems

Complementary 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Full regulations for endorsements can be found at: http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/regulations/award/bsc_schedule_endorsements.shtml

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

 

Year 2

Core

Complementary 

Year 3

Core 

Complementary 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 333 Molecular Genetics
  • BIOL 335 Bioinformatics and Genomics
  • BIOL 377 Global Change and Biosecurity
  • BIOL 378 Population Ecology and Conservation
  • BIOL 383 Behaviour Ecology

 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • BCHM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry [1] (aka CHEM 112
  • GEOG 106 Global Environmental Change
  • GEOG 109 Physical Geography: Earth, Ocean, Atmosphere
  • GEOL 111 Planet Earth: An Introduction to Geology

 

Year 2

Core

Complementary

  • BIOL 212 Marine Biology and Ecology
  • BIOL 250 Principles of Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 271 Evolution
  • BIOL 273 New Zealand Biodiversity and Biosecurity
  • CHEM 244 Applied Analytical Chemistry for Environmental Sciences

Year 3

Core 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists
  • BIOL 375 Freshwater Ecosystems
  • WATR 301 Water Resource Management

Complementary 

 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112

Additional complementary courses can be chosen from BIOL, BCHM, CHEM, GEOG, GEOL, ECON, FORE, LAWS, SOCI and SUST, to suit your interest. We recommend you consult with Profs Jon Harding or Angus McIntosh to ensure your degree plan is suitable.

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge

Year 2

Core

Complementary

  • BCHM 222 BIOCHEMISTRY B - Metabolism; the reactions of molecules in cells
  • BCHM 281 Practical Biochemistry
  • BIOL 215 Plant Diversity and Systematics
  • BIOL 253 Cell Biology I

Year 3

Core 

Complementary 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes [1]
  • BCHM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry [1] (aka CHEM 112
  • GEOG 106 Global Environmental Change
  • GEOL 111 Planet Earth: An Introduction to Geology
  • GEOL 115 The Dynamic Earth System
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge

Year 2

Core

Complementary 

  • BIOL 210 Vertebrate Biology
  • BIOL 250 Principles of Animal Physiology
  • BIOL 253 Cell Biology I
  • BIOL 272 Principles of Animal Behaviour
  • BIOL 273 New Zealand Biodiversity and Biosecurity
  • GEOG 201 Environmental Processes: Principles and Applications
  • GEOG 205 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

 

Year 3

Core 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 375 Freshwater Ecosystems
  • BIOL 377 Global Change and Biosecurity
  • BIOL 384 Marine Ecosystems

Complementary 

 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes [1]
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]

Year 2

Core

Complementary

  • BCHM 222 BIOCHEMISTRY B - Metabolism; the reactions of molecules in cells
  • BIOL 254 Principles of Plant Physiology

 

Year 3

Core 

Complementary 

  • BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists [3]
  • BIOL 331  Biochemistry 3 (aka BCHM 301)
  • BIOL 332 Genetics and Evolution of Invasive Species
  • BIOL 334 Evolutionary Genetics
  • BIOL 352 Plant Development and Biotechnology

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

Year 1

Core 

Complementary

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Processes [1]
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge

Year 2

Core

  • BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis 
  • BIOL 213 Microbiology and Genetics
  • BIOL 215 Plant Diversity and Systematics
  • BIOL 231 Foundations in Molecular Biology
  • BIOL 253 Cell Biology I
  • BIOL 254 Principles of Plant Physiology

Complementary

  • BCHM 222 BIOCHEMISTRY B - Metabolism; the reactions of molecules in cells
  • BCHM 281 Practical Biochemistry
  • BIOL 271 Evolution

Year 3

Core

Complementary 

Notes

  1. If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112
  2. MATH 101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 math credits 
  3. BIOL 309 is essential for postgraduate biology 

For all enquiries about a Biological Sciences major please contact:

Pieter Pelser

Senior Lecturer
Plant Systematics
Undergraduate Advisor
and Director of UC Herbarium
Biological Sciences 530
Internal Phone: 95228

Anna Chapman

Advisor
Student Advisor (Undergraduate)
Okeover 110
Internal Phone: 94117