Biology means the study of living things. Biologists investigate animals, plants, and microbes in many different ways, and on a huge range of scales from molecules and cells to individual organisms, populations, and ecosystems.
The Biological Sciences programme is broad and flexible, allowing students to study multiple aspects of the biological sciences or take on an interdisciplinary approach. These approaches fit well with the School of Biological Sciences’ philosophy of embracing modern trends and preparing students well for future science careers.
During the past few decades, the study of biology has undergone rapid change and has had a significant impact on the way we live. We are now able to produce antibiotics and vaccines, grow disease-resistant crops, transplant organs, and manipulate genes. Biologists today are actively researching solutions to vital concerns such as increasing world food supply, improving and protecting our environment, and conquering disease.
Many biological sciences jobs now require collaboration across multiple fields of knowledge. For example climate change requires ecologists, microbiologists, physiologists, geographers, data modellers and many others to work together to understand complex interrelated fields. Being able to work in a team and have a broad science background is important to advance our understanding of these challenges we face.
- Our lecturers are all actively engaged in research on diverse and exciting topics. These range from those of practical and economic importance to Aotearoa New Zealand society, to those probing the boundaries of fundamental, interest-driven science.
- Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | School of Biological Sciences has modern, well-equipped teaching and research laboratories with excellent technical support.
- There is a full suite of molecular biology and biochemistry equipment including real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines, DNA sequencing facility, confocal microscopy, and tissue culture and image processing facilities. There are also extensive controlled and regulated facilities for marine organisms, invertebrates (spiders and insects) and microbes.
- The UC campus also has an experimental garden and glasshouse complex with programmable plant growth chambers. Off campus there is an extensive network of field stations which provide locations for experiments in real-world environments as well as accommodation on-site.
Students undertaking postgraduate study in Biological Sciences must meet the entry requirements of their chosen qualification and have a solid foundation in the subject.
- 60 points from 300-level BIOL courses
- BIOL 309 or equivalent
UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Biological Sciences:
- Graduate Diploma in Science
- Bachelor of Science with Honours
- Postgraduate Certificate in Science
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Philosophy
See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.
Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Biological Sciences
Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Biological Sciences
To complete a GradDipSc with a Biological Sciences focus, students will need to complete at least 60 points in 100-300 level BIOL courses throughout their degree. In total 90 points must be at 300-level in the GradDipSc from Biological Sciences and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Biological Sciences
Students need to complete at least 45 points in BIOL 400-level courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Biological Sciences and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Diploma majoring in Biological Sciences
At least 120 points (8 courses), including BIOL 411 and BIOL 412, is required for the major. At least 60 points are chosen from 400-level BIOL courses, with the remaining selected from BIOL or other courses as approved by the Programme Coordinator.
Master of Science majoring in Biological Sciences
Part I of the MSc in Biological Sciences is 120 points (8 courses), including BIOL 411 and BIOL 412, 60 points from 400-level BIOL, and the remaining selected from BIOL or other courses as approved by the Programme Coordinator. Students need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.
Part II requires BIOL 690 MSc Thesis.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biological Sciences
In the PhD, students need to pass a thesis of original research in the Biological Sciences field (BIOL 790 PhD Thesis).
Our graduates have gone on to positions as researchers, managers, teachers and technicians; and diverse other careers in agriculture, horticulture, veterinary and medical science, freshwater and marine fisheries, aquaculture, oceanography, entomology, soil biology, and food, brewing, and pharmaceutical industries.
Government agencies frequently target Biological Sciences graduates. Regular employers of our graduates include Crown Research Institutes, government ministries concerned with conservation, the environment, agriculture, forestry and health, and regional and local councils.
A Biological Sciences degree indicates you have the ability to access, understand, analyse, and communicate complex information. This is attractive to many employers.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Biological Sciences.
See the School's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
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