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Study in the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

31 October 2023

The School of Physical and Chemical Sciences | Te Kura Mātu has over 80 staff. We run an exciting programme of teaching and research using state-of-the-art facilities. Find out about study in the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences at UC. 


Our areas of scholarship are diverse and we collaborate nationally and internationally.

Our teaching staff are all active researchers and very passionate. Dynamic teams are leading research in a wide range of disciplines, from molecular cloning to stellar astrophysics, from the design of new pharmaceuticals to nanotechnology devices.

Our state-of-the-art facilities are packed full of equipment to help us measure, manipulate, visualise and quantify the living world.

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What can I study? 

Discover the subjects UC offers within the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences:

SPCS is offering a special Start online; finish on-campus pathway for international students interested in studying one of the BSc study pathways offered by the School.

A Bachelor of Science (BSc) is about understanding and improving the natural world through observation, experimentation, modelling and calculation. As a BSc student in physical or chemical sciences, you'll explore the wonder of our world and universe, join a community of like-minded thinkers and apply your mind to solving real-world problems.

As an undergraduate science student at UC you will:

  • Be exposed to new ideas and technologies
  • Get hands-on in laboratories and field stations, using high-tech equipment
  • Develop your research skills
  • Learn to understand and influence the world around you
  • Gain work-ready skills and the knowledge employers need.

Graduates have many options for further study within the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, whether it's to conduct independent research, gain a fast-track conversion qualification, make a career change, or develop expertise in their professional field. Postgraduate study is required for some careers and is a prerequisite for academic teaching and research roles.

Postgraduate study at UC is flexible, challenging and hugely rewarding. You can study full or part-time and choose from six-month courses through to a four-year PhD. UC is the only university in Aotearoa New Zealand to offer Medical Physics programmes.

Most of the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences postgraduate courses include projects, lab or field work. Postgraduate study may open up opportunities for practical industry placements or internships too.

While some qualifications, such as a diploma, may offer more coursework-based learning, opportunities for research at UC are plentiful. All physical and chemical sciences staff dedicate significant time to research, ensuring the school maintains its strong reputation in the international scientific community.

We have excellent facilities and technology that meet undergraduate and postgraduate student needs as well as international academic standards. Jewels in the crown include Mount John Astronomical Observatory in Tekapo and the Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre in Christchurch.

Postgraduate training at UC aims to develop a student's ability in creative scientific research. The student's own research topic is an important facet. 

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