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Postgraduate subject

Biological Sciences

06 November 2023
‌Postgraduate study allows in-depth and targeted research into biological fields, from oceanography to food production.


Biological Sciences


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 Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | 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.

Biological Sciences

What will my study involve?

  • 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.

Biological Sciences


UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Biological Sciences:


See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.

Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Biological Sciences

To complete a GradDipSc with a Biological Sciences focus, you 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.

Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Biological Sciences

Complete the following for the major:

The remaining course can be from BIOL or other courses as approved by the Programme Coordinator.

Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Biological Sciences

Complete at least 45 points in 400-level BIOL courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Biological Sciences and/or other Science courses.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science majoring in Biological Sciences

At least 120 points (8 courses), including BIOL411 Research Preparation and BIOL412 Research Proposal, 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 BIOL411 Research Preparation and BIOL412 Research Proposal, 60 points from 400-level BIOL courses, and the remaining selected from BIOL or other courses as approved by the Programme Coordinator.

You will need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.

Part II requires BIOL690 MSc Thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biological Sciences

In the PhD, you will complete a thesis of original research in the Biological Sciences field (BIOL790 PhD Thesis).

Biological Sciences

Career opportunities

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.

Related brochures

Postgraduate Prospectus 2024

Whakatairanga Tāura

Download (application/pdf, 3 MB)

International Prospectus 2024/2025

Download (application/pdf, 6 MB)
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