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.
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.
We need to know how microorganisms, plants, and animals work and how they interact on land and in the sea and fresh waters. Of increasing importance to us is global climate change and how this affects the living world.
Our courses will help prepare you for a career in biology, be it in biodiversity, biosecurity, or biotechnology. Our lecturers are all actively engaged in research on diverse and exciting topics. These range from those of practical and economic importance to Aotearoa society, to those probing the boundaries of fundamental, interest-driven science.
The Biological Sciences major in the BSc degree has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB) in the UK, the first in Aotearoa New Zealand to be internationally recognised in this way. Graduates from accredited programmes are equipped with well-rounded knowledge and skills, making them highly employable both within and beyond their chosen field.
Te Kura Pūtaiao Koiora | School of Biological Sciences has modern, well-equipped teaching and research laboratories with excellent technical support. The full suite of molecular biology and biochemistry equipment includes:
- a real-time polymerase chain reaction machine (or DNA amplifier)
- an automatic DNA sequencer
- a confocal microscope
- tissue culture and image processing facilities
- controlled plant growth chambers
- an experimental garden and glasshouse complex
- an extensive computer network.
UC is ranked 253rd in the world for Natural Sciences (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021).
Out in the field
Teaching and research activities are greatly enhanced by access to field stations. Many undergraduate courses involve a fieldwork component based at Cass in Kā Tiritiri-o-te-moana Southern Alps. Field trips allow students to apply techniques and hypotheses they have learnt in lectures and to interact with staff in a more informal setting.
Year 13 biology, statistics, and chemistry are strongly recommended.
For certain topic areas, some knowledge of physics is helpful.
All students should have adequate English skills.
Biological Sciences major
For the major in the Bachelor of Science, complete the following courses:
- BIOL 111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
- BIOL 112 Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
- BIOL 113 Diversity of Life
- STAT 101 Statistics 1
It is also recommended to take one Chemistry and Mathematics course in your first year. If you have not taken chemistry or mathematics with calculus to Year 13 level, you are strongly advised to take CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry and MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics.
60 points chosen from the following:
BIOL 309 Experimental Design and Data Analysis for Biologists is additionally recommended if you intend to go onto postgraduate studies in Biological Sciences.
Biological Sciences minor
For the minor in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Health Sciences, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Social and Environmental Sustainability, Bachelor of Sport Coaching, or Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership, complete the following courses:
- 75 points in 100 to 300-level BIOL courses, with at least 45 points above 100-level
Our graduates have gone on to positions as teachers, technicians, researchers, and managers; 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.
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Te Rāngai Pūtaiao | College of Science
Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
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