Molecular and Cellular Biology

Molecular and Cellular Biology is an interdisciplinary field combining biochemistry, microbiology, genetics and physiology to study how cells function at the molecular level.

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Molecular and Cellular Biology explores the complex mechanisms that coordinate the essential systems that define a living cell and that allow cells to have differentiated properties. This knowledge is used to look at how unicellular and multicellular organisms function and how it can provide researchers with crucial insights into the basis of human and animal diseases.

By studying a major in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Waikato, you will:

  • Gain a detailed knowledge of the molecules of life and the relationship between the structure and function of biomolecules;
  • Understand the subcellular and cellular organisation of eukaryotic cells and the key catabolic, anabolic and metabolic cellular processes that occur;
  • Learn how to distinguish between the genetic organisation and gene expression of viruses, prokaryotes, and eukaryotes, and describe the mechanisms of inheritance and evolution;
  • Be able to describe the anatomy and physiology of mammals and other organisms, and the mechanisms behind certain diseases.

Along with relevant subject knowledge, you will also gain a range of critical thinking skills, and practical learning experiences from our range of challenging and innovative papers and programmes. There is a significant laboratory component to the Molecular and Cellular Biology major, where you will learn relevant skills and be exposed to some of the latest techniques available.

Teaching is research-led, and you can expect to be taught by world-class researchers. Research strengths within Molecular and Cellular Biology include active programmes within molecular biology, structural biology and protein engineering, neuroendocrine processes that underlie food intake and biomedical related research relevant to veterinary and human medicine.


We have extensive laboratory facilities, including:

Build a successful career

Molecular and Cellular Biology graduates find employment in New Zealand working in industry or for government related institutes and agencies, while others go on to graduate study or travel overseas. Future employers of graduates include local and national government bodies (e.g. Waikato DHB), Crown Research Institutes (e.g. Plant and Food, NIWA and AgResearch), analytical laboratories and a range of primary industries.

 Career opportunities

  • Agricultural Researcher
  • Plant and Food Researcher
  • Biochemist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Quarantine Officer
  • Chemical Analyst
  • Laboratory Technician


Study Molecular and Cellular Biology in any of these qualifications

100 level

200 level

BiochemistryBIOMO20115.0 Points
GeneticsBIOMO20215.0 Points
MicrobiologyBIOMO20315.0 Points
Cell and Organ Physiology in Health and DiseaseBIOMO20415.0 Points

300 level

Advanced BiochemistryBIOMO30115.0 Points
Advanced GeneticsBIOMO30215.0 Points
MicrobiomesBIOMO30315.0 Points
Applied Animal PhysiologyBIOMO30415.0 Points
Molecular Biology and BiotechniquesBIOMO30515.0 Points
Molecular Biology and HealthBIOMO30615.0 Points

Prescriptions for the PGCert(Molec&CellBio), PGDip(Molec&CellBio), BSc(Hons), MSc, MSc (Res) and MSc(Tech)

Students in masters degrees are normally required to take a thesis and a selection of papers. Enrolment in papers towards the BSc(Hons) is only by invitation of the Graduate Convenor. Candidates for these graduate qualifications should select their papers in consultation with the Graduate Convenor.

To complete a BSc(Hons) in Molecular and Cellular Biology, students must complete 120 points at 500 level, including at least 60 points from the papers listed for Molecular and Cellular Biology, of which at least 30 points must be in research (normally BIOL591).

Data Analysis and Experimental DesignBIOL50315.0 Points
Molecular EcologyBIOL56515.0 Points
Mammalian PhysiologyBIOL57415.0 Points
Applied Topics in PhysiologyBIOL57515.0 Points
Human and Applied MicrobiologyBIOL58015.0 Points
Microbial EcologyBIOL58115.0 Points
Biomolecular Structure and FunctionBIOL58215.0 Points
Molecular Biochemistry and MetabolismBIOL58315.0 Points
Molecular GeneticsBIOL58415.0 Points
Human GeneticsBIOL58515.0 Points
Special TopicBIOL58815.0 Points
Directed StudyBIOL59030.0 Points
DissertationBIOL59130.0 Points
DissertationBIOL59260.0 Points
Biological Sciences ThesisBIOL59390.0 Points
Biological Sciences ThesisBIOL594120.0 Points
Biological Sciences ThesisBIOL595150.0 Points
Research Methods in the SciencesSCIE50115.0 Points

DairyNZ Masters Scholarship

For students who are enrolled in the final year or have completed a Bachelors degree in Science, agricultural science, agricultural business or economics and are eligible to enrol in a masters degree at a New Zealand University. Up to three scholarships of $30,000 will be available each year + tuition fees.

Closing Date: 2016-08-08 23:59:00

Hamilton Zoo - University of Waikato Science & Engineering Scholarship

For students who are enrolled full-time and have completed the second year of the Bachelor of Science (Technology) degree. The scholarship will have a value of $14,000 and a one year placement with the Hamilton Zoo.

Closing Date: 2017-09-01 23:59:00

Science Admission Fees Scholarship

For school leavers who are intending to enrol full-time (120 pts) in the first year of a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Science(Technology) in the Faculty of Science & Engineering and are performing well academically in their final year of secondary school. The Scholarship has a value of up to $4,000.

Closing Date: 2017-08-31 23:59:00


Faculty of Science & Engineering

Phone: +64 7 838 4625 / 0800 438 254