Biological Sciences

As a Biological Sciences student at the University of Waikato you will benefit from our practical and innovative approach to teaching, as well as one-on-one time with world-renowned researchers.

Catherine Charleson

Bachelor of Science (Technology)
Hearing heart-warming pregnancy success stories from her patients is the ultimate reward for Catherine Charleson, who works in a Hamilton fertility clinic as a clinical embryologist.

Alice Chibnall

Master of Science

Hannah Croxton

Hannah Croxton joined the University of Waikato on our study abroad programme.

Rachel Curran

Bachelor of Science
Rachel became involved in the sport of Olympic weightlifting through her PE teacher at Birkenhead College. She has dedicated more than three and a half years to the sport where Rachel has competed in a number of events.

Andrea Dekrout

Master of Science
Andrea Dekrout's job tackles two of the biggest issues the world is worried about right now - the refugee crisis and environmental conservation.

Catherine Kirby

Master of Science
A six-month exchange to Canada, a handful of scholarships and excellent support from lecturers were just a few of the things that made study at Waikato an experience of a lifetime for graduate Catherine Kirby.

Kirsty Kraakman

Master of Science (Research)
Making new discoveries in science is the ultimate goal for student Kirsty Kraakman.

Kieran Miller

Master of Science
Ensuring high profile infrastructure projects have a minimal impact on the environment is a real buzz for graduate Kieran Miller.

Stewart Robertson

Bachelor of Science
Waikato Biological Sciences graduate Stewart Robertson has used his scientific knowledge and entrepreneurial vision to create an idyllic lifestyle for himself as an owner/operator conservation tour guide in the Abel Tasman National Park.

Ashley Webby

Master of Science (Research)
Former Hillcrest High School student Ashley Webby chose Waikato because it was close to home and had an excellent range of papers, taught by enthusiastic lecturers.

Please note

From 2018 Biological Sciences will be replaced by Ecology & Biodiversity and Molecular & Cellular Biology at the Hamilton campus. It will still be available as a Postgraduate subject and as a major for the BSc in Tauranga by first enrolling with Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Biological Sciences

Whether you enjoy solving problems in a laboratory or working outdoors, our Biological Sciences programme will provide you with the ultimate learning environment.  Surrounded by lakes, rivers, intriguing ecosystems, and many important biological industries, the University of Waikato is uniquely placed in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island.

Waikato University’s Biological Sciences research is highly regarded internationally.  Our projects are supported by multi-million dollar investments from government and industry, many of which have significant iwi and other community involvement. These include lakes management, freshwater ecology, horticultural and agricultural research, coastal marine science and aquaculture, urban restoration, animal behaviour and physiology, medical microbiology and Antarctic ecosystems. This funding supports many student and collaborative projects, together with scholarship and postgraduate opportunities.


The University of Waikato’s School of Science is home to a suite of well-equipped laboratories. Research units and facilities within Biological Sciences include the Waikato Stable Isotope Unit, the Waikato DNA Sequencing Facility, the Thermophile & Microbial Biochemistry & Biotechnology Unit, the International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research and the University of Waikato Herbarium (a controlled environment glasshouse facility), and field centres for freshwater and coastal marine science.

Build a successful career

Careers in Biological Sciences come in many shapes and sizes, with many offering opportunities for travel.  From managing the Savannah animals at Hamilton Zoo, to working with embryos at a London fertility clinic, our graduates find jobs in exciting and challenging industries in New Zealand and overseas.  You could find a career as an ecologist managing the restoration of natural ecosystems, a physiologist aiming to understand how organisms function, or a geneticist using DNA as the key to identifying diseases or organisms.

 Career opportunities

  • Agricultural Researcher
  • Biosecurity Officer
  • Environmental Microbiologist
  • Conservation Officer
  • Fisheries Scientist
  • Forensic Technician
  • Geneticist
  • Marine Biologist
  • Medical Sciences Technician
  • Plant Physiologist

200 level

Animal Structure and FunctionBIOEB20315.0 Points

300 level

Advanced GeneticsBIOL31020.0 Points
Applied Terrestrial EcologyBIOL31220.0 Points
Applied Freshwater EcologyBIOL31320.0 Points
Marine Biology and MonitoringBIOL31420.0 Points
Aquaculture Reproduction and Early Life StagesBIOL32420.0 Points
Plant FunctionBIOL32520.0 Points
Advanced Topics in Plant BiologyBIOL32620.0 Points
Advanced Animal BehaviourBIOL33320.0 Points
Mammalian PhysiologyBIOL33520.0 Points
Advanced ZoologyBIOL33820.0 Points
Microbial Physiology and EcologyBIOL34120.0 Points
Advanced BiochemistryBIOL35120.0 Points
Molecular Biology and BiotechniquesBIOL36220.0 Points
BiotechnologyENMP32220.0 Points

Prescriptions for the PGCert(BioSc), PGDip(BioSc), 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 Biological Sciences, students must complete 120 points at 500 level, including at least 60 points from the papers listed for Biological Sciences, of which at least 30 points must be in research (normally BIOL591).

Data Analysis and Experimental DesignBIOL50315.0 Points
Freshwater EcologyBIOL56015.0 Points
Aquatic Ecosystem ModellingBIOL56115.0 Points
Marine and Estuarine EcologyBIOL56215.0 Points
Aquatic Field MethodsBIOL56315.0 Points
Restoration EcologyBIOL56415.0 Points
Molecular EcologyBIOL56515.0 Points
Plant EcologyBIOL57015.0 Points
Plant FunctionBIOL57115.0 Points
Animal BehaviourBIOL57215.0 Points
Conservation BiologyBIOL57315.0 Points
Mammalian PhysiologyBIOL57415.0 Points
Applied Topics in PhysiologyBIOL57515.0 Points
Animal EcophysiologyBIOL57615.0 Points
Aquatic ToxicologyBIOL57715.0 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

Prescriptions for the MPhil

The Master of Philosophy is a one year research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis which critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

Prescriptions for the PhD

The Doctor of Philosophy is a three year research-based degree in which students undertake a programme of approved and supervised research that leads to a thesis which critically investigates an approved topic of substance and significance, demonstrates expertise in the methods of research and scholarship, displays intellectual independence and makes a substantial original contribution to the subject area concerned, and is of publishable quality.

Biological Sciences PhD ThesisBIOL900120.0 Points

Anne Shannon Scholarship

For students who are studying towards a degree with a major in Biological Sciences or are enrolled in a specified programme including a major in Biological Sciences at the University of Waikato. The scholarship will have a value of $2,500 per year for two years.

Closing Date: 2017-03-31 23:59:00

Brian Perry Charitable Trust Undergraduate Scholarship in Science & Engineering

For students who are enrolled in the second year of full-time study towards an undergraduate degree, in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Waikato. The scholarship will have a value of up to $2,000.

Closing Date: 2017-05-31 23:59:00

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

The Hicks Scholarship

For students who are enrolled or intend to enrol at any New Zealand University to undertake the research portion of their Masters degree in agriculture, horticulture, arborculture, viticulture or animal husbandry. The Scholarship will have a value of up to $15,000.

Closing Date: 2014-08-23 23:59:00


Faculty of Science & Engineering

Phone: +64 7 838 4625 / 0800 438 254