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.

Laura Hines

Bachelor of Science, Master of Science (Research)
Although Laura Hines says that University is not just about the learning, she did a lot of it while she was at the University of Waikato.

Fenna Beets

Master of Science (Research)

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
Alice's research background is in stem cells and she works for renowned plastic surgeon and medical researcher Dr Swee Tan.

Monique Corbett

Bachelor of Science
Monique has fond memories of all the practical, hands-on experience that was a big part of her degree, with the Bay of Plenty providing the perfect environment for the marine and freshwater related component in particular.

Anthony Coventry

Bachelor of Science (Technology)
“I really liked how the BSc(Tech) degree allowed me to have real work experience and connected me with people in the working world from a variety of industries”.

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


Study Biological Sciences in any of these qualifications

200 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOEB203Animal Structure and Function18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
This paper is an integrated theoretical and experimental study of the principles of animal structure and function. Comparative aspects will be emphasised in how animals adapt to their environment. Topics covered include homeostasis, the function of major organ systems, ecophysiology, musculoskeletal design and locomotion. An introd...

300 level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOL310Advanced Genetics18A (Hamilton)
A study of advanced microbial and eukaryotic genetics, DNA topology, nucleotide sequencing, regulation of gene expression, uses of recombinant DNA technology, and population genetics.
BIOL312Applied Terrestrial Ecology18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
A course that explores ecological principles, ecosystem dynamics and functioning, restoration, conservation genetics, conservation ecology, forest ecosystems, pest control and protection of native species.
BIOL313Applied Freshwater Ecology18A (Hamilton) & 18A (Tauranga)
An introduction to the ecology of lakes and rivers. Topics covered include the structure and function of major freshwater communities, fish and fisheries, human impacts and the management of inland waters.
BIOL314Marine Biology and Monitoring18B (Hamilton) & 18B (Tauranga)
An introduction to the structure and function of marine ecosystems. This paper also covers human impacts on marine environments, including fisheries, as well as the design of ecological surveys and experiments. Field trip and practical classes are integral to the course.
BIOL324Aquaculture Reproduction and Early Life Stages18B (Tauranga)
Students will study the under-lying reproductive physiology and developmental biology of early life cycle strategies used by aquatic animal species. This knowledge will be examined for its use in the husbandry, breeding and production of species in aquaculture.
BIOL325Plant Function18A (Hamilton)
An introduction to the discipline of plant physiological ecology and the interactions of plants with their environment. Includes an emphasis on practical techniques for measuring plant microclimate, photosynthesis and water use.
BIOL326Advanced Topics in Plant BiologyThis paper will not be taught in 2018.
This paper will not be taught in 2018.
BIOL333Advanced Animal Behaviour18B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the development, causation, function and evolutionary history of vertebrate and invertebrate behaviour. It applies behavioural information to conservation biology and animal welfare.
BIOL335Mammalian Physiology18A (Hamilton)
An examination of selected aspects of mammalian physiology, normally including the physiology of respiration, digestion, muscle, reproduction and lactation.
BIOL338Advanced Zoology18B (Hamilton)
An examination of the evolutionary biology of animals, including structure, function and evolutionary adaptation of selected invertebrates and vertebrates.
BIOL341Microbial Physiology and Ecology18B (Hamilton)
A study of the physiology of bacteria with emphasis on their great metabolic diversity and on the unifying principles of energy generation. Includes Archaebacteria and bacteria of extreme environments.
BIOL351Advanced Biochemistry18B (Hamilton)
This paper will examine mechanisms underlying cellular communication and trafficking of proteins between organelles, cellular stress responses, cell death, metabolic regulation in relation to control of enzyme activity and stability as well as human diseases (eg diabetes), mammalian vision, toxicology and inflammation.
BIOL362Molecular Biology and Biotechniques18C (Block)
This paper examines the molecular biological technologies used to analyse and manipulate DNA, RNA and proteins. It includes coverage of the major recombinant DNA techniques during an intensive two week course.
ENMP322Biotechnology18B (Hamilton)
Industrial biotechnology, applications of enzymes and micro-organisms, principles of bioreactor and fermenter design and operation, industrial separations, and purifying biological material.

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.

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOL800Biological Sciences MPhil Thesis18C (Hamilton) & 18C (Tauranga)
No description available.

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.

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOL900Biological Sciences PhD Thesis18C (Hamilton)
No description available.

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 $5,000.

Closing Date: 2018-06-28 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