Map NZ Map World

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.

Apply to enrol

Key information

Study Location:Hamilton
Area of Study:

Career opportunities

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

100 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOEB101Concepts of Biology20A (Hamilton)
An introduction to the foundations of biology, including the structure and functioning of cells, evolution, the origins and diversity of life, and a tour of the major forms of life and their defining characteristics.
BIOMO101Introduction to Molecular and Cellular Biology20B (Hamilton)
An introduction to the central concepts of Molecular and Cellular Biology, including the ultrastructure and function of cells, the biochemical processes involved, and the role of DNA in cellular function, inheritance and evolution.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOMO201Biochemistry20A (Hamilton)
The aim of this paper is to familiarize students with the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates (as fundamental molecules of life). Students will be introduced to molecular techniques used to study these molecules and gain an appreciation of how they interact in living organisms in health and d...
BIOMO202Genetics20B (Hamilton)
This paper deals with genetics in the widest sense from the molecular and cellular to the applied and evolutionary. Both prokaryote and eukaryote genetics are discussed with respect to DNA replication, hereditary, gene expression and control, and the role of mutations at both the DNA and chromosomal levels. The paper provides a pat...
BIOMO203Microbiology20A (Hamilton)
This paper will focus on microbial cell structure, function, and metabolism. Content and context will be drawn from both human and environmental examples. Students will acquire skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, data collection, data analysis, and report presentation. This paper is required for the Molecular and Cellu...
BIOMO204Cell and Organ Physiology in Health and Disease20B (Hamilton)
This paper integrates basic cell physiology with organ-based physiology and histology, providing students with a comprehensive understanding of the structure-function relationships in physiological processes. Intercellular communication, tissue/organ structure and systems physiology will be discussed in the context of health and di...

300 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOMO301Advanced Biochemistry20B (Hamilton)
This paper builds on the principles of biochemistry introduced in BIOMO201 to examine molecular mechanisms underlying cellular communication and trafficking of proteins between organelles, cellular stress responses, cell death, and the degradation of biomolecules. Students will also examine the molecular basis of human diseases suc...
BIOMO302Advanced Genetics20A (Hamilton)
This paper will provide advanced knowledge on microbial and eukaryotic genomes, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics, gene editing, the regulation and expression of genes, human disease, and population genetics.
BIOMO303Advanced Microbiology20B (Hamilton)
The paper will provide knowledge of microbial functions and the role of the microbiome in human and ecosystem health.
BIOMO304Applied Animal Physiology20A (Hamilton)
The paper will provide a knowledge of mammalian physiology and its application to research in health, exercise and primary production.
BIOMO306Molecular Biology and Health20B (Hamilton)
This paper will provide the application of molecular biology knowledge and skills in the health sciences. This paper is specifically designed to bring together the areas of genetics, biochemistry, microbiology and physiology and look at how they are informing the prevention and treatment of human diseases. Throughout the paper, Uni...

500 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOMO501Biomolecular Structure and Cellular Pathways20B (Hamilton)
This paper is an in-depth examination of biomolecular structure, function, and molecular metabolism using selected examples from the biochemistry literature.
BIOMO502Molecular Genetics in Health and Disease20A (Hamilton)
This paper explores how modern molecular approaches are contributing to our understanding of molecular genetics and how this information can be exploited to benefit animal and human health.
BIOMO503Microbiomes20A (Hamilton)
This paper explores microbiomes in the environment and in association with multicellular organisms, including humans, to understand their critical ecological roles in ecosystem and host function and health.
BIOMO504Biomedical Physiology20B (Hamilton)
This paper examines select topics in human/animal physiology in the context of functioning of the organism in health and disease. Elements of molecular biology, genetics, animal models of diseases, and pharmacology are used to present students with an integrated approach to physiological research.
BIOMO511Current Topics in the Biomedical Sciences20A (Hamilton)
There is a significant amount of research addressing global biomedical challenges such as obesity, cancer, neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease and microbial infections. This paper will introduce students to the issues faced by researchers in the biomedical space and the current approaches being used to come up with soluti...
BIOMO512Molecular Techniques for Environmental Science20B (Hamilton)
This paper will introduce students of diverse scientific backgrounds to current and emerging molecular analytic and diagnostic techniques used across biological and environmental sciences.
CHEMY511Structural Characterisation I20A (Hamilton)
Using a combination of lectures viewed online and instrumental work, students master the skills required to acquire NMR and mass spectra and interpret these to identify an unknown compound. Students should have received basic instruction in carbon and proton NMR before considering enrolling in this course.
SCIEN511Scientific Supercomputing20B (Hamilton)
A practical introduction to undertaking scientific research on a supercomputer. The paper assumes no prior knowledge.
SCIEN512Data Analysis and Experimental Design20A (Hamilton)
This paper covers aspects of research design for experiments, and methods for analysis of scientific data using modern statistical techniques.
SCIEN589Directed Study20A (Hamilton), 20A (Tauranga), 20B (Hamilton) & 20B (Tauranga)
No description available.
SCIEN592Dissertation20X (Hamilton) & 20X (Tauranga)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
SCIEN593Thesis20X (Hamilton) & 20X (Tauranga)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
SCIEN594Thesis20X (Hamilton) & 20X (Tauranga)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.

800 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOL800Biological Sciences MPhil Thesis20X (Hamilton) & 20X (Tauranga)
No description available.

900 Level

Code Paper Title Occurrence / Location
BIOL900Biological Sciences PhD Thesis20I (Hamilton), 20I (Tauranga), 20X (Hamilton) & 20X (Tauranga)
No description available.

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

DairyNZ Masters Scholarship  Closed

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.

Hamilton Zoo - University of Waikato Science & Engineering Scholarship  Closed

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.

Looking for more scholarships?

Visit our Scholarship Finder



School of Science
Phone: 0800 924 528 or +64 7 838 4625