School of Biological Sciences


Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2016 academic year unless otherwise specified.


Faculty of Science
Student Administration Office
Level 1, Cotton Building
Kelburn Campus
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64 4 463 5101


Science is an adventure. Its discoveries and innovations offer solutions to life's most pressing problems and give insight into the fundamental structures of the world. Scientists are explorers, looking into the unknown, from the depths of the Antarctic ice sheet to the workings of the human brain.

The Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree is a flexible three-year undergraduate degree providing general and specialised subject knowledge. At Victoria, students don’t just learn about research, they also learn how to do research. The practical skills gained during their studies combined with an emphasis on developing skills as independent critical thinkers, creativity and communication, means that a Victoria Science graduate stands out when seeking employment. We have structured our degrees to enable both depth within as well as breadth across different subject areas, meaning students can graduate with a distinctive combination of skills.

In the latest national assessment of research excellence all Schools in the Faculty of Science were rated either first or second in their subject areas. The 2015 QS World Ranking placed Development Studies, Geography and Psychology in the top 100, and Computer Science and Information Systems, Earth and Marine Sciences in the top 150 in the world.

Research is at the core of our learning and teaching and this is reflected in the content of your lectures and laboratories, which are delivered by some of the most respected academics in the world. Victoria's scientists are international leaders in areas such as conservation, biomedical science, nanotechnology, pure mathematics, marine biology, forensic psychology, seismology and climate change.

Much of their ground-breaking research is carried out right here in the University’s excellent facilities, and out in the field, utilising Wellington’s vibrant science landscape. Wellington's high concentration of scientists, science organisations and research institutes benefits Victoria's science students. Not only does external expertise inform lectures and research supervision but also it provides valuable work experience and summer programmes.

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A BSc at Victoria

BSc requirements:
  • A total of 360 points
  • At least 270 points from Science subjects
  • A major chosen from the Science major list (see below)
  • At least 210 points from 200- and 300-level of which:
    • 150 should be science
    • 75 should be from 300-level Science courses
  • At least 15 points from MATH, PHYS, QUAN or STAT courses (if not already included as part of the major requirements)
  • At least 15 points from approved courses that demonstrate communication skills (if not already included as part of the major requirements)

Please note:

  • Up to 90 points from any other Victoria undergraduate degree can be counted towards a BSc
  • A second major from outside science can be taken, but no more than 150 non-science points will count towards a BSc
  • 300-level courses required by two majors cannot be shared between those majors or between a major and a minor.


A BSc requires three years of full time study. Most students take 7-8 courses in their first year.

The number of points a course is worth is representative of the workload involved. 120 points is a full time programme, equivalent to 40 hours a week including lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, fieldwork, assignments, tests, exams and individual study. One point is roughly equal to 10 hours of work over the trimester.

Generic skills

Every BSc graduate must be able to demonstrate mathematical competency and an ability to communicate through oral and written work, including discussion.

These skills will be achieved by all students taking:

  • at least 15 points from MATH, PHYS, QUAN, STAT or similar courses
  • at least 15 points from approved courses that show competency in communication.

Postgraduate study

A BSc degree is ideal preparation for postgraduate study at Victoria at Honours and Master's levels. It is the ideal grounding for a career in any area of Science, ranging from biotechnology to theoretical physics. A postgraduate qualification enables you to work at a higher level than graduates with a BSc.

Related degrees

Some students choose to combine a BSc with another degree. Because a number of courses can be credited to both degrees, it is possible for able students to complete two three year degrees in four to five years. Other Science degree and related degree options at Victoria are:

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BSc majors

Majors and minors

A major is your main area of study. Your first major must be in science, but a second major may be from outside Science, e.g. Chinese or Public Policy. The specific major requirements vary from subject to subject. 

A minor demonstrates an area of interest in your degree. Students may take up to two minors. A Science minor requires:

  • 60 points from the major requirements of the subject at 200-level or above, including 15 points at 300-level.
BSc majors
Actuarial Science Applied Physics
Biology Biotechnology
Cell and Molecular Bioscience Chemistry
Computer Science Computer Graphics*
Development Studies Ecology and Biodiversity
Electronic and Computer Systems Environmental Science
Environmental Studies Geography
Geology Geophysics
Marine Biology Mathematics
Physical Geography Physics
Psychology Statistics

*Subject to approval for 2016.

A minor can be completed in all the subjects listed above, as well as Forensic Science and Science in Context.

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Admission and enrolment

Before you enrol at Victoria you must meet University Entrance requirements. Check that you're eligible to apply by meeting one of the admission types then follow the steps to apply before applying online.

If you're an international student, you'll have a different admission and application process.

Secondary school subjects you will need

It is useful to have studied some of the Science disciplines at NCEA Level 3 or equivalent before you enrol in a BSc, but many 100-level courses require little or no Science background.

Students interested in taking Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics do require previous knowledge of the subject. See the listings for individual subjects.

Preparation Courses

Preparation courses offered over the summer trimester can be taken to gain the prerequisites to enter some first year courses. These are suitable for those lacking the appropriate NCEA credits, or for students wanting to brush up on their science skills.

Two courses are offered:

The points gained from these courses count towards your degree. Please check the prerequisites of your first year courses to find out if you need to take these preparation courses.

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Fees are set each year and are worked out on a per point basis. There are compulsory fees for student services, student union membership and internet access. Some courses have additional charges for items such as study materials, equipment or field trips.

Read more about the fees charges for Domestic Students and International Students.

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How to find out more

Want to find out more about studying at Victoria? Register now to find out more about your study options and keep updated on application and enrolment information, open days and events.

If you need help deciding what degree might be right for you, or what courses to take, talk with a liaison officer or book a course planning session with us, call 0800 VICTORIA (842 867) or email

If you’re a returning or transferring student, contact the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office, for help with degree planning and for information on admission requirements and transfer credit from other institutions.

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Degree examples

Example 1—BSc majoring in Ecology and Biodiversity and Statistics

Year 1—Courses
BIOL 111 Cell Biology
BIOL 113 Biology of Plants
BIOL 114 Biology of Animals
ENVI 114 Environment and Resources: The Foundations
ESCI 111 The Earth System: An Introduction to Physical Geography and Earth Sciences
ESCI 132 Antarctica: Unfreezing the Continent
MATH 177 Probability and Decision Modelling
STAT 193 Statistics for Natural and Social Sciences
Year 2—Courses
BIOL 222 Ecology and Environment
BIOL 227 Plants and Algae: Function and Diversity
BIOL 228 Animal Diversity
BIOL 241 Genetics
BIOL 271 Introductory Marine Biology
STAT 292 Applied Statistics 2A
STAT 293 Applied Statistics 2B
Year 3—Courses
BIOL 329 Evolution
BIOL 300 level
BIOL 300 level
STAT 300 level
STAT 300 level
STAT 300 level
STAT 300 level

Example 2—BSc majoring in Physics, with minors in Mathematics and Statistics

Year 1—Courses
COMP 102 Introduction to Computer Program Design
COMP 103 Introduction to Data Structures and Algorithms
MATH 142 Calculus 1B
MATH 151 Algebra
MATH 177 Probability and Decision Modelling
PHYS 114 Physics 1A
PHYS 115 Physics 1B
STAT 193 Statistics for the Natural and Social Sciences
Year 2—Courses
MATH 243 Multivariable Calculus
MATH 200 level
PHYS 132 Introductory Astronomy
PHYS 222 Electrons and Photons
PHYS 223 Classical Physics
PHYS 221 Relativity and Quantum Physics
PHYS 200 level
STAT 292 Applied Statistics 2A
Year 3—Courses
MATH 300 level
MATH 300 level
PHYS 304 Electromagnetism
PHYS 305 Thermal Physics
PHYS 307 Quantum Physics
PHYS 309 Solid State & Nuclear Physics
PHYS 300 level
STAT 300 level