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University of Otago
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Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc) Majoring in Molecular Biotechnology

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree

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Otago's unique Applied Science degrees link the excitement of science and the power of technology with the challenges of business. Applied Science programs help graduates to become innovative thinkers with an entrepreneurial spirit, the very attributes successful New Zealanders are well-known for. As a graduate you'll be in better control of your career, able to contribute to the success of any organisation. And if innovation attracts you, an Applied Science degree combined with work experience will provide the right background if you decide to start your own business.

Why study Molecular Biotechnology?

You could become involved in world-changing developments like finding new treatments for diseases, identifying important genetic traits, or helping solve crimes through new forensic techniques.

You’ll gain wide knowledge in the fields of genetics, biochemistry and microbiology that can be used in industries in New Zealand and around the world.

You’ll develop an appreciation of the impact of Molecular Biotechnology, and learn about the technology behind recent advances in the biological sciences.

What is the Bachelor of Applied Science?

The strength of the Applied Science programme is its outward focus – developing market-ready graduates with wide-ranging skills and practical experience in the workplace.

Applied Science is a three-year undergraduate degree with open possible at 100 level.

An honours year is offered to those students who achieve an appropriate academic standard. This will be offered at the end of the undergraduate degree.

Every Applied Science degree has a compulsory minor or second major, in a subject area that is directly relevant and will deliver complementary skills. The programme encourages real-world business awareness, enabling you to apply what you have learned to any organisation you work for.

Career opportunities

There is worldwide demand for well-trained molecular biotechnologists. New Zealand already has a sound base in biotechnology, especially as it relates to healthcare innovation and the primary industries, with a range of research organisations and companies involved in biotechnology.

With a BAppSc from Otago, you could find yourself cloning genes to identify new pharmaceuticals, or working with new vaccines. You could help develop identifying markers for beneficial genetic traits in animals or disease in humans, or work in areas like vaccine development, genomic analysis, or patenting.

While your roles may vary in the different environments, your sound understanding of genetics, biochemistry and microbiology will provide you with a solid base from which to develop your future. There are the traditional research opportunities in Crown Research Institutes and universities, or openings in the commercial sector.

Programme Requirements


  • BIOC 192 Foundations of Biochemistry
  • CELS 191 Cell and Molecular Biology
  • CHEM 191 The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health
  • HUBS 191 Human Body Systems 1


  • BIOC 221 Molecular Biology
  • GENE 221 Molecular and Microbial Genetics
  • MICR 221 Microbes to Medicine
  • At least two of BIOC 222, BIOC 223, BTNY 201, GENE 222, GENE 223, MICR 222, MICR 223


  • MICR 336 Applied and Environmental Microbiology
  • At least three of BIOC 351, BIOC 352, GENE 313, GENE 314, GENE 315, MICR 335, MICR 337, PLBI 301, PLBI 302

126 further points, including either requirements for an approved minor or approved second major subject or other approved papers.

Bachelor of Applied Science with Honours (BAppSc(Hons)) is also available.

Note: July commencement may be possible, although the duration of the qualification may be longer, or paper selection may be limited.

Entry criteria

We recognise many other qualifications as equivalent to the New Zealand qualification for entrance.

We also accept the following international qualifications:

  • International Baccalaureate: IB Diploma with a minimum of 24 points.
  • Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) GCE Advanced Levels: minimum Numerical Score of 8

English language requirements

  • IELTS Academic - IELTS score of 6.0 in the academic module (with no individual band below 5.5). IELTS Online is also accepted.
  • Internet-based TOEFL - Score of 80 (writing 20)
  • Paper-based TOEFL - Score of 550 (TWE 4.5)
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) & Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) - Overall score of 176 (with no individual band below 169)
  • CIE - E grade or higher in any one of AS English Language, AS Literature in English or AS Language & Literature in English; OR meeting the NCEA literacy requirements
  • GCE A or AS English Language, Literature in English, Language and Literature in English & GCE AS level General Paper (English) - Grade C or higher
  • IB - English at Higher or Standard level in Language A: literature, Language A: language and literature, or at Higher Level in Language B
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic - Overall score of 50 with no communicative skills score below 42.
  • LanguageCert - International ESOL: C1 Expert (LRWS) with a pass overall and no less than a pass in each skill
  • NZCEL - NZCEL 4 Academic endorsement
  • University of Auckland English Language Academy (ELA) pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Undergraduate Studies (EPUS) with a C Grade
  • University of Auckland Foundation Certificate in English for Academic Purposes (FCertEAP) - Successful completion of the certificate with a C Grade

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