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University of Otago
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Bachelor of Science (BSc) Majoring in Biochemistry

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


3 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2024


University of Otago


The Bachelor of Science (BSc) is a three-year undergraduate degree which enables each student to develop his or her own interests in a science subject (science major) and related subjects. Students have the flexibility to combine their major subject with other science subjects, as well as subjects from other disciplines across the University.

Biochemistry at Otago

Biochemistry is a rapidly-developing molecular science that studies living processes by considering an organism’s biological molecules: their functions, their interactions (both amongst themselves and with molecules in the environment), and how they can be affected by the environment itself.

Biochemistry is at the heart of cutting-edge developments in molecular medicine and the biotechnology industry. Molecular medicine is poised to revolutionise human health. Better methods for diagnosis, drug design, and therapeutic treatment at the molecular level will improve health outcomes for society.

Biotechnology will bring us more and better foods, new sources of energy, and new materials for engineering.

Why study Biochemistry?

Biochemistry occupies a central place in the life sciences. It is fundamental to our understanding of the structure, function, and development of all life. It doesn’t matter which area of biology you are interested in, Biochemistry will enhance your understanding of life.

A Biochemistry degree from Otago is an internationally-recognised qualification in one of the key life sciences. You will learn practical, analytical, and critical thinking skills that are highly valued in New Zealand’s knowledge-based economy.

Biochemists are experimental scientists, as a result the study of biochemistry at Otago has a large hands-on component, involving practical skills and sophisticated instrumentation, all of which help prepare you for career opportunities following graduation.

Career opportunities

Biochemists can choose from a diverse array of job opportunities, and Otago biochemistry graduates can be found all over the world.

Careers in research, product development, forensics, public health, bioinformatics, agribusiness, patent law, science policy, publishing, teaching and science communication, commerce, and marketing are all available to biochemists.

The New Zealand biotechnology industry has opportunities for biochemists in livestock improvement, the development of food crops, winemaking, the protection of native flora and fauna, pharmaceuticals, and industrial and household products.

With an Otago degree in Biochemistry, you can pursue your passion in any area of biology, anywhere in the world.

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

A specific aim of the Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) degree is to develop advanced theoretical and research skills and in so doing to provide a platform for an advanced professional or academic career.

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
  • A minimum of CCC across the NCUK IFY
  • Satisfactory completion of one year's study at a recognised tertiary institution.

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
  • ELA pathway programmes - Successful completion of the English Pathway for Undergraduate Studies (EPUS) with a C Grade
  • FCertEAP - Successful completion of the certificate with a C Grade

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