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Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences with Honours (BBiomedSc(Hons)) at the University of Otago, Christchurch

About the BBiomedSc(Hons) course

The University of Otago, Christchurch offers a one-year honours programme to students who have completed and performed well in a BBiomedSc degree or a BSc degree from Otago or other universities in approved disciplines.

This short video explains the course and shows some of the UOC laboratories in which students will be located.


This BBiomedSc(Hons) programme is an excellent stepping-stone to a career in research, diagnostics or biotechnology or to PhD study in a range of areas including:

  • genetics
  • biochemistry
  • molecular biology
  • cancer biology
  • infectious diseases
  • pharmacology
  • pharmacogenomics
  • microbiology
  • cell biology

The focus of the BBiomedSc(Hons) programme is ‘hands on’ training in scientific research that will develop the skills and attitudes required to enable graduates to progress to a PhD programme or to other careers.

Gabi Dachs and Lizzie Campbell working in the labWe offer an intensive research training experience consisting of six-weeks of tutorial sessions led by expert researchers, integrated with practical sessions based in the Department's laboratories.

In addition, the student completes a supervised research project in a laboratory of their choice and the research dissertation is the major component of the BBiomedSc(Hons) assessment.

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2018 BBiomedSc(Hons) research projects 

The following research projects are available for the 2018 intake of BBiomedSc(Hons) students. Our supervisors may also be able to create or customise a project tailored to your research interests. Please contact prospective supervisors directly to discuss potential opportunities.

BBiomedSc(Hons) research projects undertaken in 2017:

Recent BBiomedSc(Hons) research projects include:

Complete list of BBiomedSc(Hons) research projects completed at the University of Otago, Christchurch.

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Entry requirements

Hannah Kennedy

The BBiomedSc(Hons) programme is offered through the University of Otago, Christchurch, to students who have completed an approved degree, such as a BSc or BBiomedSc in a related field from the University of Otago, or an approved degree from another University.

A Minimum B+ average for third year papers for the appropriate 300-level papers.

Applicants must normally have passed papers worth at least 126 points, at 200-level or above, during the third year of study for the degree of Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences (or equivalent).

For students transferring from another New Zealand University we have to adjust for the fact that a standard full-time course is 120 points at those Universities. So 120 points or credits is equivalent to 126 points. Thus a transferring student must:

  • Have completed their third year full-time with a minimum of 120 points
  • Have at least 5 papers at 300-level (or 75 points) (closest we can get to 72 points, as four 15-point papers is only 60 points)
  • Amongst those 300-level papers demonstrate a multi-disciplinary mix of papers
  • With the rest of 45 points at 200-level or above.

Admission to the programme is subject to approval of the Board of Studies which must be satisfied that the candidate has the ability and experience to proceed to the degree.

We recommend you fill out and submit an admission form in order to determine your eligibility for the course well in advance of enrolling. To complete this form, you will need a proposed supervisor and a project outline for your dissertation, so you must contact the course convenor (or a potential supervisor in your preferred area), to obtain these details.

Places on this course are limited.

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Course work

The course work consists of several modules during semester one, including

  • genome sequencing and genotyping
  • bioinformatics
  • gene expression
  • protein biochemistry
  • electrophoresis and blotting
  • mass spectrometry
  • cell culture
  • genetic manipulation
  • flow cytometry and microscopy
  • experimental design and data analysis

Each module will include a mix of theory, practical demonstration, troubleshooting and critical analysis of published literature.

The goal is for the students to acquire an understanding of the various technologies that are available in biomedical research.

Supplementary lectures throughout the year will focus on broader research skills including scientific writing and presentations, media skills, ethics, translational research and commercialization.

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  • 85% Research project (10% literature review, 65% thesis, 10% final presentation)
  • 15% Course work (written examination)

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Research environment

Anna van Pomeren The Department of Pathology at the University of Otago, Christchurch provides an excellent environment in which to undertake intensive training in the biomedical sciences.

The Department has over 50 academic staff members that include a mix of established and emerging New Zealand biomedical research leaders.

There are typically more than 20 PhD students enrolled at any one time, and we have graduated over 90 PhDs since 1978.

In the 2006 Performance Based Research Funding (PBRF) round, the Department received an overall quality score of 5.3. This was the highest of all departments at the University of Otago, Christchurch, and one of the highest within the Division of Health Sciences for Otago University - New Zealand’s highest ranked university.

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Contact a supervisor

For general enquiries about the Christchurch BBiomedSc(Hons) programme, please contact Professor Madhav Bhatia (course coordinator).

To contact staff members contributing to this course:

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Further information

For general enquiries about the Christchurch BBiomedSc(Hons) programme, please contact Professor Madhav Bhatia (course coordinator).

Please note: we reserve the right to cancel the course if there are insufficient enrolments in any given year.

Download the BBiomedSc(Hons) brochure [PDF 310KB]