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Study Biochemistry at Otago

If you’ve ever wondered how living things work, where they get their energy from, how they make the components they need or what it is that your genes do, then Biochemistry is for you.

Biochemists apply molecular approaches to understand life and death, how cells can be turned into bio-factories, how to make improved crops, how trillions of cells assemble to form you, why you get old, and what causes diseases like cancer.

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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.

Biotechonology 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.

Background required

There are no school subjects you have to do to study Biochemistry.

However, you will need to pass a first-year Chemistry paper before doing Biochemistry, so NCEA Level 2 and/or Level 3 Chemistry will be helpful.

Postgraduate study options

Following on from a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, there are a number of postgraduate options, including a Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)), a Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci), Master of Science (MSc), and doctoral (PhD) degree.

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.

Qualifications

Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages:

Programme requirements

Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Biochemistry

Level Papers Points
100-level

BIOC 192  Foundations of Biochemistry

CELS 191  Cell and Molecular Biology

CHEM 191  The Chemical Basis of Biology and Human Health

At least one of:
BIOL 112  Animal Biology
BIOL 123  Plants: How They Shape the World
CHEM 111  Chemistry: Molecular Architecture
HUBS 191  Human Body Systems 1
HUBS 192  Human Body Systems 2
STAT 110  Statistical Methods
STAT 115  Introduction to Biostatistics

18

18

18

 

18

200-level

BIOC 221  Molecular Biology

BIOC 222  Proteins in Industry and Medicine

BIOC 223  Cellular Biochemistry and Metabolism

18

18

18

300-level

BIOC 351  Advanced Protein Biochemistry

BIOC 352  Advanced Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics

BIOC 353  Molecular Basis of Health and Disease

BIOC 360  Research Perspectives in Biochemistry

With Head of Department approval, one 300-level BIOC paper may be replaced by another relevant 300-level paper.

18

18

18

18

Plus

162 further points (GENE 221 Molecular and Microbial Genetics strongly recommended); must include 54 points at 200-level or above.

Up to 90 points may be taken from outside Science.

162
Total   360

Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) in Biochemistry

Papers
  • BIOC 490  Research Project

  • Three of:
    • BIOC 461  Research Design and Analysis in Biochemistry
    • BIOC 462  Molecular Biology
    • BIOC 463  Contemporary Technologies in Biochemistry
    • BIOC 464  Applied Biochemistry

    With approval from the Head of Department one 400-level BIOC paper may be replaced with a 400-level paper from another relevant subject.

    Prerequisites:
    At least five 300-level papers including at least four of BIOC 351, BIOC 352, BIOC 353, BIOC 360 

    With approval from the Head of Department one 300-level BIOC paper may be replaced with a 300-level paper from another relevant subject.

Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Biochemistry

Papers
  • BIOC 480  Research Project

  • BIOC 461  Research Design and Analysis in Biochemistry

  • BIOC 462  Molecular Biology

  • BIOC 463  Contemporary Technologies in Biochemistry

  • BIOC 464  Applied Biochemistry

  • Note: With approval from the Head of Department, one 400-level BIOC paper may be replaced by a 400-level paper from another relevant subject.

Master of Science (MSc) in Biochemistry

Papers and Thesis
  • BIOC 495  Master's Thesis Preparation

  • Four of:
    • BIOC 461  Research Design and Analysis in Biochemistry
    • BIOC 462  Molecular Biology
    • BIOC 463  Contemporary Technologies in Biochemistry
    • BIOC 464  Applied Biochemistry
  • Thesis: BIOC 5

    Note: The papers are normally taken before undertaking the thesis.

Minor subject requirements

Biochemistry as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree

Level Papers Points
100-level BIOC 192  Foundations of Biochemistry 18
200-level Two of:
BIOC 221  Molecular Biology
BIOC 222  Proteins in Industry and Medicine
BIOC 223  Cellular Biochemistry and Metabolism
36
300-level

Two 300-level BIOC papers

36

  Note: Prerequisite for BIOC 192 is CHEM 191; prerequisites for 200-level BIOC papers include CELS 191  
Total   90

Papers

Paper code Year Title Points Teaching period
BIOC192 2021 Foundations of Biochemistry 18 points Second Semester
BIOC221 2021 Molecular Biology 18 points First Semester
BIOC222 2021 Proteins in Industry and Medicine 18 points Second Semester
BIOC223 2021 Cellular Biochemistry and Metabolism 18 points Second Semester
BIOC351 2021 Advanced Protein Biochemistry 18 points First Semester
BIOC352 2021 Advanced Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics 18 points First Semester
BIOC353 2021 Molecular Basis of Health and Disease 18 points Second Semester
BIOC360 2021 Research Perspectives in Biochemistry 18 points Second Semester
BIOC461 2021 Research Design and Analysis in Biochemistry 20 points Full Year
BIOC462 2021 Molecular Biology 20 points First Semester
BIOC463 2021 Contemporary Technologies in Biochemistry 20 points Second Semester
BIOC464 2021 Applied Biochemistry 20 points Full Year
BIOC480 2021 Research Project 40 points Full Year
BIOC490 2021 Dissertation 60 points Full Year
BIOC495 2021 Master's Thesis Preparation 40 points Full Year

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Biochemistry
School of Biomedical Sciences
Email biochemistry@otago.ac.nz
Web otago.ac.nz/biochemistry