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Programme list > Bachelor of Science > Molecular and Cellular Biology

Bachelor of Science (Molecular and Cellular Biology)

Overview

Understand how your DNA and environment make you who you are.

Become part of the spectacular advances being made in science, medicine and agriculture through modern molecular, cellular, and genomic analyses.

  • Level

  • Undergraduate, NZQF Level 7
  • Campus

  • Auckland
  • International

  • Available for international students studying in NZ

The Bachelor of Science (Molecular and Cellular Biology) will teach you how an understanding of DNA, proteins and cells helps us understand life on this planet. Why do diseases or disorders develop and how can we diagnose and treat them? Where did we come from? How are microbes influencing our health? How are we using molecular biology to create vaccines and test for diseases such as COVID-19? How are organisms evolving to our changing planet?

This can in turn help create a better world – with better medicines, more efficient agriculture and better protection from disease for humans and our environment.

It is a discipline that unifies many others, from biochemistry to computer science to medicine and food production.

Join science that is changing the world

During your study you will:

  • learn how advances in molecular techniques and DNA sequencing are changing the face of medicine, agriculture, ecology and wildlife conservation.
  • find out how organisms are related and how evolution works at a molecular level
  • learn about advances in DNA sequencing – why certain diseases are prevalent and why genetic mutations can be good and bad
  • engage with cutting-edge technologies like genome sequencing and how to analyse large data sets using state-of-the-art computational tools.

Test your own DNA!

Dramatic changes in DNA sequencing and new technologies are changing our understanding of the world around us and what we know about who we are as humans.  During practical labs you will have the opportunity to test your own DNA for a specific mutation such as the lactase persistence mutation.

Join world-leading researchers in a brand new $80 Million science facility

We are in an era where new pathogens are emerging. You will be taught by Massey lecturers who are actively researching a broad range of areas including cancer, COVID-19, the genetics of harmful bacteria, the evolution of viruses and bacterial organisms, and new methods to solve problems such as antibiotic resistance and environmental pollution by agricultural chemicals.

If you are interested in a rapidly changing field that is at the leading edge of science, this is the programme for you. Not only will you learn about biology, but you will interact closely with lecturers actively working at the cutting edge, and have opportunities to join them in their research. Real research opportunities and personal interactions with lecturers is something only Massey offers.

In 2022 Massey will complete work on an $80 million Innovation Complex dedicated to science teaching and research.

Careers and further study

Careers

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication, The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, showed that those who complete a qualification in a science, agriculture, technology, computer science, engineering or mathematics field of study have high relative earnings after they complete their study compared to the national median. Earnings can be substantially more than other graduates.

Graduates in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Massey University are prepared for wide range of positions both in New Zealand and overseas, such as:  

  • medical laboratory scientist, clinical research scientist or technician
  • forensic scientist
  • genetic counselling
  • scientific journalism and publishing
  • conservation and wildlife genetics
  • microbiologist
  • secondary and tertiary teaching
  • NZ Crown Research Institutes (AgResearch, HortResearch, Plant and Food Research, Scion, Landcare Research, Environmental Science and Research) as well as international research institutes
  • agricultural and horticultural sectors: dairy, meat, wool, wheat, forestry, leather
  • wineries, breweries and food industries
  • pharmaceutical manufacturing and scientific supply companies
  • New Zealand government (Ministry of Primary Industries, Ministry of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Regional and Local Councils, Tertiary Education Commission)

International students

New Zealand is a great place to study. Massey University’s reputation is supported by our international rankings, accreditations and associations. We are rated five star plus by the QS World University Rankings.

Massey University has small class sizes, and our lecturers and staff are friendly and approachable.

As an international student, there are entry requirements that will apply to you. We recommend that you apply at least three months before your anticipated start date so your application can be processed in time. There are additional steps you will need to take. These include obtaining a visa and travel bookings if your study is to be in New Zealand.

Entry requirements

University admission

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Programme admission

Required

There are no specific entry requirements for this programme, outside of university admission regulations. However, there is some expected background knowledge.

Expected high school preparation

Knowledge gained in the following NCEA subjects (or the equivalent in Cambridge International Examinations, International Baccalaureate, or similar) will give you the expected background knowledge to take this major.

  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Biology.
  • At least 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Chemistry.

English language requirements

To study this programme you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Recommended

To be successful in your studies we recommend that you also have the following NCEA subjects (or equivalent). These will help your study in this major but are not essential.

  • At least 16 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics from the following list of standards: 91256, 91257, 91258, 91259, 91260, 91261, 91262, 91269.

If it’s some time since you have studied mathematics at school you can find out if you have the required background by taking this maths quiz.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

If you do not have the entry requirements

The following pathways will get you prepared to study this major. If you have not studied NCEA Level 3 Biology (or equivalent) take the following course first:

  • 162.103 Introductory Biology.

If you have not studied NCEA Level 3 Chemistry (or equivalent) take the following course first:

  • 123.103 Chemistry for Modern Sciences.

These courses are available in the summer semester and will count towards credits in your degree.

Pathway tool

If you are unsure whether you have the right background/subjects to study this programme, our tool will help you to figure out what you might need to do before starting your qualification.

Find your pathway

English language and foundation courses

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, we have courses and programmes that may help.

Summer School

If you need to do a course before you start your programme, there may be options for you in Summer School.

Courses and planning

Courses for this specialisation

Compulsory courses

120 credits
196217 Evolutionary Biology 15
196318 Molecular Ecology 15
203203 Biomedicine 15
203212 Principles of Genetics 15
203240 Molecular and Cellular Biology 15
203340 Applied Molecular Biology 15
203341 Genome Science 15
203343 Genetics of Human Health and Ancestry 15

Planning your programme

Planning overview

If you study full-time, in your first year, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

The first-year structure is designed to provide you with a broad knowledge and skill set which will equip you to go on to more advanced courses in the second and third years.

Molecular and Cellular Biology has similar first year core courses to several other majors available in the Bachelor of Science, allowing students to change their major before their second year. Changing your major may incur an increase in completion time.

Suggested structure

Auckland
100-level courses

Take these in any order:

  • 247.113 Science and Sustainability for Science
  • 161.111 Applied Statistics or 161.122 Statistics
  • 124.103 Biophysical Principles or 160.101 Calculus or 160.102 Algebra or 160.104 Introductory Mathematics for Science or 160.105 Methods of Mathematics.

Take these in the order shown:

  • 123.104 Chemistry for Biological Systems
  • 162.101 Cell Biology
  • 122.102 Biochemistry.

Plus choose two 100-level elective courses. These can be from a subject area other than Science.

Students must pass at least 90 credits from the BSc Schedule A, including any compulsory courses, in their first 120 credits of study towards the Bachelor of Science.

200-level courses in the major

Take all four:

  • 203.203 Biomedicine
  • 203.240 Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • 196.217 Evolutionary Biology
  • 203.212 Principles of Genetics.
300-level courses in the major

Take all four:

  • 203.340 Applied Molecular Biology
  • 203.341 Genome Science
  • 196.318 Molecular Ecology
  • 203.343 Genetics of Human Health and Ancestry.

Not sure of your major yet?

You can change to any BSc major at the end of your first year. Moving from the first year of Molecular and Cellular Biology to one of the majors below is particularly simple, as the required first-year courses are similar. By choosing your courses and electives carefully to cover both majors you could easily swap over at the end of first year. Changing your major may incur an increase in completion time.

  • Chemistry (include 123.105; and 160.101 or 160.102 or 160.105 in your first year).
  • Ecology and Sustainability (include 199.103 and 196.101 in your first year).
  • Exercise and Sport Science (include 234.121 in your first year).
  • Human Nutrition (include 194.101 and 214.131 in your first year).
  • Integrative Biology (include 199.103 in your first year).
  • Marine Biology (include 199.103 and 196.101 in your first year).
  • Physiology (include 194.101 in your first year).
  • Zoology (include 199.103 and 196.101 in your first year).

Minors

Completing a minor is optional. Minors increase the breadth of your degree. They give you extra knowledge, attributes and capabilities.

A minor must be in a different subject from your major.

A Bachelor of Science (Molecular and Cellular Biology) with a minor

You may choose a minor from any university undergraduate degree that has recognised minors. If the minor is from another undergraduate degree, the regulations of that programme will apply.

Some BSc minors that are particularly compatible with Molecular and Cellular Biology include those shown below. Timetabling will prioritise these combinations to minimise clashes.

  • Chemistry (include 123.105 in your first year).
  • Human Nutrition (include 194.101 and 214.131 in your first year).
A Molecular and Cellular Biology minor (for students who are studying a different degree)

If you are not studying a Bachelor of Science (Molecular and Cellular Biology) and wish to complete a Molecular and Cellular Biology minor see the regulations for requirements.  

Fees and scholarships

Fees and finance

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

If you already know which courses you are going to take, you can use our fees calculator to get an estimate of your fees.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students will find their National Student Number on their student homepage.


A good fit if you:

  • liked biology at school
  • are interested in biomedicine, genetics, and genomes
  • are interested in the natural world
  • want to learn molecular diagnostic techniques.

Meet our students

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Biological Sciences

Massey University is ranked by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) as one of the top 300 universities in the world for biological sciences.


Key information for students

Compare qualifications and academic information across different New Zealand institutions.

Regulations

Review this important information before you apply for this programme. This gives you full details of the rules and regulations about what you need to study and what you must achieve in order to graduate with this qualification. That includes structure, courses and requirements. These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the below.

Undergraduate programmes

General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.

Regulations for this programme

Applying and enrolling

Applying for the programme

Check you are ready

If you are ready to apply, have a look at our application checklist. It will help you get prepared with what you need. Please also check the entry requirements carefully before you apply.

Choose your programme and click on Apply now

You will apply for the programme using the Apply now button on this page. You’ll also choose your specialisation (major, subject or endorsement) if applicable.

Some programmes have additional requirements such as the submission of a portfolio or CV. Click on Apply now and you will be able to submit those documents as part of the application process.

Receive and accept an Admission Offer of Place

You will receive an Admission Offer of Place when you have been accepted into the programme. You need to accept this before you can enrol in your courses. International students also need to pay their fees at this point.

Enrolling in courses

You’ll then get access to your own student homepage (also known as the student portal). This is where you can enrol in courses. Any updates on your application or enrolments will also be on your student homepage. Make sure you check this regularly.

When you choose courses, ensure you check for any requirements that apply including:

  • prerequisites (courses you have to do before the one you are enrolling in)
  • corequisites (courses you have to do at the same time as the one you are enrolling in)
  • restrictions (courses that you cannot enrol in if you are completing or have completed another identified similar course)
  • location – for instance some distance-based courses still have an on-campus element, so double check that the way the course is taught is suitable for your situation.

Each of our courses has its own webpage where you can find this information. You can use our course search to find course pages.

More information on courses is in the ‘Courses for this programme’ section on this page.

You can find information on application due dates and semester dates on the key dates page.

We look forward to welcoming you to Massey!

If you have any questions, contact us through the Enquire button on this page.

What are courses and credits?

What are courses and credits?

Each Massey programme is made up of courses (in some tertiary institutions they are called ‘papers’).

You will have some compulsory courses and some you can choose from.

Each course is worth a certain amount of credits (often 15 credits, but this does vary). You must gain a set number of credits to be able to graduate from this programme.

There may also be some rules about which courses you need to pass to progress to the next year, or stage, of your study (known as progression). There are also courses you must pass to graduate with a specialisation.

  • See the ‘Courses for this programme’ section for the list of courses.
  • Courses search

Understanding course numbers

The first three digits of our course numbers show you which subject the course is about.

The second three digits show you the level and course ID number. For instance:

  • sub-degree courses are '0' (i.e. xxx.0xx)
  • undergraduate study begins at 100-level, (i.e. xxx.1xx)
  • as you progress through 200- and 300-level courses this number changes to 2 and 3 respectively. The higher the number that starts the second three digits, the higher the level of study
1 6 2 . 3   0 1
Subject area   Level   Course ID number

About electives

Electives are courses that are not compulsory. Certain guidelines are usually provided on courses you may take. Elective courses contribute to the programme, but not to your major or specialisation.

Workload and time management

Use this tool to help determine how much time you will need each week to complete your studies.

Estimate workload

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. You can go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

There is a webpage with information on changes that took place in 2020, which may affect you if you are a current BSc student.

In some cases the programme or specialisation you enrolled in may be no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these programmes go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Enquire button on this page if you have any questions.

Scholarships and awards

Scholarships related to this programme

There are a number of scholarships available for new and current students. They could relate to your situation, achievement or interest.

Find and apply for scholarships

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