About - Biological Sciences - University of Canterbury - New Zealand
Prof Matthew Turnbull
Head of School









Location, address, telephone numbers


Maps of the University campus

Visitor Information

Reception is located in room 219 on the second floor of the Biology building.



About the School


Haere mai, nau mai.
Welcome to Biological Sciences.

The School of Biological Sciences has around 90 staff and 450 students, we are a vibrant community where research and learning can be fascinating and fun.

Our new outlook on Biology spans all types of organisms, all scales of biological systems - from molecules to ecosystems - and all research perspectives - from energetics to evolution.

At undergraduate level, we offer a diverse range of courses from which students mix-n-match to suit their needs and interests within our broad Biology and Biochemistry majors. And the diversity continues at postgraduate level, where students choose amongst our nine specialist subject majors.

Across the range of biological disciplines, there are research opportunities that use gene technologies, electron microscopes and satellite images, and that can take you to field stations throughout New Zealand's South Island, to Antarctica or even the other side of the world.

Come on in.
Nau mai.

Our Mission

The School’s mission is threefold:

  1. To provide high quality education for undergraduate and postgraduate students from New Zealand and overseas. We strive to offer a nationally and internationally recognised integrative undergraduate curriculum that is taught by educators dedicated to using our research to inform our teaching. We also work to provide a vibrant research environment led by researchers with international reputations and strong supervisory skills.

  2. To provide excellent research and professional expertise to the New Zealand and international communities, through relevant research, consulting and community engagement activities.

  3. To expand the frontiers of knowledge, serve as a repository for knowledge, and act as critic and conscience of society.

Our Values

Our culture is expressed through the behaviour of our staff and students. Defining expected behaviour based on a set of core, shared values is important for the School.

We challenge ourselves to become more collaborative as well as showing respect for our different areas of expertise.

The School’s profile and international recognition, and hence ability to attract high quality staff and postgraduate students, will be enhanced by a strong sense of belonging to a cohesive unit. A shared value in a purposeful and planned future is an important feature of the School.

The following values are central to the School and its members:

  1. We believe that the School is a team of individuals, with the whole greater than the sum of the parts. We are committed to a collective mission and common core values.

  2. We defend the principle of academic freedom as it applies to our choice of research activities, our right to hold differing points of view, and our teaching methodology. However, we also believe that collective and collaborative contributions are a powerful way to advance the core mission of the School.

  3. We believe that our reputation and success are measured by the quality of our graduates, both undergraduate and postgraduate, by the quality of our research, the reputation of our staff members and the willingness of our staff and students to serve as the public critic and conscience of society. We believe that the success of our staff is inseparable from the success of the communities we serve, and the success and well-being of our students during their studies, are of primary importance to us.

  4. We believe that all members of the School contribute to our mission and that their value should be recognised.

  5. We believe that all members of the School should have an opportunity to pursue their professional goals and aspirations across the teaching-research-service spectrum, within the framework of the School’s overall objectives and values.

  6. We are committed to welcoming new staff into the School and supporting them in the establishment of their careers.

  7. We are professional educators and researchers who take individual and collective responsibility to act according to our Statement of Commitments, and that of the University of Canterbury.