Biosecurity - Course Advice - Biological Sciences - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Studying Biosecurity at Canterbury

octopusBiosecurity is more that just a subject stream; we have determined that it is important enough to warrant it being an endorsement to the degree. What this means is that rather than just gaining a BSc in Biological Sciences you gain a BSc in Biological Sciences (Biosecurity). This tells prospective employers that you have a degree that is focused on issues relevant to the security of New Zealand’s flora and fauna.

Biosecurity focuses on native organisms, how they have shaped New Zealand, and the impact of human occupation and consequent invasions. However, biosecurity is global and our courses reflect this. Biosecurity also focuses on epidemics, such as bird flu, how it could affect New Zealand, and how we keep ourselves free of it.

Career paths

Biosecurity is a major growth industry in New Zealand, spearheaded by the regulatory authority Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and this is generating many positions, from border control, to pest surveillance and eradication, to strategic planning. District and regional councils employ biologists to manage invading organisms, while DoC and other environmental agencies need biologists to manage our native heritage.


  • BSc (Hons) - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers and a research project.
  • PGDipSc - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers.
  • MSc - Students complete a fourth year of study comprising four 400-level papers (part I), followed by a one year research project (part II), written up as a thesis.
  • PhD - Students complete a 3 year research project written up as a thesis. Entry is after successful completion of either BSc(Hons) or an MSc.

Planning Your Degree

Below is a guide to help you select courses that will give you a well rounded degree in biosecurity.

Full regulations for endorsements can be found at:

Year 1



  • LAWS 101 The Legal System: Legal Method and Institutions
  • LAWS 110 Legal Foundations, Research and Writing
  • SCIM 101 Science, Maori and Indigenous Knowledge
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics [2]

Year 2

Core [3]

Complementary [5]

Year 3


  • BIOL 332 Genetics and Evolution of Invasive Species
  • BIOL 352 Plant Development & Biotechnology
  • BIOL 377 Global Change and Biosecurity

Complementary [5]

[1] If you have fewer than 14 credits of NCEA level 3 chemistry take CHEM 114 before starting BCHM/CHEM 112.
[2] MATH101 is strongly recommended unless you have good NCEA level 3 maths credits.
[3] These courses do not all have to be taken in your second year of study, but are required to qualify for the endorsement in Biosecurity.
[4] BIOL309 is essential for postgraduate biology.
[5] There are two pathways within the Biosecurity endorsement, either molecular/genetics or ecological/applied. See the regulations to select appropriate courses.