Bachelor of Science


A Bachelor of Science (BSc) will extend your knowledge in multiple interest areas, satisfying many questions you may have about the world and encouraging you to investigate even further.

UC ranks in the top 200 universities in the world in Computer Science and Information Systems, Earth and Marine Sciences, Environmental Sciences, GeographyLinguistics, Psychology and Statistics and Operational Research (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2017). UC also has New Zealand's top ranked Biological Sciences research department (the latest Tertiary Education Commission 2012 PBRF Assessment).

UC is the only university in New Zealand to offer Astronomy at all levels of study and operates an internationally important astronomical observatory at Mt John in Tekapo. The Geology department is leading the world in its studies of earthquakes.

Features of the Bachelor of Science at UC

  • 18 major Science subjects on offer and over 30 subject choices available in total
  • Flexible three-year degree
  • Students benefit from cutting-edge research undertaken by UC staff, visiting international scholars and the many research centres and institutes based at UC
  • The unique network of field stations from Antarctica to Nigeria offer amazing active learning opportunities
  • Award-winning lecturers have been acknowledged both nationally and internationally for their teaching and research
  • $216 million investment in state-of-the-art UC Science facilities through the Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre.

Entry requirements

Admission to UC with University Entrance, or equivalent, is required to enrol for a Bachelor's degree. Domestic applicants over 20 who do not hold University Entrance, or equivalent, may gain admission by providing evidence of their ability to complete tertiary study successfully. For information on gaining admission to UC please see how to apply for undergraduate qualifications.

You are also required to meet UC’s English language requirements.

Recommended preparation

Provided you have entry to the University, all Science subjects can be started in the first year. However, previous study is recommended for many Science subjects, in particular Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. Some of these courses have entry requirements.

If you have not studied one or more of the required subjects, or did not achieve enough credits, but have University Entrance, you may consider taking a Headstart preparatory course or a summer catch-up course.

You may be able to fast-track your degree and gain direct entry to the second year if you have excellent Year 13 results or a New Zealand Certificate in Science with outstanding merit. Please contact the College of Science Student Advisor to discuss this.

Qualification structure and duration

The Bachelor of Science requires a minimum total of 360 points:

  • a compulsory 15-point Science course*
  • a minimum of 255 points of Science courses
  • the remaining 90 points can be from either Science courses or courses from other degrees.

At least 225 points must be from courses above 100-level, with at least 90 points at 300-level.

* Subject to Universities New Zealand CUAP approval, due December 2017.

Your major/s

For a major you must complete all majoring requirements including 60 points at 300-level in a single Science subject (unless specified otherwise). Science does not require a minor subject, however, a double major is possible.

When choosing your first-year courses you should include courses that allow you to advance to 200-level in at least two subjects.

Typical degree structure for Bachelor of Science*

Year 1Year 2Year 3
    Science major courses
    Other Science courses
    Courses from Science or other degrees
Each small block represents a 15-point course. However, some courses may be 30 points (or more).
(1) SCIE 101 is a compulsory course for all BSc students.
(2) Students should allow for more than one potential major subject. Students should check the 100-level requirements for their potential majors as some majors require more than two 100-level courses or enrolment in a complementary subject such as Mathematics.
For full course requirements go to the Regulations for the Bachelor of Science.
* Subject to Universities New Zealand CUAP approval, due December 2017.

Double Degrees

Many students combine the study of a BSc with another degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce or a Bachelor of Laws. If you are considering a double degree you should get advice from the College of Science Student Advisor or the Liaison Office.

Find out more information about double degrees.

Conjoint degrees*

Students can study the Conjoint Bachelor Degree of Product Design and Science, which requires 60 points less than a double degree and will be completed in four years in an intensive format. For example, students may want to study the Chemical, Natural and Healthcare Product Formulation BProdDesign major with the Biochemistry BSc major. Contact a Student Advisor from each relevant College or School for course planning advice.

* Subject to Universities New Zealand CUAP approval, due December 2017.

Subjects and courses

The Bachelor of Science is very flexible with 18 major subjects on offer and around 31 subject choices available in total.

Major subjects

You should allow for more than one potential major subject. Check the 100-level requirements for your potential majors as some majors require more than two 100-level courses or enrolment in a complementary subject such as Mathematics.


An endorsement can be added to your major in recognition of the fact that your studies in that subject have had a particular focus. For full details on endorsements, including a list of required courses, see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Science or contact the College of Science Student Advisor.

Other subjects that count

These subjects are not available as majors but have a course (or courses) that count towards your BSc:

Further study

Bachelor of Science with Honours

If you have achieved top grades during your Bachelor of Science you may be permitted to enter the BSc(Hons), which is an accelerated 12-month postgraduate degree.

Graduate and postgraduate qualifications

* Subject to Universities New Zealand CUAP approval, due December 2017.

Career opportunities

UC Science graduates find work in a range of different fields and sectors. Depending on your chosen path, you can become anything from a seismologist to a soil technician, a meteorologist to a marine biologist, a psychologist to a policy advisor, a software engineer to a science writer, a forensic analyst to a food technician, and much more.

Find out more about what you can do with a degree from UC.

More information

For the full degree requirements see the Regulations for the Bachelor of Science. For information on facilities, resources and staff, visit the College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao.

For more information email info@canterbury.ac.nz or freephone 0800 VARSITY (827 748).

For assistance with planning your programme of study contact the Liaison Office (new students), or the College of Science Student Advisor (advancing students).

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