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School of Biological Sciences


Postgraduate courses

On this page you can find detailed information regarding courses for our postgraduate programme.

  1. » BIOSCI 700 Advanced Phylogenetics
  2. » BIOSCI 701 Practical Approaches in Genomics
  3. » BIOSCI 702 Modelling Biological Processes
  4. » BIOSCI 724 Marine Ecology
  5. » BIOSCI 725 Ecological Physiology
  6. » BIOSCI 727 Aquaculture
  7. » BIOSCI 729 Evolutionary Biology
  8. » BIOSCI 730 Entomology and Biosecurity
  9. » BIOSCI 731 Biogeography
  10. » BIOSCI 733 Molecular Evolution and Conservation Genomics
  11. » BIOSCI 734 Terrestrial Plant Ecology
  12. » BIOSCI 735 Advanced Behavioural Ecology
  13. » BIOSCI 736 Microbial Genomics and Metabolism
  14. » BIOSCI 737 High Resolution Imaging of Biological Molecules
  15. » BIOSCI 738 Advanced Biological Data Analysis - Level 9
  16. » BIOSCI 739 Dialogues in Biology
  17. » BIOSCI 741 Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  18. » BIOSCI 746 The Molecular Machinery of The Cell
  19. » BIOSCI 747 Biosecurity and Invasion Biology
  20. » BIOSCI 748 Weed and Pest Management
  21. » BIOSCI 749 Ecology of Microbial Interactions
  22. » BIOSCI 751 Plant-microbial Interactions
  23. » BIOSCI 752 Plant Genomics and Biotechnology
  24. » BIOSCI 753 Synthesis of Plant Products and Foods
  25. » BIOSCI 754 Plant Genomes and Gene Expression
  26. » BIOSCI 755 Genomics and Gene Expression
  27. » BIOSCI 757 Structural Biology
  28. » BIOSCI 758 Development, Differentiation and Disease
  29. » BIOSCI 759 Cell and Molecular Biomedicine
  30. » BIOSCI 761 MSc Thesis Proposal
  31. » BIOSCI 762 BSc(Hons) Dissertation Proposal - Level 9
  32. » BIOSCI 788 A+B BSc(Hons) Dissertation in Biological Sciences
  33. » BIOINF 789 A+B Dissertation - Level 9
  34. » BIOSCI 796 A+B MSc Thesis in Biological Sciences - Level 9
  35. » BIOINF 796 A+B MSc Thesis in Bioinformatics
  36. » How to choose your postgraduate courses in Biological Sciences

BIOSCI 700 Advanced Phylogenetics


(15 points) Semester One

Students will learn advanced computational methods for inferring phylogenetic trees and studying macroevolutionary processes, including phylogenetic dating, coalescence, epidemic phylogeography, and estimation of ancestral traits and biogeography. Relevant skills in computation (BEAST, command-line programs, R) and statistics (Bayesian methods, model-based inference) will also be taught.

Restriction: BIOINF 702
Assessment: 40% examination, 60% coursework
Coordinator: Dr Nick Matzke
Email: n.matzke@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 701 Practical Approaches in Genomics


(15 points) Semester One

Genomics provides insights into the diversity, evolution, adaptation and function of organisms. This course focuses on the practical aspects of genomics as it can be applied across taxa and topics such as conservation, health and ecosystem function. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 322, 351 or 355 or equivalent is assumed.

Restriction: BIOINF 701
Assessment: 100% coursework
Coordinator:
Dr Kim Handley
Email: kim.handley@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 702 Modelling Biological Processes


(15 points) Semester Two

Modelling and simulation are increasingly important aspects of the biological sciences. A variety of biological modelling approaches are introduced through a series of practical exercises to build and analyse models of biological processes. Topics include modelling in ecology and systems biology, agent-based modelling of complex biological systems, and molecular dynamics of biological molecules.

For more information, see Dr Nobuto Takeuchi's profile page.

Restriction: BIOINF 703
Assessment: 100% coursework
CoordinatorDr Nobuto Takeuchi
Phone: +64 9 923 5014
Email: nobuto.takeuchi@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 724 Marine Ecology


(15 points) Semester One

Current topics in marine ecology at the population, community, and ecosystem level. Seminars focus on ecology and evolution in a life-history context, including topics on fertilisation, larval development, and recruitment.

Assessment: 40% examination, 60% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Professor Mary Sewell
Phone: +64 9 923 3758
Email: m.sewell@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 725 Ecological Physiology


(15 points) Semster One

Physiological and biochemical processes enable animals to occupy diverse habitats. Highly variable and extreme environments provide an opportunity to study the functional attributes of animals, particularly ectotherms, with respect to their metabolic, respiratory, and nutritional adaptations. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 335 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 50% examination, 50% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Associate Professor Tony Hickey
Phone: +64 9 923 2615
Email: a.hickey@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 727 Aquaculture


(15 points) Semester Two

Current assessment of the national and global status of aquaculture and fisheries, including consideration of future prospects. Examples of algal, invertebrate, and fish aquaculture in New Zealand, and a review of general environmental and biological problems and the role of scientific knowledge in aquaculture management. Coverage of factors contributing to wild fisheries management, including spawning, larval survival, recruitment, principles of stock assessment and fisheries modelling. A sound knowledge of BIOSCI 328 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 40% examination, 60% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Professor Andrew Jeffs (School of Biological Sciences and Institute of Marine Science)
Phone: +64 9 923 7638
Email: a.jeffs@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 729 Evolutionary Biology


(15 points) Semester Two

A contemporary approach to central issues in evolutionary biology including mechanisms that produce macroevolutionary patterns. Current research using phylogenetic methods for testing evolutionary hypotheses will be discussed, encompassing the role of selection, the origin of mutations, and concepts of heredity. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 322 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 70% examination, 30% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Professor Kendall Clements
Phone: +64 9 923 7223
Email: k.clements@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 730 Entomology and Biosecurity


(15 points) Semester Two

More than half of all described species are insects, and even more species await discovery and description. Insects at every trophic level above plants dominate terrestrial and freshwater food chains. Examines the evolution of insects, the importance of their role in terrestrial ecosystems, and the problems posed by insects as biosecurity invaders in non-native environments. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 320 or 338 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Professor Jacqueline Beggs
Phone: +64 9 923 6823
Email: j.beggs@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 731 Biogeography


(15 points) Semester Two

Examines the patterns of animal and plant distribution, and the processes that influence these patterns. Topics covered include equilibrium theory, island succession, vicariance and dispersal, insular speciation, and human migration and colonisation. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 395 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 70% examination, 30% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Shane Wright
Phone: +64 9 923 1775
Email: sd.wright@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 733 Molecular Evolution and Conservation Genomics


(15 points) Semester Two

Using the molecular archive to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Provides a broad theoretical and practical basis for undertaking studies in fields ranging from conservation genetics/genomics and connectivity, and biosecurity and forensics, to phylogenetics and molecular evolution. Topics may include the neutral theory of molecular evolution, molecular identification of species, gene flow, selection at the molecular level, and inbreeding depression.

Assessment: 40% examination, 60% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Shane Lavery
Email: s.lavery@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 734 Terrestrial Plant Ecology


(15 points) Semester Two

Plants form the autotrophic basis of terrestrial food chains and their distribution, diversity and abundance is a critical determinant of ecosystem functioning. Topics covered include both plant population ecology – including population growth and structure, seed and seedling dynamics, and life history strategies – and community ecology – including vegetation structure, dynamics, and species interactions. Methods to survey, analyse, and model plant populations and communities will also be discussed.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinators: Professor George Perry
Phone: +64 9 923 4599
Email: george.perry@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 735 Advanced Behavioural Ecology


(15 points) Semester One

Focuses on organisms interacting in natural environments. Both the mechanistic underpinnings of behaviour and the fitness consequences of such behavioural traits will be examined. Behavioural ecology is not limited to questions of behaviour, but draws in issues of energetics and physiology as these factors are often used as proxies for fitness traits such as differences in survival and reproduction. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 337 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Anne Gaskett
Phone: +64 9 923 9509
Email: a.gaskett@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 736 Microbial Genomics and Metabolism


(15 points) Semester Two

Cross-disciplinary issues involved in the understanding of microbial genome structure, gene regulation and metabolism. Includes: the genetic basis of microbial interactions and horizontal gene transfer, the effect of stress and mutation on microbial and viral evolution and modern approaches used to link gene sequence to biological function and phenotypes.

Assessment: 40% examination, 60% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Augusto Barbosa
Phone: +64 9 923 5087
Email: a.barbosa@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 737 High Resolution Imaging of Biological Molecules


(15 points) Semester One

X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy are two of the principal techniques used by biologists to determine molecular structure. The theory and practice of X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, including a laboratory component where 3D structure are determined from experimental data, are addressed. Accessible to students with a variety of backgrounds, including Biology, Bioengineering, Chemistry and Physics. This course complements CHEM 738 and BIOSCI 757.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
CoordinatorDr Richard Kingston
Phone: +64 9 923 4414
Email: rl.kingston@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 738 Advanced Biological Data Analysis - Level 9


(15 points) Semester One

Design and analysis of experiments for both field and bench scientists. Methods for the analysis of designed experiments, including analysis of variance with fixed, random and mixed effects; also, regression analysis and analysis of covariance. Methods for the analysis of multivariate datasets such as cluster analysis, principal components analysis, multidimensional scaling, and randomisation methods. There will be a practical component to this course involving the use of appropriate statistical software.

Assessment: 40% examination, 60% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Charlotte Jones-Todd
Email: c.jonestodd@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 739 Dialogues in Biology


(15 points) Semester One

Social, ethical and other philosophical issues in the life sciences will be debated and explored. Topics may include: animal and environmental ethics, conservation and biodiversity, the history and philosophy of science, ethical and commercial issues underpinning science, scientific publishing and advocacy, medical and agricultural biotechnology.

Coordinator: Dr James Russell
Phone: +64 9 923 8745
Email: j.russell@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 741 Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


(15 points) Not offered in 2021

Historical overview of the development of industrial microbiology. Diversity and complexity of applications. Biodiversity of fermentations. Microbial metabolism and the assimilation of carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur. Interconnections between catabolic and biosynthetic pathways. Metabolic considerations in continuous culture. Selection, isolation and construction of useful organisms. Manipulation of growth conditions to optimise process yield. Contemporary examples of industrial processes using microbes. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 348 or equivalent is assumed.

BIOSCI 746 The Molecular Machinery of The Cell


(15 points) Semester Two

The experimental investigation and modelling of protein behaviour at the molecular level, in order to explain cellular biology and facilitate protein engineering. Topics addressed may include binding, transport, catalysis, chemical modification, and dynamics. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 350 or equivalent is assumed.

Coordinator: Dr Richard Kingston
Phone: +64 9 923 4414
Email: rl.kingston@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 747 Biosecurity and Invasion Biology


(15 points) Semester One

The science of invasion biology, including stages of the invasion process and ecological interactions between species. The impacts of invasive alien species in different ecosystems. Population and community ecology, in relation to biosecurity.

NB. If you are interested in enrolling in BIOSCI 747 and its companion course BIOSCI 748 you should be considering taking the PGDipSci in Biosecurity and Conservation.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Margaret Stanley
Phone: +64 9 923 6819
Email: mc.stanley@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 748 Weed and Pest Management


(15 points) Semester Two

Techniques for the management of invasive plants and animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) in different ecosystem types, including terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Approaches to the prevention, control and eradication of invasive species in different situations.

NB. If you are interested in enrolling in BIOSCI 747 and its companion course BIOSCI 748 you should be considering taking the PGDipSci in Biosecurity and Conservation.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Margaret Stanley
Phone: +64 9 923 6819
Email: mc.stanley@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 749 Ecology of Microbial Interactions


(15 points) Semester Two

The associations of micro-organisms with their immediate environment are considered. Topics to be discussed include microbial communities and their survival strategies in natural and artificial systems. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 347 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 60% examination, 40% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Professor Mike Taylor
Phone: +64 9 923 2280
Email: mw.taylor@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 751 Plant-microbial Interactions


(15 points) Semester Two

Addresses selected topics in plant microbial interactions. Modern research on issues relating to plant pathogens and biosecurity, plant disease spread (epidemiology) and plant-microbial interactions (both pathogenic and mutualistic) will be investigated and discussed. A basic understanding of microbiology and molecular biology is assumed.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinators: Associate Professor Matt Templeton
Email: Matt.Templeton@plantandfood.co.nz

BIOSCI 752 Plant Genomics and Biotechnology


(15 points) Semester One

How genomics and gene transfer technologies could be used to achieve improved plant growth and to develop food with new traits. Includes: plant genomics methods, engineering fruit colour, control of fruit ripening and texture, biotechnology project design. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 354 or 340 or 326 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 50% examination, 50% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Karine David
Phone: +64 9 923 3793
Email: k.david@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 753 Synthesis of Plant Products and Foods


(15 points) This course is not offered in 2020

Includes the biosynthesis of: selected plant cell-wall components important in dietary fibre or biomass for the production of biofuels, including lignins, cellulose or non-cellulosic polysaccharides; antioxidant pigments in food plants and their possible impacts on human health. The manipulation of nitrogen assimilation in plants to increase the yield and quality of agricultural and horticultural plant products. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 340 or equivalent is assumed.

BIOSCI 754 Plant Genomes and Gene Expression


(15 points) Semester Two

The analysis of plant genomes and regulation of gene expression in plant biology. Includes: inferences from whole plant genome sequences, genetic control of nitrogen fixation, uptake and use, flowering time, hormone signalling pathways, sugar metabolism and its regulation. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 354 or 340 or 326 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 50% examination, 50% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Nijat Imin
Phone: +64 9 923 9061
Email: nijat.imin@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 755 Genomics and Gene Expression


(15 points) Semester One

The analysis of genomes and gene expression as a means of understanding biological processes. Aspects of functional and chemical genomics will be presented, as well as gene expression profiling using microarray technology. In terms of the latter, features of experimental design and data analysis will be discussed in the context of disease and developmental processes. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 351 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 70% examination, 30% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Austen Ganley
Phone: +64 9 923 2906
Email: a.ganley@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 757 Structural Biology


(15 points) Semester Two

Reviews recent studies of biological systems that highlight molecular structure, and its ability to explain cellular biology. Topics may include: protein folding and targeting in the cell, motor proteins, pathogen and immune system molecules, and the inference of protein structure and function from genomic data. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 350 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Ghader Bashiri

BIOSCI 758 Development, Differentiation and Disease


(15 points) Semester Two

A critical analysis of normal and perturbed gene expression in selected model organisms as a means of understanding biological pathways and disease processes. Includes the development and use of transgenic organisms as models for human disease. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 356 or equivalent is assumed.

Assessment: 60% examination, 40% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Anna Brooks
Phone: +64 9 923 6186
Email: a.brooks@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 759 Cell and Molecular Biomedicine


(15 points) Semester One or Semester Two

Explores recent advances in cell biology that have led to a greater understanding of a variety of cellular processes at the molecular level. Emphasis will be placed on biochemical and genetic approaches to understand disease mechanisms at the cellular level. A sound understanding of either BIOSCI 349 or 353 or MEDSCI 314 or equivalent is assumed.

Semester One

Assessment: 70% examination, 30% coursework
Format: TBC
Coordinator: Dr Chris Walker (Semester One)
Email: cs.walker@auckland.ac.nz

Semester Two

Assessment: 55% examination, 45% coursework
Format: TBC
CoordinatorDr Catherine Angel (Semester Two)
Phone: +64 9 923 1235
Email: c.angel@auckland.ac.nz

BIOSCI 761 MSc Thesis Proposal


(15 points) Semesters One and Two

An extensive review of background material associated with the thesis topic, and a detailed outline of the proposed research and its significance. Students will also be required to present an overview of the proposal in a seminar.

Restriction: BIOINF 761, ENVSCI 701, MEDSCI 701
Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: Seminar report 10%, seminar 20%, proposal report 70%
Course Director: Associate Professor Tony Hickey
Course Coordinator: Dr Monica Kam

BIOSCI 762 BSc(Hons) Dissertation Proposal - Level 9


(15 points) Semester One

A review of the literature associated with the dissertation topic and an outline of the proposed research and its significance. Students will also be required to present an overview of the proposal in a seminar.

Assessment: 100% coursework
Format: Dissertation proposal 80%, seminar presentation 20%
Course Director: Associate Professor Tony Hickey
Course CoordinatorDr Monica Kam

BIOSCI 788 A+B BSc(Hons) Dissertation in Biological Sciences


(45 points) 

Coordinator: Associate Professor Kerry Loomes
Email: k.loomes@auckland.ac.nz

BIOINF 789 A+B Dissertation - Level 9


(45 points)

Prerequisite: COMPSCI 220 and approval of Programme Director
Restriction: COMPSCI 789, STATS 789

To complete this course students must enrol in BIOINF 789 A and B

BIOSCI 796 A+B MSc Thesis in Biological Sciences - Level 9


(120 points) 

Coordinator: Associate Professor Kerry Loomes
Email: k.loomes@auckland.ac.nz

BIOINF 796 A+B MSc Thesis in Bioinformatics


(120 points)

How to choose your postgraduate courses in Biological Sciences


Find information and advice on choosing your Biological Sciences postgraduate courses.