University of Kwazulu-Natal Biology

By | April 16, 2016

University of Kwazulu-Natal logo

University of Kwazulu-Natal Biology

The School of Life Sciences, which is located on the Pietermaritzburg and Westville campuses, is one of five schools in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science. The School has a staff complement of 117 academic and support staff; houses approximately 1609 undergraduate students; and boasts a postgraduate component of 606, engaged in Honours, Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral research. The School’s cutting edge laboratories and research equipment compare favourably with the best in the world. Caring and enthusiastic lecturers ensure that students emerge highly employable, with a rich university experience and a first class degree in the Life Sciences to their name.

Areas of Specialisation

This field of study encompasses all human, plant and animal life – ranging from microscopic germs to elephants and everything in between. Areas of specialisation within UKZN’s School of Life Sciences include:
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Cellular Biology
  • Ecology
  • Genetics
  • Marine Biology
  • Microbiology

BSc Programme

UKZN’s School of Life Sciences offers a three-year undergraduate course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc).  This may be achieved in two ways:

  • Through a general and flexible BSc (Life and Earth Sciences Stream) with possible major subject combinations of any two of the following:  Biochemistry, Biology, Cellular Biology, Ecology, Genetics, Microbiology.
  • Through a specific focused BSc, which has a more directed outcome:
      • Biological Sciences
      • Industrial and Applied Biotechnology

Minimum entrance requirements:

    • NSC degree pass with Maths, English, Life Orientation and Agricultural Science/Physical Science/Life Science at level 4.
    • Admission points required:  28-48 (highest scoring students taken first;  BSc in Industrial and Applied Biotechnology requires a minimum point score of 30).
  • The closing date for applications is 30 September.

MSc & PhD

General Information

We have a one of the most successful postgraduate programmes in South Africa. We currently have 103 MSc and 69 PhD students registered in our School. Students from all over South Africa, as well as the rest of Africa, are currently registered. We also have quite a large number of students from Europe, Asia and North America. Students can pursue both MSc and PhD degrees in a wide variety of areas of biological and conservation sciences.

Admission to our School is based on merit. The number of students currently advised by a particular academic staff member will also affect the likelihood of acceptance because we limit acceptance to a reasonable number to ensure that each student receives adequate support and attention. Many of the academic staff members do have financial support available for students.

Please make direct contact with a potential advisor (based on your interests) listed on these webpages rather than making a general enquiry to the School administrators. Each academic staff member makes the initial decision to accept a student and only thereafter is the student’s application forwarded to the Head of School for consideration.

Should you require additional advice regarding your application, please contact the School’s academic coordinator, Prof. Paula Watt

Guidelines for Submission

  1. The final deadline for submission of a thesis for submission and assessment is decided by Faculty. However, it is in the student’s best interest to submit as early as possible. The Faculty Office receives a large number of theses during December and, as the couriers will not guarantee delivery dates and many examiners take time off during this time, the Faculty Office can not be held liable for any examiner who takes an excessively long time to mark a thesis. Having said that, the Faculty Office does everything in their power to ensure that examiners do get the document as quickly as possible.
  2. The final deadline for corrections to be completed will be communicated to you by faculty. Failure to meet this deadline means that the student will have to pay and re-register for Semester 1.
  3. The University’s rules dictate that the Faculty Office allows 6 weeks (from time of receipt) for a Masters dissertation to be examined and 8 weeks for a PhD thesis. The Faculty Office can not “chivy up” the examiners before this time. However, from that time, the Faculty Office does constantly harrass them. As soon as the Faculty Office gets all the reports in they request a co-ordinating report from the Head of School and as soon as the Faculty Office gets that they dispatch the results to the supervisor. The Faculty Office is not allowed to give the results directly to the student, so if they have queries they must approach their Supervisor.
  4. All returning students must re-register as early as possible (the Faculty Office will be requesting registration forms to be available as soon as the University re-opens in each year), but generally no later than 28 February. Any student re-registering after that date will have to be charged a late registration fee – the Faculty Office has been instructed that to charge this fee and may not reverse it. The obligation to re-register rests with the student. The Faculty Office will not be sending out reminders.
  5. Every thesis/dissertation submitted must be signed by both the student and the supervisor (and co-supervisors if there are any).
  6. Finally, the Faculty Office attaches a copy of the Guide for easy reference. Please note that some of the dates changes each year. So, please rather go by the dates that the Faculty Office has provided above. However, the document does provide useful information on what is required in terms of the document itself, and the responsibilities of the various parties involved (i.e. the student, the supervisor, the HoS, the Dean, etc).

Contact Details



Physical Address

Life Sciences Campus
Carbis Road
Westville Campus
University Road

Postal Address

Private Bag X 01
Private Bag X 54001

Contact Person
Mrs Devashnee Chinniah Mrs Devashnee Chinniah

031 – 260 8317
031 – 260 8317

031 – 260 8641 031 – 260 8641