University Of Otago Biochemistry

Biochemistry is a rapidly-developing molecular science that studies living processes by considering an organism’s biological molecules: their functions, their interactions (both amongst themselves and with molecules in the environment), and how they can be affected by the environment itself.

Biochemistry is at the heart of cutting-edge developments in molecular medicine and the biotechnology industry. Molecular medicine is poised to revolutionise human health. Better methods for diagnosis, drug design, and therapeutic treatment at the molecular level will improve health outcomes for society.

Biotechonology will bring us more and better foods, new sources of energy, and new materials for engineering.

Why study Biochemistry?

Biochemistry occupies a central place in the life sciences. It is fundamental to our understanding of the structure, function, and development of all life. It doesn’t matter which area of biology you are interested in, Biochemistry will enhance your understanding of life.

A Biochemistry degree from Otago is an internationally-recognised qualification in one of the key life sciences. You will learn practical, analytical, and critical thinking skills that are highly valued in New Zealand’s knowledge-based economy.

Biochemists are experimental scientists, as a result the study of biochemistry at Otago has a large hands-on component, involving practical skills and sophisticated instrumentation, all of which help prepare you for career opportunities following graduation.

Background required

There are no school subjects you have to do to study Biochemistry.

However, you will need to pass a first-year Chemistry paper before doing Biochemistry, so NCEA Level 2 and/or Level 3 Chemistry will be helpful.

Postgraduate study options

Following on from a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, there are a number of postgraduate options, including a Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)), a Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci), Master of Science (MSc), and doctoral (PhD) degree.

Career opportunities

Biochemists can choose from a diverse array of job opportunities, and Otago biochemistry graduates can be found all over the world.

Careers in research, product development, forensics, public health, bioinformatics, agribusiness, patent law, science policy, publishing, teaching and science communication, commerce, and marketing are all available to biochemists.

The New Zealand biotechnology industry has opportunities for biochemists in livestock improvement, the development of food crops, winemaking, the protection of native flora and fauna, pharmaceuticals, and industrial and household products.

With an Otago degree in Biochemistry, you can pursue your passion in any area of biology, anywhere in the world.


Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages:

Programme requirements

Key information for future students

Contact us

Department of Biochemistry
School of Biomedical Sciences
Email [email protected]