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Biotechnology can be defined as the use of various biological processes to make products and perform services. In biotechnology, living cells and biochemical macromolecules such as proteins, DNA and RNA are applied in a rapidly expanding range of activities of direct benefit to society. Biotechnology is used for the production of pharmaceuticals, food and industrial chemicals, in the development of improved crops and livestock for farming, for environmental clean-up, and in forensics. Modern biotechnology makes practical use of the most recent scientific advances in areas such as molecular genetics and molecular cell biology.

The development of recombinant DNA technology has resulted in the ability to create, modify and improve industrial organisms and to produce large quantities of any useful protein. Based on this technology, biopharmaceuticals including hormones, vaccines, anti-hypertensive agents, anti-inflammatory agents and new therapies for the treatment of cancer are being developed with the potential to revolutionise medicine. The sequencing of the human genome and the rapid emergence of high-throughput genomic and proteomic techniques is resulting in a surge of new drug targets. Translation of this advanced knowledge into useful therapies and improved medical practices requires the application of biotechnology.

Microorganisms and viruses are being modified for use in controlling plant and animal diseases and pests. Diagnostic kits are being developed for use in forensic science and in product identification and quality control. Genetic improvements in agriculture, plants and animals are becoming a reality, as is the control of inborn genetic disorders in humans. The ability to treat diseased and injured organs with replacement cells and tissues generated outside of the body is advancing rapidly.

The future for expansion in all the above areas is immense. Our ability to cope with many medical, environmental, agricultural and manufacturing problems in the 21st century will depend heavily on advances in biotechnology.



Study Level


Typical duration

4 Years

Delivery Mode


Intake Period

Term 1, Term 3

Academic Calendar

3+ Calendar

Minimum Units of Credit


Award type

Bachelors Honours


Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours) - BBiotech(Hons)

UAC Code




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Program Structure

Students must complete 192 UOC as a standalone program.

Students in the Biotechnology (Honours) program are expected to complete 192 UOC of courses.

168 UOC of Science courses:
- 84 UOC of core courses in Stages 1 to 3 as specified below
- 36 UOC of approved electives in Stages 2 and 3
- 48 UOC Honours year
12 UOC Free Electives. These courses can be taken from any Faculty of the University at any stage of your program.
12 UOC General Education courses. Please see the rules regarding General Education below. These courses can be taken at any stage in your program.

Please click the Sample Programs link below to view a typical enrolment pattern for this program.

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Course Information Rule

GEN# courses cannot count towards the free elective component, or towards science core courses or science electives in the program. Any exceptions to these rules must be approved by the Associate Dean (Academic Programs) or nominee.

Suggested Free Electives

Suggested Free Electives:

- ACCT1501 Accounting and Financial Management 1A
- MGMT2010 Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Suggested Level 2 Science Electives

BABS2202 Molecular Cell Biology 1
BABS2204 Genetics or BABS2264 Genetics (Advanced)
BINF2010 Introduction to Bioinformatics
CHEM2021 Organic Chemistry: Mechanisms & Biomolecules
CHEM2041 Analytical Chemistry: Essential Methods
PHAR2011 Introductory Pharmacology and Toxicology
SCIF2199 Science Work Placement

Suggested Level 3 Science Electives

MICR3061 Viruses and Disease
BABS3081 Bacteria & Disease
MICR3071 Environmental Microbiology
BABS3021 Microbial Genetics or MICR3621 Microbial Genetics (Advanced)
BIOC3261 Human Biochemistry
BABS3041 Immunology 1
BIOC3111 Molecular Biology of Proteins
BIOC3271 Molecular Cell Biology 2 or BIOC3671 Molecular Cell Biology 2 (Advanced)
BABS3291 Genes, Genomes & Evolution
BABS3151 Human Molecular Genetics & Disease
BABS3121 Molecular Biology of Nucleic Acids or BABS3621 Molecular Biology of Nucleic Acids (Advanced)
BINF3010 Bioinformatics Methods & Applications
BABS3281 Molecular Frontiers
PHAR3101 Drug Discovery, Design and Development
PHAR3102 Molecular Pharmacology

Sample Programs

To access sample program(s), please visit:

Recognition of Prior Learning
Progression Requirements

University Medal

Honours Classes

Additional Information

Definition of 'Science' courses

Table 1

Science Handbook Rules and Editions

Students must follow the program rules and requirements in the UNSW Handbook published in the year they commence their studies with the Faculty of Science.

Students who transfer from another UNSW Faculty into Science (for example, from a Bachelor of Arts into a Bachelor of Science) must follow the program rules and requirements in the UNSW Handbook published in the year of their transfer.

Students, who are readmitted to UNSW after a period of unapproved absence or deferment, or after exclusion, must satisfy the program rules in the Handbook published in the year of their readmission. In addition, these students may be subject to restrictions on which courses taken at UNSW may be counted on their return. In some cases, students returning from an unapproved absence may be required to repeat courses. See the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Advanced Standing section below for more details. Students who take approved leave or deferment will follow the Handbook for the year of their original commencement unless otherwise approved by the Associate Dean (Academic Programs).

Faculty of Science Rules

The Faculty of Science has some rules that relate to all students enrolled in programs offered by the Faculty in relation to recognition for prior learning, general education, course exclusions, study load, and cross-institutional study. All students should read the information contained on the Faculty General Rules and Requirements page.

Program Fees

At UNSW fees are generally charged at course level and therefore dependent upon individual enrolment and other factors such as student's residency status. For generic information on fees and additional expenses of UNSW programs, click on one of the following:

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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