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Programme: BSc Biological Sciences

Code Faculty Duration Credits Download
03130001 Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Duration of study: 3 years Total credits: 140

Admission requirements

  •  In order to register NSC/IEB/Cambridge candidates must comply with the minimum requirements for degree studies as well as the minimum requirements for the relevant study programme. 
  •  Life Orientation is excluded in the calculation of the Admission Point Score (APS).
  •  Grade 11 results are used for the provisional admission of prospective students.
  • Final admission is based on the Grade 12 results.

 

Minimum requirements for 2016
Achievement level
Afrikaans or English Mathematics Physical Sciences APS
NSC/IEB HIGCSE AS-Level A-Level NSC/IEB HIGCSE AS-Level A-Level NSC/IEB HIGCSE AS-Level A-Level
5 3 C C 5 3 C C 5 3 C C 30
 
Candidates who do not comply with the minimum admission requirements above because they obtained a NSC/IEB achievement level of 4 in one of the prescribed prerequisite subjects are required to write the NBT and may be considered for admission to the BSc or the BSc (Four-year Programme) based on the results of the NBT.

 

Other programme-specific information

Students may enrol for AIM 111 and AIM 121 instead of AIM 101 (the same content presented over 2 semesters).

Students intending to apply for the 65 MBChB, or the 5 BChD places that become available in the second semester, may only enrol for FIL 155(6), MGW 112(6) and  MTL 180(12) with the understanding that:

•        they obtained an APS of at least 34 and passed grade 12 Mathematics with at least 70%; and

•        they may defer doing WTW 134 in the first semester, however, should they not be selected and want to continue with a BSc programme, WTW 165 must be taken in the second semester of the first year.

•        Students should take note of the prerequisites for FLG 211 and FLG 212.

Please note: ANA modules can only be taken by BSc (Medical Science) students.

A student must pass all the minimum prescribed and elective module credits as set out at the end of each year within a programme as well as the total required credits to comply with the particular degree programme. Please refer to the curricula of the respective programmes. At least 144 credits must be obtained at 300-/400-level, or otherwise as indicated by curriculum. The minimum module credits needed to comply with degree requirements is set out at the end of each study programme. Subject to the programmes as indicated a maximum of 150 credits will be recognised at 100-level. A student may, in consultation with the Head of Department and subject to the permission by the Dean, select or replace prescribed module credits not indicated in BSc three-year study programmes to the equivalent of a maximum of 36 module credits.

It is important that the total number of prescribed module credits is completed during the course of the study programme. The Dean may, on the recommendation of the Head of Department, approve deviations in this regard. Subject to the programmes as indicated in the respective curricula, a student may not register for more than 75 module credits per semester at first-year level subject to permission by the Dean. A student may be permitted to register for up to 80 module credits in a the first semester during the first year provided that he or she obtained a final mark of no less than 70% for grade 12 Mathematics and achieved an APS of 34 or more in the NSC.

Students who are already in possession of a bachelor’s degree, will not receive credit for modules of which the content overlap with modules from the degree that was already conferred. Credits will not be considered for more than half the credits passed previously for an uncompleted degree. No credits at the final-year or 300- and 400-level will be granted.

Promotion to next study year

A student will be promoted to the following year of study if he or she passed 100 credits of the prescribed credits for a year of study, unless the Dean on the recommendation of the head of department decides otherwise. A student who does not comply with the requirements for promotion to the following year of study, retains the credit for the modules already passed and may be admitted by the Dean, on recommendation of the head of department, to modules of the following year of study to a maximum of 48 credits, provided that it will fit in with both the lecture and examination timetable.

Pass with distinction

A student obtains his or her degree with distinction if all prescribed modules at 300-level (or higher) are passed in one academic year with a weighted average of at least 75%, and obtain at least a subminimum of 65% in each of the relevant modules.

Minimum credits: 140

Fundamental modules

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Simple statistical analysis: Data collection and analysis: Samples, tabulation, graphical representation, describing location, spread and skewness. Introductory probability and distribution theory. Sampling distributions and the central limit theorem. Statistical inference: Basic principles, estimation and testing in the one- and two-sample cases (parametric and non-parametric). Introduction to experimental design. One- and twoway designs, randomised blocks. Multiple statistical analysis: Bivariate data sets: Curve fitting (linear and non-linear), growth curves. Statistical inference in the simple regression case. Categorical analysis: Testing goodness of fit and contingency tables. Multiple regression and correlation: Fitting and testing of models. Residual analysis. Computer literacy: Use of computer packages in data analysis and report writing.

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  • Module content:

    Basic plant structure and function; introductory plant taxonomy and plant systematics; principles of plant molecular biology and biotechnology; adaptation of plants to stress; medicinal compounds from plants; basic principles of plant ecology and their application in natural resource management.

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  • Module content:

    General introduction to inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry. Atomic structure and periodicity. Molecular structure and chemical bonding using the VSEOR model. Nomenclature of iorganic ions and compounds. Classification of reactions: precipitation, acid-base, redox reactions and gas-forming reactions. Mole concept and stoichiometric calculations concerning chemical formulas and chemical reactions. Principles of reactivity: energy and chemical reactions. Physical behaviour gases, liquids, solids and solutions and the role of intermolecular forces. Rate of reactions: Introduction to chemical kinetics.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: General physical-analytical chemistry: Physical behaviour of gases, liquids and solids, intermolecular forces, solutions. Principles of reactivity: energy and chemical reactions, entropy and free energy, electrochemistry. Organic chemistry: Structure (bonding), nomenclature, isomerism, introductory stereochemistry, introduction to chemical reactions and chemical properties of organic compounds and biological compounds, i.e. carbohydrates and amino acids. Practical: Molecular structure (model building), synthesis and properties of simple organic compounds.

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  • Module content:

    Chromosomes and cell division. Principles of Mendelian inheritance: locus and alleles, dominance interactions and epistasis. Probability studies. Sex determination and sex linked traits. Pedigree analysis. Extranuclear inheritance. Genetic linkage and chromosome mapping. Chromosome variation.

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  • Module content:

    The module will introduce the student to the field of Microbiology. Basic Microbiological aspects that will be covered include introduction into the diversity of the microbial world (bacteria, archaea, eukaryotic microorganisms and viruses), basic principles of cell structure and function, microbial nutrition and microbial growth and growth control. Applications in Microbiology will be illustrated by specific examples i.e. bioremediation, animal-microbial symbiosis, plant-microbial symbiosis and the use of microorganisms in industrial microbiology. Wastewater treatment, microbial diseases and food will be introduced using specific examples.

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  • Module content:

    Introductory study of the ultra structure, function and composition of representative cells and cell components. General principles of cell metabolism, molecular genetics, cell growth, cell division and differentiation.

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  • Module content:

    Units, vectors, one dimensional kinematics, dynamics, work, equilibrium, sound, liquids, heat, thermodynamic processes, electric potential and capacitance, direct current and alternating current, optics, modern physics, radio activity.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree: WTW 134, WTW 165, WTW 114, WTW 158. WTW 134 does not lead to admission to Mathematics at 200 level and is intended for students who require Mathematics at 100 level only. WTW 134 is offered as WTW 165 in the second semester only to students who have applied in the first semester of the current year for the approximately 65 MBChB, or the 5-6 BChD places becoming available in the second semester and who were therefore enrolled for MGW 112 in the first semester of the current year.        Functions, derivatives, interpretation of the derivative, rules of differentiation, applications of differentiation, integration, interpretation of the definite integral, applications of integration. Matrices, solutions of systems of equations. All topics are studied in the context of applications.

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  • Module content:

    Animal classification, phylogeny, organization and terminology. Evolution of the various animal phyla, morphological characteristics and life cycles of parasitic and non-parasitic animals. Structure and function of reproductive, respiratory, excretory, circulatory and digestive systems.

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Minimum credits: 140

Elective modules

  • Module content:

    Structural and ionic properties of amino acids. Peptides, the peptide bond, primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. Interactions that stabilise protein structure, denaturation and renaturation of proteins. Introduction to methods for the purification of proteins, amino acid composition, and sequence determinations. Introduction to enzyme kinetics and enzyme inhibition. Allosteric enzymes, regulation of enzyme activity, active centres and mechanisms of enzyme catalysis. Examples of industrial applications of enzymes. Practical training in laboratory techniques and Good Laboratory Practice. Techniques for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of biological molecules. Processing and presentation of scientific data.

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  • Module content:

    Biochemistry of carbohydrates. Thermodynamics and bioenergetics. Glycolysis, citric acid cycle and electron transport. Glycogen metabolism, pentose-phosphate pathway, gluconeogenesis and photosynthesis. Practical training in study and analysis of metabolic pathways and enzymes. Scientific method and design: Hypothesis design and testing, method design and scientific controls.

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  • Module content:

    Biochemistry of lipids, membrane structure, anabolism and catabolism of lipids. Nitrogen metabolism, amino acid biosynthesis and catabolism. Biosynthesis of neurotransmitters, pigments, hormones and nucleotides from amino acids. Catabolism of pureness and pyrimidines. Therapeutic agents directed against nucleotide metabolism. Examples of inborn errors of metabolism of nitrogen containing compounds. The urea cycle, nitrogen excretion. Practical training in scientific writing skills: evaluation of a scientific report. Techniques for separation and analysis of biological molecules

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  • Module content:

    Biochemistry of nutrition and toxicology. Proximate analysis of nutrients. Review of energy requirements and expenditure. Respiratory quotient. Requirements and function of water, vitamins and minerals. Interpretation and modification of RDA values for specific diets, eg growth, exercise, pregnancy and lactation, aging and starvation. Interactions between nutrients. Comparison of monogastric and ruminant metabolism. Cholesterol, polyunsaturated, essential fatty acids and dietary anti-oxidants. Oxidation of fats. Biochemical mechanisms of water- and fat-soluble vitamins and assessment of vitamin status. Mineral requirements, biochemical mechanisms, imbalances and diarrhoea. Biochemistry of xenobiotics: absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME); detoxification reactions: oxidation/reduction (Phase I), conjugations (Phase II), export from cells (Phase III); factors affecting metabolism and disposition. Toxic responses: tissue damage and physiological effects, teratogenesis, immunotoxicity, mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. Examples of toxins: biochemical mechanisms of common toxins and their antidotes. Antibiotics and resistance. Natural toxins from fungi, plants and animals: goitrogens, cyanogens, cholineesterase inhibitors, ergotoxin, aflatoxins  Practical training in analyses of nutrients, fatty acids separations, antioxidant determination, and enzyme activity measurements, PO ratio of mitochondria, electrophoresis, extraction, solubility and gel permeation techniques.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and affinity of South African flora and vegetation types; principles of plant geography; plant diversity in southern Africa; characteristics, environments and vegetation of South African biomes and associated key ecological processes; centra of plant endemism; rare and threatened plant species; biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management; invasion biology; conservation status of South African vegetation types.

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  • Module content:

    Nitrogen metabolism in plants; nitrogen fixation in Agriculture; plant secondary metabolism and natural products; photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism in plants; applications in solar energy; plant growth regulation and the Green Revolution; plant responses to the environment; developing drought tolerant and disease resistant plants.

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  • Module content:

    Lectures: Food Science as a discipline. Activities of Food Scientists and Nutritionists. How food is produced, processed and distributed (food pipeline). World food problem. Human nutrition and human food requirements. Constituents of foods: Functional properties. Food quality. Food deterioration and control (food preservation). Unit operations in food processing. Food safety, risks and hazards. Principles of food packaging. Food legislation and labelling. Food processing and the environment. Practicals: Group assignments applying the theory in practice; practical demonstrations in pilot plants; guest lecturers on the world of food scientists and nutritionists; factory visit/videos of food processing.

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  • Module content:

    Lectures: Food preservation technologies: concept of hurdle technology; heat (blanching, pasteurisation and sterilisation); cold (refrigeration and freezing); concentration and dehydration; food irradiation; fermentation; preservatives; new methods of food preservation. Effect of various food preservation technologies on the microbiological (shelf-life and safety issues), sensory and nutritional quality of foods. Practicals: Practical applications of above processes. Physical, chemical and sensory evaluation of processed foods. Assignment: Application of hurdle technology concept to a specific food product.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and development of soil, weathering and soil formation processes. Profile differentiation and morphology. Physical characteristics: texture, structure, soil water, atmosphere and temperature. Chemical characteristics: clay minerals, ion exchange, pH, buffer action, soil acidification and salinisation of soil. Soil fertility and fertilisation. Soil classification. Practical work: Laboratory evaluation of simple soil characteristics. Field practicals on soil formation in the Pretoria area.

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  • Module content:

    Chemical nature of DNA. Replication transcription, RNA processing and translation. Control of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.  Recombinant DNA technology and its applications in gene analysis and manipulation.

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  • Module content:

    Chromosome structure and transposable elements. Mutation and DNA repair. Genomics and proteomics. Organelle genomes. Introduction to genetic analysis of populations: allele and genotypic frequencies, Hardy Weinberg Law, its extensions and implications for different mating systems. Introduction to quantitative and evolutionary genetics.

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  • Module content:

    Growth, replication and survival of bacteria, Energy sources, harvesting from light versus oxidation, regulation of catabolic pathways, chemotaxis. Nitrogen metabolism, iron-scavenging. Alternative electron acceptors: denitrification, sulphate reduction, methanogenesis.  Bacterial evolution, systematic and genomics. Biodiversity; bacteria occurring in the natural environment (soil, water and air), associated with humans, animals, plants, and those of importance in foods and in the water industry.

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  • Module content:

    Organisation and molecular architecture of fungal thalli, chemistry of the fungal cell. Chemical and physiological requirements for growth and nutrient acquisition. Mating and meiosis; spore development; spore dormancy, dispersal and germination. Fungi as saprobes in soil, air, plant, aquatic and marine ecosystems; role of fungi as decomposers and in the deterioration of materials; fungi as predators and parasites; mycoses, mycetisms and mycotoxicoses; fungi as symbionts of plants, insects and animals. Applications of fungi in biotechnology.

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  • Module content:

    Development and importance of crop protection. Basic principles in crop protection i.e. epidemic development of disease and insect pest populations, ecology of plant diseases and abiotic factors that affect plant health i.e. environmental pollution and pesticides, nutrient deficiencies and extreme environmental conditions. Ecological aspects of plant diseases, pest outbreaks and weed invasion. Important agricultural pests and weeds. Life cycles of typical disease causing organisms. Basic principles of integrated pest and disease management.

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  • Module content:

    In this module human development from conception through adolescence to adulthood is discussed with reference to various psychological theories. Incorporated are the developmental changes related to cognitive, physical, emotional and social functioning of the individual and the context of work in adulthood. Traditional and contemporary theories of human development explaining and describing these stages are studied in order to address the key issues related to both childhood and adulthood.

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  • Module content:

    This module is a social-psychological perspective on interpersonal and group processes. Themes that are covered include communication, pro-social behaviour, social influence and persuasion, political transformation, violence, and group behaviour.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and extent of modern invertebrate diversity; parasites of man and domestic animals; biology and medical importance of arachnids; insect life styles; the influence of the environment on insect life histories; insect phytophagy, predation and parasitism; insect chemical, visual, and auditory communication; freshwater invertebrates and their use as biological indicators.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to general vertebrate diversity; African vertebrate diversity; vertebrate structure and function; vertebrate evolution; vertebrate relationships; aquatic vertebrates; terrestrial ectotherms; terrestrial endotherms; vertebrate characteristics; classification; structural adaptations; habits; habitats; conservation problems; impact of humans on other vertebrates.

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  • Module content:

    Nutrition in the context of growth, development and composition of organisms. Metabolic processes and control in the body. Overview of nutritional processes. The study of the fundamental principles of nutrient metabolism (including macro- and micro-nutrients and water) and digestion physiology. Applications are made regarding man and animals.
    Practical work: Experimental work and problem orientated tasks.

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  • Module content:

    The influence of biotic and abiotic factors on the productivity of different strata and components of natural and planted pastures. This will enable the student to understand the management, production, appropriate and optimal utilisation as well as the conservation of these pastures. These principles can be used to ensure sustainable animal production and health.

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  • Module content:

    Primary sources of migroorganisims in food. Factors affecting the growth and survival of microorganisms in food. Microbial quality, spoilage and safety of food. Different organisms involved, their isolation, screening and detection. Conventional approaches, alternative methods rapid methods. Food fermentations: fermentation types, principles and organisms involved.

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The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of each student to familiarise himself or herself well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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