Yearbooks

Programme: BScHons Biotechnology

Code Faculty Department
02240393 Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Department: Genetics
Credits Duration NQF level SAQA ID
Minimum duration of study: 1 year Total credits: 135 NQF level:  08 SAQA ID:  83929

Programme information

BScHons (Biotechnology) is a unique interdepartmental programme aimed at enabling students to pursue their interest in molecular biotechnology through relevant research areas offered within fields of biochemistry, plant science, microbiology and plant pathology, plant production, as well as genetics. Students within this programme will be registered and will conduct their studies within the department of their choice. A student’s choice of research programme will determine which of the respective departments will mentor their honours degree programme.

Admission requirements

  1. Relevant BSc degree with specialisation in Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology or Plant Sciences
  2. A weighted average of at least 60% at final-year level
  3. An admission examination may be required

Minimum credits: 135

Core credits: 35
Elective credits: 100

Additional information:

  • Students registered in the Division of Biochemistry must take BCM 771, BCM 773 and BCM 774 as electives.
  • Students registered in the Division of Genetics must take GTK 702, GTK 703 and GTK 705 as electives.
  • Students registered in the Division of Microbiology must take MCP 751, MCP 752 and MCP 754 as electives.
  • Students registered in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences must take BOT 705, BOT 746, BOT 782 and BOT 783 as electives.

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Introduction to the principles and realities of working in the field of biotechnology. Discussions on various essential components of the biotechnology industry including bio-entrepreneurship, marketing, business plan writing, business communication skills, capital for start-ups, incubators, basic accounting and finance as well as issues surrounding biosafety, ethics and legal aspects. The module is concluded by students writing a business plan for the development of a hypothetical biotechnological venture. This module is jointly presented in the Departments of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology and Plant and Soil Sciences.

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  • Module content:

    Principles and applications of recombinant DNA, and other novel molecular and genomics technologies, to address questions in the biological sciences and/or biotechnology.  Strong emphasis is placed on the principles of research planning, including identifying suitable research objectives, formulating a research strategy and understanding the relevance and feasibility of research.  The module is assessed by means of a research project proposal, conceived and formulated by each student.  The proposal must focus on the use of molecular technologies in addressing realistic questions in biology and/or biotechnology.  There is also an oral defense of the project proposal. 
    This module is jointly presented in the Departments of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology and Plant and Soil Sciences.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    Students are guided to collect relevant and up-to-date literature on broad topics from databases using referencing software, and to select and condense relevant papers into the outline for a literature review. Critical reading of research papers, article discussions and presentations. Scientific writing and presentation skills.

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  • Module content:

    Students are guided through the methodology of research planning and data handling. They are given hands-on and in-depth practical experience in a range of biochemcial and molecular biological techniques. 

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  • Module content:

    Students are guided through the methodology of research planning and data handling.  They are offered hands-on experience in a range of advanced techniques employed in molecular research and analysis.

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  • Module content:

    Plant tissue culture. Plant gene transfer technologies (Agrobacterium-based, biolistics and other). Design of plant gene transfer constructs, including synthetic biology. New plant breeding technologies, including plant gene editing. Applications of genetically modified (GM) and gene edited crops and their impact on modern agriculture. Biosafety evaluation and regulation of GM and new plant breeding technologies.

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  • Module content:

    A mini research project with defined limits is undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor. The students identify potential projects by contacting supervisors from the different research programmes in the department. A list of projects on offer can be obtained from the Honours coordinator, and in exceptional circumstances a student can propose a project not listed. The module also has a strong theoretical component since emphasis is placed on writing and presenting a detailed project proposal. Additional relevant technical and analytical training is provided by the respective supervisors. The project is concluded with a final mini dissertation, presented in the format of a short manuscript, as well as an oral presentation.

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  • Module content:

    Literature study, discussion and oral presentation of a subject related to the main discipline.

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  • Module content:

    Students are guided to collect relevant and up-to-date literature on large topics from databases using referencing software, and to select and condense relevant papers into the outline for a literature review. Critical reading of research papers, article discussions and presentations. Scientific writing skills.

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  • Module content:

    A mini-dissertation with well-defined limits is undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor.  The students are allowed to choose from a number of projects from the different research programmes in the department.  The module also has a strong theoretical component since emphasis is placed on writing and presenting a comprehensive literature review and project proposal.  Additional technical and analytical training is provided. The project is concluded with a final report, presented in the format of a short manuscript, as well as a poster and an oral presentation.

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  • Module content:

    Students are guided through the methodology of research planning and data handling. They are offered hands-on experience in a range of advanced techniques employed in molecular research and analysis. 

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  • Module content:

    The module provides students with planning, data handling, writing, and presentation skills required for microbiological research. In addition, students are provided with hands-on experience in the advanced techniques utilised in research and analysis.

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  • Module content:

    Students are guided to collect relevant literature from disparate papers in the broader field of Microbiology and to condense and collate this into a written seminar, which is also presented verbally.

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  • Module content:

    The module includes both practical and theoretical components.  In addition to an individual research project with well-defined limits that is undertaken under the guidance of a lecturer, the module also acquaint the student with the theoretical aspects relevant to a specific research topic.  The research project is thus preceded by the presentation of an in-depth review of the relevant literature, and the project is  concluded with a progress report, presented in the format of a short publication and an oral presentation.

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The General Academic Regulations (G Regulations) and General Student Rules apply to all faculties and registered students of the University, as well as all prospective students who have accepted an offer of a place at the University of Pretoria. On registering for a programme, the student bears the responsibility of ensuring that they familiarise themselves with the General Academic Regulations applicable to their registration, as well as the relevant faculty-specific and programme-specific regulations and information as stipulated in the relevant yearbook. Ignorance concerning these regulations will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression, or basis for an exception to any of the aforementioned regulations.

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