Academic staff members of our School are expected to be among the best teachers and researchers in their field. This is reflected in the numerous awards and international honours that have been bestowed upon them and the highly cited scientific publications they have produced. Our alumni and students frequently cite the extraordinary support of our staff as the core of their UQ experience.

Our School contributes to a diversity of high quality undergraduate and international teaching programs. Many of our courses have been preapproved for Study Abroad and Exchange Students.

Undergraduate students who have an interest in research are encouraged to contribute to Summer Undergraduate Research projects or enrol in an Honours program.

Our postgraduate coursework programs offer various possibilities regarding the design of the program based on your personal interest and capacities. Enrolment in our courses is tailor-made and based on your undergraduate program and career interest.


Botany is amongst the most relevant scientific disciplines today, considering the importance of problems facing humankind: nutrition, global warming and dependency on fossil fuels. Using varied approaches, plant scientists are addressing these problems – from breeding high-yielding, pest-resistant crop varieties to producing biofuels and biomaterials from plants that have potential for carbon sequestration.

UQ is host to many of Australia’s leading plant scientists who continue to make significant contributions to plant biology. Botany at UQ covers a broad spectrum of research fields including ecology, sustainable ecosystems, pathology, crop improvement, molecular biology and biofuel production. With a strong and continuing commitment to practical and field teaching, practical work, including laboratories and computer-based learning, is an important component in all undergraduate courses. Field‐based courses vary in length from five to seven days and are run at locations such as Idalia National Park, Heron Island Research Station and the Moreton Bay Research Station on North Stradbroke Island. A number of other courses have smaller field components which run over weekends.


Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with each other and their environments. Ecological knowledge underpins our understanding of Earth’s biodiversity and our capacity to solve many environmental problems, such as climate change, loss of ecosystem services, and sustainable food production. The School of Biological Sciences is home to 30 ecologists studying a wide range of organisms, ecosystems and related questions.

In the first and second years of this program our ecology courses focus on providing students core knowledge in this field of study with an emphasis on population ecology, community ecology, evolutionary ecology and ecological statistics. Second and third year courses are designed to expose students to a range of ecological subfields such as physiological ecology, behavioural ecology, conservation biology, landscape ecology, terrestrial field ecology, and marine ecology. In addition to providing core knowledge, we also expose students to research skills that are specific to this area of biology. For example, we require students to take at least one field-based ecology research course: Rainforest Ecology, Outback Ecology or Animal Behaviour. In each of these courses, students gain first‐hand practical experience in testing ecological hypotheses, solving problems associated with field work, and they develop specialized skills for collecting ecological data on numerous organisms in the field. As a culminating experience in the major, students take a capstone course in Applied Ecology. This course focuses on getting students to think creatively and broadly about conservation issues from the perspective of a trained ecologist. We have designed the course to include a range of non‐traditional assessment items to get students thinking creatively and independently and to explore the complex decision-making and moral dilemmas common when working on applied applications of ecology.


More than any other discipline, genetics is transforming modern biology. Genetics is the study of inheritance: the structure and expression of genes, the genetic basis of traits, and the interaction between genes and the environment at the population and species level. The growing availability of completely sequenced genomes, computational analysis and molecular analytic tools is allowing geneticists to make unprecedented discoveries.

A major in this discipline provides students with an in-depth understanding of the interpretation of the genetic code, mutation, gene regulation, the inheritance of traits and bioinformatics. The small number of required courses in the major allows students to combine their core skills in genetics with a wide array of cognate interests.

Staff and students in the School of Biological Sciences engage in a wide variety of genetics research projects. Research areas include evolution, infectious disease, ecology, agriculture, conservation biology, development and biotechnology. The School has core strengths in computer programming, statistical analysis and genomics. These strengths are facilitating the rapid integration of genome-wide bioinformatics into research being carried out across the School.

Marine Science

UQ has one of the largest assemblies of marine scientists of any Australian tertiary institution. The School of Biological Sciences has major carriage of marine science research and teaching activities at UQ, possessing the largest group of marine scientists on campus, overseeing the school‐based Centre for Marine Science, and coordinating both the BSc Marine Science major and the Bachelor of Marine Studies. BIOL academics and researchers possess a wealth of experience in a diversity of marine systems, from tropical coral reefs and local sub‐ tropical habitats to temperate and polar environments. This experience is directly translated into the content that populates UQ’s marine science courses.

UQ’s undergraduate marine science teaching program seeks to educate prospective marine scientists in the most advanced theory and tools to ensure future protection and sustainable use of our ocean resources. Consistently, over 90% of the students enrolling in this major and degree program at UQ specialize in the fields of marine biology and marine ecology, both of which are taught through courses largely offered and coordinated by The School of Biological Sciences. These students are able to access a suite of second and third level courses in Marine Science, and immerse in a comprehensive 3rd year curriculum focused on marine biology and ecology. In addition to providing state-of-the-art knowledge, these courses deliver the best practical research experiences by giving students access to cutting-edge field stations and laboratories including the opportunity to undertake studies at Heron Island Research Station (HIRS) on the southern Great Barrier Reef and Moreton Bay Research Station (MBRS). This advanced undergraduate program is increasingly attracting exchange and study-abroad marine biology students from the Americas, Europe and Asia.


Zoology is a branch of biology that deals with the scientific study of animals. Fundamental to this science is an appreciation and understanding of animal evolution and diversity, gained through research into aspects of the morphology, development and genetics, behaviour, ecology, physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of animals. The School of Biological Sciences is the largest contributor to research in zoology at the University of Queensland, receiving a rating of 5 (well above world standard) in the Excellence in Research for Australia 2015 National Report. Students undertaking a major in zoology enrol in one of three streams (general zoology, entomology, or wildlife biology). In addition to undertaking core courses in Zoology, Biostatistics & Experimental Design, Ecophysiology, and Behaviour, students have the option at third level of selecting from 14 courses spanning conservation; entomology; neuroethology; outback, rainforest and marine ecology; evolution; and taxonomy. Several of these courses include significant field components, and the majority are coordinated and taught by academics from the School of Biological Sciences.

Teaching & Learning – more information


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