Biology is one of the most diverse of all the sciences and covers all aspects of the study of living organisms, ranging from understanding the gene to managing ecosystems. From the study of the molecular basis of life, including the biochemistry of molecules such as DNA, RNA, proteins and the molecular structure and function of the various parts of living cells to evolution and human, animal and plant behaviour.
Biological Sciences at Wits fall into two main streams:
Courses offered by the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences (APES) fall within three broad themes: Ecology and Conservation, Biodiversity, and Organismal Biology.
Studies are focused at the level of living things and their interaction with the environment. Areas of specialisation include savannas, grasslands and aquatic biology, focusing on biodiversity, sustainable resources and range limitation. Ecology and behaviour of a diverse range of animals (herbivores, beetles, rodents, lizards, snakes, birds, etc.), Biocontrol, Biodiversity, Conservation, Restoration, Ecophysiology, Systematics, Taxonomy and Evolutionary Biology are some of the specialisations on offer. The courses are designed to teach important basic knowledge and have time to explore fields that are new and relevant. Training involves both field work and laboratory skills. The majors are a combination of courses which allow for flexibility and choice.
The School of Molecular and Cell Biology (MCB) offers four major Programmes: Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Genetics and Developmental Biology, Microbiology and Biotechnology, and Bioinformatics.
The strength of the programme lies in the comprehensive introduction to the convergence of modern molecular advances and their application to the broad fields of medicine, agriculture and biotechnology. Molecular biosciences are the science of the future, evidenced by the growing number of disciplines where a molecular understanding has made a substantial impact (e.g. bioinformatics, forensics and drug design).
Students from both streams are required to register for Introductory Life Sciences in first year, as well as Chemistry and Auxillary Mathematics. Other course options include Complementary Life Sciences, Physics Auxiliary, Psychology, Geography, Archaeology or Philosophy.