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A Madagascan hissing cockroach appreciatively hugs the Wits logo above the university's state-of-the-art insectary credit Blair Cowie
Biological Sciences (Organismal Biology) Study how evolution, heredity, and development shape animal and plant life.
Biological Sciences (Organismal Biology) Study how evolution, heredity, and development shape animal and plant life.

Qualification: BSc

Faculty: Science

Duration: 3 years

School: Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences

Study mode: Full-time


Animal and plant life is shaped by central processes of evolution, heredity, and development. In the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, we focus largely on whole organisms. But we also cover topics ranging from basic animal or plant biology, including physiology, to animal and plant interactions with the biotic and abiotic characteristics of their environments.

The syllabus provides broad competence for careers involving the biology of animals and plants in relation to their environment, including human or veterinary medicine.

This major aligns well with Physiology or Anatomy offered through the Faculty of Health Sciences and is an excellent first degree for continuing in the medical profession.

  • Biodiversity Planner
  • Biology Education
  • Education Officer
  • Private Consulting Firms
  • Scientific Journalism
  • Veterinary Research Institute

Research or related work in various institutions:

  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
  • Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWA)
  • South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
  • Nature conservation, museums (e.g. Ditsong NMNH)
SoB 2021 Booklet

Introductory Life Sciences I


Chemistry I


Auxiliary Mathematics I


Any other Level I course

  • Animal Form and Function II
  • Introduction to Animal Behaviour II
  • Evolution II
  • Reproductive Biology II
  • Whole Plant Physiology II


  • Basic Statistics for the Natural Sciences II


  • Any other Level II courses

Each major has a choice of the following courses:

  • Animal Behaviour III
  • Behavioural Ecology III
  • Biogeography III
  • Biosystematics and Evolution III
  • Medical and Applied Entomology III
  • Molecular Ecology III
  • Palaeontology III
  • Physiological Entomology III


one field trip course:

  • Applied Freshwater Ecology and Management III
  • Experimental Field Biology III


one laboratory course:

  • Microscopy III
  • Service Learning in Biology III

APS 43+

English Home Language OR First Additional Language Level 5

Mathematics Level 5


Applicants with 41-42 points may be wait-listed, subject to place availability.

National Benchmark Test

All Faculty of Science applicants must write the National Benchmark Tests (NBT) before being considered for admission.

There are two tests: The Academic and Quantitative Literacy Test and the Mathematics Test. Your test results are used in addition to your Grade 12 results to identify students who may need additional support during the course of their studies.

Rules for the NBT

You must register on the NBT website, or via mobile phone, to write the tests. Registration closes about three weeks before each test date. You can register for the NBT before you submit your application to Wits. DO NOT wait for an official notification from Wits to register for and write the tests, because you may miss the end of September deadline.

The test fee can be paid once you have registered to write the test. The tests must be written by 31 October 2021. You are encouraged to write the tests as early as possible. For a comprehensive list of test dates, registration dates and available venues, please refer to the NBT website. Both tests must be written in one session. ONLY the first attempt results will be considered so we advise against writing the tests more than once in a year.

Application Closing Date: 30 September 2021

Residence Applications: 30 September 2021

  • The Student Enrolment Centre at Wits handles all student applications.
  • Please click here for an overview of the application process. 
  • Check the admission requirements for your degree. Check if any additional selection requirements apply. 
  • Submit your application, required documentation and application fee before the closing date.
  • Once you have applied, an admissions consultant will be assigned to your application.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • If you are an international applicant and/or have a foreign qualification, please click here.

Wits Plus applicants, applications can only be done online. We will be in contact with you should we require additional documentation.

Compliance with the minimum requirements does not guarantee a place at the University. The University has a specific number of places for first year undergraduates, approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

Click here to see the current average tuition fees for the first year of study. The Fees website also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal. 

The Financial aid office provides information on student funding and scholarships. University-funded Scholarships include Vice-Chancellor's Scholarships, University Entrance Scholarships, Equality Scholarships, Sports Scholarships and National Olympiad winner awards. For information about NSFAS funding, please visit the NSFAS websiteExternal bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.

Wits Plus applicants: terms of payment are in accordance with University regulations, and students are not eligible for University bursaries/NSFAS or residential accommodation.