Rhodes University Science Degree Structure
Science Degree Structure
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
The ordinary first degree is taken over three years and the key feature of the BSc is its flexibility. Within the confines set by the timetable, it is possible for students to combine subjects in myriad ways to create curricula that meet their particular interests. This flexibility includes allowing students to take a major subject from commerce, the humanities and law such that students can major in environmental science and anthropology, biochemistry and law or geology and economics. As a Faculty, we appreciate the value that can be added by allowing students some flexibility when choosing their subjects. The BSc does not set out to educate or train a student for a particular career but rather allows for the construction of a knowledge and skills base that prepares a student for a wide range of possible careers or advanced study in their chosen subject. Emphasis is on discipline specific knowledge and skills as well as the cross cutting skills including experimental design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and scientific communication, that form the essential base for research. The flexibility in curriculum design creates an opportunity for students to decide if they are attracted to transdisciplinary academic training and education.
The Science Faculty offers four degrees:
 The BSc (Bachelor of Science) is the usual “first” degree in the Faculty, requiring a minimum of three years’ study after school. A wide range of subjects – most of which are “scientific” in nature – can be studied in order to qualify for this degree.
 The BSc (lnfSys) (Bachelor of Science (Information Systems)) is a 3 year degree intended for students who wish to become computer specialists in a commercial environment. It has a more rigid curriculum than the ordinary BSc degree.
 The BSc(SofDev) (Bachelor of Science (Software Development)) is a 4 year degree intended for students who wish to become computer specialists in a software systems environment.
 The BSc(F) – (Extended Studies Programme). This programme is taken by students who have the ability to undertake tertiary education but whose schooling or other experiences have left them not adequately prepared for university. These students spend two years as BScF students after which they join the BSc students and graduate with a BSc.
All of these degrees share a similar basic structure. In the typical BSc, a student will do eight semester courses in First Year, six in Second Year and four in Third Year. The four semesters in Third Year will belong to two subjects (= major subjects; e.g. Zoology 301 & 302 or Biochemistry 301 & 302). The same subjects will be taken in Second Year (Zoology 201 & 202; Biochemistry 201 & 202) with two additional semester courses. The subjects taken in First Year are those required to allow access to the chosen Second Year subjects and will include both those needed for the majors (e.g. First Year Zoology) and also any corequisite subjects such as Chemistry for Zoology 2 or Maths 1 for Physics 2.
Full details on corequisite subjects can be found on the web site.
Most subjects are taught through a full year with two semesters of work (Chemistry 101 and
Chemistry 102 = First Year Chemistry). A few are offered as stand alone single semesters
(Physics 1E2, Maths 101, introduction to ICT C5C1L and of these only CSC1L is taught in both semesters. Maths 1 is the only nonsemesterized course in the science faculty. Most subjects are taught in all three academic years (Physics 1, Physics 2 and Physics 3) however a few are taught in Second and Third Years only (Entomology 2 and Entomology 3).
A typical BSc over three years might look like this:
Zoology 1  Chemistry  Geography  
Year 1  CEL 101 ZOO 101  CSC 1L1 BOT 102  CHE 101 CHE 102  EAR 101 GOG 102 
Year 2  ZOO 201 ZOO 202  ENT 102 ENT 202  CHE 201 CHE 202  
Year 3  ZOO 301 ZOO 302  ENT 301 ENT 302 
Note: That in this example, the majors are Zoology and Entomology. First Year Zoology comprises CEL 101 (a cell biology course) and ZOO 101. To major in Zoology you need to pass CEL 101, ZOO 101 and BOT 102 AND Chemistry 1 (a corequisite). Entomology is one of a number of subjects taught in Second and Third Years only. To major in Entomology, you must pass CEL 101, ZOO 101, BOT 102 and Chemistry 1. Clearly, subject choice in First Year is set by your selection of major subjects.
THE BASIC BSC OVER FOUR YEARS
For some students it is necessary to reduce the workload in First Year and spread the degree over four years. In this case we try to gain at least eight and preferably ten semester credits in two years. A typical 4 year curriculum would look like this:
Year 1  Maths 1  Computer Science
CSC 101 CSC 102 
PHY 1E2 
Year 2  Stats 1
STAT 101 STA 102 
Physics 1
PHY 101 PHY 102 
Chemistry 1
CHE 101 CHE102 
Year 3  PHY 201 PHY 202  CSC 201 CSC 202  MAT 201 MAT 202 
Year 4  PHY 301 PHY 302  CSC 301 CSC 302 
Note: The exact structure of the first two years is very variable but typically the student will only start Second Year subjects in Year Three. In this example the students has three additional credits.
The BScF (Extended Studies Programme) is a four year degree in which students who do not meet the usual Faculty entrance requirements are provided with an opportunity to complete a degree over four years. In First Year, these students do three specially designed courses, one in maths, one in computer literacy and an introduction to the concepts and methods of science. In Second Year, the students will take a selection of standard First Year courses and in their Third Year, they join the BSc year two group.
BSc (InfSys) and BSc (SofDev) are designed for students who plan to use computers in a commercial environment. The degree structure is not very fl exible and students must pass 20 semester credits; a typical example is presented below:
Year 1  CSC 101  CSC 102  ACC 101  ACC 102  MAT 1  MAN 101  MAN 102  ECO 101  ECO 102 
Year 2  CSC 201  CSC 202  INF 201  INF 202  STA 101 PHY 1E2  
Year 3  CSC 301  CSC 302  INF 301  INF 302 
In these two degrees, students must pass the following courses:
First and Second Years
Computer Science 1 & 2
Information Systems 2
Economics 1, Management 1, Accounting 1
Statistics 1D or 101, Physics 1E2, Maths 1 or Maths 102 and one other course approved by the Dean.
Third Year (BSc (InfSys)).
Computer Science 3, and one of Information Systems 3, Accounting 3, Economics 3, Management 3, Pure Maths 3, Mathematical Statistics 3, Applied Statistics 3.
Third & Fourth Years (BSc(SofDev)).
Computer Science 3 and Information Systems 3, and Computer Science and Information Systems 4.
SUBJECT CHOICES IN THE ORDINARY BSc DEGREE.
The subjects that can be taken in a BSc degree are classified into two groups, A & B.
Group Acomprises subjects that you would expect to find in a Science Degree. Most are taught over three years (e.g. Botany, Chemistry, Physics) while some are taught in Second and Third Years only (e.g. Ichthyology, Entomology, Microbiology, Biochemistry). A few are non major subjects and used to provide necessary additional skills such as Electronics (PHY 1E2), Statistics (STATS 101) and Introduction to Computer Literacy (CSC 1L1).
Group Bincludes all other subjects including those taught in the Humanities (such as Anthropology and History) or Commerce (Accounting or Management) and Law.
If the two majors are from Group A the degree comprises 18 credits of which no more than 4 semester credits may come from a single department in Group B.
If one major is from Group B, then the degree comprises 20 credits and All credits EXCEPT those for the three years of the Group B major MUST come from Group A. A typical 20 credit degree with a Group B major looks like this:
Year 1  PSY 101  PSY 102  HKE 101  HKE 102  CEL 101 ZOO102  PHY 1E1  PHY 1E2 
Year 2  PSY 201  PSY 202  HKE 201  HKE 202  2 Other Credits  CSC 101  CSC 102 
Year 3  PSY 301  PSY 302  HKE 301  HKE 302 
Note in this curriculum the student is majoring in Psychology (PSY) and Human Kinetics and Ergonomics (HKE). There are 20 credits of which ONLY the three years of Psychology are from Group B.
A few other examples of possible curricula follow:
One possible Biology curriculum:
Year 1  Zoology 1
CEL 101 ZOO 101 
PHY 1E1  BOT 102  Chemistry 1
CHE 101 CHE 102 
Geography 1
EAR 101 GOG 102 
Year 2  CEL 201
ZOO 201 
BOT 201  BOT 202  STA 101
CSC 1L2 

Year 3  CEL 301
ZOO 301 
BOT 301  BOT 302 
In recent times several students have combined Legal Theory with Science, rather than only with Humanities or Commerce, and gone on to acquire the initials “BSc LLB” after their names before following specialised careers in Law. Here is a curriculum that might appeal to those who wish to become experts in Environmental Law:
Year 1  Legal Theory 1  CEL 101  ZOO 101  PHY 1E1  BOT 102  CHE 101  CHE 102 
Year 2  Legal Theory 2  ENV 201  ENV 202  BOT 201  BOT 202  EAR 101  GOG 102 
Year 3  Legal Theory 3  ENV 301  ENV 302 
Finally, while many combinations of subjects are possible, some combinations are prevented by timetable clashes. You can use the online timetable clash checker at:
http://scifac.ru.ac.za/wwwtime/timetable.php to see if your chosen subjects will clash.