Rhodes University Science Degree Structure

Rhodes University Science Degree Structure – Faculty of Science | This post contains full information regarding the Science Degree program at Rhodes University RU.

Rhodes University 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 co-requisite subjects such as Chemistry for Zoology 2 or Maths 1 for Physics 2.

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Full details on co-requisite 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 non-semesterized 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 co-requisite). 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.


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:

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Year 1 Maths 1 Computer Science

CSC 101   CSC 102



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.



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


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:



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