Biological Sciences


Chairperson : Dr Tinashe Muteveri
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About the Department

Programmes offered within the department

Undergraduate Degree

Bsc Biological Sciences Honours Degree

Bachelor Of Science In Applied Biosciences And Biotechnology Honours Degree


After completing the BSc (hon) in Biological Sciences programme, students should:

Be able to work in Biology related fields.

Be able to confidently teach Biology up to A level.

Be prepared for Post-graduate degree(s) in Biological Sciences Provide solution to environmental problems.

Develop skills and attitudes that enable them to participate actively in the development of the country.


The department offers a four year programme that is divided into four levels.

Level I – introductory modules that are prerequisites for subsequent levels. In order to proceed to Level II a student must pass 8 credits including all the core modules.

Level II -All the major branches of Biology will be taught and these will prepare students for Level IV. In order to proceed to level III, a student should pass 10 credits.

Level III -Students will be on work related learning for a period of 10 months. In order to proceed to Level IV the student must fulfill the requirements of work related learning in terms of continuous assessments and reports.

Level IV -The student will select modules worth 10 credits. In addition the student would do compulsory modules in Biomathematics and Marketing as well as the Project.


Normal Entry

In order to qualify for acceptance to the BSc (Honours) degree in Biological Sciences, a student should possess the following qualifications:

Normal entry

Passes at A level in Biology and any one of the following subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Geography.

Special entry

The following persons may apply for Special entry and for permission to proceed to a first degree with exemption from the whole or part of the normal entry requirements:-

A person who has obtained a degree of this or another University or degree awarding institution.

A person who has obtained from another University or an Institution of similar status, academic qualifications (other than degrees) acceptable to Senate. These may include a diploma in the following fields: Education ,Forestry, Fisheries, Entomology, Food Science & Biological Sciences.

Students who qualify under this regulation for Special Entry may apply to Senate to be exempted from certain modules and examinations. Refer to Mature entry section below.

Mature entry

Persons who are at least 25 years of age on the first day of the academic year in which admission is sought and who are not eligible for entry under the Normal or Special Entry Regulations may apply for Mature Entry provided that:

Applicants must have passed at least five approved O level subjects including English Language and Mathematics (or equivalents) and must have demonstrated potential suitability for University studies by virtue of their attainments and/or relevant work experience.

Normally, applicants should have completed their full-time school or college education at least five years before the start of the academic year in which admission is sought.

Applicants who wish to be considered under the Mature Entry provisions may be required to attend interviews and/or special tests at the University designed to assess their command of the English Language, numerate and reasoning ability and general suitability for admission to the Bachelor s degree studies.

Applicants who have previously attended Mature Entry tests and/or interviews without success will not be considered for admission under this form of entry unless in the intervening period they have acquired additional qualifications and/or experience.

If you would like to apply for the programme Download Application Material


Graduates with the BSc Honours degree in Biological Sciences can be employed as the following:

research scientists in research institutions and medical laboratories, ecologists with National Parks or environmental organizations, microbiologists in the food and pharmaceutical industries, geneticists in plant and animal breeding ,entomologists in research institutions,parasitologists in research institutions and medical laboratories, curators in various disciplines in the Natural History Museum,botanists in research institutions and National Parks, and lecturers in Technical colleges as well as A Level Biology teachers.


The Chairperson

Department of Biological Sciences

Midlands State University

P.Bag 9055



Tel +263 54 260409 / +263 54 260450/ +263 54 260667 ext



1.1 These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the Special Faculty and General Academic Regulations.

1.2 The course develops from observations of biological phenomena at the broadest scales (Biosphere and Ecosystems) to those at the finest (molecular) level. Strong emphasis is placed throughout on methods of biological investigations. The interrelationship of Biological Sciences to other subjects is stressed, although, the distinctiveness of Biology should also be apparent.


2.1 After completing the programme, students should be able to: work in Biology related fields, carry out postgraduate studies in Biological Sciences and other related fields, provide solutions to environmental problems and participate actively in the development of the country.


Graduates with the BSc Honours degree Biological Sciences can be employed as the following:

– research scientists in research institutions and medical laboratories,

– ecologists with National Parks or environmental organizations,

– microbiologists in the food and pharmaceutical industries,

– geneticists in plant and animal breeding,

– entomologists in research institutions,

– parasitologists in research institutions and medical laboratories,

– curators in various disciplines in the Natural History Museum,

– botanists in research institutions and National Parks, and

– lecturers in Technical colleges as well as A’ Level Biology teachers.


In order to qualify for acceptance into the BSc (Honours) degree in Biological Sciences, a student should possess the following qualifications:

4.1 Normal Entry

Passes at “A” level in Biology and any one of the following subjects: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry or Geography.

4.2 Special Entry

The following persons may apply for Special Entry and for permission to proceed to a first degree with exemption from the whole or part of the normal entry requirements:-

4.2.1 A person who has obtained a degree of this or another University or degree awarding institution.

4.2.2 A person who has obtained from another University or an Institution of similar status, academic qualifications (other than degrees) acceptable to Senate. These may include a diploma in Education, Forestry, Fisheries, Entomology, Food Science and Biological Sciences.

4.2.3 Students who qualify under the Special Entry may apply to Senate to be exempted from certain modules and examinations.

4.3 Mature Entry

Refer to Section 3.3 of the General Regulations.


Refer to Section 4 of the Faculty Regulations


Refer to Section 5 of the Faculty Regulations


Refer to Section 9 of the General Regulations.


Refer to Section 7 of the Faculty Regulations.


Refer to Section 8 of the Faculty Regulations.


Refer to Section 10 of the Faculty Regulations.


Refer to Section 11 of the Faculty Regulations.


N.B. * denotes core modules

Level 1 Semester 1

Code Description Credits
HBIO101 * Diversity of Life I 4
HBIO102 * Diversity of Life II 4
HBIO105 * Cell Biology 4
HBIO106 Biological Methods & Techniques 4
HCS101 Introduction to Computers 4
HCS102 Introduction to Programming 4
CS 101 * Communication Skills 4

Level 1 Semester 2

Code Description Credits
HBIO103 * Ecology I 4
HBIO107 Introductory Mycology 4
HBIO104 * Genetics and Evolution 4
HBIO109 * Plant Form and Function 4
HBIO110 * Biomathematics I 4
HBIO111 Immunology 4
CS 101 * Communication Skills 4

Level 2 Semester 1

Code Description Credits
HBIO209 * Vertebrate Biology (HBIO102) 4
HBIO202 * Bacteriology (HBIO101) 4
HBIO203 * Mycology (HBIO101/ HBIO107) 4
HBIO206 * Plant Physiology (HBIO109) 4
HBIO210 * Applied Ecology (HBIO 103) 4
HBIO212 Nutritional Biology (HBIO108) 4
CT211 Quality Management 4
GS201 Gender Studies 4

Level 2 Semester 2

Code Description Credits
HBIO201 Ethology 4 HBIO204 Enzyme Technology (HBIO 212) 4
HBIO205 * Invertebrate Biology (HBIO 102) 4
HBIO208 * Arthropod Biology (HBIO 102) 4
HBIO207 Biotechnology 4
HBIO211 * Animal Physiology (HBIO 102) 4
HBIO213 * Molecular Genetics (HBIO 104) 4

Level 3 Semesters 1 and 2

Code Description Credits
HBIO301 Work Related Learning Report 15
HBIO302 Academic Supervisor’s Report 15
HBIO303 Employer’s Assessment Report 10

Level 4 Semester 1 and 2

Code Description Credits
HBIO401 * Biomathematics II (HBIO110) 4
HBIO402 * Dissertation 8

In addition to the above 2 modules, a student must register for electives offered by the department worth 36 credits.


Code Description Credits
HBIO403 Animal Parasitology (HBIO205) 4
HBIO404 Plant Nematology (HBIO205) 4
HBIO405 Applied Entomology (HBIO205 & 208) 4
HBIO406 Industrial Microbiology (HBIO202/204) 4
HBIO407 Environmental Microbiology(HBIO202) 4
HBIO408 Plant Pathology (HBIO203) 4
HBIO409 Microbial Genetics and Virology (HBIO202/ 213/10) 4
HBIO410 Applied Aquatic Ecology (HBIO210) 4
HBIO411 Applied Terrestrial Ecology (HBIO210) 4
HBIO412 Rangeland Ecology (HBIO210) 4
HBIO413 Systematic Botany (HBIO206 & 214) 4
HBIO414 Applied Botany (HBIO206 & 214) 4
HBIO415 Advanced Plant Physiology HBIO206, HBIO214) 4
HBIO416 Comparative Animal Physiology (HBIO211) 4
HBIO417 Experimental Zoology (HBIO209) 4
HBIO418 Ecological Animal Physiology (HBIO211, 210) 4
HBIO419 Vertebrate Zoology (HBIO209) 4
HBIO420 Genetic Control Mechanisms (HBIO213) 4
HBIO421 Quantitative and Population Genetics (HBIO213) 4
HBIO422 Applied Genetics (HBIO213) 4
HBIO423 Advanced Molecular Genetics (HBIO213) 4


HBIO 101 Diversity of Life I

(a) Origins of life spontaneous generation; comparative metabolism; stromatolites and other fossils; the geological time scale; the primitive atmosphere and the evolution of the genetic code.

(b) Taxonomy and phylogeny the goals of classification; the stages of classification; phenetic, cladistic, and evolutionary systemstics, taxonomic characters, homology; analogy; taxonomic keys, and phylogenetic trees.

(c ) Viruses and Monera the diversity among viruses and in the kingdom Monera

(d) Protista the diversity among the Fungi, including the division eumycota and the lichens.

(e) Fungi the diversity among the Fungi, including the division eumycota and the lichens.

(f) Plants brown algae; red algae; green algae; bryophytes; psilopsids; lycopsids; sphenopsids; ferns; gymnosperms and angiosperms; tracheophyte; leaves and adaptations to terrestrial life.

HBIO 102 Diversity of life II

Animalia: a brief outline of the grades of organisation and the evolution of the two main lines of animals (vertebrates and invertebrates; particularly arthropods).

HBIO103 Ecology I

Levels of biological organisation: individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems, and the biosphere; the hierarchial link between pattern and process; distribution and abundance of organisms in space and time: causes and consequences; concepts of habitat and niche; population growth and regulation; intra-and inter-specific interactions, including competition, predation and mutualisms.

HBIO104 Genetics and Evolution

Genetics: Mitosis and meiosis; Mendelian genetics and the chromosome theory of heredity; mutation and variation; introduction to population genetics. Evolution: population genetics and variation; the concept of, and evidence for evolution; theory of evolution by natural selection; adaptation and adaptive radiation; the nature of species; specific mate recognition systems; isolating mechanisms; speciation.

HBIO105 Cell Biology

Structure of eukaryotic cells; function of different organelles, membrane structures including modifications e.g. gap and tight junctions; transport across membranes; membrane synthesis, protein synthesis; sorting and delivery the organelles involved, the role of lysosomes in recycling cellular components, functional importance of motochondrial membranes in respiration, the components of the cytoskeleton; cell motility; cell differentiation, unlimited cell growth and cancer cells.

HBIO106 Biological Methods and Techniques

Laboratory safety practices and procedures; Preparation of solutions and standards in laboratories; Absorbency spectroscopy, principles, techniques and biological applications; Electrophoresis, types, principles and applications of each type; Centrifugation, basis, types and applications; Chromatography; Introduction to biosensors.

HBIO107 Introductory Mycology

Fungal taxonomy; life cycles; mycelial organisation and growth; nutrition and extracellular enzyme function; reproduction; mycogenetics. Conidiogenesis spore liberation, dispersal and germination. Ecological roles of fungi levels of saprotrophy, necrotrophy and biotrophy.

HBIO109 Plant Form and Function

Integrated structure and function of higher plants, Basic plant anatomy and architecture/morphology, Tissues of the higher plant body and their functions, Tissue organisation in the various organs (including wood structure), Reproductive structures; seeds; fruits and dispersal mechanisms, General adaptations of anatomy and morphology to environment.

HBIO110 Biomathematics I

What is Statistics? Variability and error; precision and accuracy. Summarising data- populations and samples; descriptive statistics, graphical presentation of data, measures of the centre, measures of dispersion, Estimation and hypothesis testing the normal distribution, inferences about the mean, standard error of sample mean, testing hypotheses about mean, t-tests, confidence intervals, comparing two samples. Contigency tables; Chi-squared tests for two- way tables. Mann Whitney U-test, relative merits of parametric and non- parametric procedures.

HBIO 111 Immunology

Definition of immunology; cellular participants in immune response i.e. leukocytes; types of immunity, passive vs acquired, cytotoxic T lymphocytes, cytokines; primary and secondary responses; antigens and antigen processing; structure and functions of antibodies (the immunoglobulin fold, including experiments that led to the elaboration of this structure); Antibody – antigen interactions, non-covalent interactions, affinity, avidity, specificity; Antibody – antigen reactions (neutralisation, precipitation, agglutination); Theory of vaccination; Basis of cellular immunity – clonal selection theory of McFarlane Burnet; Immune tolerance; Monoclonal vs polyclonal antibodies; AIDS and HIV -immunological basis.

CS101 Communication Skills

Refer to Department of Communication Skills Centre

HCS101 Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems

Refer to the Department of Computer Science

HBIO 201 Ethology

Evolution of behaviour. Social behaviour e.g. human society. Communication in animals. Cultures. General information transmission e.g. Aggression and Submission. Significance of mating systems. Predictive models, Plasticity of mating systems. Parental care of offspring, adaptive behaviour: Behaviour in influencing reproductive success, e.g. Avian mating systems.

HBIO202 Bacteriology

The history of bacteriology. The methods in microbiology, including principles of aseptic techniques, sterilisation and exenic culture. Review of bacterial cell structure. Bacterial diversity, including methods and criteria used for identification and classification. Basic principles of bacterial nutrition. Bacterial metabolic pathways; chemoautotrophy and photosynthesis. Bacterial genetics the nature and replication of the bacterial genome, mutation, transformation, transduction and conjugation.

HBIO 203 Mycology

The module covers the general characteristics, body plan, organelles and cell biology, biochemistry and cell composition, reproduction, life cycles, classification, ecology and importance of all the organisms that traditionally have been studied by mycologists such Oomycetes, slime moulds and true fungi. Emphasis will be placed on the divisions Zygomycota, Chytridiomycota, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota. Protistan fungi such as the Oomycota and slime moulds such as the Acrasiomycota, Dictyostelliomycota and Myxomycota will also be studied.

The applied aspects of fungi such as their role as mycorrhizae, their role in medicine, industry, wood and litter decay, and in agriculture will be considered.

HBIO204 Enzyme Technology

Proteins and protein techniques, Sources of enzymes, screening and extraction from the sources; classes of enzymes with reference to conditions within they operate (acidic – alkaline, thermostable); enzyme kinetics (one substrate first order kinetics, construction of double reciprocal plots and advantages of such plots i.e. information obtained from the plots); Overview of operation of enzymes in different media – water, organic solvents and immobilisation of enzymes; Industrial applications of enzymes – scrap meat recovery, production of fructose high syrup, cellulose and lignin degradation, enzyme detergents.

HBIO 205 Invertebrate Biology

Examination of the structural and functional characteristics of the main invertebrate. Phyla with emphasis on evolutionary developments; locomotion, hydrostatics and the coelom, nutrition, respiration, excretion, osmotic and ionic regulation, patterns of reproduction; intimate associations and parasitism; a brief introduction to the arthropods; anatomy, evolution and bionomics of arthropod phyla, in particular uniramia.

HBIO 206 Plant Physiology

Ecophysiology of Photosynthesis (C3, C4, CAM) and respiration. Plant nutrition functions of macronutrients and micronutrients. Mechanisms and control of transport processes. Plant hormones and growth substances. Internal vs external stimuli. Plant environment interaction.

HBIO207 Biotechnology

Definition; Methods in biotechnology – traditional and modern; Ethical issues or Biopolitics, introduction to legislation, Applications – agriculture: viral elimination by meristeming, frost prevention, Bt genes, antisense technology, breeding for resistance/tolerance, state of art of certain crops in Zimbabwe; Food industries – strain improvement (for unique flavors, increased nutritional value), other recent examples; medical applications – drug production, gene therapy and other examples.

HBIO208 Anthropod Biology

The teaching objective of this course is to explore the evolutionary relationships of Arthropod groups and understand the adaptive diversity within the phylum and groups. Arthropodian characteristics; general characteristics; phylogenetic relationships. Structure and function of arthropod systems: exoskeleton, circulatory, digestive, nervous, respiratory, reproduction and development. Triloobites, chelicera, Crustacea, Myriapoda, Insecta: structural and functional modifications of the various systems in these groups; examples drawn from economically important classes/orders. Milestones in the history of insect classification. The practical part of this course is to: apply the knowledge of morphology to identify arthropods to their correct phyla, classes and orders, explore the adaptive radiation in structure and function of the different systems in the arthropod groups.

HBIO 209 Vertebrate Biology

An introduction to the phylum Chordata, its relationships and evolution. Major vertebrate systems are examined from an evolutionary viewpoint the skeleton, integument, respiratory and circulatory systems. The classification and evolution of vertebrates, palaeontology and continental drift in relation to vertebrate evolution.

HBIO 210 Applied Ecology

Population ecology, including: exponential and logistic models of population growth; life-tables and Leslie – type matrices; life history strategies; inter-and intra-specific competition; predator-prey interactions. Community ecology, including: patterns in multispecies communities; stability and complexity; linear and non- linear succession models; phenology. Biomes of the world, concentrating on tropical rain forests, savanna ecosystems, grasslands and arid lands. Biomass and productivity; utilisation by man.

HBIO211 Animal Physiology

Introduction to animal physiology homeostatics. Respiration in water and air, in fish, birds, mammals and insects; gas transport and properties of blood; Circulatory patterns; Locomotion in water and buoyancy; digestion, especially in herbivores; Information and control, including excitable cells; nervous system and control of effectors; Hormonal control.

HBIO212 Nutritional Biology

Cellular metabolic processes – metabolism of proteins, lipids and carbohydrates; Concepts and principles of nutrition; role of oxygen; various nutrients and their participation in the body; Human nutritional requirements (consider special cases like injury, pregnancy and illness); vegetarianism; Role of exercising and balanced nutrient intake.

HBIO 213 Molecular Genetics

The chemical basis of heredity. The genetic material: DNA, RNA and their structure. Organisation of DNA into chromosomes. Gene expression, The Central Dogma, genetic code, Transcription, translation. Gene structure and function.

CT211 Quality Management Systems

Refer to Department of Chemical Technology.

GS201 Gender Studies

Refer to Department of Gender Studies.

HBIO401 Biomathematics II

Statistical methods for biologists descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, X2 tests, Linear regression and correlation, Analysis of Variance, Nonparametric methods. Experimental design.

HBIO402 Dissertation

The module provides students with an opportunity to design, undertake or conduct an independent piece of research or study related to his/her programme of study under the guidance of a supervisor who is normally a member of the academic stuff of the department. The module helps the student to develop skills required to critically investigate a topic or problem, to gather and analyse information, and present and discuss the results.


HBIO 403 Animal Parasitology

Intimate associations; protoctistan parasites; life cycle strategies; categories of nematode parasitism; cestodes; digeneans; monogeneans and acanthocephalans; parasitic arthropods; host specificity; host response and defence; parasite evasion of immunity; adaptations to parasitism; parasite control; specimen collection and analysis.

HBIO 404 Plant Nematology

The course gives students theoretical and field practical aspects of general nematology with more emphasis on plant nematology. The course covers general morphology, anatomy (digestive, reproductive, excretory and nervous systems) and biology of plant parasitic nematodes. The course also covers reproduction processs; sex determination; embryology; classification and systematics, parasitism and host parasite relationships for both plants and animals, nematodes as vectors of plant viruses; nematode interactions with fungi and bacteria; nematodes in ecosystems; mechanisms of resistance; population dynamics and nematode management strategies.

HBIO 405 Applied Entomology

The course covers material such as introduction to the causes of pest outbreak, approaches to control, introduction to methods in chemical control, biological control and biologically based control and some detailed work on control of tsetse flies, maize pest and cotton pests. Practical work is oriented towards aspects identification of insects, and control such as spray droplet spectra. Searching behaviour of insects, population growth and types of insect traps and the catches that may be expected.

HBIO 406 Industrial Microbiology

Review of microbial nutrition and growth in both batch and continuous culture. Fermentation equipment, design and operation. Development of industrial fermentations including screening of microorganisms; design of fermentation media; scale up of fermentation starting with laboratory scale; recovery and extraction of fermentation products (introduction to bioprocess engineering); study of specific examples of industrial fermentations including among others antibiotic production, brewing, single cell protein production, production of some fermented dairy products and enzyme production.

HBIO 407 Environmental Microbiology

Application of general ecological concepts to the microbial situation. Limiting factors, population dynamics, energy flow, community structure. The microbial role in nature. A survey of microbial habitats. Biodeterioration, wood decay and food spoilage. Waste disposal- sewage treatment, compositing. Associations of microbes with animals including brief consideration of epidemiology of human disease. Microbes in fresh water. Pollution. Bioremediation.

HBIO 408 Plant Pathology

The diversity of pathogen-induced plant diseases. Abiotic plant diseases. A survey of important fungal, bacterial, viral and mycoplasmial plant diseases using selected examples. Seed-borne diseases, epidemiology of plant diseases the concept of inoculum potential, source of inoculum production, liberation, dissemination and deposition of pathogen inoculum. Host-pathogen interaction- the physiology and biochemistry of pathogen penetration, colonisation pathogenesis and diseases resistance. Assessment and forecasting of plant disease outbreaks. The principles of plant disease control: chemical control, cultural control, biological control, breeding for resistance, control by legislation-quarantine, phytosanitatory regulations and seed health testing.

HBIO 409 Microbial Genetics and Virology

Mutations and genetics of mutations, recombinant systems in fungi, prokaryotes and viruses- including conjugation, transduction and transformation. Introduction to genetic engineering in microosragnisms. DNA and RNA bacteriophages, detailed descriptions of the main genera and groups of animal and plant viruses, virus genetics and variability. Virus detection and serology.

HBIO 410 Applied Aquatic Ecology

An introduction to limnology; the hydrological cycle and the nature of aquatic environments; physical and chemical properties of water and physical and chemical processes in streams and lakes. The nature and functioning of aquatic communities including benthos, plankton, epiphytes, macrophytes and fish. The effect of man on aquatic ecosystems; pollution, eutrophication, introduced and invasive species, drainage and siltation, fishing and exploitation of natural resources.

HBIO 411 Applied Terrestrial Ecology

Overview of definitions, objectives and principles of adaptive management of wildlife; the influence of large size on large mammal ecology; foraging theory; techniques used to quantify feeding and activity patterns; determinants of large mammal community structure and the distribution of large mammal biomass density; carrying capacity and culling; census methods; wildlife utilization.

BIO 412 Rangeland Ecology

Characteristics of tropical rangelands (savannas); features and determinants of ecosystem structure and functioning; geology, landforms and soils; moisture availability, nutrient availability, herbivory, fire, disturbance. Management of rangelands: objectives, assumptions, options, constraints; manipulation of grazing and fire regimes. Dynamics of rangeland ecosystems: equilibrium vs non-equilibrium views.

HBIO413 Systematic Botany

Angiosperm plant keying theory and practice: Plant classification and nomenclature. Species concepts. Modern computer methods in plant taxonomy: Phenetics versus cladistics. Plant families of ecological and economic importance in the flora Zambesiaca. Seeds, fruits and their dispersal. Adaptations of plants to pollinating agents. The weed flora of Zimbabwe.

HBIO 414 Applied Botany

General classification of plants of economic importance. Useful structures of plants. Origins of major modern crops. Cereals and grain legumes. Fruits and vegetable. Plant extracts. Fibres, timber and wood products. New crops and alternative valuations of plant resources.

HBIO 415 Advanced Plant Physiology

The chloroplast structure, function and bioenergetics. Photosynthesis. Light absorption, leaves and fluxes. Plant hormone physiology. Plant atmosphere relationships. Nitrogen and carbon metabolism. Physiology of flowering.

HBIO 416 Comparative Animal Physiology

Function of cell membranes and transporting epithelia; comparative aspects of osmotic and ionic regulation in marine, estuarine, freshwater and hypersaline animals. Water balance in land animals; interactions between thermoregulation and water balance. Comparative nitrogenous excretion. Renal and extra-renal homeostasis in vertebrates; excretory organs in invertebrates. Aestivation and crytobiosis. Endocrine aspects of osmoregulation.

HBIO 417 Experimental Zoology

Resting metabolism scaling with body size phylogenetic ecological correlates. Activity metabolism aerobic and anaerobic pathways of energy liberation, sustainable and non-sustainable activity levels of ectotherms and endotherms; foraging mode and metabolism. The cost of locomotion; basic muscle physiology. Skeletal, smooth and cardiac muscle, fast and slow fibres in vertebrates. Invertebrate muscle; control of invertebrate muscle. Physiology of diving and adaptation to high altitude.

HBIO 418 Ecological Animal Physiology

Physiological effects of temperature. Heat balance and mechanisms of heat exchange; lethal temperature and tolerance adaptations. Acclimatization and evolutionary adaptation to temperature. Thermoregualtion in endotherms; thermoreception and control of body temperature. Thermoregulation in ectotherms; behaviour and physiological mechanisms. Energy budget equations and measurements of components; feeding and digestion as strategies. Energy use in production- growth, storage and reproduction. Allocation to growth or survival vs reproduction- reproductive strategies. Energetics of ectotherms and endotherms and ecological correlates; Evolution of endotherm- hot blooded dinosaurs.

HBIO 419 Vertebrate Zoology

Vertebrate faunas of Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular: composition, distribution, ecology and conservation. Special attention will be given to groups that illustrate evolutionary principles. Primate evolution; especially the evolution of man.

HBIO 420 Genetic Control Mechanisms

Control of gene expression in prokaryotes-enzyme repression and induction; the lactose operon of E. coli; attenuation in the trypophan operon. Lysis and lysogen in bacteriophage Lambda; control of pathways. Mating behaviour in yeast; how certain strains change mating type. Control of gene expression in higher eukaryotes, the dynamic nature of the eukaryotic genome-gene amplification, gene rearrangement and mobile units. Regulation at the transcriptional level promoters, enhancers and transcriptional factors. Post-transcriptional regulation processing transcripts, differential mRNA processing, control of mRNA stability. Changes in chromatin structure and gene regulation.

HBIO 421 Quantitative and Population Genetics

Quantitative Genetics

Types of quantitative traits, the normal distribution and basic statistical notions, artificial selection, prediction equation, genetic basis of quantitative traits, number of genes affecting quantitative traits, intensity of selection, heredity, resemblance between relatives, long term artificial selection inbreeding depression, correlated responses and selection limits.

Population Genetics

Darwin’s revolution, phenotypic diversity and genetic variation. Allozyme polymorphisms, DNA restriction fragment length polymorphisms. Organisation of genetic variation models: random mating, the Hardy Weinberg principle, special cases of random mating, assortative mating, inbreeding and its effect; causes of evolution- random genetic drift, mutation, migration selection balance, the neutral theory, synthesis of forces and origin of species.

HBIO 422 Applied Genetics

Mendelian genetics, examples and limitations. Theory of quantitative genetics: binomial expansion and phenotype distributions, states of dominance, components of phenotypic and genetic variance, heretability; natural and artificial selection: selection differential and intensity of selection; realised heritability; criteria for selection, individual, family, within family and index selection; effects of selection, inbreeding, cross breeding, heterosis and hybridisation. Case histories: poultry, maize and wheat. Other applications: human diseases, genetic counselling and eugenics, genetic methods of pest control.

HBIO 423 Advanced Molecular Genetics

Gene technology, chromosomes, genes, genomes and their organisation, size and complicity. Genetic expression, review of replication, transcription, translation and how they relate to chromosome structure. Plasmids, cosmids, F- plasmids insertion sequences, transposable genetic elements vectors. Recombination type, recombination in bacteria, bacterial transformation, conjugation and transduction, phage genetics, gene cloning vectors, DNA libraries, probes, DNA-DNA hybridisation, southern blots, release of engineered organisms, reverse transcription, retrovirology structural organisation.



1.1 These regulations shall be read in conjunction with the Faculty of Science and Technology Regulations and the General Academic Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees hereinafter referred to as the General Regulations.

1.2 The degree shall be awarded to candidates who have successfully completed the programme and the examinations in accordance with regulations set in the Faculty Regulations.


2.1 The overarching objective of this programme is to equip graduates with knowledge, skills and techniques relevant to the sustainable management of ecological resources with emphasis on the southern Africa region.

2.2 In doing this, the programme recognizes that sustainable management includes utilization of resources and their protection.

2.3 The programme is directed at outcomes based education at the Masters level with emphasis on the application of principles of population and community ecology to environment management and conservation in Southern Africa.

2.3 Graduates completing the programme should have the ability to apply scientific methods to solve conservation and community ecology to environmental management related problems and to predict and monitor the consequences of human activities on theenvironment.


After completing this programme, graduates should be able to:

– teach at universities

– work as environmentalists

– work as fisheries and wildlife scientists

– create environmental awareness


To be eligible for admission to the programme, a candidate must normally be a holder of at least an upper second- class first degree in Biological Sciences or other related degree awarded by the Midlands State University or any other recognized institution.


5.1 The programme shall normally be studied over a minimum period of one and half years (three semesters) on a full time basis.

5.2 Dissertation

Refer To Section 8 The General Regulations

5.2.1 The dissertation shall constitute a single semester in level two during which time the student is expected to undertake research for a period not exceeding six months.

Each candidate is expected to submit a dissertation not exceeding one hundred and fifty (150) pages.

5.2.2 Candidates shall be required to submit three typed copies one of which shall be deposited in the university library, one shall be submitted to the departmental library and the last copy will be returned to the student.

5.2.3 The format of the dissertation shall be provided by the Department of Biological Sciences.


6.1 Formal examination will be held at the end of each semester.

6.2 Continuous assessment shall account for 30% of all the overall assessment, while the final examination will account for 70% of the overall assessment.

6.3 The aggregate pass mark shall be 50%

6.4 The aggregate pass mark will comprise a pass in the final examination and a pass in the continuous assessment.


A student must have passed modules worth at the least 30 credits in the first level in order to proceed to the second level (dissertation).


Refer to Section 21 of the General Regulations


For the purpose of degree classification, the parts of the degree programme will be classified as follows:

Level 1 (semester 1 and 2) 70%

Level 2 (Dissertation) 30%


Refer to Section 42 of the General Regulations


Level 1 Semester 1

Code Description Credits
MERM701 Scientific Research Methodology 4
MERM702 Principles of Environmental Management 4
MERM 703 Conservation Biology 4
MERM704 Systematics and Biodiversity 4

Level 1 Semester 2

Code Description Credits
MERM 705 Environmental Biotechnology 4
MERM 706 Seminar and Review Paper 2


Elective Modules: Choose any two

Code Description Credits
MERM 707 Aquaculture and Fisheries Management 4
MERM 708 Wildlife Management 4
MERM 709 Freshwater Resources Management and Environment Sanitation 4
MERM710 Fisheries and Wildlife Parasitology 4
MERM 711 Terrestrial Ecology 4

Level 2 Semester 1

Code Description Credits
MERM 801 Dissertation 4



Analytical and writing skills essential for careers in Ecology, Conservation and Environmental Management ranging from: sampling & experimental design; exploratory data analysis; statistical inferences in regression analysis & univariate statistical analysis; multivariate techniques; non parametric tests estimating abundance in animal & plant populations; estimating community parameters;estimation of survival rates; transformations; database management, and scientific communication skills

MERM702 Principles of Environmental Management

Principles and legislation governing, and techniques used in Environmental Management. The module content includes: Definitions; Social Impact Assessment; Environmental management Policy (ISO 14000); Environmental Auditing; Product Life cycle assessment; Environmental Risk Management; Environmental legislation in Zimbabwe.

MERM 703 Conservation Biology

Application of biological techniques to the specific problems of biodiversity, species preservation, ecological sustainability, and habitat fragmentation in the face of advancing human, social, economic, and industrial pressures. Includes instruction in ecology, environmental science, biological systems, extinction theory, human animal and human plant interaction, ecosystem science and management. Environmental problems in wetlands, forest and wildlife biology over a variety of scales(local to global) from a conservation perspective. Ecological principles applied to conservation of habitats and biodiversity. Influence of human activity on population dynamics, genetics, and community structure. Mathematical and evolutionary treatment of population growth and regulation, niche theory, foraging theory, predator-prey theory, habitat selection, and competition. Characteristics of tropical ecosystems, tropical biological communities and human cultures in the tropics and the implications for communities and conservations. Social science dimensions of conservation and sustainable development, social economic, and political considerations in managing natural resources, policy-level aspects to project implementation.

MERM 704 Systematics and Biodiversity

History of taxonomy and uses of classifications and phylogenies- process of plant identification, use of identification tools including handbooks and principles of automated key construction, nomenclature, revisionary taxonomy, scientific description and illustration. Sources and handling of taxonomic data, taxonomic collections- curational and financial aspects of herbaria and museum collections. Theory and practice of biodiversity assessment. Conceptual issues of biodiversity and analysis and practical application will be discussed. Within country monitoring of biodiversity and conservation programmes will be looked at. Analytical methods include diversity indices, species abundance models, species accumulation curves, comparative species richness and abundance.

MERM 705 Environmental Biotechnology

Use of biotechnology in preventing and abating environmental pollution. It involves; an overview of biotechnology and environment, environmental monitoring; monitoring pollution. Water quality concept, Waste, Sewage and Sludge treatment. Waste minimization, Bioremediation, Energy and environment, Natural Resources recovery, Biosafety and legislation, Environmental Impact assessment.

MERM 707 Aquaculture and Fisheries Management

Fish biology, ecology and habitats relevant fisheries on both a global and regional (Southern Africa) scale. Course focuses on the general biology of fishes, with emphasis on trends in their evolution, integrative and sensory biology, physiology, feeding ecology, reproductive growth, and population dynamics as they relate to fisheries. Principles of fish management in freshwater systems. Population sampling and estimation, statistical assumptions and robustness, length-frequency analysis, length-weight relationships, transformations, data presentations, mark-recapture, growth and empirical modeling of populations, General Aspects of Aquaculture, Freshwater Ecology, Larval Food Production and Larviculture, Freshwater Ecology, Algae/Fish Culture, Environmental Impact, Fish Breeding; Genetics and Nutrition, Health and Disease Control, Management of culture systems, Tropical aquaculture species, Fish Farming Systems, Tropical Aquaculture, Farm Management, Management in the Aquaculture Industry.

MERM 708 Wildlife Management

Introduction to the wildlife of Zimbabwe, an overview of the present status of that wildlife, and an understanding of both conservation problems and management solutions. Issues in wildlife management are exemplified using a broad range of vertebrate species occupying different environments. Assessing population status and recognizing differences between `small populations’ and `declining populations’. Introducing methods used in population pattern analysis, demographic analysis, threat and resource assessment, emphasizing the value of a coordinated and interdisciplinary approach to problem recognition and resolution. Evaluation of the likely cost-effectiveness of programs such as captive breeding and re-introduction programs. Develop knowledge of the technologies available to capture and translocate wildlife, and of the planning required to ensure the best possible chance of success. It will also consider the tools that are available to manage captive populations, including molecular genetics and enhanced reproduction technologies.

MERM709 Freshwater Resources Management and Environmental Sanitation

Concepts developed in the Aquatic Ecology and Conservation modules will be developed and applied to conservation and management of plant and animals in Aquatic Ecosystems.

Interbasin water Transfers, Ecological Reserve concept, Water demand management, introduced plant and animal species in Southern Africa; Sources and causes of aquatic pollution; Methodologies for detection and analysis of aquatic pollution; prevention and abatement of aquatic pollution; biodiversity conventions and government obligation; Exploitation of natural populations; Aquatic ecotoxicology; Risk assessment of chemicals.

MERM 710 Fisheries and Wildlife Parasitology

Fish parasites protozoans, monogeneans, cestodes and nematodes, treatment procedures against fish parasites; water borne diseases caused by protozoans and helminthes; relationship of adverse environmental factors and diseases caused by fish parasites; relationship between the severity of pollution in natural waters and parasitic diseases; fish health management in re-circulating aquaculture systems.

Wild life parasitology- diversity and complexity of host parasite relationship in our indigenous wildlife; identification of wildlife parasites and effects of parasitism on host behavior.

MERM 711 Terrestrial Ecology

Terestrial ecology can be subdivided into forest, grassland, arctic, and desert ecology, concerns such aspects terrestrial ecosystems as microclimate, soil chemistry, soil fauna, hydrologic cycles, ecogenetics, and productivity. An introduction to a range of terrestrial ecosystems. Topics covered include ecological principles, ecosystem dynamics and functioning, restoration, conservation genetics, conservation ecology, forest ecosystems, wetland ecosystems and modified ecosystems. There is a
compulsory practical requirement including attendance at field trips. The aim is to ensure that by the end course students will have background knowledge of the administration of understanding of the principles of conservation management. Students will also gain some experience about the threats to natural and semi-natural sites from direct loss (e.g industry, urbanization, agriculture) and from changes due to succession or visitor pressure. The ecology of some key habitats grasslands, woodlands wetlands will be covered.

MERM 801 Dissertation

Each student will complete a 6-month research project drawn broadly from ecology, parasitology and conservation. The project will give practical experience of fieldwork, molecular lab work, experiments, and /or theory as well as wide range of general skills. Students can choose topics from the following areas.

Population and conservation Genetics

Herbivores and plant species richness

Aquatic Ecology

Fisheries Management

Environmental Biotechnology


Animal Parasitology