Department of Biology

Programs in Biology and Biomedical Science

Biology

Recent discoveries and new technologies are revolutionizing the biological sciences, which increasingly require integrating knowledge across the full range of biological systems, from the gene to entire ecosystems.

Our biology (BIO) programs give students both the intellectual tools and the experience they need to generate new knowledge and contribute to debates on issues as diverse as stem cell research, land management, conservation and endangered species, genetically modified organisms as well as disease management and prevention.

The program offers different learning methods: traditional classroom instruction with field trips, innovative laboratory projects using state-of-the-art technologies and basic research with individual mentoring.

Program Structure

The Core Courses

  • The first two years cover core courses, preparing you for upper year courses where you may choose to specialize through one of the options, or continue to take a broad range of courses.
  • The core courses in biology are BIO 1130 Introduction to organismal biology, BIO 1140 Introduction to cell biology, BIO 2129 Ecology, BIO 2137 Introduction to plant science, BIO 2133 Genetics and BIO 2135 Animal form and function.
  • Find below an example of a typical schedule for a 1st year student in the winter term.
Example of a typical Winter term schedule
  • First year classes can be large, but students are well supported by the first-year teaching team, and students also have the opportunity to work in smaller groups in labs.

The Upper Years

  • The upper years include a smaller number of required biology courses and a high degree of flexibility to choose among the courses that interest you.
  • You may also choose an option: Cellular/Molecular, Physiology (animal or plant), or Ecology/Evolution/Behaviour. Choosing an option can help guide your degree towards in-depth study of a particular area within the biological sciences.
  • A highlight of the upper-year program is the honours project in your final year, which is an independent research project carried out under the supervision of a researcher.
  • To see examples of courses at the 3rd and 4th year levels, please consult the biology catalogue.
Laboratories

First-year teaching team for BIO 1130

François Chapleau, BIO 1130 professor

Fabien Avaron, Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator (1st year)

Marc Charette, Large Class Coordinator

Biology Teaching Laboratories in the Biosciences Complex

  • 10 state-of-the-art teaching laboratories
  • Traditional and virtual learning environment
  • Research-grade microscopes and digital imaging systems
  • Networked computers
  • Access to greenhouses and the Husky courtyards
  • Diversity of our teaching laboratories: molecular biology, animal and plant physiology, bioscience techniques, ecology, invertebrate and vertebrate zoology, bioinformatics, field laboratories.

Indoor Laboratory

  • Microscopy techniques and the use of images as biological data
  • Biodiversity and evolution
  • Testing of biological concepts using an experimental approach
  • Computer simulations of populations
  • Animal and plant physiology equipment

Outdoor Laboratory

  • Field trip as early as the 1st year
  • Many options between years 2 and 4:
    • Measuring biodiversity in different habitats
    • Biological indicators of environmental health
    • Ethnobotany - plants and humans
    • Environmental succession... and many other choices
Key Features of the Program

Our program is hands-on – we want students to come out of our program being able to do biology!

  • All core courses include a lab component;
  • Upper year courses include lab courses;
  • Students may take field courses through the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology;
  • Honours project in 4th year;
  • Students with a strong interest in research may wish to pursue the Research Focus, an immersive research experience that begins in 3rd year;
  • Students wishing to gain work experience while they study may wish to enter the coop program.

What can I do with my studies in Biology?

Still have questions?

If you have any questions or wish more information, please feel free to contact the program Director, Katie Gilmour.

Biomedical Science

Biomedical Science is an interdisciplinary program that focuses on the fundamentals of human structure and function, as well as those of other animals. The first two years provide a background in anatomy and psychology in addition to more in-depth knowledge in basic sciences like biology, biochemistry, chemistry and mathematics. After year two, you can choose to combine additional courses in biology and biochemistry with an array of optional courses and obtain a minor in one of many arts or social sciences programs, or you can choose an option in the life sciences, such as neuroscience, cellular and molecular medicine, bioanalytical science, biostatistics and medicinal chemistry.

In addition, the Research Focus is an immersive research experience offered from the third year for students who may be considering a career in research. Upon graduation, students are prepared for more advanced training in research or for admission into one of the professional programs in human health

Program Structure
Student performing a DNA extraction in a research laboratory

Student performing a DNA extraction in a research laboratory

Years 1 and 2: Foundations of science and laboratory experience

  • The first two years cover core courses preparing you for upper year courses where you may choose to specialize through one of the five options, or continue to take a broad range of courses.
  • The core courses in biomedical science are: ANP 1105 Human anatomy and physiology, BIO 1130 Introduction to organismal biology, BIO 1140 Introduction to cell biology, CHM 1311
  • Principles of chemistry, MAT 1330 Calculus for the life sciences, PSY 1101 Introduction to psychology, PHY 1321 Principles of physics, BIO 2133 Genetics, BCH 2333 Introduction to biochemistry, MAT 2379 Introduction to biostatistics and PHI 2396 Bioethics.
  • First year classes can be large but students are well supported by the first-year teaching team, and students also have the opportunity to work in smaller groups in labs

Year 3: Specialization and research experience

  • This year covers specialized courses: BIO 3124 General microbiology, BIO 3170 Molecular biology, BIO 3151 Molecular biology laboratories, and BCH 3120 General intermediary metabolism. In addition, you may select optional and elective courses and tailor course selection to your interests.
  • You may also enter one of the five options and select relevant subject-specific courses.
    • Bioanalytical science
    • Biostatistics
    • Cellular and molecular medicine
    • Medicinal chemistry
    • Neurosciences (specific courses):
      • PHY 1322 Principles of Physics II
      • BIO 3153 Cell Biology
      • BIO 3303 Animal Physiology I
      • BIO 3305 Cellular Physiology
      • BIO 3350 Principles of Neurobiology
      • PSY 3128 The Psychology of Ageing or PSY 3171 Psychopathology
      • BIO 4175 Membrane Physiology
      • BIO 4351 Neural Basis of Animal Behaviour
      • PHA 4107 Introductory Pharmacology – Drugs and Living Systems o Research focus: An immersive research experience for students considering a career in research. It is a full year of research, about 12 hours per week in a research laboratory, lectures, discussions, workshops and seminars to introduce the essentials of experimental design. Consult the testimonials.
    • Research focus: An immersive research experience for students considering a career in research. It is a full year of research, about 12 hours per week in a research laboratory, lectures, discussions, workshops and seminars to introduce the essentials of experimental design. Consult the testimonials.

Year 4: Specialization and research experience

  • Helps guide your degree towards the in-depth study of an area within the biomedical sciences
  • Based on the selection of relevant third and fourth year level courses:
    • BIM 4009 Honours research project , a highlight of the upper year program, is an independent research project carried out under the supervision of a researcher.

       

    • BIM 4920 Seminar I: Evaluating Science
    • BIM 4921 Seminar II: Developing and Communicating Science
Laboratories

First-year teaching team for BIO 1130

François Chapleau, BIO 1130 professor

Fabien Avaron, Undergraduate Laboratory Coordinator (1st year)

Marc Charette, Large Class Coordinator

Biology Teaching Laboratories in the Biosciences Complex

  • 10 state-of-the-art teaching laboratories
  • Traditional and virtual learning environment
  • Research-grade microscopes and digital imaging systems
  • Networked computers

Diversity of our teaching laboratories

  • 1st year (common core courses): organismal biology and cell biology
  • 2nd year: genetics
  • 3rd and 4th years: wide range of choices according to specialization
    • Molecular biology,
    • Animal and plant physiology,
    • Bioscience techniques,
    • Bioinformatics

Indoor Laboratory

  • Microscopy techniques and the use of images as biological data
  • Evolution
  • Testing of biological concepts using an experimental approach
  • Computer simulations of populations
  • Animal and plant physiology equipment
Key Features of the Biomedical Science Program
  • Students will have acquired:
    • Depth and breadth of knowledge
    • Knowledge of methodologies
    • Application of knowledge
    • Communication skills
    • Awareness of limits of knowledge
    • Autonomy and professional capacity
  • Our program is hands-on:
    • All core courses include a lab component
    • Upper year courses include lab courses
    • Honours project in 4th year
    • Students with a strong interest in research may wish to pursue the Research Focus, an immersive research experience that begins in 3rd year
  • Students wishing to gain work experience while they study may wish to enter the coop program

What can I do with my studies in Biomedical Science?

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