Biology and Biochemistry

Students entering the Department of Biology and Biochemistry can pursue one of several different degrees.

Incoming students interested in studying Biochemistry can choose one of two degrees: the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc,) honours degree or the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) major degree.

Incoming students interested in studying Biology can choose one of three degrees: the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc,) honours degree, the Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) major degree, or the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree. In addition each student following a Biology degree program must choose one of two concentrations: Health Sciences or Biodiversity and Ecology.

The department also offers two minor degrees: a minor degree in Biochemistry and a minor degree in Biology. Both minor degree programs require eight three-credit courses.

What is the difference between the Biochemistry and Biology B.Sc. degree programs?

The Biochemistry B.Sc. degree programs include additional chemistry courses providing the student with a stronger background in chemistry, whereas the Biology B.Sc. degree programs include additional biology courses providing the student with a broader foundation in the biological sciences.

What is the difference between the Biology B.Sc. and a B.A. degree?

The Biology B.Sc. degree requires a strong grounding in the core sciences (math, physics, and chemistry). This degree is the best option if a student intends to apply to graduate (M.Sc. or Ph.D.) or professional (e.g. medicine or physiotherapy) programs.

Students with a strong interest in biology but who lack a strong grounding in the basic sciences thrive in the Biology B.A. program. The B.A. degree program is much more flexible than the B.Sc. degree program and many students pair it with a second major. For example, a student interested in governmental health policy might choose a B.A. in Biology (Health Science) and a B.A. in Political Science, whereas an environmentally oriented student might pair a B.A. Biology (Biodiversity and Ecology) with a B.A. in Environmental Studies.

What is the difference between the Biology Health Sciences concentration and the Biodiversity and Ecology concentration?

The Health Sciences concentration prepares students for graduate school in many different biomedical-related fields, such as cell biology or physiology, and is usually the choice for those students thinking of continuing on to medicine, dentistry, or other health-related professional programs.

Students interested in wildlife biology, ecology, zoology, plant science, or environmental sciences should choose the Biodiversity and Ecology concentration. This program prepares students for employment or graduate studies in the various environmental and organismal fields.

What is a Biology or Biochemistry B.Sc. honours degree?

Both the Biology and Biochemistry honours B.Sc. degree prepares the student for graduate research in the molecular, biochemical, life sciences, ecology or environmental fields. Some professional schools also prefer that a student has completed an honours B.Sc. degree prior to entry.

Honours students plan, execute, and present the findings of an independent research project conducted under the guidance of one or more faculty members. Students can only enter this degree program in the year prior to their final undergraduate year. Entry is based on marks and the availability of an appropriate faculty supervisor.

What are the required and optional courses for each program?

All programs have a central core of courses that all students must take to complete their degree, plus several optional courses specific to their program or concentration. These optional courses allow a student to tailor their education to their individual interests.