Graduate Studies in Biology

  • Climates change

    Climates change

    The Arctic is a beautiful and challenging place for field work in freshwater ecology. Researchers from the Smol Lab are sampling arctic lake sediments to chronicle how climate change affects biological communities.

  • Science is boring

    Science is boring

    NOT. Rain or shine, field work is always fun and rewarding. Michelle Nicholson (Arnott Lab) is studying the dynamics of zooplankton populations in these man-made 'ponds' at QUBS.

  • You've got a nerve

    You've got a nerve

    The Robertson lab is helping to unlock the secrets of neurobiology, using insect model systems to understand how animals navigate

  • Froggy went a-courtin'

    Froggy went a-courtin'

    The Lougheed Lab is investigating how behaviour, history, and geography influence the evolution, distribution and conservation of native amphibians and reptiles

  • Does size matter?

    Does size matter?

    Amanda Tracey, a PhD student in the Aarssen Lab, is studying whether bigger plants are really better plants, as theory would suggest they should be.


Combined BScH/MSc Biology
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Applications are accepted at any time but most students apply between November and February, and begin their graduate work at the beginning of the fall term the following September. The best time to start corresponding with potential supervisors is in October and December of the year before you would like to begin graduate work.

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Many scholarships are available for graduate students in both MSc and PhD programs, from the Canadian government (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC), from the government of Ontario (Ontario Graduate Scholarships), from Queen's University, and from a wide variety of other agencies.

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Teaching Assistantships

We offer teaching assistantships for graduate students to assist professors in lecture, lab and field courses. Biology graduate students who do not hold a major scholarship are usually awarded 3 TAships p


er year to help cover the guaranteed minimum stipend.


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Graduate Courses

MSc students are required to take 4 courses at the graduate level, whereas PhD students are not required to take courses. The list of courses offered varies from year to year.

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Guide to Grad Studies

This guide outlines the policies and procedures followed by the department of Biology with respect to Graduate Studies. It is meant to extend and interpret the regulations of the School of Graduate Studies, the ultimate authority on many of these subjects. 

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Forms & Info

Forms are required to be filled out for supervisory committee meetings, teaching assistantships, thesis submission, etc. We also provide some answers to frequently asked questions here.

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Biology Graduate Student Council

The Biology Graduate Student Council aims to represent the interests and needs of biology graduate students and to keep them informed about university and departmental issues. The Society provides a forum for all biology graduate students to voice their opinions on matters important to them.

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Who can you call when you need help, information, or a sympathetic ear? We have people both within the Biology Department and at the School of Graduate Studies ready to provide assistance.

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I've spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I've done them with joy, and I've taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it?

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley