Course Requirements


9.1. PhD Coursework. There are no formal course requirements for the PhD degree. PhD candidates may, however, be required by their supervisory committee to take (for credit or audit) courses relevant to their research program.

9.2. MSc Coursework. All MSc students must complete four graduate 3.0 credit courses (total of 12 credits required)  with a minimum standing of 70% in each course. Courses from other institutions or faculties may sometimes be transferred for credit toward an MSc but only after recommendation from the Graduate Studies Committee and approval by the Science Graduate Council and the School of Graduate Studies.

In certain instances, one 3.0 credit graduate course may be obtained by taking an advanced undergraduate (6.0 or 3.0 credit) course. In general, only 400-level undergraduate courses should be taken for graduate credit but if no suitable course is available, a 300-level can sometimes be taken. In all cases, students taking an undergraduate course for graduate credit must do additional work to bring the coursework up to graduate level. Students wishing to take one undergraduate 3.0 credit course for graduate credit must request permission in writing from the Graduate Studies Committee, stating reasons for the course of choice and what extra work will be required to raise the level of coursework. This then requires permission of the Graduate School.

9.3. Course Failure. A student who fails to obtain 70% in a graduate course taken for their degree program is normally asked to withdraw. In some cases, the student's supervisory committee may recommend to the Graduate Coordinator that the student should:

  • repeat the course requirements (examinations, term papers, etc) within one year after original examination, or
  • repeat the course, or
  • take a substitute course.

Such a recommendation should be made in writing to the Graduate Coordinator within one month of the grade being announced, outlining possible reasons for the student's failure in the course. The Graduate Coordinator will then send this request to the Chair of the Science Graduate Council for approval. If the request is not approved by the Science Graduate Council, the student will be asked to withdraw.

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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