Awards & Opportunities

Student Work Experience in Biology

Queen’s Biology offers many ways to gain ‘real-world’ experience, at scales ranging from molecules to ecosystems, and with a diversity of organisms and techniques. Here are some common ways to get involved.

Volunteering is a great way to see if research in different fields of Biology is for you, get hands-on experience, and build your résumé. Volunteer positions may be available even when they are not advertised, so the best way to land one of these is to start talking with professors and teaching assistants now to show them you are interested and keen.

Summer Work Experience Program Career Services operates the Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP), a unique Queen's program that helps faculty members create challenging and rewarding summer jobs. Open to all year levels, a SWEP position will get you engaged full-time in an active research program for up to 16 weeks. SWEP positions are competitive, so make sure to do your research about the positions you are applying for, and to show your interest and enthusiasm. More information about the SWEP program can be found here.

Work Study Program The Work Study Program is run jointly by Career Services and Student Awards and provides students in financial need with an opportunity for part-time work in Biology related fields. Most of these are available during the Fall and Winter terms, but some are offered during the Summer term. See Career Services for more information on how and when to apply.

Student Research & Study Awards

Undergraduate summer research awards (USRA) Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) underwrites these internationally-recognized, prestigious awards to stimulate student interest in research and to help cultivate tomorrow’s scientists. USRAs involve independent research.  New since 2020, supervisors are no longer required to hold an active grant when applying to supervise a USRA student.  In addition to recognition, awards are typically enhanced by additional funds to match or exceed other positions, such as SWEP.  There is no restriction on who can supervise a USRA student, provided the university deems the faculty member eligible to supervise students and providing they can support their portion of the student award.  The award runs for 16 weeks of summer, although awards are sometimes available during the regular academic year. Application and awarding of USRAs is through Queen’s Biology, with a deadline in mid-January for summer awards. Information on eligibility is available through this link. The 2023 application and instructions are available as a fillable PDF form titled NSERC Internal Application Form 2023.

Summer Awards at the Queen's University Field Station A number of awards are available to support field-based undergraduate research experience at Queen's University Biological Station (QUBS). Applications are due April 7th. Information on eligibility, instructions, and the application can be found [here].

  • The Wes and Dorletta Curran Memorial Award 
    For Research in Aquatic Biology
    This award was established to support undergraduate students who aspire to study at QUBS. Approximately $5000 will be available and may be shared among several awardees.  Eighty percent of the award is intended to cover room and board at QUBS with the remaining 20% for stipend. Awards will be based on financial need (defined as eligibility for OSAP or other governmental student assistance programs), academic excellence, and full-time enrollment in the Biology undergraduate program at Queen’s University. Preference will be given to students doing field or laboratory research in aquatic ecology, illuminating the ecology of the freshwater habitat.

  • J. Allen Keast Lake Opinicon Undergraduate Research Fellowship
    For Independent Research at QUBS
    This award was established to support undergraduate students to carry out a one-summer study at QUBS. Preference will be given to broader-based studies, such as how systems function or interrelate. Components of the study can fit into on-going long-term studies. The award will cover the costs of board and room at QUBS plus a stipend to the student (approximate total value of $5000).

  • The Alexander and Cora Munn Summer Research Award
    For Research in Conservation Biology or Environmental Preservation
    This award was established to support undergraduate students who are working in the area of conservation biology or environmental preservation at QUBS. Approximately $2,600 will be available for room and board at QUBS and/or a student stipend. Awarded based on academic achievement to students in 3rd or 4th year Biology. Preference will be given to students with an interest in woodlot and wildlife conservation.

  • The Kingston Field Naturalists' Award
    For Studies in Conservation Biology or Natural History
    The Kingston Field Naturalists' Fund for QUBS was established in spring 2007 in memory of Dr. Robert Stewart, former Head of Microbiology at Queen's University, former KFN President and Honorary President, and former President of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The $1000 award is intended to benefit and encourage undergraduate students whose studies at QUBS focus on conservation biology or natural history. Recognizing the valuable and unique educational opportunity QUBS provides at a critical stage of a student's development, the KFN established the Fund in keeping with its mandate to stimulate public interest in nature and to acquire and provide knowledge of natural history. Awarded to students based on academic standing and demonstrated leadership skills. Additional information on the award can be found here.

  • Karen Huntley Memorial Award Established by family and friends in memory of Karen Huntley, an undergraduate student in Biology who died in May 1990. Awarded  to a student in an Honours Biology or an Environmental Science SSP Biology degree program who will be doing a field course or field research in conservation, environmental biology or sustainable forestry. This award will support expenses incurred at the field site.  Selection is made by the Faculty of Arts and Science Awards Committee based upon nomination from the Department of Biology. Letter of Application is due March 27th, 2019 at 3pm.  Please deliver to the Undergraduate Office, Department of Biology, Rm. 3109d, Bioscience Complex. 

Other Faculty of Arts and Science Awards

There are a number of awards available to Biology students in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen's. See the Student Awards site for complete information. Here is a list of Biology specific awards.

  • David T. Canvin Prize in Plant Physiology

  • William I. Chisholm Scholarship in Biology

  • Helen Arliss Denyes Scholarships

  • Arthur Louden Scholarship in Biology

  • W. T. MacClement Memorial Prize

  • Fran and Tom McClung Scholarship in Biology

  • Wallace Near Prize in Biology

  • Ann Eliza Stafford Prize in Biology

  • Mary McGregor Walker Scholarship

Faculty Teaching Awards

Queen's Biology faculty are passionate about teaching. Has there been someone who inspired you?  Want to nominate your instructor for a teaching award? Follow the links below to see how to nominate your instructor.  

  • Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching
    Funded by Queen's Alumni to recognize instructors who "show outstanding knowledge, teaching ability, and accessibility to students"?. 
    See here for more information.

  • Frank Knox Award
    Funded by Queen's Alumni in recognition of teaching excellence?
    See here for more information.

  • W.J. Barnes Award
    Funded by Queen's Alumni in recognition of significant contribution to teaching
    See here for more information.

  • 3M Teaching Awards
    Funded by The Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and 3M Canada in ?recognition of teaching excellence at a national level
    See here for more information.

  • OCUFA Teaching Award
    Funded by  Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations in recognition of outstanding teachers and academic librarians in Ontario Universities 
    See here for more information.

  • Biology Departmental Student Council Award for Excellence in Teaching
    Awarded by the Biology Departmental Council in recognition of excellence in teaching
    See here for more information.

  • Biology Award for Excellence (Demonstrators)?
    Awarded to a graduate student in recognition of outstanding Teaching Assistant contributions made both inside and outside the laboratory period.
    See here for more information. 

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