Course Listings

Biology Undergraduate Course Listing 

Past Biology Course Syllabi

Find a course syllabus from recent years.

Course Selection by Themes

Here are four example course lists based on Biological themes. The themes correspond to the different research focus of faculty within the Department, and give you a starting point for developing your own degree plan.  

Biology Field Courses

Field courses offer an amazing opportunity to gain hands-on experience in Biology, and apply concepts learned in the lecture halls to real-life discovery in nature. 


Statistics in Biology

Statistics is a core skill in Biology. The introductory statistics and data management course is BIOL 243/3.0, which emphasizes the statistical literacy that is relevant for different Biological fields. The advanced statistics course is BIOL 343/3.0, which prepares students for the types of analysis used in honours thesis project.

Advanced Lab Courses

Biology offers a number of advanced labs.  These courses provide hands on training in practical and theoretical aspects of many basic and advanced tools and techniques used in research labs; they also help to develop critical thinking and problem solving, as well as excellent oral and written scientific communication skills.

Honours Thesis Course

The Honours Thesis Course (BIOL 537/12.0) is one of the capstone experiences offered to Biology students. It allows students to work on their own independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member in the Biology Department or from a professor cross-appointed to the Biology Department. Students gain experience in the full range of activities involved in doing research in Biology, including project design, data analysis and interpretation, literature review, scientific writing, oral presentation and interactive collaboration with colleagues.

Advanced Honours Seminars

The Honours Seminars courses are numbered from BIOL 501/3.0 to 536/3.0 and focus on a specialized topic of a faculty members' research. These courses provide one of the capstone experiences to Biology students with small class sizes and an emphasis on reading and/or experimental enquiry.

Research Mentorship

Biology 538 (3.0), 539 (3.0) and 540 (6.0) offer individual students the opportunity to undertake a laboratory research practicum under the supervision of a Biology faculty member.  In addition to work in the host lab, students will usually be required to attend BIOL 537 seminars (Fall and/or Winter) and conduct research towards both a major paper and a seminar. 

Independent Study Studies Courses

The Department is able to offer individualized credits (BIOL 594-597) to students who wish to pursue less conventional independent studies courses. For example, students who take advantage of biological training outside the academic setting may be able to fashion an independent studies course out of the experience. 

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