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. Assessment is based in part on the submission and defence of a thesis. The Honours Thesis Course is particularly valuable for students who are planning to go on to graduate school, or a career involving scientific research, because it provides hands-on experience in Biological research.
Eligibility Students must be in a Biology Honours (BSCH) program to enrol in BIOL-537, and must have an offer of mentorship from a faculty member. Since students are not just taking a course but are also collaborating in the research program of a faculty member, faculty make BIOL-537 offers to students based on the strength of their application.
Students are registered in BIOL-537 during the fall and winter terms. Depending on the requirements of the project, however, some students may begin their BIOL-537 research in the previous spring / summer terms. Often, this opportunity is combined with employment as a summer technician in the supervisor’s research lab. Note, however, that students and their supervisors must ensure that the student’s application for the course has been approved (see below) before the student commences work on a BIOL-537 project.
Workload expectations Since the course is worth 12.0 units, students are normally expected to devote approximately 40% of their academic time to BIOL-537 over the fall and winter terms, although this may be negotiated with the supervisor depending on the employment arrangements and amount of work accomplished in the previous summer.
Application Application is usually made in February while students are in their third year. At that time, students are notified about the application process. The details will include a list of faculty who are interested in supervising BIOL-537 research projects, possible project descriptions and contact information. Once you have decided which faculty and research areas you are interested in, you can fill in the application form (see below). Sometime later in the winter term (usually end of March), applicants are notified regarding their acceptance in BIOL-537.
Combined MSc/BScH Program This program provides the opportunity for Biology 537 Honour’s students who carry first-class standing to expedite their progress through an MSc degree, typically shortening the MSc program by two academic terms (see full details).