Mission Statement

What is our mission?

Our mission is to produce engaged, independent, reflective, critically-thinking graduates who will be inspired and able to actively contribute to the improvement of society. 

How does Biology fulfill this mission for you?

By integrating all levels in Biology so that our research and teaching reflect comprehensive understanding of biological patterns and processes, from the molecule to the whole ecosystem. 

The undergraduate program was thus designed to offer a balanced, high quality education, aimed at fostering a commitment to the learning and application of biological principles throughout life. 

Students are trained to ‘think as scientists’ by using evidence-based reasoning to understand phenomena and solve problems. Thinking as scientists is central to effective decision-making and has benefitted graduates pursuing careers in research and in other professions, such as teaching, medical sciences, biotechnology, business, civil service, law, and NGOs. Graduates will thus be competitive in the workplace and in leading professional and graduate schools. 

How does Biology teach you? 

We teach in diverse ways to promote active, deep, engaged, learning.  

We are committed to explicitly incorporating indigenous perspectives and knowledge into our curriculum where appropriate.

We aim to provide a learning environment that fosters equal rights and opportunities for all, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and dignity.

Students will have opportunities to take courses that incorporate concept-based lectures, Socratic question-and-answer approaches, student and professor-led seminars, peer instruction, conceptual and applied problem-solving, iterative writing/editing exercises, student debates, ‘hands-on’ lab practical experiences including state-of-the-art molecular biology and biochemistry techniques, use of our nearby top class biological field station (QUBS) as well as multiple opportunities for field courses across the world, small-sized 4th year seminar courses, and one-on-one student-professor honours thesis and independent research projects.

What are the acquired skills upon program completion?

Graduates will have directly experienced the joys of scientific thinking and discovery, and mastery of the following skills:

Fundamental skills:

1.    Think critically, originally, and creatively, to develop innovative ideas and solutions to both fundamental and applied problems in our society.

2.    Discuss, evaluate and critique evidence and its interpretation, to reach an advanced understanding of phenomena, processes, and perspectives that arise in modern living.

3.    Work individually, and as team-members, to produce high quality, synthetic, incisive written and oral project reports using effective time management.

4.    Learn independently (i.e. when presented with a question or problem to which the student does not already know the answer, the student is capable of self-driven, independent learning by focussing and logically reflecting on the topic, and then finding, analysing and synthesising the relevant information to address that question or problem).

Biology-specific skills:

1.    Describe the diversity of animal, plant and microbial life, its origins and evolutionary history, and the fundamental principles that underlie the functioning of living systems, using a core knowledge base that spans all hierarchical organisational levels in biology and includes molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology.

2.    Complete all stages of a full scientific investigation including research question formulation, hypothesis development and testing, experimental design, collecting data from lab, growth chamber and/or field studies, data management, quantitative and statistical analyses, critical interpretation of numerical and graphical data, and incorporation of ethical considerations.

3.    Communicate biological ideas and data effectively, including strategies for effective reviewing and synthesis of scientific literature, science writing, and oral and visual presentations.  

4.    Describe the historical development of biology as a science, its principal theories and concepts, and its most recent ideas and discoveries.

5.    Discuss, evaluate and reflect on the importance of the biological sciences to other disciplines, to human welfare, to effective conservation of other species and the environment, and to the sustainability of our civilisation.




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