UG Newsletter

Undergraduate Newsletter
Department of Biology
April 2023 Issue

On behalf of all in Biology, Rachel and Ken wish you the best for the April 2023 year-end period and beyond!  The year-end period is undoubtedly a stressful time to finish up the year, so, as always, keep basic stressbusters in mind, especially this year - sleep well, eat well, manage your time appropriately, and talk to others via social media or the like.  We are always here if you need to chat about various things. This includes planning your graduation and future endeavours!

We will also take this chance to wish the Class of 2023 all the best the world has to offer, despite the current situation!  We will be following your successes and adventures for years to come, so please keep in touch and stay healthy.

We also advise all students to visit the Faculty of Arts and Science frequently. In particular, the Important Dates page with updates as information becomes available.  Here you will find updates on deadlines, questions regarding summer courses, grades, plan selection etc.  Please note this is also the website we use to help answer your questions.

PLAN SELECTION 2023 for 1st Year Students

The plan selection period will open on SOLUS from MONDAY, MAY 23 – FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2023

Check out the Plan Selection Page for details. Please do not hesitate to connect with us for further discussions.


BIOL 404 - Summer 2023

BIOL 404 will be offered this coming summer.  It will be offered twice, once in May and again in August. Don't forget to register. This course fills fast! Please note that because these are two-week courses the add/drop dates are different from full-term summer offerings.

  • BIOL 404 – 001 @ May 1st – May 12th, the last date to add or drop the course is May 1st at midnight.
  • BIOL 404 – 002 @ August 14th - August 25th, the last date to add or drop the course is August 14th at midnight.

Course details can be found @

BIOL 404/3.0  →  Techniques in Molecular Biology
Intensive laboratory work (8h/day) to be carried out over two and a half weeks in May. Practical work includes DNA isolations, DNA cloning, PCR, production of proteins, biochemical and immunological analysis of proteins. NOTE Priority to students registered in BIOL Major and Specialization degree Plans. See course website for details.
LEARNING HOURS 112.5 (100Lb;12.5P)
PREREQUISITE (BCHM 218/3.0 or BIOL 330/3.0) and a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the Biological Foundations List.

Are you going into 4th year 2023-2024 – here are a few reminders! 

BIOL 537
Although the first main deadline of March 20th has passed, you can still explore BIOL537 opportunities until the last day to add in September 2023.

Faculty will be submitting offers to Rachel (UG assistant) on April 4th. This offers list will be posted on the website between April 5th - 7th. At this point, students are expected to email Rachel (UG assistant) to accept their offer. 

BIOL 500 Seminar Courses 
The 5XX seminar course offerings for next year are now available!  The application is now up and ready for you to fill out and for submission by May 12th, 2023.

More Undergraduate Research Opportunities Through the Research Mentorship Courses BIOL538/539/540

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 typically participate in specialized seminar series or lab-specific journal clubs and conduct research towards both a major paper and a seminar.  These mentorships offer flexibility to accommodate both students and faculty.  Further details are available at this link. Research Mentorship - Queen's Biology Department (

With final assignments due and exams around the corner, this time of year can be stressful. Don’t worry, Bader College is here to help you relax and take a break from your studies!

Drop by Gordon Hall’s Welcome Centre (2nd Floor) on April 11 between 1:30PM – 3:30PM for our Bader College Study Break. Join us for a warm beverage and a snack, learn about Queen’s Castle campus, and take a minute to breathe before you get back to your studies.

Thinking about studying abroad for the Fall 2023 term or Winter 2024 term? Spots are filling up fast in Bader College’s Fall and Winter Programs for next year. Fall 2023 applications are due by July 1, and Winter term applications are due on November 15 – make sure to apply and reserve your spot today!

See you at the Bader College Study Break! Have questions about Queen's Castle? Send them our way at


Did you know?

In order to encourage students to explore subject matter outside their program of study and to promote interdisciplinary study, all upper-year Arts and Science students will be permitted to designate up to 6.0 units of degree-credit courses for pass/fail grading, thereby minimizing any risk to the students’ GPA.  Such courses designated for pass/fail grading will be referred to as Personal Interest Credits (PICs).

Wondering about how many courses you can take from other Faculties and Schools towards your degree plan/program?

A maximum of 6.0 units from courses offered by other Faculties and Schools may be counted towards the Program and/or Plan requirements of any degree in the Faculty of Arts and Science, in addition to any such courses allowed as either Core or Option course requirements.
All course codes listed can be found on the Academic Programs page @

What is the “APR”?

The APR is the Academic Progress Report. It is a handy tool that reviews your degree requirements, track plan progression, and it tells you what you have satisfied and what you still need to complete for your core degree plan requirements. Click here to Run an APR: Students are expected to run their APR both prior to and after registration. The APR will help to flag potential concerns with respect to your registration and degree requirements.

Course Mapping Worksheet → This worksheet will help you set up a detailed road map for your courses so you can stay on track to meet your degree requirements.

Biology Degree Plans 

Review your degree plan requirements and make sure you are selecting courses you need.  Degree plan requirements can be found at:

Biological Foundations List - IMPORTANT!
It is very important to keep this GPA requirement in mind throughout your program, starting with first year.  To be admitted to 400 and 500 level Biology courses, you will need a minimum GPA of 2.0 in any previously taken courses from Biological Foundations list.

The Biological Foundations List is BIOL 102, 103, 200, 212, (
201, 202), 205, 206, 300, 330, 334, 339, & 341 (302, 303).  

To be admitted to BIOL 400 and 500 level Biology courses you will need a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in any previously taken courses from this list.

Need help with your studies? 
Please visit Student Academic Success Services (SASS) at SASS offers academic support to students who wish to develop their skills in critical thinking, reading, learning, studying, writing, and self-management. 

Do you need to find a place to study on Campus? 
Check out this PDF layout of study spaces in the Biosciences complex!

Looking for a job?
Wondering about career options or maybe considering Graduate School…then you need to visit:

Wondering how to contact your course program associate regarding work associated with the lab component of core courses?

BIOL 102:

BIOL 103:

BIOL 200:

BIOL 205:

BIOL 206:

BIOL 212:

BIOL 300: 

Helpful Links
Information on Applying for a Course Prerequisite Waiver
Arts and Science Academic Deadlines
Arts and Science Calendar
Frequently Asked Questions

QUBS Quick Links

Looking for a job?  Quick Link
Looking for study and travel opportunities?  Quick Link

BIOLOGY Undergraduate Office 
Monday to Friday 9:30am – 12:00pm & 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Rm. 3109d, BIOSC Complex

Past Newsletter Issues

May-June 2022

July-August 2022

September 2022

October 2022

November 2022

December 2022

January, 2023

February, 2023

March, 2023

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