UG Newsletter

Undergraduate Newsletter
Department of Biology
November 2023 Issue

We trust that this October’s week-long Fall Break was a welcome change of pace, providing you with rest, time, and energy for the remainder of the term now that we are into November!

Introducing the Biology Department Student Council!

Who We Are: The Biology DSC is a dynamic group of students coming together to create a supportive and engaging environment within the biology department. We are committed to creating a welcoming environment where you can thrive both academically and socially!

What We do: Our mission is to connect you with the Biology Faculty in exciting and engaging ways. Through a diverse range of events and initiatives, we facilitate a strong bond between students and professors, making your academic experience at Queens University truly exceptional. These events include:

Our Portfolio: We organize a diverse range of events to cater to both academic and social interests of our student community. Our academic initiatives include study nights, where students collaborate, share knowledge, and prepare for exams in a supportive environment with expert guidance. In addition, our social gatherings, such as "Crops with Profs," movie nights, trivia, and more, provide opportunities to create connections, relax, and engage in conversations with peers and faculty. These events collectively contribute to a well-rounded and enriching experience, fostering a strong sense of community and academic growth within our biology department.

Follow us on Instagram at @queensubio to stay updated on upcoming events and other exciting opportunities.

Join us and be a part of a community that celebrates the marvels of life and the endless possibilities of the biological sciences. Let's explore, learn, and grow together!

Thinking of Graduate Studies?
2024-2025 Canada Graduate Scholarship- Masters (CGS M) Competition

The objective of the CGS M Program is to help develop research skills and assist in the training of highly qualified personnel by supporting students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement in undergraduate and early graduate studies. The CGS M Program supports up to 3,000 students annually in all disciplines and is administered jointly by Canada’s three federal granting agencies: CIHR, NSERC, and SSHRC. The selection process and post award administration are carried out at the university level, under the guidance of the three agencies. Application link & application deadline: December 1, 2023 before 8:00 p.m. (ET)

The Pathy Foundation Fellowship provides professional leadership training and support for graduating students to lead a community development project anywhere in the world.

The 12-month fellowship is for graduating students who have:

•           the capacity and potential to develop as effective change-agents;

•           a meaningful connection with a community of their choosing anywhere in the world; and

•           an innovative idea of how this community could be strengthened or developed OR a connection with a positive sustainable community development initiative in any field already underway within this community that they would like to build upon.

Successful candidates will receive up to $40,000 in funding.

Summer 2024 NSERC Research Award Opportunity

NSERC Undergraduate Summer Research Awards (USRA): Canada’s Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) underwrites these prestigious awards to stimulate student interest in research and to help cultivate tomorrow’s scientists. USRAs involve independent research and are taken up in NSERC-funded laboratories.  The awarding of USRAs is carried out internally through Queen’s Biology.  

The new 2023-24 application forms and details are now available through Awards and OpportunitiesThe due date for applications is 3:00 pm, Friday, January 12, 2024.

The award is $6000.00 plus a supervisor top up and required fringe benefits (vacation pay is included). The top up typically enhances the entire award to match or exceed the amounts paid by other positions, such as SWEP.


•    Students must work 16 consecutive weeks (35 hours per week).

•    Students are not permitted to do thesis research while holding an award.

•    Students are not permitted to take courses during working hours throughout the term of their award.  


•    Must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

•    Must be registered in an honours degree program in BIOL at the time of application and must be in at least year 2 of study.

•    Must have obtained at least a “B” (or B-) (65-79%) average in their previous years of study.

•    If you are registered in health sciences (M.D., D.D.S., and B.Sc.N.) or have a higher degree in the natural sciences or engineering you are NOT eligible.   Graduating BIOL students are eligible providing they have not started a program of graduate studies.       

ASURF – The Arts & Science Undergraduate Research Fund

Another important source for funding undergraduate research endeavours is offered by ASUS. As stated on the ASURF website, the “Arts and Science Research Fund (ASURF) was implemented to foster a community amongst undergraduate scholars and promote a greater investment in undergraduate research”. Check out ASURF!

Queen’s Work Study Program

The Queen's Work Study program provides eligible students the opportunity to receive priority for certain part-time positions during a specified period of study. Many of these opportunities can be focused on undergraduate research experience in the various labs. Check out the details and the application @ Queen’s Work Study Program | Registrar & Financial Aid Services (

Queen’s Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) – Career Services

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 during the summer months. 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. Keep updated with the details as they develop SWEP positions for next summer.  Bookmark the below link for convenient access.Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) | Career Services (

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 @ Research Mentorship - Queen's Biology Department (


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 in section 7 of the Academic Programs page are Faculty of Arts and Science courses. 

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.

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: 


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, and 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.

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

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

November 2022

December 2022

January, 2023

February, 2023

March, 2023

April, 2023

July-August, 2023

September 2023

October 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