Prepare Yourself

Pedagogical Approaches in Biology

Peer Feedback and Grading

A key goal of the Biology curriculum is to help students develop excellent oral and written communication skills. Beginning in first year, students are encouraged to gain experience in presenting small group seminars and writing short reports and articles. Depending on the course, you may be required to provide peer feedback to your fellow students. In providing peer feedback, students are expected to offer fair, constructive comments. The feedback from your peers can contribute to your grade, in combination with grading from the instructor. In turn, the peer comments that you provide may also be evaluated.

Apart from formal peer evaluation, working together with your peers can be a valuable experience that enhances your learning beyond the classroom. Consider getting involved with a group, whether you are working through an assignment or prepping for a test or exam.

Student Resources


Queen's Information Technology Services (ITS) based in Dupuis Hall provides a one-stop locale for all your computing needs, with reasonable pricing and helpful service. Typically the two most common problems that students encounter in completing course assignments are (1) failing to back up their work, and (2) leaving things to the last minute. The latter can be especially challenging if you need to learn new programs to complete assignments. Don't wait to ask for help from your Instructor or TA!

If you have a technical query within Biology, you can approach an IT Admin Rep for advice:

Alternatively, you can contact Queen's ITS directly via the ITS Help Form.

Academic Advising

The Calendar is the ultimate source of information for all courses, academic programs and regulations in the Faculty of Arts and Science. We have also compiled a list of Fequently Asked Questions that can be helpful. If after consulting these resources you still have a question, please feel free to contact Rachel Batson, the Undergraduate Assistant.

Exam Conflicts

Students may apply to write a make-up or deferred exam if:

  1. they have an exam conflict due to scheduling as defined in the Academic Regulations of the Faculty (see Calendar)
  2. if the regularly scheduled exam conflicts with a legitimate request to observe a designated religious holiday, or
  3. if they have an exam conflict with off-campus travel associated with a field course (e.g BIOL 307/3.0 or 317/3.0) that is held during the fall or winter terms.

In case 1, the student should report to the Exams Office first to verify that there is a genuine scheduling conflict. Biology professors will not consider your situation to be a conflict unless it meets the criteria set out by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Depending on the circumstances, the instructor may require you to submit your assignments or write your exam prior to the regularly scheduled date. Students are expected to be available to write scheduled exams at any time during the December examination period. Applications to write a make-up exam because of conflicting holiday plans plans will not be considered except under extraordinary circumstances. Students are advised to wait until the final December exam schedule is posted before making any holiday travel arrangements.

Extenuating Circumstances

Can't write an exam or meet a deadline? To ensure that guidelines for extenuating circumstances are applied equally to all students, the Faculty of Arts and Science has developed a new process that must be completed by any student who experiences a situation that causes/will cause them to miss an exam, presentation or assignment. See the protocol for short-term academic consideration and accommodation. Requests for short-term academic consideration for all courses in Biology must be processed through this system.

Sources for Academic, Career and Personal Support

Academic Integrity and Code of Conduct

What is Academic Integrity?

As laid out by Queen's Senate, academic integrity is based on five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Academic integrity is essential to the entire core educational mission of the University, which is based on the free exchange of ideas among individuals in a respectful manner. Departures from academic integrity include plagiarism (see below), use of unauthorized materials, facilitation (enabling others to commit a breach of integrity), and falsification. As a Biology student, you are expected to become familiar with the regulations supporting academic integrity (see “Academic Integrity” on masthead section in the Arts and Sciences calendar). Consistent with the principles of academic integrity, students are also responsible for adhering to the Queen's Code of Conduct.

Code of Conduct

Broadly speaking, acceptable conduct does not infringe upon the rights of other members of the University community. For example, during instructional sessions (eg lectures, tutorials, labs), disruptive conversations or other excessive noise from cell phones, computers or other sources unrelated to class, infringe on others' rights and are therefore unacceptable. Students are also expected to remain in lectures and labs for the duration of instruction except in the case of medical or security emergencies. In cases where a student knows they must leave a lecture early, they are expected to inform the course lecturer ahead of time, and sit where they may depart without disturbing the on-going class. Penalties for non-compliance to the Code of Conduct are outlined in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences calendar under Academic Regulation 17.


Plagiarism is the act of passing off someone else's ideas, writings, etc as one's own. Plagiarism constitutes a very serious breach of academic integrity. To help you avoid this mistake, your introductory Biology courses provide extensive information on how to make sure you give credit appropriately for others' work. Penalties for plagiarism and other breaches of academic integrity are outlined in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences calendar under Academic Regulation 1. Students against whom there has been an allegation of plagiarism will be notified in writing and will be given an opportunity to respond. The penalty for a finding of plagiarism on assignments, reports or examinations will normally result in a grade of zero, often additional grade penalties, and will go on record in the Faculty of Arts and Science office.

Common examples of plagiarism in assignments and reports include:

  1. Identical word-for-word sections from two or more students. The penalty in this case will normally be applied to all of the students involved. Unless otherwise instructed, each student is expected to write his/her own assignments / reports in his / her own writing. Do not allow other students to copy your assignment or report.
  2. Taking credit for written material obtained from the internet.
  3. Failing to cite the original source of information or ideas from the published literature used in your assignment or report. By citing the source, you are acknowledging that the material is not your own and you are giving credit to the original author(s).
  4. Copying sections, word-for-word, from the published literature without indicating quotation. Regardless of what you may have learned before starting University, it is not acceptable to copy paragraphs, whole sentences or even long strings of words directly from any publication. Even if you cite the article at the end of the text that you have copied, this is still a form of plagiarism because you would be giving the false impression that you had constructed these sentences / paragraphs yourself. Make the point you want to make in your own words using the cited work as the source of support for your argument. If you have any questions about how to credit the work of others correctly, ask your TA or Instructor.