About the Department


The Department of Biological Sciences is the largest and one of the most diverse on campus in terms of the research interests of its academic staff. This diversity has resulted in numerous collaborations among PIs as they discover common themes and approaches within their research programs. The Department currently has 59 professors, 29 adjunct professors and 31 professors emeritus, along with a graduate student population of 224 and 40 departmental support staff. Over 95% of the academic staff in the Department have NSERC or CIHR funding, with the average grant monies being in excess of $200,000 per investigator.

Our Research

Research in our department spans a wide range of themes in biology, including:

  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Entomology
  • Genomics
  • Immunology and Infection
  • Marine Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Model Organisms
  • Molecular and Cellular Genetics
  • Paleontology
  • Physiology and Development
  • Plant Biology

This size and breadth of research interests has allowed the Department to build world-class facilities that would be difficult to maintain by a smaller unit.

The Department's Research Facilities Include:

Our Undergraduate Program

The Department of Biological Sciences offers more than 130 courses to undergraduate students. Our programs provide students with a breadth of knowledge across biological and related fields. We emphasize experiential learning through substantive offerings of lab courses, independent research opportunities and field courses. Interested students can pursue either an honors or specialization program within the department in three areas of concentration: (1) Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology, (2) Integrative Physiology, and (3) Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. In collaboration with the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry), we offer honors and specialization programs in Immunology and Infection. General program students in the Faculty of Science may choose from our rich selection of courses to pursue a major in biology.

Visit our undergraduate program website for more information

Our Graduate Program

The Department of Biological Sciences is one of the largest and most scientifically diverse departments of its kind in Canada. Six Research Interest Groups with overlapping memberships (Ecology, Microbiology and Biotechnology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Physiology and Cell Biology, Plant Biology, and Systematics and Evolution) provide expertise in all areas of biological sciences.

We offer research-orientated, thesis-based graduate programs at both the MSc and PhD levels. Study programs are tailored individually to graduate student needs and emphasize interdisciplinary thinking. All students accepted into our MSc and PhD programs have guaranteed funding for 3 and 5 years, at rates of ~CDN$18,500 and ~CDN$19,100, respectively. Teaching training is provided and is mandatory for all students on graduate teaching assistantships. With ~270 graduate students, >70 full-time faculty, excellent support facilities and ample research funding (totalling more than CDN$16 million in 2003), a vibrant and exciting learning environment is provided. Our students are highly productive (averaging 1.3 and 5.6 thesis-related refereed publications for MSc and PhD, respectively). They are also very successful in obtaining major scholarships and awards during their graduate programs (50 new major scholarships won in 2003), and have successful careers following graduation.

Visit our graduate program website for more information