BIOL 490/498

BIOL 498 has been approved for in-person delivery for Fall 2020 and Winter 2021. 

How to Apply:

  1. Contact potential supervisors.
  2. Submit the Online Registration Form for BIOL 498 or the Online Registration Form for BIOL 490.
  3. Deadline to submit the form: September 4, 2020 (Fall 2020), January 8, 2021 (Winter 2021).


Fall 2020:
  • September 4, 2020- Applications Due
  • September 15, 2020- Add/Drop Deadline 
  • September 15, 2020- Contracts Due
  • November 23, 2020 -Midterm Assessment
  • November 30, 2020- Course Withdrawal Date
  • December 7, 2020 -Last day of classes
  • December 22, 2020- Final Paper Submission
Winter 2021:
  • January 8, 2021- Applications Due
  • January 15, 2021 -Add/Drop Deadline
  • January 15, 2021- Contracts Due
  • March 19, 2021- Midterm Assessment
  • March 31, 2021- Course Withdrawal Date
  • April 9, 2021- Last Day of classes
  • April 23, 2021- Final Paper Submission


Sample Contract / Contract Outline


BIOL 498 is a single term, repeatable, *3 course that allows students to conduct research with a willing supervisor from the Department of Biological Sciences. In certain circumstances a post-doctoral fellow, an adjunct professor, or a sessional supervisor within the Department of Biological Sciences. Supervisors from outside the Department of Biological Science will NOT be accepted as the main project supervisor in any instance for BIOL 498, but may act as co-supervisors for the project. Students may work in the co-supervisor's lab. In order to repeat BIOL 498, the project must be unique and separate from their previous BIOL 498 project.

To register for BIOL 498, students must complete an online registration form. The form must be completed otherwise it will not be accepted. Title length is a maximum of 55 characters (spaces included).

A successful completion of BIOL 498 requires a midterm assessment to be completed by the main supervisor, and a final written report.

The midterm assessment is a written document from the project supervisor that provides their student formal commentary on their performance in the lab, which represents at least 20% of the total grade. Midterm assessments are to be given to the students by their supervisors, and the supervisors should email a copy to The due date is November 23, 2020 for Fall 2020 and March 31, 2021 for Winter 2021.

The final written report is to follow a similar format to that of a peer-reviewed journal article. Such papers include the background introducing the study, results, supporting figures/tables/images, discussion, and references. The full report ranges from 15-20 pages. The student is responsible in discussing details of the report with their supervisor, such as formatting, style, length (of the report and of the various sections), and is responsible in following their supervisor's directions regarding the report in the same way that authors follow a journal's editorial board's directions. Final reports are to be sent to the main supervisor (and co-supervisor if applicable) and also uploaded to the eClass site. The due date is December 22, 2020, for Fall 2020 and April 23, 2021 for Winter 2021, unless if the student's supervisor(s) have decided on an earlier deadline.

Depending on the supervisor, some of the weight of the report may be applied to other written exercises, such as a research proposal. The deadlines and assessments for these additional activities will be set by individual supervisors.

With respect to the evaluation of research performed and skills gained during summer employment, our current model emphasizes the quality of the research rather than when it was done. Basic guidelines are as follows:

  1. Work done and skills gained during the summer may be used for a project course, but
  2. Significant work, beyond writing up, must be carried out during the term in which the student is official enrolled in BIOL 498. Work completed outside the term in which a student is enrolled in BIOL 498 should be identified in the written report.

Grade break down for BIOL 498 guidelines is as follows unless otherwise stated by the supervisor via course contract:

50% Lab Performance

50% Written Paper