Biostats and Research-Based Courses

Design, Analysis & Interpretation of Quantitative Biological Research (BIOL 3101)

Based on the title of this course, maybe you think it’s just for students who are becoming researchers…off to grad school or at least an Honours Thesis. Also, the fact that you need Intro Stats as a pre-requisite might scare you…most Biology students (in fact most Biologists) can’t stand stats or math! But even if you aren’t interested in research, these days we are all surrounded by claims in the media about everything from the benefits of fish oil in your diet to the negative effects of pipelines on the environment. This course shows you how scientists make evidence-based decisions about the phenomena they study and gives you the ability to use the same tools. So yes, it helps you do a better Honours thesis (if you do one) and be a better researcher (if you want to be one), but it will also help you be a better doctor, or teacher, or vet, or whatever path you might choose. As the old saying goes, “most use statistics the way a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination”. We show you how to use stats for more illumination!

Directed Studies (BIOL 3801, 3803, 4801, 4803)

Direct studies are an in-depth literature study in an area not covered by other Biology courses. Registration is contingent upon availability of a faculty supervisor. In the term preceding the expected start date for this course, the student must produce an outline of the proposed study. Consult the Department Chair for details.

Independent Project in Biology (BIOL 3804, 3805, 4804, 4805)

An Independent Project in Biology is a research based project in an area of interest to the student. Registration is contingent upon availability of a faculty supervisor. In the term preceding the expected start date for this course, the student must produce a research proposal for the project. Consult the Department Chair for details.

Note: A student may complete a maximum of six credits from BIOL4801, BIOL4803, BIOL4804, BIOL4805,

 Honours Thesis in Biology (BIOL 4900)

What is Honours research all about? BIOL 4900 is a 6-credit course that provides students with the unique opportunity to undertake independent and original research as an undergraduate, while working closely with a research supervisor and under the guidance of a 3-member research committee. By taking this course you will gain valuable experience learning how to undertake biological research as well as presenting your results through oral presentations and the production of a written thesis (gulp!). Did we mention that you have to defend your research too? No, it’s fun – really! Typically, the amount of time that you will have to dedicate to BIOL 4900 is greater than that required for a standard 6-credit course at the 4th year level, but this course can be a tremendously rewarding experience and can give you the feeling of what it would be like to go to graduate school and undertake Master’s or PhD research. If you want to know more about BIOL 4900, talk to a faculty member, current students enrolled in this course, or read the “Guidelines for undertaking an honours thesis…” on the B.Sc. Moodle page.