B.Sc. Biology Degree Options
The School of Science and Technology offers students four degree options: a 4-year Major in Biology Degree (120 credits), a 4-year Honours in Biology Degree (120 credits), a 4-year Double Major Degree in Biology and another Science discipline (120 credits), and a 3-year General Biology Degree (90 credits). All four degrees require the same six core biology courses that must be taken as part of your degree.
- BIOL 1101: Cell and Molecular Biology I (Lecture and Lab)
- BIOL 1601: Organismal and Evolutionary Biology (Lecture and Lab)
- BIOL 2101: Cell and Molecular Biology II (Lecture and Lab)
- BIOL 2211: Genetics (Lecture and Lab)
- BIOL 2503: Principles of Ecology (Lecture and Lab)
- BIOL 3601: Evolution (Lecture only)
Other than these six Biology core courses, our program provides tremendous flexibility, so that students can choose to take Biology courses that fall within their areas of interest and career objectives. These courses can be grouped into three areas of study: ecology and evolutionary biology, cell and molecular biology and health/medical sciences.
All of our degree options also provide the possibility of practical work experience through co-op work terms which, when available, are awarded to students on a competitive basis. A work term counts as a 3 credit course; two work terms (max. 6 credits) can be used towards a B.Sc. degree.
Each degree option also has additional required core courses (in English, Math/Stats, Philosophy, Organic Chemistry), as well as a required number of Biology, Science, and Free-elective credits that must be completed to obtain a B.Sc. degree.
Which degree option should I choose?
Students don’t need to declare which degree they plan to pursue until their third year. Choice of degree can have important ramifications for downstream career choices, however, so it is important to understand the consequences of choosing one degree versus another.
The 4-year Major in Biology Degree is our most heavily subscribed degree option. It provides a strong foundation in Biology for those students wanting to move on from a B.Sc. to professional programs such as Medical School, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, etc., and can be tailored to ensure that students meet all the course requirements for those programs. Research experience can be obtained during this degree through summer research opportunities with Professors when available. For students wanting to go onto graduate school in Biology or to have the experience of independent research, we recommend the 4-year Honours in Biology Degree.
The 4-year Honours in Biology Degree option requires 6 credits of BIOL 4900 (Honours Thesis) in fourth year. The credit requirements for this degree are 120 credits – the same as for the 4-year Major in Biology Degree. BIOL 4900 provides students with the unique ability to undertake independent and original research as an undergraduate while working closely with a research supervisor and under the guidance of a three-person research committee. Most students who are aiming to go to graduate school enroll in the honours program in their final year. Other students who are interested in learning more about research, or feel that it may increase their potential to get into competitive professional programs, also opt for the Honours program.
The 4-year Double Major Degree provides student with the option to specialize in two areas of study, a primary area (54 required credits) and a secondary area (36 required credits). This option caters to the needs of students who want to combine their biological training with a strong background in another discipline such as chemistry, math or psychology.
Every year a few students opt to graduate with a 3-year General Biology Degree. This degree is more limited in application to downstream career pathways, but can be used by those students who have been granted early acceptance into a professional program (e.g. Dentistry, Pharmacy) before completing their 4-year B.Sc. degree and who have obtained the credits for a 3-year degree. Likewise, the 3-year degree can be a stepping stone to degree options in the Bachelor of Engineering or Engineering Technology programs. For instance, a three-year B.Sc. degree in Biology can be combined with any option in the Engineering program, enabling the student to earn two degrees (B.Sc. and B.Eng.) in five years of study, three at CBU and two at Dalhousie.