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Biology (BIOL)

Biology (BIOL)

Location

Location

  • Stewart Biology Building, Room N7/9B
  • 1205 avenue Docteur Penfield
  • Montreal QC H3A 1B1
  • Telephone: 514-398-4109
  • Website: mcgill.ca/biology

About Biology

About Biology

Biology is the study of living things at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and ecosystem levels. It deals with fundamental questions such as:

  • the origin and evolution of plants and animals;
  • interactions between living organisms and their environment;
  • mechanisms of embryonic development;
  • structure and function of the living cell and individual molecules within it;
  • molecular basis of inheritance;
  • biochemical and genetic basis of human diseases; and
  • how the brain and the nervous system control behaviour.

The study of biology also has vast practical applications. The knowledge, methods, and concepts developed through research in the various fields of biology are applied extensively in agriculture, medicine, pharmaceutical development, biotechnology, genetic engineering, environmental protection, and wildlife management.

The Department of Biology offers:

  • Liberal program;
  • Major program;
  • Joint Majors with Computer Science and with Mathematics;
  • Honours program;
  • Joint Honours with Computer Science;
  • Minor program;
  • Minor concentration in Science for Arts students;
  • Biology Major and Honours option in Quantitative Biology;
  • as well as Major and Minor concentrations in the B.A. & Sc.

The programs in Biology provide you with an introduction to the broad spectrum of Biological Sciences in contrast to more specialized programs in Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Anatomy and Cell Biology. The B.Sc. degree in Biology prepares you for a wide range of employment opportunities as well as entry to professional schools in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, agriculture, nursing, education, and library science. It also provides solid background for those interested in careers related to environmental protection, wildlife management, biotechnology, and genetic engineering. The B.Sc. degree in Biology can also lead to post-graduate studies and research careers in universities, research institutes, hospitals, and industrial or governmental laboratories.

The Department of Biology's well-equipped research laboratories are located in the Stewart Biology Building, 1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue and in the adjacent Bellini Life Sciences Building. Due to massive renovations that began in the Fall of 2017, only the North Wing of the Stewart Building is currently in use and freshman biology labs have temporarily moved into the Duff Medical Building. The Department includes many biologists who are international leaders in their research fields, but who nevertheless remain deeply committed to undergraduate education. We have outstanding infrastructure for cell, developmental, and neurobiology research, and extensive links to biomedical scientists throughout McGill and all over the world. Our ecology and evolutionary biology group is also internationally prominent and dedicated to studying aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Our core undergraduate program will expose you to the broad areas of biology at all of these levels of complexity. At the same time you will be able to focus on topics related to your specific interests through complementary and elective courses. Beyond the large introductory classes, our class sizes are relatively small and you will have lots of opportunities for contact with your instructors; this is one of our strengths! Biology's teaching and research resources are extended by affiliation with the Redpath Museum, the hospitals and research institutes of the McGill University Health Centre, the Montreal Neurological Institute, the Sheldon Biotechnology Institute, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Field courses enable you to study biology in a natural setting, in local ecosystems (e.g., at McGill's Gault Nature Reserve), and in distant ones such as Barbados, Panama, and East Africa. The Biology Department is also deeply committed to providing individual research experiences to its undergraduates. U2- and U3-level students, not just Honours program students, can carry out semester- or year-long independent study projects for course credit in Biology department research labs. Numerous summer opportunities are also available.

Undergraduate students are represented by the MBSU (McGill Biology Students Union) in the Departmental Assembly and in Standing Committees.

Inquiries about undergraduate programs should be directed to:

Note to those interested in the B.A. & Sc. program: Both a major and a minor concentration in Biology are available to students pursuing the B.A. & Sc. degree. These concentrations are described in Bachelor of Arts and Science > Undergraduate > Browse Academic Units & Programs > Biology (BIOL).

Preprogram Requirements

Preprogram Requirements

Requirements for the Major and Honours programs in Biology are:

  • two courses in elementary Biology;
  • two courses in general Chemistry;
  • two courses in Mathematics (as per the Freshman requirements);
  • one or two courses in Physics (mechanics and electromagnetism), depending on your choice of upper year courses.

Students entering the B.A. & Sc., the Liberal program, and the Biology Science Minor have the same biology, chemistry, and mathematics requirements. The physics requirements will vary according to their future direction. Note that satisfying the minimum Freshman science requirements does not necessarily qualify students for medical or dental school admissions requirements.

Students planning to take one of the joint majors or the Quantitative Biology Major or Honours options should consult:

  • Undergraduate Adviser
  • Stewart Biology Building, Room N7/9B
  • Telephone: 514-398-4109

to ensure they are taking the appropriate prerequisites.

Biology Concentrations

Biology Concentrations

Note: The concentrations set out below are only guidelines for specialized training. They do not constitute sets of requirements.
Note: Courses used to satisfy the complementary course components of the Major program must be at the 300+ level. Any 200 level courses listed below must be taken as electives.
Note: Please see guidelines and policies for taking courses outside Arts and Science at mcgill.ca/science/undergraduate/handbook#bsc-outside-course-restrictions.

If you are interested in advanced studies in any biological discipline, you are strongly advised to develop their skills in computing as appropriate. As an aid to students wishing to specialize, key and suggested courses are listed by discipline.

CEEB: Conservation, Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour

CEEB: Conservation, Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2021-2022 (last updated Apr. 1, 2021) (disclaimer)

Biology Faculty

Biology Faculty

Chair
Gregor Fussmann
Graduate Program Director
Frédéric Guichard
Tamara Western
Emeritus Professors
Gregory G. Brown; B.Sc.(Notre Dame), Ph.D.(CUNY)
A. Howard Bussey; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Brist.), F.R.S.C.
Robert L. Carroll; B.S.(Mich.), M.A., Ph.D.(Harv.), F.R.S.C.
Ronald Chase; A.B.(Stan.), Ph.D.(MIT)
Rajinder S. Dhindsa; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Punj.), Ph.D.(Wash.)
Jacob Kalff; M.S.A.(Tor.), Ph.D.(Ind.)
Donald L. Kramer; B.Sc.(Boston Coll.), Ph.D.(Br. Col.)
Martin J. Lechowicz; B.A.(Mich. St.), M.S., Ph.D.(Wisc.)
Louis Lefebvre; BSc., M.S., PhD. (U. de Montreal)
Barid B. Mukherjee; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Calc.), M.Sc.(Brigham Young), Ph.D.(Utah)
Gerald S. Pollack; M.A., Ph.D.(Princ.)
Ronald Poole; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Birm.)
Derek Roff; B.Sc.(Syd.), Ph.D.(Br. Col.), F.R.S.C.
Rolf Sattler; B.Sc.(Tübingen), Ph.D.(Munich) F.R.S.C.
Professors
Ehab Abouheif; B.Sc., M.Sc.(C'dia), Ph.D.(Duke) (James McGill Professor)
Graham A.C. Bell; B.A., D.Phil.(Oxf.), F.R.S.C. (James McGill Professor)
Lauren Chapman; B.Sc.(Alta.), Ph.D.(McG.) F.R.S.C. (Distinguished James McGill Professor)
Gregor Fussmann; Dipl.(Free Univ., Berlin), Ph.D.(Max Planck) (Strathcona Chair in Zoology)
Andrew Gonzalez; B.Sc.(Nott.), Ph.D.(Imperial Coll.) (Liber Ero Chair in Biodiversity Conservation)
Frédéric Guichard; B.Sc.(Montr.), Ph.D.(Laval)
Siegfried Hekimi; M.Sc., Ph.D.(Geneva), F.R.S.C. (Strathcona Chair in Zoology; Catherine Louise Campbell Chair in Developmental Biology)
Andrew Hendry; B.Sc.(Vic., BC), M.Sc., Ph.D.(Wash.) (joint appt. with Redpath Museum) (Canada Research Chair in Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics)
Paul F. Lasko; A.B.(Harv.), Ph.D.(MIT), F.R.S.C. (James McGill Professor)
Laura Nilson; B.A.(Colgate), Ph.D.(Yale) (Associate Dean (Graduate Education) Faculty of Science)
Catherine Potvin; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Montr.), Ph.D.(Duke), F.R.S.C. (Canada Research Chair in Climate Change Mitigation & Tropical Forests)
Neil M. Price; B.Sc.(New Br.), Ph.D.(Br. Col.)
Richard Roy; B.Sc.(Bishop's), Ph.D.(Laval) (Molson Chair of Genetics)
Daniel J. Schoen; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Mich.), Ph.D.(Calif., Berk.) (Macdonald Professor of Botany)
Associate Professors
Gary Brouhard; B.S.E., M.S.E., Ph.D.(Mich.)
Thomas E. Bureau; B.Sc.(Calif.), Ph.D.(Texas)
Melania Cristescu; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Ovidius Univ. Constanta, Romania), Ph.D.(Guelph) (Canada Research Chair in Ecological Genomics of Aquatic Invasions)
David Dankort; B.Sc., Ph.D.(McM.)
Joseph A. Dent; B.Sc.(Mich.), Ph.D.(Colo.)
Irene Gregory-Eaves; B.Sc.(Vic., BC), M.Sc., Ph.D.(Qu.) (Canada Research Chair in Fresh Water Ecology & Global Change)
Paul Harrison; B.Sc.(NUI), Ph.D.(Lond.)
Michael Hendricks; B.A.(Bowdoin), Ph.D.(Sing.) (Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology & Behaviour)
Brian Leung; B.Sc.(Br. Col.), Ph.D.(Car.) (on sabbatical, Fall semester)
Nam-Sung Moon; B.Sc., Ph.D.(McG.)
Simon Reader; B.A. Hon.(Univ. of Cambridge), Ph.D.(Yale)
Rodrigo Reyes-Lamothe; BSc. (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico), Lic.(UNAM), M.Sc.(C'd ia), D.Phil.(Oxf.) (Canada Research Chair in Chromosome Biology)(on sabbatical)
Jon Sakata; B.A.(Cornell), Ph.D.(Texas-Austin, Institute for Neuroscience)
Frieder Schoeck; Dipl.(Erhangen), Ph.D.(Max Planck)
Jacalyn Vogel; M.Sc.(E. Ill.), Ph.D.(Kansas)
Alanna Watt; B.Sc.(C'dia), Ph.D.(Brandeis)
Tamara Western; B.Sc.(Dal.), Ph.D.(Br. Col.)(on sabbatical)
Sarah Woolley; B.Sc.(Duke), Ph.D.(Texas-Austin)
Monique Zetka; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Br. Col.)
Hugo Zheng; M.Sc.(Helsinki), Ph.D.(Oxf. Brookes)
Assistant Professors
Abigail Gerhold; B.A.(Cornell), Ph.D.(Calif., Berk.)
Mélanie Guigueno; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Manit.), Ph.D.(UWO)
Anna Hargreaves; B.Sc.(Trent), MSc.(Calg.), Ph.D.(Qu.)
Arnold Hayer; M.Sc.(ESBS, France), Ph.D.(ETH Zurich)
Tomoko Ohyama; B.Sc., M.Sc.(Keio), Ph.D.(Baylor)
Laura Pollock; M.Sc.(S. Illinois); Ph.D.(Melb.)
Fiona Soper; B.Sc.(Qld.); Ph.D.(Cornell)
Jennifer Sunday; B.Sc.(Br. Col.), Ph.D.(Simon Fraser)
Stephanie C. Weber; B.Sc.(Duke), Ph.D.(Stan.)
Associate Members
BioEngineering: Adam Hendricks
Centre for Research in Neuroscience: Donald Van Meyel
Glen site: Hugh J. Clarke, Daniel Dufort, David Rosenblatt, Teruko Taketo
MNI: Kenneth Hastings
Physics: Paul Francois
Redpath Museum: Rowan Barrett, David Green, Hans Larsson, Virginie Millien, Anthony Ricciardi
Adjunct Professors
BELLUS Health Inc.: Francesco Bellini; B.Sc.(C'dia), Ph.D.(New Br.)
Canadian Mountain Network Norma Kassi
IRCM: David Hipfner; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Qu.)
STRI: Hector Guzman; M.Sc.(Costa Rica), Ph.D.(Newcastle, UK), William Owen McMillan; B.Sc.(Duke), M.Sc., Ph.D.(Univ. Hawai’i), Rachel Page; Ph.D.(Texas), Mark Torchin; B.A.(Calif., Santa Barbara), M.Sc.(Ore.), Ph.D.(Calif., Santa Barbara)
Univ. of British Columbia: Jonathan Davies; M.Sc.(Cape Town), Ph.D.(Imperial Coll.)
Univ. of the West Indies: Henri Valles; M.Sc.(UWI), Ph.D.(McG.)
Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2021-2022 (last updated Feb. 9, 2021) (disclaimer)

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Minor Biology (25 credits)

The Minor Biology may be taken in conjunction with any primary program in the Faculty of Science (other than programs offered by the Department of Biology). Students are advised to consult the undergraduate adviser in Biology as early as possible (preferably during their first year), in order to plan their course selection.

For more information, see Minor Biology (25 credits).

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Liberal Program - Core Science Component Biology (47 credits)

The Liberal Program - Core Science Component Biology is a flexible program focusing on the fundamentals of biology. Topics include a range of biological concepts spanning molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems, including development, behaviour and evolution. This program is well suited to students with varied interests who do not want to focus solely on...

For more information, see Liberal Program - Core Science Component Biology (47 credits).

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Major Biology (59 credits)

The Biology Major covers a range of fundamental biological concepts spanning molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems, including development, behaviour and evolution. The areas of focus include: (1) molecular, cellular and developmental biology, (2) conservation, ecology and evolution, and (3) neurobiology and behaviour.

For more information, see Major Biology (59 credits).

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Major Biology - Quantitative Biology (73 credits)

Interdisciplinary research that draws from the natural and physical sciences is an important aspect of modern biology. The Quantitative Biology option is designed for students with a deep interest in biology who wish to gain a strong grounding in physical sciences and their application to biological questions. The program has two options: an ecology and...

For more information, see Major Biology - Quantitative Biology (73 credits).

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Major Biology and Mathematics (76 credits)

This program is built on a selection of mathematics and biology courses that recognize mathematical biology as a field of research, with three streams within biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology, Molecular Evolution, and Neurosciences.

For more information, see Major Biology and Mathematics (76 credits).

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Honours Biology (72 credits)

The Honours program in Biology is intended for students who are interested in gaining a concentrated research experience. A broad range of fundamental biological concepts spanning molecules and cells to organisms and ecosystems, including development, behaviour and evolution is supplemented with research in a chosen area. Potential areas of focus include: (1)...

For more information, see Honours Biology (72 credits).

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) - Honours Biology - Quantitative Biology (79 credits)

79 credits ...

For more information, see Honours Biology - Quantitative Biology (79 credits).

Biology (BIOL) Related Programs and Study Semesters

Biology (BIOL) Related Programs and Study Semesters

Joint Major in Computer Science and Biology

Joint Major in Computer Science and Biology

Joint Honours in Computer Science and Biology

Joint Honours in Computer Science and Biology

Panama Field Study Semester

Panama Field Study Semester

The program is a joint venture between McGill University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. For more information, see Study Abroad & Field Studies > Undergraduate > Field Study Semesters and Off-Campus Courses > Field Study Minor > Panama Field Study Semester. You can also visit the following website for details: mcgill.ca/science/undergraduate/internships-field/.

Africa Field Study Semester

Africa Field Study Semester

The Department of Geography, Faculty of Science, coordinates the 15-credit interdisciplinary Africa Field Study Semester; see Study Abroad & Field Studies > Undergraduate > Field Study Semesters and Off-Campus Courses > Field Study Minor > Africa Field Study Semester. You can also visit the following website for details: mcgill.ca/science/undergraduate/internships-field/.

Programs, Courses and University Regulations—2021-2022 (last updated Feb. 12, 2021) (disclaimer)
Faculty of Science—2021-2022 (last updated Apr. 1, 2021) (disclaimer)
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