Studying Biology at York is your gateway to an unbeatable learning experience in one of Canada’s largest Biology departments. The Biology department at York offers you a broad array of interesting courses that allows you to tailor your program to suit your academic interests. Our excellent faculty give you the opportunity to learn at the leading edge of areas such as genomics, proteomics, physiology and evolution. Studying Biology at York also gives you access to specialized studies in Biotechnology, Biomedical Science and Environmental Biology, and prepares you for future career possibilities in graduate and a wide variety of professional studies. An International BSc (iBSc) is also available. Graduates are well prepared for careers in medicine, biotechnology, management and policy development, medical and biological research, conservation biology and a diversity of other fields in Toronto’s many Biology-related industries.
The Biology program is York’s longest-established scientific program, boasting internationally-recognised teaching faculty and particular strengths in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Physiology, Ecology and Population Biology, and Genetics. Students may choose to sample courses from a variety of subdisciplines, or they may develop expertise in a particular area through the completion of a more structured “area of concentration”. Focused on developing independent analytical and applied skills through research projects and laboratory investigations, studies in Biology at York will give you a firm grounding in the core concepts of Biology as well as sound scientific training in the techniques and methods of biological research at all scales, from molecules to ecosystems. The Biology program at York offers the following flexible degree paths:
Bachelor of Science (90 credits, normally over three years): A flexible, multi-disciplinary program offering you a broad range of studies in biological topics. In second year you complete a group of core courses, selected from a list that include Plant Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Animal Biology, Genetics, Ecology, Statistics and Organic Chemistry. In the third year you choose from a long list of more specialized courses to complete your degree.
Honours Programs (120 credits, normally over four years): You may complete a Specialized Honours degree in Biology, or in the Biotechnology, or Biomedical Science streams. You may also complete an Honours Double Major, combining your Honours studies in Biology with another Major in Science (for example, Chemistry, Physics, Kinesiology & Health Sciences, or Psychology). In addition, you may choose to combine an Honours Major in Biology with a Minor concentration in another discipline in the Faculties of Science, Arts, Environmental Studies or Fine Arts. Finally, you may combine an Honours Major in another discipline in Science & Engineering, Arts, Fine Arts, or Environmental Studies with an Honours Minor in Biology. York’s flexible, multi-disciplinary approach to Biology education gives our graduates the ability to tackle diverse problems at the forefront of biology. Students in Biology can also choose to complete an iBSc – international Bachelor of Science. Studies in Biology are combined with a foreign language and an international exchange.
Facilities and Opportunities
Students studying in York’s Faculty of Science and Engineering have access to laboratory space, computer facilities and a library dedicated to research in the sciences. The new Life Sciences Building, expected to open this summer, will house state-of-the-art undergraduate laboratories, an advising office and a learning commons dedicated to first-year life science students. Combined with faculty members who are active researchers, these facilities provide students with exposure to cutting edge research.
York’s Biology program offers numerous opportunities for research and field-work beyond the classroom. Students may take field courses at sites that range from the arctic to the maritimes to the tropics of Costa Rica and Belize. As an Honours student you may have the option to complete a thesis based on original laboratory, field, or library research, conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. Many of York’s Biology professors have outstanding international reputations, and all are active researchers. Current areas of active research include the underlying mechanisms of disease (such diabetes and cancer), cardiovascular and muscle physiology, comparative cellular physiology, cellular signaling, population and developmental genetics, aquatic ecology, biodiversity, structural biology, virology, biological timekeeping, and more. These strengths combine to give York Biology students full exposure to state of the art research opportunities.
Graduates of York’s Biology program follow a wide variety of interesting and prestigious career paths. These include careers in health sciences such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, pharmacy, epidemiology, physiotherapy, bioethics, and the forensic sciences. Others go on to research careers in fields that include medicine and human biology, genomics, bioinformatics, biochemistry, molecular genetics, physiology and biodiversity studies. York Biology graduates also make powerful contributions to environmental work as field and conservation biologists, contribute to government policy development, agriculture, food, and forestry and other industries, and the biotechnology and genetic engineering fields. Many of our graduates pursue teaching careers at the secondary and post-secondary levels.
First Year Courses
• Computer Use
• General Education course
In second year you will probably take courses from:
• Animal Biology
• Plant Biology
• Organic Chemistry
• Genetics and Evolution
• Cell Biology and Biochemistry
• Statistics for Biologists
• a general education course
In third and fourth year, you can choose courses from the following areas:
• Conservation Biology
• Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
• Microbiology and Virology
• Cell Biology
• Ecology and Population Biology
• Immunology, Neurobiology
• Genetics/Molecular Genetics
• Plant Science
• Comparative Anatomy, Histology, Development
• Pollutants, Invaders and Global Change
Courses you might take in upper years include:
• Molecular Biology
• Plant Physiology
• Animal Physiology
• Animal & Plant Ecology
• Animal Development
• Conservation Biology • Biotechnology
• Field Course (study plants and animals in their natural surroundings)
Career options for Biology majors include:
• Biology Research – academic, government, industry
• Medical Research
• Industry — technical information, product information, sales
• Education — elementary, high school, college, university
• Professional Schools – Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Law, Business, etc
• Health Sciences — nurse, chiropodist, biomedical technician, genetic counselor, diagnostic histologist,
• Environmental – conservationists, government agencies, environmental consultant, zoo keepers,
• Agriculture — ecologist, plant biologist, geneticist, molecular biologist, biochemist, entomologist
• Postgraduate Studies/Academic Career