Undergraduate Degree Program

Biological Sciences majors take upper-division courses that teach knowledge, critical thinking skills, writing, and analytical methods in two broad areas: the diversity of biological patterns, and the biological processes that create that diversity.
The major is organized into three concentrations: Cells, Molecules and Physiology, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, and Open (General).  These concentrations share common core requirements at 300-level that focus on

  1. developmental and physiological processes and the diversity of genes, cells, tissues, and organ systems within single organisms (BISC 305, 333, 366);
  2. ecological and evolutionary processes that lead to diversity among organisms, including microbes, plants, fungi, and animals (BISC 300); and
  3. the variation within and among those major taxonomic groups, including their natural history and functional morphology (BISC 303, 306, 316, 317, 326, 337, 318).

The Cells, Molecules, & Physiology concentration focuses student learning mainly on processes acting within organisms (especially at the level of organs, cells, molecules, and genes) and the diversity of those molecular and cellular systems. Required and optional courses emphasize (among other areas) molecular genetics, physiology, neurobiology, toxicology, and microbiology, especially in areas relevant to issues associated with biotechnology, disease, and pollution. The Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation concentration focuses student learning mainly on processes acting above the level of individual organisms (especially mates and offspring, populations, communities, and ecosystems), and the diversity of those groups within and among species. Required and optional courses emphasize behaviour, ecological interactions, evolutionary processes and history, population and ecological genetics, and biological processes relevant to conservation and climate change issues. The Open concentration allows students to seek broad training or form an individual specialization not covered by the other concentrations.
Students in all concentrations are strongly encouraged to get involved in research through the three-unit (BISC 497W, 498, 499) and fifteen-unit (BISC 490, 491, 492) research courses.  Go to the Research Projects page for details.

Marine science courses are offered on Vancouver Island at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre in summer and fall terms. The summer course offerings are divided into three blocks, with each block up to six weeks long.  In the fall, Bamfield offers a fourteen week program consisting of five courses (fifteen credits total).

Follow the links below for more information about the BSc in Biological Sciences!

Undergraduate Courses