Biology is the study of living systems and their interactions with the environment. The hierarchy of biological organization ranges from molecule to cell to organism to population to community to ecosystem to biome, and includes both plants and animals. Studies at each level require different techniques and approaches, but a basic knowledge of the various levels and the interactions between them is essential for an understanding of the discipline as a whole.
In their first two years, Queen's Biology students take a common set of courses to prepare them for more specialized courses in third and fourth year. Many of these early courses are shared with other science departments at the University, allowing undergraduates to move fairly easily between biology, life sciences, and other science programs.
Students have an opportunity to develop a broad knowledge of biology that is integrated with dynamic, high quality research programs in specialized areas including molecular biology, cell and developmental biology, genetics, animal and plant physiology, ecology, evolution and behaviour. Studies in these areas provide fundamental knowledge for a range of professions such as medicine, biotechnology, agriculture, forestry, fisheries, conservation and management of the environment.
Many courses in biology involve laboratory studies and field trips. The latter are provided in the unique environmental setting of the Biological Station on Lake Opinicon and around the world. The department occupies the recently completed BioSciences Complex which includes the most modern equipment and laboratories for leading edge research. Courses in chemistry, physics, biochemistry and mathematics are also a regular part of the biologist's training. All our programs incorporate modern computer resources and skills in a seamless fashion.
Specialization in Biotechnology (BTEC)
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the discipline.
Specialization in Biology and Psychology (BIPS)
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the discipline with a combination of courses within Psychology.
Specialization in Biology and Mathematics (BIMA)
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the Biology discipline and Mathematics.
Major in Biology
A major is an intensive course of study in one discipline, with approximately half of your courses within the discipline with room for an optional minor in any other Arts and Science discipline.
Minor in Biology
A minor is a less intensive course of study in the discipline that must be combined with a major in another discipline.
Biology - PhD
Biology - MSc
Biology equips students with a broad base of skills which apply directly to further education endeavours, but also apply to the demands of today's work force. Analytical, quantitative, computations, problem‐solving and communications skills are all tools that graduates of the Biology program come away with. A degree in Biology provides students with an awareness of the diversity of life and the function of living systems through a core knowledge base. The Queen's Biology Department places a particular emphasis on molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry, physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology - all great options for those wishing to pursuing medical school.
Some of our Biology grads work in the following professions:
BIOL 307, 317, 327
The Department of Biology is an active participant in the Ontario Universities' Programme in Field Biology (OUPFB) and a leader among Canadian universities in providing unique learning experiences via one and two week modules locally and around the globe. Superb resources are available close to Kingston at our Queen’s University Biological Station and the Elbow Lake Environmental Education Centre, and recent courses have touched every continent except for Antarctica. Learn more about Field Biology at Queen's.
The courses in Biology are very diverse from Ecology and Evolution, Animal and Plant Physiology to Biotechnology. Those interested in understanding biology at the cellular level can choose courses in Cell Biology, Genetics, Comparative Biochemistry and Analytical Genomics. If understanding whole ecosystems is your interest, we have courses in Population and Evolutionary Ecology, Conservation Genetics, Limnology and Aquatic Ecology and several field courses in Canada and abroad. If you are primarily interested in more human focused topics we have Human Genetics and Evolution, Plants for People, Evolution and Human Affairs, and Evolutionary Medicine.
Students apply to Queen’s Science (QS) through the OUAC (Ontario Unversities Application Centre) website (ouac.on.ca). Secondary School prerequisites include English 4U, Advanced Functions 4U, Calculus and Vectors 4U, plus two of Physics 4U, Chemistry4U or Biology 4U.
The Biology Department at Queen's is research intensive and an excellent place to pursue both the MSc and PhD degrees. We are one of the largest departments on campus with about 92 graduate students (49 MSc, 43 PhD) working with 30 faculty. Our graduate students receive a minimum guaranteed income for the first two years of the MSc and the first four years of the PhD. On average MSc students complete their degrees in 2.5 years and PhD students in 4.5 years.
NSERC SCHOLARS: Incoming students who hold an NSERC scholarship will receive a one time top-up from the university to assist with moving, and to thank you for choosing to come to Queen's. This one-time top-up is $5000 for MSc students and $7500 for PhD students.
Most professors receive many applicants each year so the majority are turned down. Overall we usually accept about 20 new MSc students, and 10 new PhD students each academic year. To initiate the application process, we suggest you send an email to potential supervisors, outlining your interests, skill, and relevant background. Do not make a formal application until at least one professor expresses strong interest in taking you on as a graduate student.
Applications are accepted at any time but most students begin their graduate work at the beginning of the fall term in September. The best time to start corresponding with potential supervisors is in Nov-Dec of the year before you would like to begin graduate work.
For information regarding Graduate Studies in Biology contact:
Joanne Surette, Graduate Studies Assistant
Department of Biology, Queen's University
Phone: 613 533-6138
The Animal Physiology group in the Department of Biology has broad interests in neural, visual, muscular, cardiovascular and reproductive physiology. We emphasize an integrative approach to physiological questions, incorporating molecular, cellular and whole animal analyses where appropriate. Common themes in our research include the physiological impact of environmental stress and the evolution of physiology. (More Info on Animal Physiology research at Queen's)
The Cell and Molecular Biology group focuses on eukaryotic organisms with an interest in developmental and biochemical problems. Model systems (e.g. yeast, C. elegans, Drosophila, Arabidopsis) offer powerful molecular genetic methodology and genomics tools to study fundamental cellular functions such as signal transduction, cellular metabolism, and cell cycle regulation. In addition, studies on model organisms like Drosophila and Caenorhabditis concentrate on the regulation of gene expression during development using leading-edge molecular techniques. These projects complement research efforts within the Biology Department, particularly those from the physiology group, and within the Faculties of Medicine and Engineering. (More Info on Cell and Molecular Biology research at Queen's)
The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology group encompasses a broad range of research spanning molecular ecology, population genetics and phylogenetics, behaviour, the evolution of animal & plant reproductive systems, sexual and natural selection, mathematical biology and ecosystem ecology. Faculty and students interact extensively and have created a dynamic, highly interactive research environment (see also our Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour Seminar Series). Many members of the group conduct research at the Queen's University Biological Station. (More Info on Ecology and Evolutionary Biology research at Queen's)
A significant minority of our faculty are shared with or cross-appointed to the School of Environmental Studies. The multifaceted, interdisciplinary research work in Environmental Biology spans studies of climate change, lake acidification and recovery, ecotoxicology, conservation genetics and ecosystem rehabilitation. (More Info on Environmental Biology research at Queen's)
The members of QUFFAS conduct an array of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences research including zooplankton ecology, ecotoxicology, paleolimnology, fish physiology, neurobiology and reproductive biology. (More Info on Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Biology research at Queen's)
The Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory is comprised of 30 research scientists, post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and other researchers dedicated to using paleolimnological techniques to provide historical perspectives on environmental change. We use such data to define natural environmental variability, to generate and test hypotheses, and to evaluate computer models that aid in evaluation of global environmental change. (More Info on Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Biology research at Queen's)
Our Biology Department is a centre of excellence in Plant Sciences. Many of the major advances in plant biology were developed or enhanced by the research of Queen's plant biologists past and present. The current research group employs leading-edge approaches to answer some of the most pressing questions in plant biology. These approaches range from new physiological techniques to mutant analysis to gene cloning to the genetic engineering of plants. Some of the research has also been developed into powerful technologies that now form the foundations of plant biotechnology companies. (More Info on Plant Sciences Biology research at Queen's)
Members of the Queen’s Mathematical Biology Group come from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, the Department of Biology and the Centre for Neuroscience Studies. As a group they are strong in both mathematics and biology. The derivation of mathematical equations, their application to various biological contexts, and a tight link with experimental biology is what unites our group.
(More Info on Mathematical Biology research at Queen's)