Life & Physical Sciences

Experience the thrill of scientific discovery in classes and labs under the guidance of world-class faculty and teaching assistants.

Natural and Physical Science areas of study in the Faculty of Arts and Science include Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geological Sciences, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physics and Astronomy, Psychology and Statistics. These programs will provide you with exciting opportunities to explore the world around us through careful observation, rigorous experimentation, and the application of lab-based skills to analyze and evaluate data. 

Chemistry is concerned with the composition and structure of matter, and the changes which it undergoes. Professional chemists play major roles in such diverse and important areas as the design and synthesis of pharmaceuticals and polymers, the development of alternative energy sources, and the protection of the environment. Other chemistry graduates use their knowledge and problem-solving skills in demanding careers such as teaching, medicine, business or politics. Chemistry is frequently called the central science because it provides a basis for studies in many other disciplines ranging from biology to materials science.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers degree Plans designed to appeal to a broad range of students, including those interested in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, the physical and the biological sciences, teaching, actuarial studies, probability, and statistics. The Mathematics and Statistics department at Queen’s is multi-faceted. It has several areas of study with ties to Applied Science, Arts & Science, Apple Math, and notable Mathematics and Engineering. Modern communications, control, electrical, mechanical and mechatronic systems require sophisticated mathematical models and analysis. This unique engineering program meets this challenge – the versatile graduates are not only qualified to pursue careers in engineering, but they possess the mathematical skills and insights needed to succeed in the ever changing workplace.

The Biochemistry program at Queen’s University is a smaller yet a comprehensive program. This program provides students with in-depth training in modern experimental Biochemistry. In addition to an exciting focus on Biochemistry with ample laboratory opportunities, this program also allows students to take elective courses in microbiology, physiology, and pathology. A Cooperative program in Biochemistry is also available, which provides two relevant work experiences in industry.

Queen's Biology students have the opportunity to explore the full breadth of biology: the inner workings of cells; the integrative biology of organisms; the interactions between organisms in ecological communities; and the central roles of genetics and evolution in shaping the diversity of life. Hands-on laboratory exercises, field courses offered locally at our renowned Queen’s University Biological Station and around the world, and independent research opportunities in professors’ laboratories on selected topics are hallmarks of a Degree Plan in Biology.

The Earth's environment is under stress, and the search for solutions is anything but simple: It requires an interdisciplinary approach to problem-solving and education. Our program, both Environmental Science and Environmental Studies, emphasizes the diverse contributions of technology, the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences to understanding and solving environmental problems. The School of Environmental Studies at Queen's University takes a new, innovative approach to environmental education. Our faculty draw on a wide variety of backgrounds ‐ biology, chemistry, geography, geological sciences, economics, history, and policy studies, to name but a few ‐ and so can offer a truly multidisciplinary perspective on the challenging environmental problems facing humanity today.

Geography is an integrated study of the earth's places, societies, environments and landscapes. It is unique in bridging the social sciences and humanities (human geography) with earth system science (physical geography). Geography puts this understanding of social and physical processes within the context of places and regions - recognizing the great differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes and environments across the world, and the links between them. In earth systems science we study natural processes, their interactions, and both naturally and human-generated environmental issues. In the social sciences we study a variety of social problems, with a special focus on the uneven distribution of resources and services at scales from the local to the global. In humanities research we explore how human beings have made, and continue to make, the places (physical, social and metaphorical) in which they live.

Queen's has one of the largest dedicated geology departments in Canada. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including an X-ray Diffraction and Clay Mineral Lab, a Computational Geomechanics Lab, and Stable Isotope and ICP/MS Lab to name a few. There are many opportunities at the undergraduate level for gaining field experience. These opportunities allow students to apply the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom in a real world setting and help them secure a job during the summer months and after graduation. Most students in the department gain over 140 hours of experience on various field trips.

Our vibrant interdisciplinary degree programs in Kinesiology/ Physical and Health Education, as well as Arts programs in Health Studies, all emphasize prevention rather than treatment as the best route to health. From the structure of the cell to the structure of society, your studies will expose you to the complex factors which influence health and wellness. Your courses might explore social determinants of health, the biomechanics of movement, or approaches to health promotion. You might learn ways of measuring body composition, analyzing human motion or evaluating local public health initiatives. Whether you pursue the social or the physical sciences, you will definitely learn how to think and be challenged to expand your perspectives by faculty who are among the world's experts in their field.

The Life Sciences program at Queen’s University is one of its largest Bachelor of Science degree plans on campus. It is in high demand by students who wish to pursue careers in biomedical research and health care. A distinctive feature of this program is its unique blend of disciplines represented by basic and applied biomedical sciences offered by faculty in the departments of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Public Health Sciences, and Pathology and Molecular Medicine.

The Department of Physics at Queen's University is one of Canada's leading teaching and research institutes in Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. Our faculty include high-profile, world-class physicists who work on cutting edge areas of theoretical, computational, applied and experimental physics.

Our students have the opportunity to engage in international collaboration as well as inter-disciplinary research with other departments at Queen's, and work in state-of-the-art laboratories.

Psychology can be divided broadly into two branches: natural science and social science. In the natural science branch, you will learn about basic processes of cognition and behavioural neuroscience, including the effects of brain damage or drug-induced changes on behavior, how various neurochemicals affect normal and abnormal behavior, mechanisms of memory, motor control, and how we solve problems. The social science branch of psychology focuses on child development, personality differences, how people act in groups or organizations, health-related behaviours, and various aspects of normal and abnormal behavior.