There has never been a more exciting time to study Biology, with subjects ranging as broadly as climate change and the conservation of biodiversity, the origin and evolution of life, the form and function of organisms, and the ongoing “omics” revolution at the molecular level.

Our program emphasizes interactive learning with hands-on laboratories, small senior seminar modules and field courses. Our department also offers opportunities for field study around the globe — from Argentina to Africa.

New to Biology is the Biotechnology program that works with living organisms and other biological systems to help us improve our lives by discovering new drugs, improving crop production, and helping to develop novel forms of sustainable energy. Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of biotechnology, the program will encourage students to take courses from several departments at Queen’s, everything from law to civil engineering to biomechanical and molecular sciences. There is also an option to combine this degree with a diploma in Biotechnology from St. Lawrence College. 

Top 5 Reasons to study Biology:

  1. SWEP jobs provide students with true research opportunities, and start after first year.
  2. QUBS: an off-site field station that provides students with opportunities to learn hands-on from their environment.
  3. Courses are focused on cutting-edge topics in biology.
  4. Interact closely with professors in class and during our many events held throughout the year. 
  5. Apply for an internship, with specific jobs for all types of biological study and research.

 “I got hooked on Biology during my second year at Queen’s, when classes become specialized and I could focus on things that really mattered to me.”
                                                                           -Ann Mckeller, Wildlife Biologist at Environment Canada

BioSciences Complex
Room number: 
Department Head: 
Brian Cumming
Departmental Assistant: 
Anne Dumont
Graduate Chair: 
Daniel Lefebvre
Graduate Assistant: 
Joanne Surette
Undergraduate Chair: 
Kenton Ko
Undergraduate Assistant: 
Rachel Batson
Bachelor of Science (Honours) - BScH

Specialization in Biotechnology (BTEC)
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the discipline.

Specialization in Environmental Biology (EBIO)
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.

Internship option available

For a full list of Degree Plans, see the Academic Calendar
Graduate Degree Options

Biology - PhD
Biology - MSc


Alumni Career Statistics

  • 10% of alumni work in GOVERNMENT & NON-PROFIT
  • 13% of alumni work in BUSINESS & LAW
  • 16% of alumni work in HEALTH CARE
  • 35% of alumni work in EDUCATION

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 students work in the following professions:

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Aquaculture Biological Sciences
  • Bioeconomics
  • Biomechanics
  • Blood Bank Technology
  • Chiropractory
  • Community Health
  • Cytotechnology
  • Dentistry
  • Diagnostic Medical Technology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Environmental Management
  • Epidemiology
  • Interpretive Naturalist Industry
  • Funeral Services
  • Food Science and Technology
  • Forensic
  • Psychology
  • Genetics
  • Health Administration ‐ Hospital Administration
  • Horticulture
  • Human Biology/Kinetics
  • Human Ecology
  • Life Sciences ‐ Anatomy
  • Life Sciences ‐ Biochemistry
  • Life Sciences ‐ Biophysics
  • Life Sciences ‐ Biotechnology
  • Life Sciences ‐ Clinical Chemistry
  • Life Sciences ‐ Cytotechnology
  • Life Sciences ‐ Genetics
  • Life Sciences ‐ Human Biology / Human Kinetics
  • Marine Biology
  • Medical Research
  • Medical Technology ‐ Blood Bank Technology
  • Medical Technology ‐ Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Technology ‐ Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Medical Technology ‐ Radiography
  • Microbiology
  • Nursing Specializations (incl. Nurse Practitioner)
  • Oceanography
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Physical Therapy
  • Radiography
  • Toxicology
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Water conservation
  • Waste management
  • Zoology

Taking time to explore career options, build experience and network can help you have a smooth transition to the world of work after graduation.


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.

BIOL 110: Human Genetics and Evolution
Introductory genetics and evolutionary processes as they relate to the human condition: genetic diseases, medical techniques, inheritance, and ethical issues such as cloning and genetically modified foods.

BIOL 315: Plants and Human Culture
Human civilization depends on plants. We have changed them and they have changed us. This course investigates the biology and evolution of valuable economic plants, the science of plant domestication and genetic manipulation, and how our interactions with plants have altered the economy, politics, and sociology of human civilization.


Students apply to Queen’s Science (QS) through the OUAC (Ontario Unversities' Application Centre) website ( Secondary School prerequisites include English 4U, Advanced Functions 4U, Calculus and Vectors 4U, plus two of Physics 4U, Chemistry4U or Biology 4U. Visit for additional information regarding requirements and admission to Queen's.

Biology (BScH)
OUAC Code:
QS (Kingston Campus)
QB (Concurrent Education, Kingston Campus)
QIS (The Castle)

See Full Admission Requirements

After first year, in May, students will declare their area of study (major, minor, specialization, e.g.). The thresholds are competitive year to year and do change. The 2017-18 thresholds for Biology are: 1.6 Cumulative GPA with minimum C- in BIOL 103 for PENDING LIST or 1.9 Cumulative GPA with minimum B in BIOL 103 for AUTOMATIC ACCEPTANCE. For all specializations, there is no AUTOMATIC ACCEPTANCE. To be admitted to PENDING LIST for the Biology and Psychology (BIPS) specialization, you require a minimum 1.9 Cumulative GPA with a minimum B- in PSYC 100. To be admitted to PENDING LIST for the Biotechnology (BTEC) specialization, you require a minimum 1.9 Cumulative GPA. To be admitted to PENDING LIST for the Biology and Math specialization, you require a minimum 1.6 Cumulative GPA with a minimum C- in BIOL 103. To be admitted to PENDING LIST for the Environmental Biology specialization, you require a minimum 1.6 Cumulative GPA with a minimum C- in BIOL 103.

Information on Plan Selection


View Research Areas in Biology.

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.

On-line Application for MSc and PhD Programs

For information regarding Graduate Studies in Biology contact:

Joanne Surette, Graduate Studies Assistant

Room 3102
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)