Life Sciences

The Life Sciences program at Queen’s University is one of our 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 focusing on human life. The Life Sciences plan offers courses ranging from human anatomy and physiology to the bacteria and viruses that compromise organ function to the cells that give rise to carcinomas and to the drugs that are used to cure us from infection and disease. 

Maclean’s Canadian Universities Guidebook cited Life Sciences at Queen’s as a Standout Program, having strength in “the integration of basic health sciences with natural and physical science.” Students are drawn to the strengths of the program, which include their ability to explore specific interests in Cancer Biology, Cardiorespiratory Sciences, Drug Development and Human Toxicology or Neurosciences.

The Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences is responsible for Biochemistry Plans (General/Minor (Science), Major, Specialization) and plays a primary role in the Life Sciences Plans (General/Minor (Science), Major, Specialization). The Department is a unique amalgam of scientists and teachers who share a common goal: to ameliorate the consequences of disease and trauma by training the next generation of health care scientists and professionals.  To meet this goal, the Department draws on the depth and breadth of the scientific expertise of its members.  Contemporary courses are offered in the anatomical, biochemical, microbiological, immunological, pharmacological, and physiological sciences and in a wide range of cross-disciplinary studies (e.g. cardiovascular and respiratory sciences, drug development, cancer biology and genetics, neuroscience).  These courses are integral to the various Biochemistry and Life Sciences Plans.

Top 5 Reasons to study Life Sciences:

  1. Preparation for a career in healthcare or biomedical research.
  2. Cutting edge research in drug development and human toxicology, cancer biology, genetics, reproduction, microbiology, experimental medicine, and neuroscience.
  3. Our internship program (QUIP) offers a range of careers to explore and companies to learn from.
  4. Summer research (SWEP) assistant positions with professors.
  5. Home to the Cancer Research Institute, the Centre for Neuroscience Studies, and the Cardiac, Circulation, and Respiratory Group.

“Life Sciences opened my eyes to the opportunities and careers available in the science field. The hands-on labs gave me practical experience that was extremely valuable for my subsequent studies.”
                                                                                                                                       -Jan Slipka, BScH ‘14

Location: 
Botterell Hall
Room number: 
650
Telephone: 
Undergraduate Chair: 
Louise Winn
Undergraduate Assistant: 
Katherine Rudder

Degree Options

Bachelor of Science (Honours) - BScH

Specialization in Life Sciences
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the subject of study.

Specialization in Environmental Life Sciences
An intensive course of study with approximately two-thirds of your courses within the subject of study.

Major in Life Sciences
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 Life Sciences
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

Online Bachelor of Science (General)

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

Job and Career Opportunities for Life Science Grads

Alumni Job Statistics

  • 5% of alumni work in GOVERNMENT
  • 9% of alumni work in PHARMACEUTICALS
  • 27% of alumni work in EDUCATION & RESEARCH
  • 33% of alumni work in HEALTH CARE

Life Sciences is an interdisciplinary program providing a broad background in Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Physiology. The Queen's Life Sciences program is unmatched in preparation for graduate studies in biomedical sciences as well as for opportunities in the marketplace, especially in the pharmaceutical industry. It is particularly important for the students to appreciate that with a Life Sciences degree they can contribute to society in a variety of health science disciplines and other related fields through many career opportunities in professional disciplines, academic and other research institutions, and industry. A large proportion of the graduates of this program choose a career in medicine or graduate studies and research in health sciences. Others enter programs in Dentistry, Optometry, Law, Hospital or Health Administration, Public Policy, and Business Administration.

Where could Life Science students go after graduation?

  • Animal research
  • Audiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Dentistry
  • Drug development
  • Environmental management
  • Epidemiology
  • Ergonomics
  • Food science and technology
  • Forensics
  • Genetics
  • Health administration
  • Kinesiology
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Kinesiology
  • Law
  • Medical and clinical research
  • Medical illustration
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Nutrition & dietetics
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Physical therapy
  • Public and private research laboratories
  • Public health
  • Toxicology

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

Note that some of these careers may require additional certifications.

Undergraduate Course Highlights

After taking foundational courses in Biology and Chemistry, students participate in core courses that explore human anatomy/physiology, pharmacology, and microbiology. In the third and fourth years, students can choose from a wide variety of class and laboratory based courses that cover topics including biochemistry, pathology, and epidemiology. Research projects in fourth year for Specialization students can focus on a broad range of fields including Cancer Biology, Cardiorespiratory Sciences, Drug Discovery and Human Toxicology, and Neurosciences, as well as Public Health Sciences, Reproductive Biology and Gastrointestinal Function.

One course well-loved by students is LISC 300: The Process of Discovery in the
Biomedical Sciences; wherein teams of students identify the critical questions that must be answered to resolve major controversies or gaps of knowledge that impede the application of fundamental principles in the life sciences to health care. The end product will be a written report and public presentation that is accessible to a wide audience.

Undergraduate Admission to Life Sciences

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

Life Sciences (BScH)
OUAC Code:
QS (Kingston Campus)
QF (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 Life Sciences are: 2.0 Cumulative GPA with pass in CHEM 112 for PENDING LIST or 3.2 Cumulative GPA with pass in CHEM 112 for AUTOMATIC ACCEPTANCE for both majorr and specialization. For Environmental Life Sciences Specialization there is no AUTOMATIC ACCEPTANCE, but to be put on PENDING LIST a minimum 2.5 Cumulative GPA is required.

NOTE:  It is strongly recommended that students considering admission to a Plan in LISC take BIOL102/103; CHEM112; MATH121; PHYS117 and 6.0 units of elective courses in their first year.  Students who complete less than 27.0 units in their first year may not be considered eligible for admission to a Plan in LISC.

Information on plan selection