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The Curriculum

The Biology curriculum is taken within the three year, 90-credit BSc or BASC; it follows a two-year CEGEP program or McGill’s Freshman Program, or equivalent. Minimum entrance requirements include two courses in Biology, two in Chemistry, two in Math and one or two in Physics, depending on program and courses chosen.

The Department offers the following Programs of Study:

B. Sc. - Bachelor of Science:
1) Liberal Program in Biology
2) Major Program in Biology - includes an Option in Quantitative Biology
3) Joint Major in Biology and Mathematics
4) *Joint Major in Computer Science and Biology
5) *Joint Honours in Computer Science and Biology
6) Honours Program in Biology - includes an Option in Quantitative Biology
7) Minor Program in Biology
8) Minor in Biotechnology

BASC - Bachelor of Arts and Science:
1) Major Concentrations in Biology
2) Minor Concentrations in Biology

* These programs are administered by the Department of Computer Sciences

The Department also coordinates B. Sc. Minor in Biotechnology and the Minor in Science for Arts Students


Liberal Program in Biology
The Liberal Program in Biology is less specialized than the Major Program.
It comprises a core Science component in Biology, and a breadth component (generally, but not always, a minor) in another area of study.

Major Program in Biology
Students following the Major Program in Biology receive a general education in all aspects of Biology in the first year. In the final two years, students may follow a more specialized concentration, or may continue to take courses from diverse areas of Biology. A Major Program in Biology can also be combined with a Minor Program in another department in Science, Arts, Management or other programs.

Biology Major or Honours: Quantitative Biology Option
Interdisciplinary research that draws from the natural and physical sciences is an important aspect of modern biology. The Quantitative Biology option is designed for students with a deep interest in biology who wish to gain a strong grounding in physical sciences and their application to biological questions. The program has two streams; an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology stream and a Physical Biology stream. Both streams provide a balance of theory and experimental components.

Joint Major in Biology and Mathematics
This program is built on a selection of mathematics and biology courses that recognizes mathematical biology as a field of research, with three streams within biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Ecology, Molecular Evolution, and Neuroscience.
Joint Major or Joint Honours in Computer Science and Biology
This program trains students in the fundamentals of Biology – with a focus on Molecular Biology – and will give them the computational and mathematical skills needed to handle and analyze large biological data sets. Students may choose an unofficial stream.

Honours Program in Biology
The Honours Program in Biology is designed to provide students with an enriched training in Biology and more extensive research experience in a chosen area. A student may apply to enter the Honours program from the Biology Major at the end of the U2 year.

Minor Program in Biology
This 24 credit sequence of Biology courses may be selected by science students taking their primary programs in other departments.

Minor Program in Biotechnology
This is a 24-credit minor offered by both Science and Engineering. There are 15 credits of required courses and 9 credits of complementary courses.


Major Concentration in Biology for the B.A. & Sc. Degree
This Major Concentration in Biology which is restricted to students in the B.A. & Sc., is a planned sequence of courses designed to permit a degree of specialization in either cell/molecular or organismal  biology.

Minor Concentration in Biology for the B.A. & Sc. Degree
This Minor Concentration in Biology, which is restricted to students in the B.A. & Sc., is a sequence of courses designed to yield a broad introduction to either cell/molecular or organismal biology.

Research Opportunities

McGill is a research oriented university and the Department of Biology offers students a variety of opportunities to engage in exciting research projects. These may be grouped under two headings: the Honours Research Program and Independent Research Projects.

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Chairman's Welcome Message


Biology is the study of life. Its scope ranges from the molecular to the ecosystem. It deals with fundamental questions such as the origin and evolution of plants and animals, interactions between living organisms and their environment, mechanisms of embryonic development, structure and function of the living cell and its organelles, molecular basis of inheritance, biochemical and genetic basis of human diseases, and the operation of the brain and the nervous system.

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