Welcome to the Biology Department!


Chairman's 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. The study of Biology has vast practical applications in agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, genetic engineering, environmental protection and conservation.

The programs in Biology provide students with an introduction to the broad spectrum of Biological Sciences in contrast to more specialized programs in Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Physiology and Anatomy and Cell Biology. A B.Sc. degree in Biology prepares students for a wide range of employment opportunities, as well as entry to professional schools in medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, agriculture, nursing, education and library science. It also provides solid background for those interested in careers related to environmental protection, wildlife management, biotechnology and genetic engineering. A B.Sc. degree in Biology can also lead to post-graduate studies and research careers in universities, research institutes, hospitals, and industrial or governmental laboratories.

The Department of Biology's well-equipped research laboratories are located in the Stewart Biology Building, 1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue and in the adjacent Bellini Life Sciences Building. Academic staff members, research associates, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students carry out research in areas of molecular biology, human genetics, ecology, animal behaviour, developmental biology, neurobiology, marine biology, plant biology and evolution. Biology's teaching and research resources are extended by affiliation with the Redpath Museum, the hospitals and research institutes of the McGill University Health Centre, the Montreal Neurological Institute, the Sheldon Biotechnology Institute and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. Field courses are taught at the research facilities of the Gault Nature Reserve at Mont St. Hilaire, the Morgan Arboretum, the Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados, and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in New Brunswick. In addition, field stations near Lake Memphremagog and at Schefferville in northern Quebec are available for research projects. Field Study Semesters are offered in Panama and in East Africa.

Undergraduate students are represented by the MBSU (McGill Biology Students Union) in the Departmental Assembly and in Standing Committees.

Our Bluebook provides more detailed information on our programs and courses than can fit in the University Calendar. We hope you find it useful!

Gregor Fussmann
Chair, Department of Biology