Biology

Students in the biology program have the opportunity to volunteer and/or work with our dedicated faculty conducting scientific research. Our five full-time faculty members hire approximately 10 students each summer and many more volunteer or take Work Study positions working with faculty during the fall and winter semesters.  Many of these students have the opportunity to co-author peer-reviewed publications that they work on with faculty. Our faculty have set up our research programs to produce these opportunities because they believe it is a wonderful complement to their regular studies.

A key element of the four-year biology is the honours thesis course. Keeping with the theme of pursuing academic research, our fourth-year biology students have the chance to design, research, and carry-out their own ideas in order to complete the research component of their honours thesis. Students will be guided by a thesis supervisor who will oversee their work to completion.  Students will be required to perform background research, plan and execute a research strategy, analyze the collected research, and present and defend their methods. Students’ final findings will then be placed on display in the Essar Convergence Centre for all University members and the public to see.  We take pride in our students’ work and achievements.

Our biology students also have the unique opportunity to pursue further education and research due to the partnerships that exist between nearby governmental research organizations and Algoma University. Algoma U and the Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC) have shared a partnership since 2003, and as of January 2008, a new partnership has been established with the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Ontario Forest Research Institute (OFRI). These partnerships benefit students by allowing researchers to become involved with academic programming, serve as adjunct professors, and provide students with both valuable research opportunities and access to state-of-the-art laboratories.  The facilities for both GLFC and OFRI are within a 10-minute walk from campus – this close proximity also aids in student involvement.  Students are encouraged to become involved with the various research labs in order to gain real world experience in the field of biology. Please visit our Partnerships webpage for more information.

Algoma University is located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Sault Ste. Marie is surrounded by a diverse collection of natural systems. Within the city limits, there are large tracts of forests and fields, fast moving rivers, swamps, bogs, and even the shoreline of one of the world’s largest lakes: Lake Superior. Plus, our city is home to various wildlife including bears, cougars, lynx, moose, deer, fox, weasels, and various bird species.  Not many cities can boast that kind of habitat diversity, or the biological diversity associated with it.  Needless to say, the region here is rich in biology – the perfect place for a student to come to explore the biological study of living things.

Learn more about biology at Algoma University by clicking here.

Why study biology?  To study the science of life itself! You will learn all about living systems—from their fundamental cellular and molecular operation to how whole organisms function and interact with their environment. Biology includes a vast array of sub-disciplines, including ecology, genetics, physiology, anatomy, evolution, and developmental biology.

In studying Biology, you’ll develop skills in analytical reasoning, critical thinking, scientific analysis, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication.  The Biology program is built on a foundation of student involvement. With dynamic professors, newly renovated teaching and lab facilities, and small class sizes, our students learn and work in an engaging atmosphere that encourages practical experience in the lab and field.

Our faculty members have active graduate and undergraduate research programs in genetics, ecology, behavior, evolution, physiology, and plant science. Professors often invite undergrads to assist with ongoing research, providing experience that is highly-valued by graduate schools and future employers. Students can also work as research or teaching assistants and have the opportunity to pursue their own research through our Biology honours degree program. In addition, Biology students can apply for professional experience through the Co-operative Education program. Students also benefit from taking part in an active student society, field course offerings, and stud-y-abroad programs

Sample courses offered:

  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Organismal and Ecological Biology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Biology
  • Ecology
  • Vertebrate Anatomy and PhysiologyEvolutionary BiologyBiostatistics
  • Microbiology
  • Biology of Cancer

Future career opportunities:

  • Wildlife conservation officer
  • Geneticist
  • Laboratory technician
  • Environmental consultant
  • Science policy advisor
  • Science communication
  • Entry into professional programs, including patent law and health sciences
  • Entry into graduate school

Recent Biology and Chemistry graduate Henry Annan first-authored a published research paper by the time he was in third year. He also received many scholarships and awards, including the prestigious Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada's Undergraduate Student Research Award (NSERC-USRA).

Henry says the best thing about being a student at Saint Mary's is "that you are part of a diverse and friendly community of students, and the professors are always helpful and supportive."

Learn more about biology at Saint Mary's University by clicking here.

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