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Graduate Courses

Some guidelines

  • Master's students who are accepted in the qualifying category will do more course work than the program minimum. 
  • Fully-qualified students may wish to take more than the required minimum hours in order to make full use of available courses or research facilities. 
  • Permission to register in courses outside the prescribed program requires a demonstration of relevance to the program of studies and is subject to approval by the head of the academic unit and the Dean of FGSR. 
  • Graduate students may obtain permission to audit courses. Auditing students may attend lectures, but may otherwise participate in classes only to the extent permitted by the instructor. The deadline for students to change from credit to audit or audit to credit is the add/drop deadline.
  • Up to half the course work in a graduate program may consist of Directed Readings/Special Topics courses. Therefore, at least half the program must be comprised of stand-alone or integrated courses.
  • Up to half the course work to be credited to a student's program may be undertaken with the supervisor as the course instructor.
  • In the Biology graduate programs, senior (400-level) undergraduate courses may be used as credit only if they are upgraded to 800-level “integrated” courses

For more information please see our Abridged Program Guide for Biology Graduate Students

Graduate courses

BIOL 801 Comprehensive Exam on the PhD Research Area (3 credit hours)

A departmental committee will examine the candidate's knowledge in the area(s) of Biology related to the student's research proposal. Students will submit a comprehensive research proposal, which will serve as the basis for an oral examination. Required of all PhD students, to be completed in the first 12 months of the program. Course Outline

BIOL 802 Comprehensive Review of a Selected Topic in Biology (3 credit hours)

The student will write and present an in-depth literature review of current knowledge in an area of biology (selected in consultation with the department Head and supervisor). At an oral examination, a departmental committee will examine the candidate’s knowledge related to the review. Required of all PhD students, to be completed in the first 20 months of the program. Course Outline

BIOL 803 Scientific Research Skills for Biological Sciences in Graduate Students (3 credit hours)

This course develops general skills and knowledge in the field of scientific research. Students will be introduced to the philosophy of science with discussions about how to identify important and feasible research topics. Students will also be taught about communicating with the media, giving clear oral presentations and posters, and will have the opportunity to do extensive writing and oral presentations which will be rigorously critiqued by a number of faculty members. Course Outline 2019
Pre-requisite: Admission to a MSc program in Biological Sciences

BIOL 810 Modelling Biological Data (3 credit hours)
A guide to contemporary statistical models for biological data. Emphasizes practical skills in using software for implementing models, testing hypotheses, and making predictions about biological and ecological systems. Prior programming experience is recommended.

BIOL 887 Research Seminar (1 credit hour)

The BIOL 887 requirement is met by presenting either during the Graduate Seminar (a 10 min GS presentation), which is offered once in the Fall Semester and once in the Winter Semester as part of the Biology Dept. Seminar Series, or by presenting a Departmental Seminar (DS, 60 min presentation). The following guidelines indicate when and what type of seminar you will give, according to the program you are in.
  • Incoming MSc and PhD students deliver a GS in the Winter Semester.
  • Year 2 MSc and PhD student who presented a GS in their first Winter Semester do NOT have to give a GS in year 2.
  • Year 2 MSc students who are defending within two years of starting their program must give a DS in year 2.
  • Third and subsequent year MSc and PhD students must present a GS every Fall unless they have a DS in the fall semester. A Winter semester DS does NOT get them out of a Fall GS.

BIOL 888 Seminars in Biology (1 credit hour)

Seminars by invited speakers. All graduate students must register for two semester hours, but should attend each semester while in residence. This course is given in conjunction with BIOL 488 during the fall and winter semesters.

BIOL 901 Research (1-15 credit hours - variable)

Original research, required of all Master’s and Doctoral candidates. The minimum aggregate number of semester hours of thesis credit varies for different programs. (See specific program). The section numbers for research hours are linked to individual supervisors.

Graduate 800/900 level courses of specific title and description

Courses established to broaden the perspective and expand advanced knowledge in a particular discipline or professional field. Courses are complex and designed to extend the knowledge and intellectual maturity of students beyond the baccalaureate.

Graduate 800/900 Selected Topics Courses

The category of Selected Topics is reserved for courses that have a defined subject area and for which the adequacy of library resources are/should be known. (As examples, in the AA-ZZ series of courses, Selected Topics in Financial Management or Selected Topics in Inorganic Chemistry, or Advanced Studies in Canadian Literature) will be categorized as a Selected Topics courses and formally-approved, whereas the more broadly based courses for which formal approval and library holdings are not know should be labeled Special Topics).

Graduate 800/900 level Special Topics or Directed Readings Courses:

These courses have not received a formal review by the academic units and the Library, and require the approval of the Head of the academic unit and the Dean of the FGSR. The purpose of this category is to facilitate offerings on a wide variety of topics of relevance, allowing exploration of numerous theories, principles, models and strategies. These courses permit new or visiting faculty to offer a course in an area of expertise where otherwise the approval process would not permit a timely offering. They also allow academic units to experiment with offerings rather than having to commit to a formal approval process without being able to determine demand. As well, they provide an opportunity for students who have individual interests or graduation requirements to be accommodated. These courses may be stand-alone graduate courses or co-scheduled with a fourth-year undergraduate course, although it is recognized that there may be occasions where co-scheduling with a third-year course may be appropriate (requires that a rationale for such be made by the academic unit). If co-scheduled, the requirements and expectations to warrant an 800/700-level designation must be specified on the approval request form.

Integrated courses.

These are titled or Selected Topics graduate courses that are regularly co-scheduled with a formally-approved, fourth-year undergraduate courses, and are identified in the graduate calendar as Course Name 8XX (4XX), or 7XX (4XX), e.g. HIST 805 (405), where the 4XX defines the corresponding undergraduate course. When co-scheduled, the syllabus is to define the expectations and other distinctive aspects pertaining to 800/700-level credit, which may include separate reading lists, assignments, and final examinations. The course has been critically assessed by the academic unit and the corresponding faculty, verified by the Library and approved at Executive Council.

An integrated course may not be taken for credit at the graduate level (i.e., HIST 805) if the student has already completed the undergraduate course component (i.e., HIST 405). An exception is seminar format courses (SOC 404/804), which may be repeated, but the method of grading at the graduate level will be as Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit.
A formally-approved course may be delivered as lecture, seminar, laboratory or independent study. Directed Readings herein is limited to courses where formal approval has not been received and will effectively be delivered as an independent study.