Biology Courses & Programs

For a list of Biology courses and programs, please click on the links below:

For the course timetable, please click on the Course Timetable link below:

For questions and additional information on courses and programs, please contact the Biology Undergraduate Academic Advisor Diane Matias at

2021-2022 Course Information

Information for 2021 Incoming Life Science students

Head Start Program:

First Year Course Enrollment 2021 FAQ

Students will be informed if they will be offered a spot in the course a couple weeks after enrolling in the course. For all courses, except BIO434H5, please contact Stephanie do Rego ( with questions.

Please email Diane Matias ( if you wish to be considered for BIO434H5 after enrolling in this course.


BIO311H5F - Landscape Ecology
Fall 2021
Prof. Helene Wagner

Landscape ecology asks how spatial patterns originate and how they affect ecological processes like forest dynamics, nutrient cycling, species interactions, and the distribution and population dynamics of plants and animals. Lectures and computer labs introduce students to concepts and methods of landscape ecology and their application to current issues of land-use management and global change. The students will learn to apply GIS, spatial statistics, landscape metrics, and modelling to address problems in conservation, biodiversity, and ecosystem management. [24L, 24P]

Exclusion: GGR311H5|
BIO205H5 and permission of instructor
BIO360H5 or STA215H5 or STA220H5

CGPA of 2.00 is required


BIO324H5S - Plant Biochemistry
Spring 2022
Prof. Michael Phillips

This course examines plants as the biochemical motors and sustainers of life on earth. The major pathways of plant metabolism are surveyed to provide students with an integrated model of plant cells as autonomous biochemical networks. This course further emphasizes the specialized metabolism of economically significant plant species, the biosynthesis of pharmacologically and agriculturally important metabolites, and the role of biotechnology in engineering exotic plant metabolism in industrial settings. [36L]

Exclusion: CSB475H1
Prerequisites: BIO203H5 and BIO206H5 and CHM120H5 or permission of instructor
Recommended Prep: BIO312H5 and CHM242H5 and CHM362H5


BIO408H5F - Neural Circuit Structure and Function
Fall 2021
Prof. Baohua Liu

This course covers contemporary topics in systems neuroscience, focusing on the relationship between the circuit structure and function of mammalian brains. We review the current understanding of topics concerning signal transduction and the peripheral circuits, information processing in the central nerve system, neuronal cell types and connectivity, development and critical period plasticity of sensory cortices, and motor control. Students present and critique the latest research progress on these issues.

Exclusion: BIO483H5 Winter 2019
Prerequisites: BIO202H5 or BIO304H5 or Permission of Instructor.


BIO419H5F - Mammalian Gene Regulation
Fall 2021
Prof. Ho Sung Rhee

The study of gene regulation is tightly linked to our understanding of cell types and functions in developmental biology. This course provides an overview of the field of mammalian gene regulation, including transcription, regulatory RNAs, chromatin regulation, and genomics. Students will read, critique, and present recently published research articles on gene regulation in mammalian development. [24L, 12S]

Exclusion: BIO484H5 Fall 2018 or MGY420H1
Prerequisites: BIO207H5 and BIO372H5 or permission of instructor


BIO434H5S - Social and Developmental Determinants of Human Health
Spring 2022
Prof. TBD

This course encourages students to explore the relationship between social conditions and health outcomes. Topics may vary across years. Topics include the importance of the early years, interactions between the environment and the genes, epigenetic influences on health, sensitive periods of development, the influence of nutrition on health, the interaction between social policy, medical care, social class and human health. The students direct the learning experience in groups as they engage in case-based and problem-based learning. Note: Students interested in this course must contact the Biology Undergraduate Advisor to enroll.

Prerequisites: permission of instructor


BIO475H5S - Virology
Spring 2022
Prof. TBD

Virology examines the biology of viruses infecting all forms of life including humans and other animals, plants, eukaryotic microorganisms, and bacteria. The scope ranges from the molecular biology of virus replication to virus evolution and ecology. Current issues surrounding virology and society are incorporated into the course including vaccines, emerging viruses, and even consideration of practical applications of viruses. [24L, 24S]

Exclusion: CSB351Y1
Prerequisites: permission of instructor and (BIO370Y5 or BIO371H5 or BIO372H5)
Recommended Prep: BIO373H5

Students interested in this course should enroll on ROSI/Acorn as usual. The Department will review student requests and approve those who will be offered a spot in the course. Eligible students should meet the course pre-requisites, have a strong CGPA and be enrolled in a Biology Program (preference is given to specialist students).

BIO477H5F - The Human Genome and Cancer Biology
Fall 2021
Prof. TBD

The first part of the course examines the structure and molecular biology of the human genome. Topics will include: the sequencing of the human genome; variation between genomes; and various aspects of functional genomics such as a brief overview of how gene expression is regulated and how genomics is being utilized in health and medicine. Techniques such as high throughput sequencing will be covered. The second part of the course examines the molecular and genetic basis of cancer including the role of oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes and cell cycle regulating proteins in the development of this disease. It also looks at cancer from a functional genomics perspective. Lectures and seminars involve presentations and discussion of recently published research articles. [36L, 12S]

Exclusion: MGY470H1
Prerequisites: (BIO370Y5 or BIO372H5) and permission of instructor
Recommended Prep: BIO314H5 and BIO315H5

Students interested in this course should enroll on ROSI/Acorn as usual. Preference in this course is given to 4th year students in the Molecular Biology Specialist and the Bioinformatics Specialist. Second preference is given to other students with the pre-requisites. Generally students in the Biology Minor and Biology Science Major are not approved in this course.


BIO481Y5Y - Biology Research Project
Full Year
Prof. Mark Currie

Students in this course will conduct a research project under the supervision of a faculty member in the Department of Biology. The course is open to third and fourth year students. Students learn how to design, carry out, and evaluate the results of a research project. Students are required to write and present a research proposal, write a term paper, and present a seminar on the results of their research project. All students interested in a research project must approach potential faculty supervisors several months in advance of the beginning of term. Students must obtain permission from the faculty member whom they would like to serve as their project supervisor. Students must meet with the course coordinator periodically throughout the academic year.

Exclusion: BIO400Y5 or JCB487Y5
Prerequisites: permission of instructor

Interested students should enroll on Acorn as usual and they must provide Stephanie do Rego ( with the name of a research professor who has agreed to supervise their project by the end of the second week of classes in September. Students will remain INT until the supervisor has been confirmed.


2021-2022 Special Topics Courses


BIO483H5S – Special Topics in Biology I
Title: Algorithms and The Brain
Instructor: Dr. Arbora Resulaj

This class will cover the fundamental principles of biological data analysis using big neuroscience datasets as examples. Topics covered will include methods to sample data, regression, and classification. In parallel, we will ask how the brain itself might analyze externally and internally generated streams of data.

Prerequisites: Completion of 8.0 credits including BIO152, BIO153, MAT132H and MAT134H or MAT135Y, and STA215H


BIO484H5S: Special Topics in Biology II
Title: Biological data science (or Topics in Biological Data Science)

Instructor: Dr. Alex Nguyen Ba

Biology has become a data-driven science with the arrival of complex datasets in genomics, imaging and other technologies. Extracting meaningful information from these large-scale experiments requires approaches that unify statistics and computer science. This course examines major concepts in statistics and methodologies for data science in the field of biology. By exploring fundamental problems in biology (such as the field of genetics, evolution, microscopy imaging, and development), the course will focus on strengthening mathematical intuition on core topics such as hypothesis testing, statistical models, and regression, while connecting these concepts to classification and machine learning.

Prerequisites: STA215H5, BIO360H5. It is recommended that students also have taken BIO361H5.


BIO483H5F – Special Topics in Biology I
Title: Molecular Mechanisms of Memory 
Instructor: Dr. Brandon Walters

BIO483H5F, Molecular Mechanisms of Memory,  will focus on cellular and molecular pathways that underpin memory formation. This class will cover synaptic plasticity, signaling cascades activated in synapses during learning, and the contributions of epigenetics and epitranscriptomics to memory formation. We will end the class with an in depth exploration of neurological diseases, optogenetics, advanced uses of CRISPR/Cas9 for brain research, and the new observations around implantable false memories.

Pre-requisites: This class requires 9.0 biology credits including: Bio304.