Jun 07, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Academic Calendar 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Academic Calendar [ARCHIVED CALENDAR]

Biological Science – Marine Biology specialization

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General information

Within the Marine Biology specialization, students will learn about marine ecosystems and organisms, as well as have experiential learning opportunities in the marine environment via a semester abroad at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).

BIOS is a world-renowned institute with financial support from government, corporate and private investors. Located in Bermuda, BIOS is near to the Sargasso Sea, one of the world’s most diverse open-ocean ecosystems, and it is also home to some of the world’s most northern coral reefs, allowing researchers from around the globe an opportunity to study corals. Their facilities and equipment include the research vessel (R/V) ‘Atlantic Explorer’, a U.S. flagged University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) ocean class vessel, operated by BIOS, that provides faculty and staff (as well as visiting scientists and students) with well-equipped floating labs to support numerous scientific endeavors in the ocean environment.

Admission requirements

Admission is competitive. The specific average or standing required for admission varies from year to year. Students are selected by taking into consideration a wide range of criteria including school marks, distribution of subjects taken, and performance in subjects relevant to the academic program. Possession of the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Preference will be given to applicants with the best qualifications.

Current Ontario secondary school students must complete the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) with six 4U or 4M credits including English (ENG4U), Advanced Functions (MHF4U), and two of Biology (SBI4U), Calculus and Vectors (MCV4U), Chemistry (SCH4U), or Physics (SPH4U). In addition, a combined minimum 70 per cent average in math and science courses is required. It is recommended that all four MCV4U, SBI4U, SCH4U and SPH4U be taken. All other applicants should refer to admissions  for the requirements for their specific category of admission.

Additional admission and program progression requirements

A minimum equivalent GPA of 2.5 is required for admission to BIOS courses. Students will be assessed for progression in the Marine Biology specialization at the end of their second year and will be required to have completed the core 1000- and 2000-level courses of the Biological Science program, have a CGPA of 2.5 or higher, and be in clear academic standing. Additionally, students will also be required to have proof of swimming proficiency. 

Program details and degree requirements

In addition to the regular program, a co-op program is also available. Students in Biological Science – Marine Biology Specialization wishing to follow the co-op program should seek academic advising early in their second year.

Although reasonable efforts will be made to adhere to the following program details, course requirements and term offerings may change.

Students must successfully complete 120 credit hours according to the requirements below.

First-year required science courses - 27 credit hours

Upper-year specialization** - 12 credit hours in Biological Science

All students must successfully complete at least 12 credit hours in additional courses in biological science at the third- or fourth-year level, with a minimum of six of these credit hours at the fourth-year level. The six credit hours at the fourth-year level may be through BIOL 4410U – Biology Thesis Project I  and BIOL 4420U – Biology Thesis Project II ***.

Additional science courses* - total of 27 credit hours

These science courses must include:

Liberal Studies and non-science courses - 12 credit hours

These courses must be in subjects not taught within the Faculty of Science.

General Electives - 12 credit hours

These courses may be in science or in non-science subjects.


The program must include 36 credit hours in science courses at the third- and fourth-year level; of these, at least 12 credit hours must be at the fourth-year level. No more than 42 credit hours may be taken at the first-year level.

**Upper-year specialization recommendations:

Students in the Marine Biology specialization are recommended to take the following courses:

***Thesis Project or Senior Biology electives

Students in clear academic standing who have completed 90 credit hours of their BIOL program and six third-year required courses may optionally apply to take a two-course sequence consisting of BIOL 4410U – Biology Thesis Project I  and BIOL 4420U – Biology Thesis Project II . Students not accepted to take the thesis courses must complete two additional senior biology electives instead. A senior biology elective is defined as any 4000-level biology course not specified in the course map. Opportunities for the Thesis Project are limited; students must apply through Science Advising by March 30 following completion of the first three years of the program.

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