Queen's University Biology

Departmental Student Council

Third Year

BIOL 302: Population & Evolutionary Ecology

This course was interesting and you get to spend a weekend at QUBS. Dr. Bonier was great as well. The way the course was formatted made it not about memorization or knowing the facts but about understanding the big pictures, which I liked.

BIOL 303: Community & Ecosystem Ecology
An introduction to the major ecological concepts at the community and ecosystem scales. Patterns and mechanisms underlying: community structure; biogeographic patterns; element cycles in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Environmental problems are assessed in terms of ecological principles. Laboratory work includes field studies as well as individual and group projects. No review available
BIOL 315: Plants for People
General groups of plants used for food, fibre, shelter and pleasure. The plant parts that are used and the conversion of these to consumer products will be surveyed. No review available
BIOL 321: Animal Behaviour
Animal Behaviour (BIOL 321) is hands-down my favourite Biology course at Queen's thus far. The course looks at several aspects of behaviour, from foraging habits to mating rituals, migration patterns to gene flow. The content covered is both interesting and applicable; you are easily able to connect what you learned in class to outside in nature. The course structure keeps you on top of the material without being overwhelming, and the final independent research paper gives you the opportunity to design, perform, and analyze your very own study! I would rate this class 10/10! 
BIOL 322: Enviroment Physiology of Animals
A comparative examination of interaction between animals and their environment including: physiological adaptations to extreme environments (e.g., arctic, desert); responses to acute and chronic environmental stress (e.g., hypoxia, temperature); environmental regulation of normal physiological processes; uses of comparative models in other fields. No review available.
BIOL 330: Cell Biology
Dr. Regan is a great professor and is eager to help and make sure that you understand the material. This course is not about memorization but about understanding what is actually happening. Dr. Regan tries to scare you off the start but if you go to lectures and focus on what she tells you, it’s a good course. The open book midterm and final do not mean that you don’t need to study or go to lecture. In fact, your notes often do not help you a lot.

BIOL 331: Anaytical Genomics

In this course, you will learn about the genome structure and current functional genomics methods used for the analysis of novel gene functions. Workload of this course is manageable; assignments are assigned biweekly with a midterm and a final. A large part of the course also focuses on using genome browser and other online databases to understand how gene structure relates to its function, which I found very practical.

BIOL 334: Comparative Biochemisty
This course was fairly easy in the way it was laid out. A course reader was provided to you and that had everything that you needed to know in it. The midterm, moodle quiz, and final exam questions were all based directly from that course reader. A fair amount of information was provided, but not very difficult (in my opinion), especially with a biology and chemistry background.
BIOL 339: Animal Physiology

Definitely one of the most interesting core biology courses! For people who aren't necessarily big fans of plants, this course focusing entirely on animals is an awesome alternative. The exams were extremely fair, and there were definitely no surprises. Even though there are three profs, their expectations are consistent and reasonable. If you have taken any human physiology courses, many of the concepts covered are review.  The final exam is a combination of multiple choice, true-false and an essay that gives a chance to demonstrate everything that you've learned. 

BIOL 341: Plant Physiology

I took Biology 341 in my second year, and found it to be extremely interesting and useful. The course was divided into two halves, the first taught by Dr. Ko and the second by Dr. Snedden. The first portion focussed on specific physiological processes such as phloem movement, nitrogen fixation and photosynthesis, and for me proved to be the most interesting half of the course. I found that it was very useful to make flow charts and watch Khan Academy type videos to learn this material. I also enjoyed the more broad application half that was the second half of the course. The course had iClicker component, a Poster Project and a Midterm with Final Exam - the grade distribution was fair and the Poster Project was a great opportunity to practice making a poster before fourth year. 


This is a pretty good course, fairly easy to do well in as long as you go to class and pay attention. A little dry at times but the profs do try to make it a little interesting. The course is split into two halves. Dr. Ko teaches the first part about photosynthesis, water transportation, metabolism while Dr. Snedden teaches the second part regarding plant hormones and plant development. The marks are broken down into iClicker (5%), 4 quizzes (20%), 1 research project (10%), 1 midterm (20%), and 1 exam (45%).

BIOL 343: Advanced Stats for Biologists

This course covers topics such as data management, data visualization and statistical analysis using the linear model in R. Lectures also covered statistical literacy using examples from research literature. Workload of this course is very manageable and I found the prof (Dr. Montgomerie) and TA very approachable and helpful.

BIOL 350: Evolution and Human Affairs

This course provides an overview of the evolutionary roots of modern human society, with main topics including social/cultural evolution and human nature. This includes questions like ‘Where are we’, ‘How did we get here’, ‘What are we’, and ‘Where are we heading’. Respectively, this explores our current state of civilization (is it failing/thriving), our evolutionary history that makes us who we are today, an exploration of human behaviours and cultural norms, and finally theories about how we will continue as a species. Course breakdown is 10% online discussion (post one question to the forum and respond to three), 10% iClicker, 15% bi-weekly online quizzes, 15% poster assignment on a relevant topic, and a 50% final exam with questions drawn from a bank given in pieces throughout the course. The material is generally interesting, Dr. Aarssen is an enthusiastic lecturer for this course, and is fairly marked – would definitely recommend!

BIOL 360: Biotechnology and Society

This course introduced a broad range of topics in the biotechnology field, including industrial biotechnology, pharmaceutical biotechnology, agricultural biotechnology (animal and plants), and medically related biotechnology. The material was clearly laid out in the lecture notes and touched upon both scientific and societal perspectives associated with the biotechnology. Guest lecturers also provided insight about the different technologies, including plant biotechnology and clinical trials. The course breakdown includes a midterm, biweekly tutorials (with a written component for marks), a term paper and an outline, and a final exam. If you are interested in a general introduction to biotechnology and enjoy Dr. Lefebvre’s teaching style, then this is a great course.

BIOL 369: Sex and Evolution
Why sex? The evolutionary origins and consequences of sex and sexual reproduction. Topics include costs and benefits of sexual reproduction, the evolution and coevolution of sexes, gametes and genitalia, mating systems, gender differences and sex determination throughout the biotic world. No review available.