Our Biology Program
With Algoma U being located in Sault Ste. Marie - a home to a diverse collection of natural systems - there’s no better place for students to explore the biological study of living things.
Taking the step to studying biology at Algoma U will grant you a pathway into one of the most mysterious disciplines left on the planet. Scientists estimate that there are between five and 40 million species on the earth, yet, scientists have only identified between one and two million species, meaning that there are still as many as 38 million species to be identified! If you have a questing mind, who seeks to invent, or are in search for answers to complicated questions about the human body, biology could be the perfect fit you.
Our campus location 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. Though this breadth of biology can be intimidating, the family-feel of the program has helped motivate students tremendously.
Our program is designed to teach students how to be scientists. The skills required in science, the careful use of research, experimentation, logic, with an understanding of statistics and parsimony, are those that our students can apply to many aspect of their lives. Our past graduates have pursued a career path
in research, healthcare, education, environmental management and conservation, museums, aquariums, zoos, parks, nature centres, biotechnology, forensic science, politics and policy, economics, business and industry, science writing, communication, and many more. The rest is your to discover!
Student in the biology program have the option to specialize in Health Sciences. The specialization consists of 30 credits from a list that includes courses in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, Humanities and Social Sciences. The specialization provides all of the courses students need to get into medical school, pharmacy, dentistry, epidemiology, optometry, nursing, physiotherapy, veterinary medicine, graduate school, and more.
This program is offered under the written consent of the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities granted for the period from 09/17/2015 to 09/17/2022. Prospective students are responsible for satisfying themselves that the program and the degree will be appropriate to their needs (e.g. acceptable to potential employers, professional licensing bodies or other educational institutions).
What You Can Expect
Hands-on learning, a close-knit campus community, and caring faculty.
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Specialization in Health Sciences
This specialization provides all of the courses students need to get into medical school, pharmacy, dentistry, epidemiology, optometry, nursing, physiotherapy, veterinary medicine, graduate school, and more.
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Introduction to Biology
The first year will lay down the general groundwork for biology, with a mix of lectures and labs to offer plenty of hands-on learning.
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Honours Thesis Course
Students work with a faculty supervisor to complete an independent research project. Each student will develop a research question, and then work to investigate.
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Work alongside our dedicated faculty
Our faculty hire students every summer to conduct valuable research and help out within the Department of Biology. These work placements help build students’ resumes, but also provide students with the opportunity to publish their research findings – a rare opportunity for undergraduates!
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Pursue research with government organizations
Due to our unique partnerships with the Great Lakes Forestry Centre and the Ontario Forest Research Institute, our students can pursue further educational research at nearby governmental organizations – a great complement to their studies at Algoma U.
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Learn in state-of-the-art laboratories
Students in biology study in the Convergence Centre, a 57-000-square-foot facility, which features state-of-the-art teaching and research laboratories, all accessible to our students.
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Get hands-on experience outside of the classroom
We believe that students learn best by getting their hands dirty. Our students take part in field work outside of the classroom, conducting plant and animal research studies.
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Study biology where there’s plenty of it
Algoma U is located in Sault Ste. Mare, Ontario and is home to a diverse collection of natural systems. With forests and fields, lakes and rivers, and plenty of wildlife, there’s no better place for students to explore the biological study of living things.
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The Scientific Method
There is one process that all scientists, inventors, and biology students utilize – the scientific method. Students will learn to use the scientific method to help them understand the world around them. We are bombarded with information about the world on a daily basis. In biology, we use the scientific method as a powerful tool to assess this information.
For more detailed information on our courses, please visit our courses schedule sectionGet started now
Ontario Forest Research Institute
At the Ontario Forestry Research Centre (OFRI), located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, researchers at the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) main forest research unit pursue new insights about sustainable management of Ontario’s forests. Working with a range of partners, not only in Sault Ste. Marie but also in hundreds of field sites across the province, their research is focused on developing more effective ways to manage forests and ensure a healthy forest environment for all Ontarians.
OFRI’s research results are extremely valuable to those who develop MNR’s forest management policies and plans, but many others benefit as well, such as MNR field staff, Ontario’s forest industry, researchers with other agencies, and most important, the people of Ontario. The OFRI research facility, fully equipped with laboratories, greenhouses, and sophisticated growth chambers for incubating seedlings, houses about 50 Forest Research Staff, as well as staff from several other MNR units.
Great Lakes Forestry Centre
The Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC) is part of the Canadian Forest Service (CFS). The CFS is a science-based policy organization within Natural Resources Canada, a Government of Canada department that helps shape the important contributions that the natural resources sector makes to the Canadian economy, society and environment.
The CFS promotes the responsible and sustainable development of Canada’s forests – development that meets current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. For more than a century, it has met this responsibility by developing and sharing knowledge about forests and bringing stakeholders together to address regional, national and global forest issues.
The CFS is made up of research scientists, technicians, economists, policy analysts and other dedicated professionals. Whether conducting research in the field, performing tests in the lab or analyzing information and data, CFS staff are working to ensure a healthy forest and a strong forest sector for Canada.
Meet our Faculty
Our Biology faculty are experts in the field. Get to know them!
Dr. Brandon Schamp
Head of the School of Life Sciences and the Environment, Full ProfessorView Full Bio
Dr. István Imre
Chair of the Algoma University Graduate Council; Professor, Biology DepartmentView Full Bio
Dr. Pedro Antunes
Head of the School of Life Sciences and the Environment, Canada Research Chair for Invasive Species Biology, Full ProfessorView Full Bio
Dr. Chunhua Zhang
Associate ProfessorView Full Bio
Dr. Jennifer Foote
Department Chair, Biology & Environmental ScienceView Full Bio
Dr. Nicola Shaw
Biology (Health Sciences), Full ProfessorView Full Bio
Dr. Isabel Molina
Associate ProfessorView Full Bio
Biology Lab Coordinator, Part Time Contract FacultyView Full Bio
Dr. Nirosha Murugan
Assistant ProfessorView Full Bio
Dr. William Dew
Assistant ProfessorView Full Bio
Dr. Christine Madliger
Assistant ProfessorView Full Bio
“The small class sizes and well-rounded professors at Algoma University provided me with the knowledge base and skills I needed to succeed throughout my post secondary education. The Biology program has a great balance of relevant courses and hands-on experience that made the transition to the Illinois College of Optometry very smooth. I strongly recommend the Biology Program at Algoma University to all students interested in health science related fields.”
O.D. Doctor of Optometry
“I had many opportunities to participate in fun and exciting research at Algoma University, helping me to develop valuable skills. I believe that this research experience strongly contributed to my successful applications to both medical school and my current residency training program.”
“The Biology program at Algoma provided me with many opportunities to be involved in exciting research, develop my writing and presentation skills, and choose from a variety of courses that interested me. The faculty are leaders in their fields, and students have a rare opportunity to participate in research at all years of the program, from volunteering, to work-study jobs, and finally with a thesis project in fourth year. The program design is well-rounded and introduces students to many fields both within biology and in other disciplines. I believe that the opportunities and experiences I had while in the Biology program were a big factor in my acceptance to the MD program at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine”
“Algoma University’s Biology program prepared me wonderfully for admission into Pharmacy school on my first try. Thank you Algoma!”
B.Sc. PharmD Candidate
“My experiences gave me more confidence and a skill set that isn’t commonly held coming out of an undergraduate program. This has allowed me to hit the ground running in graduate school with more scientific methodology training and confidence in doing presentations than I would have had I gone to a different school.”
MSc, Kinesiology and Health Studies, BSc, Biology (Hons)
“Throughout my four years at Algoma, I worked alongside Dr. Isabel Molina conducting cutting edge research. Because of this, I was able to go to San Diego, California for two summers, where I worked with other top researchers as part of the Plant Genome Research Project. I am now better prepared for grad school and plan to one day become a physician.”
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