Biology Department

The breadth of modern biology is reflected in the more than seventy courses that are offered by the Biology Department. Courses span the whole range of student engagement from intensive laboratory-only offerings that start in second-year to small fourth-year seminars where the focus is on refining communications skills. Students have the freedom to focus on a particular sub-discipline (e.g., genetics, animal behaviour) or receive a broad education that touches many areas of biology.


A recent study puts the total number of species on Earth at close to 9 million, but scientists estimate that over 80% of those species have yet to be discovered!

Consider studying Biodiversity and Conservation at Western!

Biodiversity and Conservation


Do you wonder why animals and people behave as they do?

Consider studying Animal Behaviour at Western!

Animal Behaviour


Are you interested in working with the most important alphabet on Earth, the four letter code of DNA?

Consider studying Genetics at Western!


 To learn more about all of our modules see Modules at a Glance.

What You’ll Learn

In Biology, the emphasis is placed on developing critical thinking and communications skills, expertise in experimental design and a strong foundation in data analysis. Depending on the area of concentration, more specific skills acquired include the ability to assess ecosystems, identify flora and fauna, effectively implement tools of molecular biology and microscopy and gain experience with the use of analytical instrumentation.

Distinguishing Features

Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Led by Tom Haffie, a 3M National Teaching Fellow, faculty in our department strive for excellence in undergraduate teaching and learning. Whether it is engaging 800 students in a first-year course by using cell phones or small-fourth-year offerings that focus on community-based group projects, Biology instructors employ novel and innovative approaches to help students learn more effectively.

Field Courses in Unique Locations

As a Biology undergraduate, you will have an opportunity to do a research project in an exotic location and get credit for it. The Department of Biology at Western is a member of the Ontario Universities’ Program in Field Biology, which offers about 30 different field courses each year for academic credit. Examples of recent offerings include Rainforests and Reef Biology in Costa Rica; Tropical Marine Biology in Belize; Forest Ecology in the Adirondacks; Field Ornithology in Virginia; and Tropical Biodiversity in Ecuador.


The breadth of courses on the Biology curriculum prepares graduates for a wide range of research careers in the public and private sectors. Many of our graduates also go on to professional programs in medicine, dentistry, law and teaching.

Career Path Graphic, Transcript Below

Careers Transcript

  • Graduate School
  • Industry (including Pharmaceutical Sales, Quality Control Specialist, Technical Writer)
  • Government (including Regulatory Affairs Specialist, Science Policy Advisor, Scientist)
  • Professional Programs (including Medical School, Dental School, Law, Business)


Testimonial - Text and Student Photo