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About Biology

One of the most rapidly developing areas of science, biology is the key to understanding the health and growth of microorganisms, plants, and animals. The study of biology can lead to careers in many fields, including medicine and other health professions, agriculture, law, laboratory and field research, education, resource management, and industry.

Beyond the classroom

After second year, you can choose a specialization and focus your degree in one area to suit your own career aspirations. In the upper years, you'll work in state-of-the-art labs with specialized equipment that may involve examining microorganisms for hormone function, analyzing molecules, and isolating and cloning genes. Some courses include field trips to New Brunswick, Jamaica, Algonquin Park, and other exciting locations.


As a biology major, you can choose to focus your studies in one of 6 specializations, including animal biology, ecology and environmental biology, microbiology, molecular biology and biotechnology, or plant biology.

About our people

Biological research has become a central economic engine for modern societies. This started with Watson and Crick elaborating the structure of DNA in 1953, continuing with Cohen and Boyer developing recombinant DNA technology in 1972, and including the sequencing of the human genome in 2001, have heralded a complete paradigm shift in Biology. As a result of these discoveries, new pharmaceuticals have become available, it has become possible to diagnose a wide range of different diseases, new environmental monitoring and remediation technologies have been developed, novel vaccines have been created, human disease genes have been identified and characterized, and transgenic plants that are both more nutritious and resistant to pathogenic agents have been developed. In addition, fundamental biological research has moved ahead at a previously undreamed of, yet ever accelerating, pace including in evolutionary biology with the development of bioinformatics. Moreover, it is clear that these developments represent only the tip of a very large iceberg.

The Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo has responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by this paradigm shift by offering, both at the undergraduate and at the graduate level new courses and new research foci. The department has placed itself at the cutting edge of research to understand biological systems at a fundamental level and use them for the purpose of promoting the health and wealth of human beings while at the same time protecting our fragile environment. Concomitantly, the enrolment in Biology courses has increased dramatically over the past ten years to the point where the Department of Biology currently teaches more undergraduates than any other department at the University of Waterloo.

Modern Biology is poised to provide the basis for the marquee technologies of the 21st century, and the Department of Biology at the university intends to remain at the forefront of much of that scientific innovation.