What is biology?

Biology is the study of living organisms and their attributes and includes such topics as molecular biology, cell biology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, systematics and ecology.


Why study biology?

Of all the sciences, biology is perhaps the most closely related to everyday life. We are exposed daily to news and documentary reports on biological topics such as genetic engineering, environmental conservation, pollution, disease and immunology, social and behavioural interactions and population growth. Biology, therefore, is not only a specific and rigorous science, but also may be approached in a broader sense as a general-interest science relevant to many aspects of daily life. The first-year courses provide an insight into biology as a scientific discipline of direct relevance to all, while at the same time allowing more detailed exploration of certain branches of the subject.

Job opportunities for biologists include but are not limited to:

  • bio or medical technologist
  • fisheries officer
  • horticulturalist
  • marine or aquacultural biologist
  • medical doctor
  • science teacher
  • wildlife or conservation officer
  • veterinarian


Biology at Memorial

The biology co-operative program is available to full-time biology majors and honours students only. The program provides an opportunity for students to learn valuable practical skills while working in the field of biological science. Students complete three work terms, which consist of full-time paid employment.


The Department of Biology offers field courses at:

  • Bonne Bay Marine Station located in Gros Morne National Park
  • Terra Nova National Park in Eastern Newfoundland
  • Harlow, England

Our programs offer tremendous field and laboratory research experience and opportunities for undergraduates.

Courses available in first year

Biology 1001
Principles of Biology introduces biology as a scientific discipline, outlines the unifying ideas in modern biology and then illustrates these ideas by examining selected aspects of the form, function and diversity of some major groups of living organisms.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Laboratory: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: Science 1807
Note: Students who have written the College Board Advanced Placement Biology exam should consult the Advanced Placement Policy chart for possible awarding of credit.

Biology 1002
Principles of Biology is a continuation and extension of the principles embodied in Biology 1001.
Lectures: Three hours per week
Laboratory: Three hours per week
Prerequisite: Biology 1001 and Science 1807

Sample program for first year

Students pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a major in biology, cell and molecular biology, ecology and conservation, marine biology or a biology co-operative program will normally take the following courses in their first year:

Sample program

Fall SemesterWinter Semester
Mathematics 1090*Mathematics 1000
Biology 1001Biology 1002
Chemistry 1010 (1050)**Chemistry 1011 (1051)**
Physics 1020 (1050)***Physics 1021 (1051)***
English 1090English 1191, 1192, 1193 or 1110****





* Students may complete Mathematics 1000 in the Fall semester and an elective in the Winter semester (see note 5)

** Students attending Grenfell Campus will normally complete Chemistry 1200/1001 in their first year

*** Students registered in Physics 1050 must also be registered in Mathematics 1000 (not 1090)

**** Students attending Grenfell Campus will normally complete English 1000/1001 in their first year


  1. To be admitted to a biology major program, students must obtain an average of 65 per cent in Biology 1001 & 1002 and have a minimum overall average of 60 per cent in the following courses: 
    • Mathematics 1090, 1000 (or Mathematics 1000 and an elective)
    • English 1090, and one of 1191, 1192, 1193 or 1110
    • Chemistry 1050 & 1051 or 1010 & 1011 or Physics 1020 & 1021 or 1050 & 1051 or 1020 & 1051
  2. Students intending to major in a biology program must submit a departmental application form to the Department of Biology (SN 3125). Forms are usually submitted during the second semester. Students will not be admitted to a biology major program until they have met the entrance requirements above.
  3. In order for a biology major program to be completed in eight semesters, the two first-year chemistry courses must be completed in first year because they are prerequisites for courses normally taken in the second year by biology majors.
  4. The two first-year physics courses are also required for a major in biology and should be completed in first year in order to avoid timetable conflicts that may arise in year two.
  5. For biology majors, the mathematics requirement is Mathematics 1000. Students who take Mathematics 1000 in their first semester will be able to take an extra first-year elective that can be counted towards the entrance requirements for the biology majors program. However, many students elect to take Mathematics 1090 in preparation for Mathematics 1000.

For assistance with course selection, students should contact:
Academic Advising Centre,


Contact information

For additional information please contact:



Guide to First Year

230 Elizabeth Ave

St. John's, NL A1B 3X9 CANADA

Tel: (709) 864-2530

Fax: (709) 864-2552