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The Biology Co-operative Education program is a new program available to Biology undergraduate students. This program provides the opportunity for students to learn valuable practical skills while working in positions that relate to the field of Biology. Students will complete three full-time paid work term placements related to their area of study.

Biology is a broad discipline that studies biological systems from the very tiny (molecules and genes) to the very large (ecosystems and landscapes). Biologists engage in work and research related to living systems at the molecular, cellular, physiological, organismal, and ecosystem levels. The study of Biology contributes to the understanding of life processes within ourselves and other species, relationships within and among the species and to the environment, and their significance to the provincial, national, and global community.

Areas of Academic Study

Prior to their first work term, students complete two full years of course work. During this time, students in all programs are required to complete a two-semester overview of all areas of biology (the 200-level “Principles of…” courses) as well as foundation courses on research methods, statistics, and math.

In Academic Terms 5 through 7 students take more advanced courses in individual areas of Biology (with the option to focus on one of the three core areas of concentration: Cell and Molecular Biology, Ecology and Conservation Biology, and Marine Biology. They may also specialize in modelling and quantitative methods through advanced courses in statistics, modelling, and bioinformatics.

Typical Work Assignments

Biology Co-op students may be employed in a variety of positions, including: field and lab technician, genetic counseling assistant, plant pathology research assistant, bioinformatics assistant, quality assurance lab technician, hospital laboratory technician, agricultural research assistant, wildlife/fisheries technician, natural history curatorial assistant, horticultural technician, veterinary technician.

Work Report

To further develop skills in time and project management as well as communications, students are required to complete a work report that is evaluated by the university. The report generally comprises of a project selected by the student in conjunction with the employer and approved by the Co-op office. The work report usually involves the analysis of a practical, work related issue. The use of employer facilities and the allocation of time to the student for the report is at the employer's discretion. Specific steps can be taken to protect confidentiality where required.

Work Term Schedule

Term: Fall Winter Spring
Year 1 AT 1 AT 2   
Year 2 AT 3 AT 4 WT 1
Year 3 AT 5 AT 6 WT 2
Year 4 AT 7 WT 3  
Year 5 AT 8    
* AT = Academic Term; WT = Work Term