Honours project options

Types of Honours Projects for Fall 2022

For BIOC 499A/B (honours thesis) the Department of Biochemistry will be offering four (possible five) different project types for students completing the honours degree option. All project options require at least one supervisor, completion of a written dissertation, and an oral defence.


Student expectations for all thesis types

  • Students need to identify potential supervisors
  • Students need to discuss timelines for 499A/B course work with supervisors
  • Students need to maintain communication with supervisors throughout the project and meet all deadlines for written submissions.
  • Students are responsible for submitting final version of dissertation for grading.
  • Students are required to defend their thesis at the oral defence, following a presentation of their project and findings.


Supervisor Expectations

  • Supervisors shall be responsible for overseeing all in vitro or in vivo experiments (delegation to senior graduate student for day-to-day duties is acceptable).
  • Supervisors shall be responsible for guidance during the project and in preparing a thesis.
  • Supervisors must have prior experience in the art and philosophy of the systematic review process (where applicable).


Details of the available project options are listed below.


  1. Laboratory-based projects:

    Projects are usually wet lab-based and involve conducting either in vitro or in vivo

  2. Computational projects:

    Projects that would be carried out using internet accessible databases or software.  Some examples could be:

       a)molecular modelling or computational simulations (e.g. molecular dynamics simulations or molecular docking)
       b)use of bioinformatics tools to mine/interrogate datasets (e.g. genomic, transcriptomic). 
       c)analysis and interpretation of large publically/institutionally available datasets (e.g. health, nutrition).

  3. Scoping reviews and systematic reviews with/without meta-analysis: 

    Projects involving a defined, systematic way of undertaking a comprehensive review of the literature.  This approach is used a lot in clinical trials/health science but also in animal experiments and to generate hypothesis for new studies. 

  4. Critical literature review and grant proposal:

    The concept here is that the student would prepare a 10 page critical literature review (i.e. same length as prescribed in our thesis regulations) on a topic of interest suggested by the Supervisor; and the second part of the thesis would consist of a formal type of grant proposal developed by the student with guidance from the supervisor.  The grant proposal would be expected to contain reasonably detailed and specific proposals for experiments.  The student would be expected to know and understand the rationale for the experiments and the basis for the proposed methodology. The student should normally include some data with their own analysis (the data could be similar data from their lab, data from a database, or data from a published paper).

  5. Biosciences pedagogy option:

    Note that this option may or may not be possible this coming year depending on supervisor availability.

    Pedagogy concerns the evidence about how we learn.

    The student/supervisor team will select a target group of learners in the Biosciences (e.g. general public, high school students, undergraduates) and an aspect of teaching and learning (e.g. assessment strategies, experiential learning, making learning accessible, online learning) for the student to search the evidence around.

    The student will use the evidence they find to design a practical activity, find a partner willing to let them do the activity with their group (could be an undergrad instructor, a teacher, an outreach group, etc.) and carry out the activity including measures to assess the effectiveness of what they do.

    As part of the thesis, the student will present their own findings on the effectiveness of their learning activity.