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Programs / Arts / Biology (BA)

Program Summary

Biology in the 21st century is among the most diverse and exciting of the sciences. Many of the challenges we face as a society, from environmental decline to the demand for new health therapies, involve biological solutions. As a Carleton Biology student in the BA program, you will gain broad experience through core science courses and courses in the arts and social sciences that suit your individual interests and needs.

The biology department offers BA and Bachelor of Science degrees, and the BA program offers an interdisciplinary joint program with the College of the Humanities.

Research facilities

The biology department is well-equipped with the latest technology, including a mass spectrometer; fluorescence and light microscopes; cell, tissue and bacterial culture facilities; a wide range of molecular biology equipment; sophisticated electronic sensors for physiological and behavioural studies; and computer laboratories. The Nesbitt Biology Building, which serves as the central hub of the Biology program, houses controlled-environment rooms and growth chambers as well as extensive greenhouses. The National Wildlife Research Centre laboratories are also situated nearby on Carleton’s campus.

Laboratory, independent research, and field course opportunities

Many of our courses feature instructional laboratories and extensive opportunities for hands on work. As a result, our graduates are recognized for their excellence in laboratory and field skills. All Honours students have the opportunity to develop research projects, working alongside a faculty advisor. You will graduate with both a defined area of expertise and valuable experience. At Carleton, field and laboratory experiences are an integral part of our Biology courses. In addition, you will be able to choose optional, intensive field courses where you live on location.

The Ottawa area is home to numerous environmental and biotechnology companies. Several government departments based in Ottawa are involved with the research that leads to environmental legislation and regulations, and Ottawa is home to one of the nation’s significant clusters of companies conducting research in medical, agricultural and environmental biotechnology. Collaborations with these organizations, as well as with the National Capital Commission, national museums and the National Research Council Canada, provide an unparalleled background for your study in Biology.

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Biology (Honours, Combined Honours, and General)

This program combines a liberal education in the arts and social sciences with increased depth of study in the life sciences. The program has a minimal requirement for courses from the physical sciences and mathematics, allowing students to relate their special knowledge of biology to other disciplines in the social sciences and humanities.

First-year experience

As a first-year Bachelor of Arts student at Carleton, you will benefit from one of our First-year Seminars. Experienced instructors teach small groups (around 30 students) and provide instruction in research, writing and study skills.

The workplace

Carleton Biology graduates are well prepared for direct entry into careers in the life sciences. Many of our students go on to careers as biological consultants, wildlife and resource managers, and teachers. Some work as research technologists in a wide range of government and industrial research laboratories.

Graduate studies

Graduates of any of our Honours programs are well qualified to go on to graduate studies. If you think that you may wish to pursue an advanced degree, you are encouraged to investigate graduate programs early in order to ensure that your program is suited to meet the relevant graduate-level requirements.

Professional programs

A Biology degree provides a strong foundation for many professional programs, including medicine, dentistry, teaching, and veterinary sciences.