Sample courses

Dalhousie’s Biology Department offers you a selection of courses unparalleled in the Atlantic region. In your first year, our introductory courses will give you the background for more advanced in-depth study of a wide variety of topics, including cell biology, evolution, environmental ecology, conservation biology, parasitology, behavioural ecology, animal physiology, and invertebrate biology. Whatever your interests are and whatever choices you make, you’ll gain the knowledge and experience you need to achieve your goals.

BIOL 2040

In this class, you’ll get a thorough overview of the process of evolution, exploring topics including genetic variation and changes in genetic composition of populations, and the relationship between genetic and phenotypic change. You’ll also examine adaptation at various levels of organization (from DNA to species), speciation, phylogeny, and macro-evolutionary patterns. Preparing for more advanced classes, Evolution will give you an introduction to the full breadth of evolutionary concepts.

Prerequisites: BIOL 1010 or BIOL 1020 (grade of C- or better) and BIOL 1011 or BIOL 1021 (C- or better), or DISP (C- or better) or equivalent.
Exclusions: BIOL 3041

BIOL 2060
Introductory Ecology

In this class, you'll examine the interactions of plants and animals, including humans, with each other and with the non-living world. Topics include population growth, competition, predation, food webs, metapopulation dynamics, biodiversity, and ecosystem function. The class has a quantitative approach, providing you with a foundation for further work in ecology, marine biology, and environmental science.

Prerequisites: BIOL 1010 or BIOL 1020 (grade of C- or better) and BIOL 1011 or BIOL 1021 (C- or better), or DISP (C- or better) or ENVS 1000 (C- or better) in consultation with the instructor.

BIOL 3065
Conservation Biology

This class offers you an introduction to conservation biology: the science of understanding and conserving biodiversity on Earth. You’ll learn how biodiversity change is assessed, and what tools are used to prevent the extinction of species and the disruption of ecosystems. In your tutorial, you’ll be required to give an oral presentation, as well as write an essay.

Prerequisites: BIOL 2060

BIOL 3101
Microbial Ecology

For this upper-level class, you'll attend lectures on the ecology of bacteria, viruses, protists, fungi, and micro-invertebrates. Among other topics, you'll discuss community structure, food web nutrient cycling, biogeochemical cycles, competition, succession and symbiosis with examples from marine, fresh-water, and soil habitats. If you're majoring in marine biology, ecology, environmental sciences, or microbiology, this class provides you with the essential knowledge about the smallest organisms in the oceans, air, and soil—and our bodies.

Prerequisites: BIOL 2004 or MICI 2100, and BIOL 2060

BIOL 3601
Nature Conservation

In this interdisciplinary class, you’ll explore the damage caused by the human economy to natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Having identified the most prominent causes of damage, you’ll also examine possible solutions, including environmental ethics, sustainable development, and conservation science. In particular, you’ll investigate the establishment and management of protected areas.

Prerequisites: BIOL 1000 or BIOL 1010 or 1020 and BIOL 1011 or BIOL 1021 or DISP or permission of instructor

First-year courses

There are many ways to tailor your studies to suit your strengths and interests. For more information on courses you might consider in your first year, visit the Biology Department website. Be sure to talk to an academic advisor once you have enrolled and you are ready to select and register for courses.

Student story

Abdul Bensalim_biology_35622 (2) (69x69)

Abdul Rahman Bensalim hopes to someday combine what he's learning in Biology with a minor in Business. "I know biomimicry will be a big part of the future," he says. But for now, he's happy to be getting the most out of his Biology courses. Find out which courses Abdul is taking and what animals he's learning about.

"I like the Diversity class because we’re learning about a wide range of animals, including newly discovered ones."