UBC Biology: Overview

Written by Fernanda Munoz and Matthew Tran

The UBC Biology Program is the undergraduate teaching program of the Departments of Botany and Zoology. Options include one Major, two Combined Majors, eight Honours, and three Combined Honours options.

This program allows you to study all aspects of living things and their processes as you learn about the fundamental concepts in Biology. You’ll have a diverse range of courses to choose from, providing insight into the various sub-disciplines such as ecology, human biology, and animal physiology. Specializations within the Biology program range from Animal Biology to Evolutionary Biology to Chemical Biology, and much more.

Career opportunities vary widely across a range of fields including research, consulting, environmental issues, agriculture, education, park services, pharmaceutical development, medicine, and others.

Why choose UBC biology?

  1. UBC Biology offers the option to enhance your professional development with Co-Op, summer research opportunities, and internships.
  2. This program has a strong emphasis on laboratory work, hands-on field research trips, and undergraduate research.
  3. It can prepare you for graduate or professional schools such as medical, dental, law, or veterinary medicine.
  4. It will provide you with the opportunity to take classes in UBC’s soon-to-completed life science teaching labs.
UBC opens renovated and expanded $91-million Life Sciences building  (PHOTOS) | Urbanized

What Can You Expect From UBC Biology?

1st year:

Students who enter the Bachelor of Biology program straight out of high school will complete a foundational year curriculum that includes Introduction to Modern Biology, Biology of the Cell, Genetics, Evolution and Ecology, and Laboratory Investigations of Life Science. It is intended to provide all first-year students with a sound knowledge basis in order to prepare them for a successful and enjoyable professional career while also allowing them to explore the various engineering disciplines open to them.

2nd, 3rd, and 4th year:

In your last three years, you will still need to take some mandatory courses (including Genetics for Life, Eukaryotic Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Biomathematics, Fundamentals of Biostatistics, Zoogeography, Phylogenetic Biology, etc). However, you will also be able to choose a specialization and take more specific courses on the topic you are most interested in!

UBC Biology Specializations

Biology is a broad field dedicated to the study of all aspects of living things and their vital processes. It encompasses the study of animals, plants, insects, and microbes as well as their relationships with their environments. The Biology program at UBC’s Vancouver campus offers an extremely rich range of specialty course options that span the field’s many sub-disciplines. It is overseen by two departments: Botany (in the academic field, one of the largest and strongest in North America) which focuses on plant science; and Zoology, another powerhouse department conducting research and teaching in developmental biology, comparative animal physiology, ecology, and evolution.

Biology is available as a major or honours, with combined major or combined honours available with Computer Science, Chemistry, and Oceanography. There are several honours degrees in Biology specializations as well, including

  • Animal Biology
  • Cell and Development Biology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Ecology and Environmental Biology
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Marine Biology
  • Plant Biology

The honours streams are recommended for students interested in pursuing graduate studies in a biological sciences field.

UBC opens renovated and expanded $91-million Life Sciences building  (PHOTOS) | Urbanized

Career Options

The Biology program is designed to provide you with a strong grounding in several sub-fields of biology and the basic practical skills of the working biologist. It will prepare you for graduate school in various biological sciences disciplines as well as for professional schools (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, law, journalism, etc.).

You’ll learn to analyze and interpret data, apply biological concepts, collect and observe data, conduct field and lab research, write technical reports, and think analytically and critically.

Program graduates

  • PhD candidate in public health and primary care, University of Cambridge
  • Dentist, Fairmont Dental Group
  • Veterinary medicine and surgery student, University of Edinburgh
  • PhD candidate in Microbial Evolution, University of Oslo
  • Genetic counsellor, Alberta Health Services
  • Research assistant, BC Cancer Agency
  • Science and math teacher, St. George’s School

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