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McMaster University will continue to host undergraduate academic activities remotely for the Spring/Summer/Intersession term with only a few exceptions for courses that need student access to specialized equipment.

Applied Research, Work-Integrated Learning and Co-Op

Biology’s 33 faculty members have a solid foundation in both teaching and research, actively bringing current research perspectives and implementing research skills & training into classrooms and teaching labs.  Biology students have a multitude of opportunities to gain mastery of hands-on, real world biology training and techniques. For many of our students, this training is further strengthened through our Independent Research Projects, Capstone Thesis and Co-op placements.  These immersive and fulfilling training opportunities provide students with transferable skills and expertise that are greatly sought after by the private sector, graduate student supervisors, and other employers.  Each year, our Biology faculty supervise hundreds of students who are enrolled in these applied research, work-integrated learning and co-op opportunities.

Biology 3IR3 / MolBiol 3I03 – Independent Research Project

Biology 4IR3 Advanced Independent Research Project

The 3-unit independent research project courses give students the opportunity to gain experience in a research environment while working with a full-time or associate biology faculty member.  Students may also work with a supervisor outside of the Department of Biology, but will require a co-supervisor within the Biology Department.  While enrolled in these courses, students gain valuable experience in preparation for a career in the private sector, professional schools or for advanced studies at the graduate level. As an independent research project, students devise, test and observe the outcomes of their scientific hypotheses in collaboration with their supervisor and broader lab team.  These research courses require 8-10 hours of time commitment per week and offer a great opportunity for students to experience a potential workplace, network with professors and peers, and engage in hands-on learning.

Biology 4F06 – Senior Project

Students can also participate in research while earning credit towards their degree through the 6-unit Senior Project course. This is a two-term inquiry course that provides students an opportunity to conduct original research under the supervision of a full-time or associate biology faculty member, with a minimum time commitment of 10-12 hours per week.  Students can also complete this course during a 12-week term, at which point they are expected to commit a minimum of 20-24 hours per week on their project. As an independent research project, students devise, test and observe the outcomes of their scientific hypotheses in collaboration with their supervisor and broader lab team.  Students will gain transferrable skills through the mastery of specific laboratory techniques, and by applying the results of their projects to help solve a real-world scientific question or problem.

Biology 4C12 / Molbiol 4G12 – Senior Thesis

Our capstone, 4th year, 12-unit thesis course provides students with a two-term inquiry-driven opportunity to conduct original research by generating and testing hypotheses, collecting data and acquiring field and laboratory skills in biology under the supervision of a full-time or Associate biology faculty member. Upon successful completion of the Senior Thesis, students will have general proficiency in carrying out independent research; with a demonstrated ability to: 

  • formulate a scientific hypothesis suitable for study
  • design and conduct a project to support or refute the hypothesis, and 
  • analyze and present results in a thesis. 

Students will gain transferrable skills through the mastery of specific laboratory techniques, and by applying the results of their projects to help solve a real-world scientific question or problem.  Many of our past Senior Thesis students have moved on to pursue graduate research, professional school opportunities, and careers in the public and private sector.

Students must apply at the start of Level 3. 

Molecular Biology and Genetics Research Specialization Co-Op

This Co-op program is open to applicants from the Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics Research Specialization program, and provides students with the opportunity to apply their academic training in a practical and real-world setting.  This can include in on-campus research labs, or public or private sector partners. Students apply for entry into the program following completion of their Level II of the Honours Molecular Biology and Genetics Research Specialization.  Entry into this competitive program is based on an application, a student’s GPA and an entrance interview.  Successful entry in the program occurs in Level III.  Students then complete their Co-op according to the following schedule:

15 units from

 Academic Level IV

 Fall Term

(September - December)

 Winter Term

(January - April)

 Spring/Summer

(May - August)

 Level III 15 units from
 Academic Level III
 +
 SCIENCE 2C00 (if not
 completed) and SCIENCE 3C00 

 Work Term

SCIENCE 3WT0

Work Term

SCIENCE 3WT0

 
 Level IV  15 units from

 Academic Level III including

MOLBIOL 4G12 A/B S

 15 units from

 Academic Level IV including

MOLBIOL 4G12 A/B S

Work Term

SCIENCE 4WT0

 
 Level V

Work Term 

SCIENCE 5WT0

 
 

Our Co-op students gain a breadth of expertise in the fields of molecular biology and genetics, and obtain mastery with an array of technical skills.  Information related to this program and the selection procedure can be obtained from the Science Career and Cooperative Education Office: https://science.mcmaster.ca/scce/co-op/cooperative-education.html

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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Biology