Academic Programs - Undergraduate

Biology

Biology is the study of life. This program offers you an experiential learning and research environment. You can learn how to think critically about biology and to contribute meaningfully to our rapidly changing world.

The facets of life

Acadia students in marine safety and work gear pull a river boat to shore and laugh at someone off-camera.

By choosing to study biology at Acadia, you will explore all facets of life, from molecules to ecosystems. Acadia is located in the Annapolis Valley. We are positioned between the Bay of Fundy, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and the Acadian forest ecosystem.  

From our location, you will have access to ecosystems that include the following: 

  • extensive tidal flats 
  • aquatic habitat 
  • wetland 
  • farm 
  • forest

You will have an opportunity to explore these habitats in field-based course work and discover the unique character of this region. In-person labs are an essential part of our program. They will give you the opportunity for the hands-on learning that is the foundation of becoming a biologist. You will also be able to learn research skills and do independent research projects.  

The department owns property on Brier Island (Digby County) and  Hemeons Head (Shelburne County), a partnership with the Nova Scotia Nature Trust. We also operate the Richardson Field Station in Biology on Bon Portage Island (Shelburne County) and the Beaubassin Research Station (New Brunswick). These field stations provide accommodations and laboratory facilities for course work and research. 

Our average student-to-teacher ratio is 20 to 1. Acadia’s small classes prepare you for a future in the sciences while making you feel at home along the way. You’ll gain personalized attention, highly relevant hands-on research, and a student-centred education. No wonder so many of our graduates move on to successful careers or postgraduate degrees in fields such as the following: 

  • research 
  • health care, medicine and public health 
  • environmental management and conservation 
  • environmental science 
  • education  
  • industry  
  • government

The biology core will give you a strong foundation in both content and applied skills. In upper-level courses, you’ll specialize in areas that range from cell and molecular biology to ecology and evolution. You will have the opportunity to be involved in undergraduate research on campus, at field stations, or throughout the region as part of Acadia’s Co-op program. You will tackle current issues that integrate theory, techniques, and practical approaches to biology. We’ll help you develop critical thinking skills. Scientific communication is a major part of our program, not only as part of the scientific method but also with the public.  

As a biology undergraduate, you will use the “tools of the trade.” These include microscopes, molecular biology equipment and statistical software. You will also have an opportunity to use the specialized equipment typical of specific disciplines. You may conduct experiments to answer fundamental questions in areas such as cancer biology, fish migration, or how organisms cope with changing environments. Our research programs address real-world questions. We will encourage you to be creative and independent and to take ownership of your learning process.  

The Biology Building is a modern academic building on Acadia’s campus. It is built to Gold Level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set by the Canada Green Building Council. It is the first such academic science building in Atlantic Canada. The building uses geothermal energy, recycled rainwater, automatic sensor lights, and other environmental innovations. Students also work alongside professors in the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre. The Centre is one of Acadia’s most beautiful architectural features. It is a student favourite and a nationally recognized centre of excellence.  

Acadia student Leah Creaser (BSc '22) holds a fish specimen in a lab to test wildlife for mercury contamination

First Year at a Glance

First semester

  • BIOL 1113 and BIOL 1110L
    Organisms & their Environment 1, with Lab
  • CHEM 1013 and CHEM 1010L
    Fundamental Chemistry 1, with Lab
  • MATH 1253 and MATH 1250L
    Statistics 1, with Lab
  • ELECTIVE xxx3
    Your choice
  • ELECTIVE xxx3
    Your choice

Second semester

  • BIOL 1123 and BIOL 1120L
    Organisms & their Environment 2
  • CHEM 1023 and CHEM 1020L
    Fundamental Chemistry 2
  • ELECTIVE xxx3
    Your choice
  • ELECTIVE xxx3
    Your choice
  • ELECTIVE xxx3
    Your choice

Future Careers

Academic
  • Bacteriologist
  • Botanist
  • Geneticist
  • Marine biologist
  • Physiologist
  • Zoologist
Environmental
  • Agricultural researcher
  • Conservation biologist
  • Farmer
  • Horticulturist
  • Plant pathologist
  • Wildlife technician
Health Care
  • Dentist
  • Medical doctor
  • Optometrist
  • Pharmacist
  • Vaccine developer
  • Veterinarian
Professional
  • Biochemist
  • Bioinformaticist
  • Environmental engineer
  • Fisheries scientist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Medical lab technician
 

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Visit the Department of Biololgy

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