Undergraduate programs

Students in an outdoor ecology class
Our programs incorporate hands-on learning in classrooms, labs and in the field. These ecology students are doing field work on campus.

Biology degree programs

You will have the opportunity to study Biology at one of the following levels of concentration: General, Minor, Major or Honours.  We offer:

Biology student advising

Honours program


The Biology Honours Program provides an opportunity for qualified senior undergraduates to undertake a research project, to work closely with a research supervisor, and to improve their skills in oral and written scientific communication.  The Honours Program is especially recommended for students considering postgraduate work in biology.  It comprises three courses: BIOL 460, Honours Seminar, and BIOL 499A and 499B, Honours Thesis. 

BIOL 460 is a seminar course to be taken in the Fall Term of the student's final year. Students give talks to the class on their research topics; supervisors may attend. 

Research for BIOL 499A/B (the Honours Thesis) is normally carried out in the summer &/or fall prior to graduation.  The thesis is prepared in the final Spring Term, and presented in a public, oral defence during the April examination period. 


Entry into the Honours Program requires an overall GPA of 6.0 in all biology courses (from UVic and elsewhere). The student finds a member of the faculty willing to supervise in their areaof interest, and the student and supervisor must agree upon a suitable project.  Biology Honours Advisors can offer helpful suggestions on potential supervisors and projects.  Supervisors must be associated with the Department of Biology (a student may have two co-supervisors, one of whom must be associated with the Department). Students registered in a Combined Honours program must register for their Honours project in one of the two contributing departments.

Interested students should be entering their final year and should have declared a major in Biology (or a combined degree program). Students should contact a Biology Honours Advisor (preferably in the Spring Term prior to their final year) and declare their intention to apply. The Advisor will review the student’s academic history and confirm that the student meets the GPA requirement.  If the Honours admission standards are met, the student should submit an application form. The Biology Honours Advisor will then recommend to the Advising Centre that the student be admitted to the program. 

The normal deadline for application to the Biology Honours program is July 1. Late applications will be accepted if space is available in the program.

After acceptance into the Honours Program, the student must submit a Request for Program Change on the DeclareMe portal, before registering in BIOL 460 and BIOL 499A/B at the appropriate time.  The courses must be added by the last ADD date in the fall term.

Students should register in BIOL 460 and BIOL 499A in the fall term, and BIOL 499B in the spring term. In special cases, students may register for Honours in other terms, but BIOL 460 must be taken in the fall and BIOL 499A and 499B must be taken in consecutive terms.


Each student develops an Honours research project in consultation with their supervisor. A two-page outline of the research project is submitted to the Supervisor and Honours Advisor within 6 weeks of the start of classes in fall term.  The outline should explain the objectives of the research, and the methodology to be used in data collection and analysis of results.

For BIOL 460, all students present a 15 minute research project seminar during the fall term, followed by questions and evaluation.  The seminar should outline the context for the research and explain the objectives, methods and planned experiments.  At this stage, a comprehensive account of results is not expected. 

A two-page summary of results achieved in the experimental work for the thesis is submitted to the Supervisor and Honours Advisor by the end of February in the spring term.  The purpose of this summary is to demonstrate that the student has completed the research phase of the work in time to prepare the thesis.


The Honours thesis is a written document similar in format to a graduate thesis. Honours students should submit their theses by the last day of lectures and defend them during the April examination period.  The Supervisor must approve a draft copy of the thesis before submission.  The student prepares three copies of the thesis for the three members of the examining committee. This committee consists of the student’s project supervisor, an Honours Advisor, and a third examiner (to be chosen by the supervisor in consultation with the student, and approved by the Honours advisors). 

The oral defence consists of a 20 minute presentation by the student on his or her results, followed by questions on the thesis and presentation from the three members of the examining committee. After the defense, two final corrected copies of the thesis are submitted to the Biology General Office. The two copies will be bound and one bound copy will be returned to the student. 


BIOL 460 is a COM/INC course. 

BIOL 499A/B receives a letter grade, based on the evaluation of the thesis and thesis defense and on the research supervisor’s assessment of the student’s performance.

For more information, please contact the Biology Honours Advisors.

Our courses

A current list of courses is available in the UVic Academic Calendar. You can also take courses through the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Course outlines are also available.


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