The Human Biology programs are available to students entering their second year of study. Our multi-disciplinary programs integrate topics from the medical sciences, biological and social sciences, as well as the humanities. The goal of each Human Biology program is to provide a broad education focused on an area of biological science relevant to humans. Students will receive a solid foundation in life science courses together with insight from the humanities and social sciences. Graduates of our programs will be equipped with a broad range of knowledge and skills to pursue careers or further study in research, health sciences, biotechnology, law, education, and administration (check the careers page for more career paths).
We offer multiple Specialist programs, and a variety of Major programs. Each program enables students to study specific aspects of human biology. Students can combine a Human Biology Major program with other Science, Social Sciences or Humanities Major and/or Minor programs.
Enrolment in all Human Biology specialist programs is limited. (The exception is the Environment & Health Specialist Program, which is Type 1). Students apply for admission on the Arts & Science Faculty Registrar’s Office website as for a Type 3 program (see the Registration Handbook & Timetable for instructions). Admission will be determined on course marks in the following 3.0 credits:
1. BIO120H1, BIO130H1
2. (CHM138H1, CHM139H1)/CHM151Y1
3. 1.0 FCE from (MAT135H1, MAT136H1)/MAT135Y1/MAT137Y1/MAT157Y1/(PHY131H1, PHY132H1)/(PHY151H1, PHY152H1)
Each course of these 3.0 FCEs must have a final mark of at least 60%, and students must have an average on the 3.0 of at least 70% to be eligiible. Achieving the minimum marks does not guarantee admission to a program.
While it is difficult to predict what will be competitive course marks and average in a given year, based on previous years, an estimate of the marks that will likely be needed for admission is noted with each of the limited enrolment programs below. Achieving these estimated marks does not guarantee admission to the subject POSt in any given year
We have five areas of study available as both Human Biology Specialist and Major programs:
- Environment and Health programs provide a basic understanding of the complex relationships between the behaviour of Planet Earth and the working of the human body.
- Genes, Genetics, and Biotechnology programs focus on various aspects of genetics, including options in molecular and population genetics, and how genetics applies to the emerging fields of bioengineering and of biotechnology.
- Global Health programs provide worldwide perspectives on health and medicine encompassing social, political, and economic environments.
- Health and Disease programs examine the functioning of living organisms and how they respond to environmental conditions, both internal and external, that cause disease.
- Neuroscience programs, relevant to all aspects of the nervous system, cover topics as diverse as mechanisms of learning and memory, pain, Alzheimer’s disease and movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Also as a Major program:
- Human Biology Major program provides a broad and flexible course of study in the basic medical sciences as well as other life sciences.
- NOTE: Health Care Ethics Major program, new enrolment suspended pending program review.
The first year requirements for all Human Biology programs consist of introductory 100-level courses. All programs require the foundational biology course(s), BIO120H1 Adaptation and Biodiversity plus BIO130H1 Molecular and Cell Biology. Specific programs have additional 100-level course requirements (see specific program requirements), some of which can be chosen from a selection list. Your choice of selected courses should be influenced by which areas and courses you want to study in upper years. All Major programs offered by Human Biology build on a first-year background in chemistry as well as biology. Major programs also require a course in psychology, physics or mathematics, except for Environment & Health which extends this selection to specific geography and geology courses; and Neuroscience which requires psychology as well as physics or mathematics. For the Specialist programs in Genes Genetics & Biotechnology, Health & Disease and Neuroscience, you are strongly recommended to take both calculus and physics in either first or second year. Both are important for upper level science courses and other life science programs.
Starting in second year, students can either follow the more general Human Biology Major program or take a Major or Specialist program in a more specific area of Human Biology. Each of these more focused programs has core courses in second and third year, tailored to meet the specific interests of its students. These courses concentrate on an area important to the program theme, and/or emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of the program theme by showing connections between its different subject areas. Fewer core courses are required for the new Major programs than for the Specialist programs. Courses most often include lectures and small groups (e.g., tutorials, seminars) with laboratory courses offered primarily in third year.
To complete their programs, students can choose from a range of options in third and fourth years, depending on their interests, previous course completion, course availability and future career. Options include 400-level advanced seminar courses and research “project” courses. Please check the online timetable for the most current course information.