Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ Quick Access, I want to learn more about:

HMB Courses
HMB Programs
Balloting (Course Match)
HMB Research Project Courses


Frequently Asked Questions about HMB Courses & Enrolment 

This depends on the enrolment indicator:


  • R – No, this course is restricted and will not open for students from other programs/divisions to enrol.
  • P – Wait for priority to lift (usually early August) and enrol on ROSI (spots fill quickly)
  • E – You must apply through the program office, and if admitted, the program staff will enrol you into the course. Please note that students cannot drop special enrolment (E) courses from ACORN. Instead, students must email the office to drop. 


Contact the HMB program office at as soon as possible. The program will work with you to try and find an alternative course. 

Keep in mind course enrolment is your responsibility, and it is important to plan ahead and enrol as early as possible during your priority enrolment period.  

When preparing to enrol into courses from ACORN, it may appear that there is only 1 or 2 spots available in a course that you need. This means that there is a certain amount of spots reserved for 3rd or 4th year students during the priority enrolment period only. If you are not able to enrol into one of these reserved spots during the priority enrolment period you will instead be waitlisted even if it appears there is space in the course. However, once general enrolment opens you will have an earlier timestamp order than other students adding the course during general enrolment and will either be enrolled in the course if space is available, or have a better waitlist position if the course is full. 

For a comprehensive description of how tiered waitlists work, please see the HMB Tiered Waitlists Explained info page.

For valid reasons such as illness, fill out the HMB Missed Assessment Form within 5 days of the missed test/quiz, and self-declare the absence on ACORN for up to 2 days in the past. Then check your syllabus for course policies to determine whether the work is still due, if there will be a make-up, or if the grade will be re-weighted. 

Yes! Appointments can be made by contacting the instructor directly, not through the HMB program office. Contact information can usually be found on the course syllabus, along with office hours.

Yes! Appointments can be booked online or in-person with an advisor from HMB through Microsoft Bookings. (Students must book using their email).

You can also reach us at and we will be happy to answer any questions about human biology courses and programs.


Frequently Asked Questions about HMB Programs 

If you have submitted your graduation request through ACORN, we will assess your HMB program on Degree Explorer. If you are enrolled in more than one subject post, each department will complete their own assessment of their programs. If there is an issue, you will receive a notification email.

However, if you are requesting a letter confirming your eligibility to graduate, you will have to contact each department for each program that you are enrolled in so the program can be assessed as complete. Please note there is a charge for these letters.

Yes! First please check Degree Explorer for your program progress. Once you have specific questions relating to your HMB subject post drop by or email the HMB program office or book an appointment with an advisor.

Email with your student number so that we can check that the courses are eligible to be counted towards your program. Once confirmed we will manually update your HMB program requirements on degree explorer.

No. The course calendar states that enrolment in only one HMB major is permitted, so you will not be able to graduate with two Human Biology majors. However, students can combine a specialist and a major in human biology.

It is possible to switch following normal program enrolment dates. If considering switching, please consult with an HMB advisor to determine the feasibility of completing the program in a timely manner.

If you meet the requirements and the specialist program is not full, you can apply again during the next program admission cycle starting in March. Admission will be based on all courses completed.


Frequently Asked Questions about Balloting (Course Match) 

HMB 400-level courses are popular and tend to fill up once enrolment opens. To help ensure all fourth year HMB program students can enrol into at least 0.5 credits at the 400-level, we use a balloting system called Course Match. Course Match will allow eligible students to rank the HMB 400-level courses they would like to take and based on their selections students will be pre-enrolled in one 0.5 credit HMB course prior to the start of course enrolment.

In June, the balloting email will only be sent to eligible students who are:

  • Enrolled in an HMB program
  • Going into fourth year (14+ credits completed)
  • Have not completed an HMB400 level course already.

Most often we are able to enrol students into their first choice, if not we will do our best to accommodate the second choice.

You can find more information on how to ballot in the Guide to Using Course Match.

Please do not rank courses you don’t meet prerequisites for. The ballot system will not check for prerequisites, however, HMB will still conduct prerequisite checks once course enrolment begins. This means that you will be removed from your pre-enrolled course if you do not meet the prerequisites by the time the course starts, and you will not have the opportunity to re-ballot or have priority for enrolment in an alternative course. So make sure you plan ahead so you will have all prerequisites required for your 400-level courses.

You can ballot for a course that you currently do not meet the prerequisites for as long as the prerequisites are fulfilled by the time you start the course.

No, we do not take time of submission into account when evaluating submitted ballots.

No, each program has a set of courses that students can ballot for, so you can only select courses that apply to your program even though you can see all courses available for balloting in HMB.

Note for HMB majors: some courses may be included in the calendar program requirements though they do not appear on your course match ballot. This is usually the case for courses that are required for other HMB programs but are an option for HMB majors to take. Though you cannot ballot for them, you will still be able to enrol/waitlist during enrolment if you meet the enrolment controls.

No, if your program requirements are already pending or complete, there is no obligation to fill out a ballot for course match.

If you receive the balloting email as a third-year student but do not wish to ballot that year, you will have the option to ballot for fourth year instead as long as you do not take a 400-level course during your third year.

Students will still be able to enrol into HMB 400-level courses once your enrolment start time begins. While our 400-level courses will have some students already pre-enrolled from course match, no course will be completely filled. Though it is a good idea to enrol during the priority enrolment period before courses do fill up.

Only HMB courses will be included in the balloting. Because we do not administer other courses such as ANT, ECO, ENV, IMM, INS, PSY, etc. we cannot include them in the balloting for fourth year courses. If you are interested in taking a course outside of HMB, you will have to wait for enrolment to open before you can enrol or waitlist.

Special enrolment courses are also not included in balloting (HMB440H1, HMB443H1, HMB490Y1, HMB491Y1 or HMB496/499).

No. Though students can ballot for multiple courses, they will only be pre-enrolled into one 0.5 FCE 400-level HMB course.

If your program requires more than 0.5 FCE at the 400-level, you can explore 400-level courses in other programs (check to make sure they are included in your program requirements), or you can enrol into HMB 400-level courses once enrolment begins.


Frequently Asked Questions about Research Project Courses 

For course credit:

  • HMB496Y1/499Y1
  • Upper-year independent study and research courses in other departments or Colleges 
  • 300-level labs
  • HMB394Y0/HMB396Y0 International Research Projects in Human Biology*
    • HMB394Y0 is coordinated through CIE 
    • HMB396Y0 is coordinated through Woodsworth College
    • Research Opportunities Program (ROP)*
      • Apply on CLNx in February
      • Must be 2nd or 3rd year students to be eligible to apply.
    • Research Excursions Program (REP)*
      • Apply on CLNx in February 

    *Though these research courses are great experience, they will not count toward human biology program requirements. Instead, it would be an elective and count towards the 20 credits required for your degree. 

    Paid Research:

    Check out the article How to get a research position as a U of T undergrad, by “Science Sam” Sammantha Yammine, an alumni from the neuroscience program.  

    The Temerty Faculty of Medicine also has a guide on how to find Undergraduate Reseach Opportunities

    Check CLNx and the HMB newsletter for various opportunities that are available. You can also search for external opportunities through UHN, community groups and job boards. 

    Students taking a research project course for the first time will be enrolled in HMB496Y1. The research project course can be repeated for credit and students taking it for a second time will be enrolled in HMB499Y1.

    We have a policy of not allowing students to do a second research project course (HMB499Y) in the same lab.

    Third year students can apply to HMB496Y1 if they have found a supervisor, however there are different prerequisites which are strictly enforced. Requirements for 3rd year students:

    • 9 FCE complete
    • HMB200H1/HMB201H1/HMB202H1/ HMB203H1/HMB204H1, BCH210H1 /CHM247H1, BIO230H1/BIO255H1, HMB265H1/BIO260H1
    • cGPA 3.5 or higher, and permission of the Human Biology Program (provided upon review of 496 application)

    Students planning on doing a HMB496Y1 research project course are responsible for finding a supervisor most often done through cold-emails. Think about your interests and look at the faculty list of any U of T graduate department website. Look at the current and previous research to see if that is something you would like to be a part of. Once you have identified a prospective supervisor you would ike to work with, email them with a request to do an HMB496Y1 research project course with them.

    Keep your email short and introduce yourself. Say that you are interested in doing an HMB496Y1 research project and comment on why you are interested in their research and want to work with them. Close your email by asking for a meeting. Students should attach their CV (no more than 2 pages), though academic history is optional.

    If you are struggling to find a supervisor, please reach out to the HMB office early for advice.

    Eligible supervisors must be a faculty member at the University of Toronto in a relevant discipline. They can be from just about any Faculty/ Department at UofT (Faculty of Arts and Science, Medicine, Dalla Lana, OISE, Nursing, Dentistry, Kinesiology, etc). UofT faculty at affiliated research hospitals in Toronto such as Sickkids, Mount Sinai, University Health Network, Sunnybrook, and CAMH are eligible as are Teaching Stream faculty.

    Proposed projects must have scientific methodology.

    If you have a question about supervisor eligibility, please email the HMB office at

    If you are planning on starting an HMB496Y project in the summer (May), then we recommend students start emailing prospective supervisors in January.

    If you are planning on starting in the fall (September), then you should start emailing prospective supervisors in January. It can take a while to find a supervisor and requires considerable effort on behalf of the student.

    Keep your email short and introduce yourself. Say that you are interested in doing an HMB496Y1 research project and comment on why you are interested in their research and want to work with them. Close your email by asking for a meeting. Students should attach their CV (no more than 2 pages), though academic history is optional.

    Book an appointment early on for advising and strategies on how to contact supervisors.

    Possibly. The application form includes a waiver form. Should you secure a supervisor, they must be aware that you are missing prerequisites, and you should use the space in the waiver to explain why the requisites you do not meet should be waived. Not all requested waiver exceptions will be granted, but no exceptions will be considered without the waiver.

    Prerequisites for 3rd year students (*prerequisites for third year students are quite strict):

    • 9 FCE complete
    • HMB200H1/HMB201H1/HMB202H1/ HMB203H1/HMB204H1, BCH210H1 /CHM247H1, BIO230H1/BIO255H1, HMB265H1/BIO260H1cGPA 3.5 or higher, and permission of the Human Biology Program*

    Prerequisites for 4th year students:

    • 14 FCE complete
    • 300+ level laboratory course, HMB200H1/ HMB201H1/ HMB202H1/HMB203H1/ HMB204H1, a HMB300‐level course
    • cGPA 2.5 or higher, and permission of the Human Biology Program*

    Once you have found a supervisor, you will need to fill out the HMB496Y1 application form. Once received, your supervisor will receive a copy to confirm their participation as your supervisor and review any prerequisite waivers. The application form will then be reviewed by HMB faculty. If the application is approved, you will be enrolled in the course by the department. The timeline for this is usually 1-2 weeks. If your application is not approved, or we need to clarify anything, you will be notified by email.

    Yes, we send a confirmation of enrollment letter to each student once they are enrolled, and you can ask the office to send a letter for TB testing or immunization if this is required.

    We have a policy of not allowing students to do a second research project course (HMB499Y1) in the same lab. The reasons for this are to ensure students get the best experiences for their time and to minimize risk of academic misconduct.

    Doing a second project in a different lab will open new opportunities, new networks of contacts and potential references, fresh skill sets, a different knowledge base and could lead to possible graduate opportunities.

    There is a significant risk of academic misconduct when pursuing a second research project course in the same lab with a similar general research topic. All work in the course must be original and cannot be plagiarized from your own previous work. You may be at risk of academic misconduct if your assignments (Progress Reports, Final Report, Presentations) are too similar to previous work for which you already received academic credit.

    If you still intend to pursue HMB499Y1 in the same lab, please fill in the justification of the second project part of the application form. In this section you will need to explain how the new project will be significantly different from your first project, how other parts of the experience will be different (different supervisors etc.), AND how you plan to minimize risk of academic misconduct for the assignments (ie. not plagiarizing from your own previous work).

    Yes! As long as the prerequisites are met and students have secured a supervisor, students from other divisions are welcome to apply for HMB496Y1.

    This is not recommended. The amount of time spent on your project is demanding of your time, plus you need the best grades you can achieve in your final years.

    No, research project courses are quite intensive and require students to invest a lot of their time and energy into one course. Because of the level of commitment required, students are not permitted to enrol into two research project courses concurrently. It is also not allowed to do an ROP and HMB496Y1 research project course over the same term.

    A student who participates in an undergraduate research opportunity in the Life Sciences, regardless of the nature of the opportunity (be it course-based or stipend based), will have many opportunities to learn about or directly experience:

    • Good Laboratory Practice
      • Using established laboratory safety protocols and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
      • Proper documenting of laboratory protocols and results and maintaining proper laboratory records.
    • Experimental and Critical Evaluation Skills
      • Searching scientific literature and critically evaluating scientific evidence.
      • Designing experiments and choosing the appropriate methods of analysis.
      • Using appropriate laboratory techniques.
      • Troubleshooting problems and actively formulating appropriate solutions.
      • Critically analyzing and interpreting data using logic and evidence-based reasoning.
    • Communication, Collaboration and Networking Skills
      • Communicating in a scholarly style, orally and/or in writing, in seminars, written reports, journal articles, and/or poster presentations, including a final presentation of research work.
      • Participating in seminar series, journal clubs and/or lab meetings.
      • Working as a team member in a collaborative research environment.
      • Building contacts with peers and professionals within the research environment.
    • Personal Development
      • Beneficially implementing the feedback received and mentoring provided by a research supervisor/principal investigator on a regular basis.
      • Thinking and working independently and confidently.

    Source: Undergraduate Research Opportunities (URO) in Life Sciences, GSLE, University of Toronto, 2013