Research in Biology - Honours Thesis

Welcome to the Biol 537 webpage for 2016/17


Research Proposal guidelines

Seminar schedule

Seminar evaluation form for STUDENTS

Seminar evaluation form for FACULTY
(PDF;  Word)

Poster designations

Poster award winners:
Kristen Siegel
Mykensie Kendrick
Ryan Kilburn
Kevin Burke
Clara Ferguson
Jillian Wettlaufer

Thesis writing and formatting guidelines

Thesis grading sheet

The Honours Thesis Course (BIOL 537/12.0) is one of the principal capstone experiences offered in the Biology undergraduate program. It provides students with the opportunity to develop and work on their own independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member in the Biology Department (or cross-appointed to the Biology Department). Students gain experience in the full range of activities involved in doing research in Biology, including project design, data analysis and interpretation, literature review, scientific writing, oral presentation and interactive collaboration with colleagues.

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this course, the student should be able to

1. Apply fundamental scientific principles and critical thinking skills to independently develop and conduct a novel and discrete biological research study

2. Demonstrate key professional skills, such as advanced laboratory and/or field biological techniques, effective proposal and manuscript writing, oral communication, critical evaluation of the literature, lab team-work, and problem-solving

3. Verbally synthesize the study and defend the main research findings and their interpretation at a standard appropriate for a professional scientific conference

4. Analyse and interpret the study results, and present them and an evaluation of their significance in writing at a standard appropriate for a peer-reviewed science journal

5. Constructively critique the strengths and weaknesses of other students’ studies to refine and improve their scientific value


Teaching team
Dr. Paul Grogan (Course coordinator),, 613-533-6152, Room 2508
Dr. Fran Bonier,,
613-533-6000 x77024, Room 3523
Dr. Paul Young,, 613-533-6148, Room 2443

Seminar times: Fridays 2.30-5.30
Location: Room 1102, Biosciences building


Sept 16

Welcome and information session – Paul Grogan and 537 alumnae

Sept 23

Faculty seminar: The science funding process, and How to write a strong research proposal - Paul Young

Sept 30

Faculty seminar: The Scientific Method, and How to give a great seminar - Fran Bonier

Oct 7  

No class (Thanksgiving weekend)

Oct 14

Research proposals due (hardcopies to General office by 3.30pm) - No class

Oct 21

No class

Oct 28

No class

Nov 4 

Seminars – Group 1 (P. Young) (Last day to drop classes)

Nov 11

Seminars – Group 2 (F. Bonier)

Nov 18

Seminars – Group 3 (P. Young)

Nov 25

Seminars – Group 4 (F. Bonier)

Dec 2

Seminars – Group 5 (P. Young)


Jan 13

Seminars – Group 6 (F. Bonier)

Jan 20

Seminars – Group 7 (P. Young)

Jan 27

Seminars – Group 8 (F. Bonier)

Feb 3

No class

Feb 10

No class

Feb 17

First draft of thesis due
Faculty seminar: How to prepare an excellent poster – Dr. Chris Eckert

Feb 24

No class (Reading week)

Mar 3

No class

Mar 10

Poster day finale - Posters need to be up by noon on the previous Monday (Mar 6); Students should be at their posters from 2.30-4.30pm on the Friday afternoon to present and answer questions.

Biology Department 4th year Capstone speaker Dr. Michael Szego (UFT) will be giving a talk entitled: MY CAREER PATH FROM BIOLOGY TO BIOETHICS: REFLECTIONS AND SOME USEFUL ADVICE FOR STUDENTS AT THE START OF THEIR CAREERS - 4.45pm, Room 1102, Bioscience Complex

Mar 17

No class

Mar 24

No class

Mar 31

No class

Apr 5 (Wednesday)

Final thesis due. Immediately after submitting a hard copy of your final thesis in the General Office, you will be allowed to sign up for a defence date/time.
CAUTION: Timetabling all of the people involved in the defences is a difficult exercise for the coordinator – Please don’t sign up for a specific date/time until both your supervisor and committee member have agreed to it.

Apr 10-12

Thesis oral defences (Monday-Wednesday)





Value (%)


Research Proposal (F)


Course coordinator (Grogan)

Lab/Field Skills



Seminar (F or W)


Supervisory committee (supervisor and co-supervisor if applicable, committee member)
Seminar Chair

Poster (W)


Supervisory committee, faculty and grad students

Thesis - First Draft (W)



Thesis - Final Draft (W)


Supervisory committee (Moderation by course instructors)

Thesis Defence (W)


Supervisory committee (Moderation by course instructors)


Last Updated: 29 May 2017