Having a knowledgeable and skilled instructor is your greatest asset when taking a biology or science class. The success or failure of the student often comes down to the teacher: how effectively do they communicate, engage, encourage, and inspire? How knowledgeable and passionate are they about living things, ecosystems, conservation, and nature? Of course, the student must take responsibility for writing lab reports, completing assignments, and reviewing scientific concepts - but teachers play a crucial role in bringing the best out of their students.
Bearing this in mind, we have listed some of the best options for taking a biology course in Toronto, where you will find some of the best schools and universities. While you can’t always choose your teacher, choosing a school with a strong reputation in the biological and medical sciences can help ensure you receive a high quality of instruction.
Whether you are reviewing for a biology exam in secondary school, looking for a credit option to get into a Bachelor of Science program, or just excited about environmental science, you will find some great options in the following post.
Why Should You Study Biology?
Biology is the study of living organisms, which makes it an incredible area to grow your knowledge as it encompasses virtually all of the natural world. Whether for pleasure or for completing an academic program, the study of biology is a journey into understanding the world at a closer, cellular level.
In a biology course, you’ll learn about the diversity of life, from Earth’s grand ecosystem of plants, aquatic life, vertebrates, and invertebrates, to communities of bacteria that live in your body. You’ll learn about the structures of plant and animal cells and what life looks like under a microscope. Finally, you’ll understand the living world from the perspective of politics and policy: how governments and agencies manage and conserve biodiversity. As Stephen Hawking pointed out, science education is more important than ever.
Because biology is such a rich and diverse subject, it is fascinating and accessible for just about anyone. Having a good instructor that can leverage your interest and passion, in whatever area of biology you choose, is essential to your success as a student and possibly even a future biologist.
Studying the Life Sciences in Toronto
Many students take a biology course to start a career in medicine, education, biotechnology, or environmental studies. For this reason, Toronto is a fantastic place to study biology because you can truly see its practical application in economic life.
The city hosts world class universities with top science programs, and is home to the country’s best research hospitals and competitive pharmaceutical companies. Get a major in biology, or minor in Environmental Science, or start a career in dental assisting. Younger students can enjoy learning about ecology, plant biology, and marine life at the Ontario Science Centre, the Toronto Zoo, or Ripley’s Aquarium.
Toronto also has great educational institutions for every level of study and every budget, from public school boards to community colleges to universities - and tons of private tutors. Whatever it is you are looking for, you will probably find it in Toronto.
The main options for studying Biology in Toronto are as follows:
- Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) Credits
- College Diploma/Certificate Credits
- University Degree Credits
- Continuing Education Credits
- Private Tutoring
- Workshops and Science Centres
Take Your OSSD Biology Credit with your Local School Board
The Greater Toronto Area is home to some of the largest and most diverse boards in the country. Teachers are generally highly experienced and educated, and must have specific qualifications to teach Biology classes. For students, this means access to quality courses that are free or low cost. The credits you take with a public school board can be put toward your Ontario Secondary School Diploma or fulfill a prerequisite for numerous professional programs.
If you require a Biology credit (SBI4U) to apply for College or University programs, the Toronto District School Board has face-to-face, night school, or e-learning options available. Are you an adult or mature student? The TDSB has several Adult Learning Centre locations around the city where you can learn alongside others in the same boat.
You will find very similar offerings in the Peel, Halton, York, or Durham District Public and Catholic School Boards: simply pick the location where you have a residential address, and sign up for classes by the deadline. Private schools, and private online schools, can also provide Biology credits for your OSSD.
Start a Certificate or Diploma Program in College
Ontario colleges are also a great resource for Biology courses. If you are planning on getting a certificate or diploma in the health or environmental professions, a Biology credit will likely be a mandatory course or prerequisite. If you are applying for university as a mature student, college credits may also be a way to strengthen your application while getting a higher calibre of instruction than a high school credit.
Toronto’s major colleges are Seneca, George Brown, Humber, and Sheridan. You’ll find their campuses in Downtown Toronto, Etobicoke, Scarborough, Oakville, Brampton and Mississauga. Some programs are location-specific, so make sure to factor in a possible commute in your decision-making process.
Each of these colleges have their own strengths and specialty programs, so make time to speak with staff in the admissions office to get some perspective on what programs will support your professional goals best. Depending on the class, you will likely find a good selection of face-to-face, online, and blended courses that will suit your scheduling needs. Here are some examples of biology related programs in Toronto colleges:
- Dental Health
- Medical Support
- Lab technician
- Environmental Control
- Pharmacy Technician
- Animal Care
- Veterinary Technician
Pursue Your Bachelor of Science Degree in University
Toronto has world class universities with excellent Biology programs for students eyeing a career in the sciences, medicine, or environmental policy. Undergraduate degrees usually take 3-4 years, depending on whether you want an Honours degree or longer if you are a part time student. A Bachelor of Science degree also positions you for graduate school or numerous professional programs in education, nursing, conservation, and health sciences, so if you want to keep your options wide open a university degree is almost certainly your best option.
The University of Toronto is one of the country’s largest and prestigious schools, with campuses in Midtown Toronto, Mississauga, and Scarborough. You will find an extensive Bachelor of Science Program with extensive programming. Here’s just a handful:
- Environment and Energy
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Human Biology
- Genome Biology
- Nutritional Sciences
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
York University, located in North Toronto, will give you a comparable offering. Finally, Ryerson University in Toronto’s downtown core also has Biology courses that lead to professional pathways like Nursing or Environmental Studies.
As when choosing any school, make sure you consider factors such as the cost of residence, commute length, program offering, and teaching staff prior to making a decision. Book a campus visit or attend an open house to get a sense of what the learning experience will be like.
Find a Private Biology Tutor at Superprof
If you are in the midst of completing your high school diploma, college certificate, or university degree, a private Biology tutor may be the best option. Having one-to-one, support is incredibly effective, as your tutor will hold you accountable to your learning, review key concepts you are studying, and answer all of your questions in a way that makes sense to you.
Personalisation can be key when you are taking a class and need help with only specific concepts. For example, you may be seeking help with cellular and molecular biology, but your course instructor has already moved on to another topic. Perhaps you need someone to review topics with you before a test or exam, or maybe you missed a substantial part of the term due to illness or a trip and want to make sure you are fully caught up.
Another great benefit of having a Biology tutor is having an instructor who is passionate about the subject and will make it interesting for you. This can make a huge difference in what you get out of your learning, as regular classes often entail long readings and report writing. A private tutor, who has already graduated, will know exactly what you need to do to be successful and provide meaningful feedback on your work so you can produce your best copy before submission. Who would be better to help you in an Animal Behaviour course than someone who has majored in the subject?
Having extra help can give you the competitive edge it takes to get a better grade in the course, which definitely strengthens programs to undergraduate or postgraduate programs. And let’s not forget the convenience of having someone come to you on your schedule! Private tutoring can be the perfect supplement to your studies.
Science for Kids and Recreation
If you are looking for a fun way to explore Biology on your own or want to inspire a young scientist in your home you can find plenty of options that don’t require commitment to a program.
For the kids, science workshops and after school STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) programs have been increasingly popular for parents looking to enrich their child’s education. Mad Science is one organisation that offers programs within elementary schools at lunch and after school. You will also find great nature programs for kids at the High Park Nature Centre, where kids of all ages (adults included) can learn about the City’s ecosystem and how to practice environmental stewardship.
Science and nature themed camps in the great outdoors can also lead to a lifelong interest in biology, sustainability, and ecology. You don’t have to drive far from Toronto to get to Cottage Country, where there exists numerous summer camps that will deepen your child’s appreciation for outdoor recreation and Ontario’s unique ecosystems from the Niagara Escarpment to Algonquin Park.
The Ontario Science Centre is an incredible resource for science classes, workshops, and exhibits that explore different facets of biology. Whether you are a kid or a lifelong learner, you will find plenty to discover in the mini rainforest exhibit, or outside in the enclosed forest. The Science Centre even has an Imax theatre where you can get a dynamic 3-D experience of award-winning nature documentaries. Check their schedule for more details!