Calgary is a beautiful midwestern Canadian city packed with educational opportunities for all students. Whether you are a high school student looking to review a semester of learning before exams, a mature student looking for a career change, or a university applicant looking for a strong research institution, you will find plenty of options in Calgary.

If biology is your chosen field, there are numerous institutions offering courses in the life sciences. The University of Calgary, one of Canada’s most established schools, offers a fantastic portfolio of research areas. Beyond the city’s university options, you can find colleges and continuing education credit schools that will prepare you for careers in areas like medicine, conservation, or botany. For students already enrolled in programs, you can find a selection of tutorial-style offerings that can deeply enhance your studies.

Find more information about biology classes near you.

Biology is a discipline that covers a vast range of topics, from the genomics of cell biology, to the biodiversity of plant and animal life, to the inner workings of the human body and the impact of disease. Genetics, photosynthesis, physiology, and virology are all concepts that can all be categorised in the biological sciences. It encompasses chemistry and the physics of microorganisms to the conservation practices we use to protect and manage Canada’s famous parklands and wilderness. This is particularly important in Alberta, where the oil industry has made a devastating impact on ecosystems. Conservation biologists play a vital role in taking care of our beloved planet.

Because biology encompasses such a wide area of knowledge, the options for careers are plentiful. Biology students can choose from jobs in medicine and veterinary science, sports medicine, dentistry, environmental policy, and research. By getting your secondary biology credits, you can access a world of opportunities in the future.

When you consider the fact that biology is a wonderfully compelling, engaging, and challenging subject to learn and explore, it is easy to see why so many students choose to focus their academic careers in the biological sciences.

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Why Should Students Study Biology?

The study of biology includes microscopic life. Source: Pixabay

Options for Studying Biology in Calgary

So what pathway in biology will you choose? The school you choose and the courses you take will vary depending on what outcomes you are trying to achieve. Are you looking to get into a lab technician program? Start a career in one of Alberta’s treasured national parks? Become a nurse on the frontlines of the healthcare system? Let’s take a closer look at what biology programs you can find right here in Calgary.

Get Your High School Biology Credit

While we often think of high school students as teenagers experiencing the excitement of social life and rotary classes, there are hundreds of students that don’t fit that typical mould. Perhaps you are an adult student looking to get a credit to enter a college or university program. Maybe you are an international student looking to get the credentials to apply to a broader range of universities. 

Getting into a post secondary biology program in Alberta means having the right prerequisites, so if you are planning forward make sure you get your high school credits in line. Biology 30 is one credit required by many universities and colleges for admission into a science program, so you’ll want to make sure you have it or an equivalent in your transcript.

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For mature students that need to acquire a high school biology credit, plenty of distance and in person options are available. To start, have a look at the Calgary Board of Education’s Chinook Learning Services, which offers Biology credits for adult students at different locations around the city. If you are looking to accelerate your learning for entry into college programs, schools like Columbia College Calgary, the University of Calgary, and SAIT offer academic upgrading classes for students looking to get their Biology 20 and Biology 30 credits. Looking to learn at a distance? The Vista Virtual School offers Alberta students of all ages opportunities to get their credits from home.


study biology at any age
Biology is a fascinating discipline with endless possibilities. Source: Pixabay

Take a Diploma or Certificate Program in College

Calgary has a number of college diploma and certificate programs that can lead directly to careers in the environment or the health sciences. To get into any college program, students usually must have a High School Diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED), though some programs will also require applicants to already have post-secondary credits. 

Why consider a college program if you are interested in Biology? College programs are focused on applying scientific knowledge and skills to real world situations, perfect if you already have a science background or are looking to get into the workforce fast. 

Interested in learning biology in Vancouver? Read our article.

Bow Valley offers programs in biology-related fields such as nursing, pharmacy technician, and nutrition. Located in the heart of downtown Calgary with a modern campus, Bow Valley is a fantastic convenient option whether you are local or new to the city. Columbia College is a non-profit, community centred organisation similarly offering programs in the health sciences as well as dental health. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, also located in Central Calgary, is a polytechnical institute with a good selection of biology related programs including Medical Laboratory Technology and Nutrition. 

work in healthcare
A background in Biology can lead to a career in medicine. Source: Pixabay

Take Biology at the University Level

Calgary has university options that are renowned across Canada for research, teaching, and learning. Located close to the Rocky Mountains and the world famous Banff National Park, Calgary is an easy choice for science and nature lovers. Meanwhile, the city buzzes with a diverse population and exciting bar and restaurant scene. Attending university, or any school in Calgary, brings a wealth of options to keep you busy.

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The University of Calgary is one of the country’s most established institutions, and has a lot of course pathway options for those looking to get a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a graduate degree. Located in downtown Calgary, the University of Calgary offers a comprehensive range of biology courses in ecology, cellular biology, plant biology, zoology, and medical sciences.

Mount Royal University offers a major program in biology for students to pursue in a campus environment that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship. While smaller than the University of Calgary, students get the benefit of learning in a more intimate environment and can choose different learning pathways. Here undergraduate students can pick from courses like histology, molecular biology, Animal Behaviour, Neuroscience, and much more. 

Boasting a low student to instructor ratio, Ambrose University has a BSc program in Biology covering five streams: cellular & molecular biology, ecology, general biology, kinesiology, and health science. Located in a suburban area of Calgary, Ambrose is a great school if you are looking to learn in a quiet, intimate community of faculty and students.

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Study Biology Online through Open Courses

While engaging in a university or college program has been the standard of higher learning for decades, the option of Open University courses should not be ignored. If you are looking to broaden your knowledge base in an area of biology you would like to understand more - without the commitments and fees - an open university course could be right for you. Cheap, and often self-paced, Open courses enable students to attend class in world-class schools without the pressures of exams or graduation.

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are often free and provided by universities like Harvard, MIT, and even locally here from the University of Calgary. For a reasonable fee you can get a certificate to verify course completion. 

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Find a Private Biology Tutor at Superprof

No matter what level of study you are at, having a private tutor can do wonders for your learning and performance at school. Private biology tutors make learning personalised and fun, and sites like Superprof make it easy to find a teacher that specialises in the area you need help in. You can find tutors that are well-versed in anything from biochemistry to microbiology to genomics, and will teach you at a pace that suits your learning style.

In a one-to-one learning environment, you can get more support than simply learning in a large group of people with “one size fits all” instruction. The right tutor can make the difference between dropping out and succeeding, while also giving you an edge if you need the best marks to get into another program. With a tutor supporting your learning you will feel more confident when the next test pops up, and have a critical set of eyes to read through essays and reports.

Check out the options at Superprof and find someone that can work with your schedule and learning needs.

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Colleen is a Toronto-based educator, mom and freelance writer who believes in lifelong learning and strong coffee.