Biology is fun for students of all ages - whether you are a small child or pursuing a degree at the university level. It is truly rewarding to learn about living things, everything from the anatomy and physiology of humans and animals to the composition of microbes and microorganisms. Learning topics in biology, like global warming and climate change, can lead to better outcomes for our planet.

If you happen to be in Ottawa, there are plenty of opportunities for people to study biology, with schools, colleges, and universities offering myriad learning pathways and programs in the field.  Ottawa happens to be surrounded by beautiful and rich natural ecosystems that local environmental groups actively support. With biology lectures at the University of Ottawa and Carleton to marine biology exhibits at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada’s capital city has it all.

 

Parliament Building
Learn the life sciences in Canada's capital. Source: Pexels

 

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Let’s take a look at the broad range of options available for prospective biology students in Ottawa. Whether you are looking for prerequisite course work, hustling for a job in the biomedical field, or aiming for a career in environmental science, we hope you find some helpful information!

Why Study Biology?

Studying biology means learning about the most fundamental elements of life on Earth, analyzing the diversity of organisms microscopic and large. Biology encompasses everything from the mechanics of the brain and genetics to conservation and the food chains that evolve within ecosystems.

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While it is an incredibly vast discipline, biology opens up numerous possibilities for careers for students. Biology studies are often prerequisite for careers in scientific research, laboratory work, health sciences, education, kinesiology, and much more. If you are a mature student looking for a new career path, or a high school student wondering where to focus your learning, you should know that having a science background opens up a whole world of work. 

careers in biology
Take a biology program for a career in the sciences. Source: Unsplash

The Best Places to Study Biology in Ottawa

As the national capital of Canada, Ottawa boasts a relatively high number of learning options for those interested in biology. Ottawa’s grand Parliament buildings, monuments, and numerous museums make the city optimal as a place to undertake professional studies or a degree in Biology. 

The program and institution you choose will depend on your stage of study and what outcomes you plan to achieve. For example, if you are looking to find research opportunities in infectious diseases, you should aim for a pathway in university. If you are interested in working a supporting role in the medical dental field, college might be the school for you. While we cannot possibly cover every school, we will focus mainly on higher education options. We hope you find our guide helpful!

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Upgrade your High School Courses 

Biology credits are prerequisite for most college and university programs in the life sciences, and many adult students find they need to upgrade their marks prior to application. Luckily, many schools have set up programs that enable local and international students to obtain these credits regularly throughout the year.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School board is one place students can look to get their grade 12 biology course (SBI4U) at night or in a day school. Registration only happens on certain days during the year, so make sure you check their site to find out what the timelines are. The ILC is an online school funded by the Ministry of Education that also provides students with distance learning options at a reasonable cost, and you may even find that you can complete the credits at your own pace. Private online schools, like Virtual High School, can also help you get the grade 12 biology credit with a tuition fee.

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Find a Program in a College or University in Ottawa

student studying biology
Aim for a Biology Major in University. Source: Pixabay

Ottawa has plenty of degree, diploma, and certificate programs that can lead you to professions in areas like environmental stewardship, education and the medical sciences. Why should students of Biology enrol in a college program? College programs can help you get into the job market faster, and provide you with the certification you need to get into a profession. Students looking for a longer and more comprehensive foundational study in Biology, or have a goal for graduate studies, should consider a university education to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree.

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Post-secondary options in Ottawa

Located in the Ottawa area, Algonquin College offers an advanced diploma in Biotechnology and a variety of programs in the health sciences. Ottawa is also home to small colleges, such as Willis College, with a focus on professional programs like medical and dental care. Programs such as these help prepare graduates for jobs as nurses, lab assistants, dental assistants, hygienists, in pharmaceutical companies.

Ottawa also shines as a university town with popular schools like the University of Ottawa and Carleton. The University of Ottawa offers a major in Biology in their undergraduate program, addressing topics like land management, conservation and endangered species, disease prevention and management, and stem cell research and genetically modified organisms. Carleton University has a range of BSc pathways focusing on the areas of general biology, Bioinformatics, and Biotechnology. Students can also concentrate on topics such as Health Science, Biodiversity, Ecology, and Physiology.

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Study Biology Online through Open Courses

It may be worthwhile to consider open courses, or massive open online courses (MOOCs) if you are looking to build your knowledge in biology but do not require a degree or diploma. Many of the world’s top schools like Harvard, MIT, and even local institutions like the University of Ottawa and Carleton offer free, open courses. Here are some examples of MOOCs in the biology field:

  • Insect-Human Interactions
  • Fundamentals of Neuroscience
  • Principles of Biochemistry
  • Introduction to Animal Behaviour

These classes are cheap and self-paced, and enable students to experience learning at a top school without the pressures of applications or exams. For a reasonable fee, you can even get a certificate to verify completion.

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Find a Private Biology Tutor at Superprof

No matter which level you are at, getting a private tutor from a site like Superprof can help you maximize your learning outcomes. Private biology tutors have expertise and experience in specific subject areas, have been through degree programs, and can help you put your best foot forward. Whether you are bound for college or grad school, a tutor can give you that critical boost in your learning. Imagine getting help from a graduate with an MSc for your cellular and molecular biology course - not only does your tutor have the expertise, but the experience of having gone through the exact same class.

In a tutorial learning environment, you will find a fantastic supplement to a regular course program. With a tutor helping you review, you can feel more confident when the next exam comes up and secure in knowing an extra set of eyes has looked over your assignments and lab reports.

Check out Superprof and find a tutor that can work with you.

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Colleen

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