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Biology Learning Outcomes

The 3- and 4-year biology programs at Concordia are designed to give students a broad understanding of the foundational concepts in biology along with extensive laboratory experience that supports and expands upon concepts discussed in lecture while allowing students to gain a variety of practical skills.  The emphasis streams in the 4-year program (Cellular and Molecular Biology, Integrative Biology) give students the opportunity to study a particular area of biology in depth within the context of a liberal arts education.

Graduates should have acquired knowledge and skills that will allow entry into laboratory or field jobs, or further study in areas such as Education and Public Health.  Graduates of the 4-year program should be prepared for entry to graduate or professional school, a career, and professional certification by, for example, the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists.

Each course has specific learning outcomes (described in the course syllabus), but the programs have general learning outcomes shared by many courses.  These are shown in the program curriculum maps, and include.


  • Locate, evaluate and synthesize information from the scientific literature
  • Evaluate information from popular electronic, social and print media
  • Think analytically and independently
  • Engage in self-directed learning outside of the classroom or laboratory


  • Communicate science effectively, with appropriate use of scientific terminology, through written work, posters, and oral presentations to a wide variety of audiences
  • Be able to debate biological issues with use of appropriate scientific information and consideration of cultural differences
  • Be able to write a research report

Core biological concepts

  • Recognize the relationship between structure and function at all levels
  • Understand how interactions between organisms and their environments drive the dynamics of individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems
  • Understand the processes and patterns of biological evolution, and the role of evolution as the central unifying concept in biology
  • Understand the historical and social context of biological thought and research, and the contributions of biology to the resolution of medical, ethical, social, and environmental issues in human affairs

 General skills

  • Demonstrate ethical conduct in all scientific and related activities
  • Understand legislation governing biological research in Canada
  • Integrate facts, concepts, and methods from multiple disciplines and apply to biological problems
  • Use quantitative reasoning, observation, technical and analytical skills for scientific problem-solving and interpretation of biological data
  • Work well independently and in small groups
    • Show self-direction and motivation
    • Learn cooperatively and work in teams

Laboratory skills

  • Work safely and productively in a Biocontainment Level 2 laboratory
  • Use common basic and advanced techniques of biology, biotechnology and molecular genetics

Research skills

  • Maintain proper research records
  • Conduct a literature search to determine current state of knowledge in a field
  • Develop a grant proposal
  • Use current laboratory and field instrumentation, computer applications and statistical techniques in the collection, organization, analysis and interpretation of data
  • Design, conduct, report and defend a year-long independent laboratory or field-based research project