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Biology 491 - Frequently Asked Questions

Virtually any! There is sufficient expertise at VIU and around Nanaimo to work on most areas of biology. The Biology faculty page displays the areas of interest of each faculty.

Faculties in Fisheries & Aquaculture, Chemistry and Natural Resource Protection may also be available as advisors or co-advisors.

Collaborations with scientists outside of the above departments or VIU is also encouraged. Examples include: Centre for Shellfish Research (CSR), International Centre for Sturgeon Studies, Centre for Coastal Health, Pacific Biological Station (PBS), BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

No worries. Talk to professors in your field of interest – they will help you find a project you like. Check past project titles on this website for examples.

Many faculty have overlapping fields of interest. We collaborate to ensure you can do your project of interest. You might end up with a principal advisor and one or more co-advisors.

All students have a principal advisor in or affiliated with the Biology Department. The advisor is responsible for reviewing and grading most of your course delivarables.

You might end up with a principal advisor and one or more co-advisors inside or outside of the Biology Department.

Not necessarily. The specialization courses taken typically reflect as student’s field of interest, and it is natural for a project to fit in that specialization. However, it may be possible to complete a project outside of your area of specialization.

Some projects may benefit from having completed the relevant specialization courses.

Most research builds on acquired knowledge in the literature and/or previous research projects. Your project may be a continuation of work completed by previous Biology 491 students or testing an idea proposed in the literature. Inevitably, your project will contain some original insights aimed at expanding biological knowledge.

Your advisor will help you define a workable project scope.

No! The Biology 491 program is entirely designed to be completed between September and April. For some seasonal projects (typically in Ecology), it may be better to start during summer.

Yes. You would need to discuss the change with your advisor for approval.

Yes. Titles often change during the duration of the project to better reflect the actual project.

Consider Biology 491 like any 3-credit course in a semester, except there is no formal class time. Assume an average of 6-8 hours/week (equivalent to typical lecture/lab courses). Your time spent on this project may not be evenly spread out among weeks depending on your progress and project deadlines. Time management may be essential.

The Biology 491 project is like any 3-credit course in a semester. It is designed to fit within a 5-course per semester degree plan.

Your advisor will assign your marks for the draft proposal, final proposal, progress report No. 1 and 2, and the draft report.

The oral presentations of your proposal and report will be graded by all members of the Biology Department in attendance at the oral presentation events.

Your final report will be graded (with equal value) by your advisor and an external reviewer chosen among Biology faculty within your field of specialization.

Space is available in the undergraduate research lab (Room 201) and project room (Room 202).

Almost anytime. You will get a code to open the outside door. The Biology preparation / supply room is closed during evenings and weekends. Therefore, prior planning is essential!

No! You pay 6-credits of tuition already. The Biology Department covers your research costs.

Your advisor and a laboratory technician will assist you to order chemicals / supplies that you may need for your project.

Publication is not an expectation of Biology 491 projects. Your final mark in this course does not depend on whether the work is published or not. Plublication is a desirable objective, but not a requirement.

Authorship of published course work would be discussed with your advisor, and it would depend on individual contributions to the published product.