COVID-19 Update Page - Department of Biology

Update on Course Offerings For F/W 2020

Updated July 2, 2020

Fall Courses:

Most Biology courses will be offered remotely in the fall term, including most lab courses. Details of how each course will be organized will be posted on the course Moodle website prior to the first class.  We will also post information here as we receive it so please check back. Below we list any exceptions to this general rule.

Changes to courses and to prerequisites for Fall 2020:

BIOL 2030 4.0 Animals
BIOL 2030 will run in the fall as scheduled, but will run as a 3 credit version with no labs, rather than the usual 4 credit version with labs. BIOL 2030 3.0 will be accepted as a prerequisite and degree requirement wherever BIOL 2030 4.0 is required, in all cases.

What if I planned to take BIOL 2030 this summer so I could take a third year course in fall? If you were unable to take BIOL 2030 this summer and now cannot take a planned third year course in fall (such as 3060), for fall 2020 only, we will accept BIOL 2030 as a corequisite for third year courses running in the fall. So for example you may enrol in BIOL 2030 and BIOL 3060 concurrently this fall.  However, you will need to complete BIOL 2030 in fall to enrol in third year courses that require it in winter.

BIOL 2070 3.0 Research Methods in Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL 2070 is a practical lab course, and we are not able to offer it remotely. However, in order to ensure you are not prevented from progressing normally through your degree, we have created a substitute course, BIOL 2071 3.0. BIOL 2071 will be accepted as a prerequisite and degree requirement wherever BIOL 2070 3.0 is required, in all cases.  The new course will cover all of the learning outcomes covered in BIOL 2070, except in person labs, so you will still learn about current methods in biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology, and you will be prepared for third year courses.

What if I planned to take BIOL 2070 this summer so I could take a third year course in fall? If you were unable to take BIOL 2070 this summer and now cannot take a planned third year course in fall (such as 3110), we will accept BIOL 2071 as a corequisite for third year courses running in the fall of 2020. So for example you may enroll in BIOL 2070 and BIOL 3110 concurrently this fall only.

What if I really want to have the in-person lab experience of BIOL 2070? BIOL 2070 is currently scheduled for winter 2021. Assuming you do not need it as a prerequisite to third year courses running this fall, you should enrol in BIOL 2070 for winter 2021.  If you need BIOL 2070 in order to take BIOL 3110 or some other third year course this fall, you must enroll in BIOL 2071 or delay taking the third year course until after you complete BIOL 2070. If you want to discuss options with an academic advisor, please email and request an advising appointment.

BIOL 3140 4.0 Advanced Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Laboratory
BIOL 3140 will be offered in the winter term.

BIOL 3150 4.0 Microbiology
Currently we are planning to offer BIOL 3150 4.0 in the fall term, with labs. Some or all lab sessions will be held on campus, so students must be prepared to come to campus to complete labs.

BIOL 4290 Biotechnology
BIOL 4290 will be offered in the fall and winter term. Fall labs will run on campus, with modifications to meet required pandemic-related standards.

BIOL 4000 Honour Thesis
At the moment we are planning to offer BIOL4000 8.0 in the fall-winter term.  Thesis students will be allowed to come on to campus to conduct their honours thesis research.  However, we are still awaiting details from the university regarding appropriate safety policies and procedures. This information will be coming out in the next couple of weeks.

If your plan is to complete your program before the start of the winter term, you should not enroll in BIOL 4000 8.0 but take BIOL 4000 3.0.

The ability to offer BIOL 4000 also will depend on the status of research labs in the fall and winter.  Updates will be provided as we receive them, and in the meantime we encourage you to continue to plan for BIOL 4000 (and seek potential supervisors) as you normally would. If you require BIOL 4000 for your degree (it is only required if you are in a Specialized Honours Program), and have any concerns or questions, please email

Research Practicum Courses
Students who are interested in completing a Research Practicum course in the fall should contact potential supervisors now to identify a supervisor and discuss possible projects. For projects that can be completed remotely, requests for enrollment can be submitted any time after your enrollment window opens. For projects that require work on campus, you are advised to wait until August to request enrollment, as it currently is unclear whether normal research activities will be fully resumed by September.

Winter Courses:
Currently all winter courses are scheduled as normal.  Courses may be revised in response to changes in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and based on additional information from the Government of Ontario and Public Health Ontario. We will keep you updated if changes to the winter term are required.

Operation Changes to Biology Undergraduate Program Office due to COVID-19

Updated April 2020

As part of York University's efforts to minimize the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Biology Undergraduate Program Office team will, effective immediately, be working from home from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

We will still be able to provide the following key services remotely.  Please send all requests to

  • Assisting with your enrollment for Summer Courses*. When submitting your request, please include your name, student number, major, course and section or lab if applicable.
  • Handling of forms such as Course Performance Summary(CPS), Deferred Standing Agreement(DSA), Letters of Permission forms, etc.  - please refer to our temporary policy changes below for details.
  • Answering questions pertaining to course selections and/or prerequisites for courses.
  • Assisting with existing deferred exams and plans.
  • Responding to approved petitions or related questions.
  • Any request for individual advising (remotely).

Please note the following temporary changes to Departmental Policies:

  1. CPS FORM for Biology 1000 & 1001: Please complete your portion of the form, and email it to or Once signed by the course instructor, it will be emailed back to you.
  2. CPS FORM for Upper Year Biology Courses: Please complete your portion of the form, and email it to the course email address (if there is one) or to the course director directly (please do not copy The course director will email it back to you once signed.
  3. DEFERRED STANDING AGREEMENT:  After filling out your portion of the DSA, please email the DSA & Supporting documents to the course email address or to the course director (please do not send it to biology).
  4. For enrollment issues or questions regarding your program, please email  The turnaround time may be longer than normal – up to 72 hours for responses, as we are receiving more than the usual number of email messages.  Rest assured we will respond, and ask that you refrain from emailing us a second or third time within 72 hours, as this simply leads to more delays. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
  5. All communication must be via email. Please do not phone the office as it is closed.

We will continue to address as many of your concerns as quickly as possible. There may be slight glitches and possible delays, but we will work together to ensure we get through this successfully.

Stay Safe and practice good hygiene and social distancing!

The Department of Biology