About BIOL 1020/21

BIOL 1020.03
Introductory Biology I: Cells, Genetics & Evolution

(equivalent to BIOL 1010.03)
BIOL 1021.03
Introductory Biology II: Organismal Biology and Ecology

(equivalent to BIOL 1011.03)
See the course listings in the Academic Timetable for upcoming course dates. Choose the term of interest, select ‘Halifax and Online’, and click Submit. Then choose Biology from the subjects listed for that term. (These course dates do not include the final exam period.)

Registering for Fall 2020 / Winter 2021?

You will be prompted to register for a ‘tutorial’ and a ‘lecture’ section, but these are organizational categories only. It doesn’t matter which lecture section you register for — all students will have access to the same course material, and there are no mandatory synchronous meetings.

Synchronous Sessions (Optional)

Sometimes it’s just easier to ask a question or get some help in real time. For three hours each week it’s all hands on deck in Collaborate Ultra: all of the teaching assistants (TAs) will be available for one hour during that period, and the instructors will be available for all three hours. If you can’t attend your own TA’s session, you are welcome to attend another one.

BIOL 1020: Thursdays 1:00-4:00 pm (Winter 2021)
BIOL 1021: Tuesdays 1:00-4:00 pm (Winter 2021)
These are casual, drop-in Q&A sessions. No formal instruction is planned for this time, and the sessions will not be recorded. They are not mandatory to attend, and you may make appointments to meet with an instructor at other times.


All assessments (quizzes, labs, exams) are conducted online.
Exam details are included in the syllabus.

Take Dalhousie’s introductory biology courses online

Dalhousie’s Department of Biology offers online versions of its two introductory biology courses.

BIOL 1020 and BIOL 1021 may be taken by on-campus students to facilitate their work and study schedules, or by students at any location where regular access to the Web is assured.

Students may take a combination of the online and classroom-based courses (BIOL 1010 and BIOL 1011). BIOL 1020 is not a prerequisite for BIOL 1021, so the courses may be taken in any order.


BIOL 1020 and BIOL 1021 are offered concurrently in all three terms (Fall, Winter, and Summer). Each course is offered over approximately 13 weeks, during the regular Dalhousie term schedule. Each course starts with an Orientation period, followed by 11 weeks of course content.


While these courses meet the prerequisites for further courses in biology at Dalhousie, they are not restricted to biology students or even to current Dalhousie students. Dalhousie arts students may wish to take the courses to fulfill their science requirement, and persons who are not currently registered at Dalhousie University can apply to Dalhousie as a visiting student. (For more information, see Undergraduate Admissions.) Once your application to Dalhousie has been processed, you can register for either or both courses (see Dalhousie’s Online Learning website). Students from other universities are reminded to obtain a letter of permission from their home institution in order to obtain credit for BIOL 1020/21 towards their degree program.

If you have never taken an online course before, you may wish to try the Are You Ready to be an Online Student? self-assessment quiz.


BIOL 1020 and BIOL 1021 are fully interactive, web-delivered courses. For each weekly lesson there is a reading assignment, a recorded lecture, a set of related activities or exercises, and an online quiz. The courses also include exams and labs. There are ample opportunities for students to communicate with their peers, teaching assistants, and instructor, via discussion boards, e-mail, and web conferencing. Instruction is primarily asynchronous, meaning that there are no set times that students are required to be online.

Unlike some distance education courses which are self-directed or “learn at your own pace”, BIOL 1020 and BIOL 1021 are highly structured. Their flexibility lay in the fact that students do not have to attend a lecture or lab on campus. Students should bear in mind that they are required to meet weekly deadlines, and to write the exams on their scheduled dates. For more information about BIOL 1020 and BIOL 1021, please view the other pages on this site.

Updated 27 December 2020 (jvd)