Third-year applied mathematics students have excellent quantitative skills in calculus, differential equations and linear algebra. They have taken a number of courses in programming and in numerical analysis, which typically include an introductory course in mathematical and computer modelling. These skills are well suited for the analysis of open-ended and realistic problems.
Biology at Western is a versatile and exciting program that has gained an enviable reputation over many years. All students enrolled in our programs take a core of courses in their second year including biochemistry, organic chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and population ecology. In addition, students receive essential hands-on experiences in our innovative laboratory-only course, which emphasizes student input into design and techniques.
In senior years, the knowledge gained from these core courses enables students to explore their interests in the many strengths of the department such as animal behaviour, biochemistry & molecular biology, systematics, biodiversity, ecology, evolution, comparative & environmental physiology, cell biology & development, and genetics. Many of the courses offer practical laboratory experience.
Students may elect to graduate with a 3-year BSc degree in Biology, continue on to a 4-Year BSc Program in General Biology, or specialize in one of several 4-year Honors BSc Programs.
During second year, students have hands-on access to some instrumentation (typically UV/VIS and FTIR spectrometers) and develop their skills at report writing.
Third year Honors students will have two levels of courses in inorganic, physical and organic chemistry. Also, they have hands-on access to even more instrumentation (UV/VIS, FTIR, AA, IC, GC, NMR, etc.).
Chemistry undergraduates are introduced to statistics, word-processing, and spreadsheet programs, while possessing good report-writing skills as well as laboratory work habits.
Computer Science programs strive to foster both independent scholarship and the ability to work and communicate effectively in group settings.
By the end of third year, most Internship students will have completed courses in data structures and algorithms, computer organization, software engineering, object-oriented design, operating systems, computer networks, database management, computer architecture, formal logic, and theoretical computer science. Some will have completed optional courses in areas such as computer graphics, artificial intelligence, project management and software law.
All will have a great deal of experience working in Unix and Windows environments, and will have programmed extensively in languages such as Java, C, and C++.
In addition, students will have participated as team members in at least two large group software projects.
Undergraduate students in Earth Sciences participate in three main streams of study: Geology, Geophysics, and Environmental Geology. Geology encompasses mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, mineral deposits, as well as sedimentology & stratigraphy, basin analysis, hydrology & hydrogeology, palaeontology & biostratigraphy, and structural geology. Both Geology and Geophysics students take courses in exploration seismology and other geophysical exploration methods. Furthermore, students in the Geophysics program have strong backgrounds in mathematics, computer data analysis, signal processing and applied physics, as well as solid training in many aspects of Geology.
Students in the Department of Mathematics have strong analytic, problem solving and communication skills. They have the ability to learn new areas quickly, and have flexible and deeply inquiring mindsets. This is the result of a combination of native ability and rigorous training.
The department offers programs in Astronomy, Astronomy & Geophysics, Physics, Physics & Geophysics, Medical Physics, Science of Materials, as well as Physics & Computer Science.
All of our undergraduates have studied mechanics, waves, heat and thermodynamics, plus advanced courses in either electricity and magnetism or quantum mechanics.
By the end of third year, students have completed two full laboratory courses, and are well prepared to take their places at the workbench.
Students are well-versed in mathematics through courses in calculus, differential equations, linear algebra & complex algebra, as well as data analysis.
Students are also well-versed in giving and critiquing talks and seminars through the Seminar Course, in which students from all three years of the programs meet together once a week.
Physics and Astronomy students are well prepared to succeed in the Science Internship Program.
Students involved in these two areas possess computing skills in various statistical packages, and have been introduced to basic data analysis, probability, elementary modelling, regression, and experimental design.
Students in actuarial science possess further computing skills in a spreadsheet language, and additional topics in theory of interest, corporate finance, social security programs and life contingencies. Option courses for many students include economics and business.
Laboratory and lecture courses introduce students to theoretical aspects of the Life Sciences and instruct them how to utilize these concepts in devising scientific hypotheses.
Students are taught to understand the fundamentals of the structure and function of basic biomolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids).
They are introduced to basic molecular biology techniques (DNA isolation and sequencing, protein purification, methodology utilized in determining protein structure).
As part of numerous courses, students have been introduced to communication skills (both written and oral), and have been instructed in writing laboratory reports in accepted scientific format.