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Biotechnology and Genomics Graduate Diploma

Admission Requirements

  • BSc degree from an accredited university with at least 15 credits in courses at the 200 or 300 level in the following subjects: genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and 3 credits of laboratory in one or more of these subjects.
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00 (on a scale with a maximum of 4.30).

Proficiency in English. Applicants whose primary language is not English must demonstrate that their knowledge of English is sufficient to pursue graduate studies in their chosen field. Please refer to the Graduate Admission page for further information on the Language Proficiency requirements and exemptions.

Degree Requirements

Fully-qualified candidates are required to complete a minimum of 30 credits

21 credits – Core Courses

BIOL 510 – Bioinformatics (3 credits)
BIOL 511 – Structural Genomics (3 credits)
BIOL 512 – Functional Genomics (3 credits)
BIOL 515 – Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory (3 credits)
BIOL 516 – Project in Biotechnology and Genomics (6 credits)
PHIL 530 – Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Biotechnology (3 credits)

9 credits – Elective Courses

BIOL 521 – Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology (3 credits)
BIOL 523 – Agriculture and Agri-Food Biotechnology (3 credits)
BIOL 524 – High-throughput Instrumentation (3 credits)
BIOL 525 – Biological Computing and Synthetic Biology (3 credits)
CHEM 678 – Protein Engineering and Design (3 credits)

Academic Regulations

  1. Academic Standing. Please refer to the Academic Standing section of the Calendar for a detailed review of the Academic Regulations.
  2. Time Limit. Please refer to the Academic Regulation page for further details regarding the Time Limit requirements.
  3. Graduation Requirement. To graduate, students must have completed all course requirements with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00.


BIOL 510 Bioinformatics
Prerequisites: BIOL 367 or equivalent; COMP 228 (System Hardware) or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
This course provides the tools for life scientists to interpret and analyze biological sequence data. It provides a general overview of the growth in availability of genetic information. The course covers the genetic databases; the rapidly-increasing number of genome databases, including the human genome database; the sequence homology search engines and search algorithms; software for the identification of structural sequence components; and the determination of evolutionary relationships between sequences.

BIOL 511 Structural Genomics
This course provides an overview of genome analysis including: cloning systems; sequencing strategies; methods of detecting genes and approaches to mapping genomes. It covers the theory and design of the different approaches, and the analysis of genomic data generated from them.

BIOL 512 Functional Genomics
This course focuses on the functional analysis of expressed genes and their products. Course content includes the construction and screening of normalized cDNA libraries, analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs), functional analysis by gene knock-outs, localization of gene products by gene knowk-ins, transcription profiling, systematic identification of proteins, and functional analysis of proteins by detection of protein-protein interactions.

BIOL 515 Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory
This is a hands-on course on techniques used in biotechnology and genomics. Experiments conducted in this course include separation and mapping of high molecular weight DNA fragments, shotgun sequencing, ESTs sequencing, protein production in bacteria and fungi, functional analysis of protein products, protein arrays, and in vivo detection of protein interactions. This course incurs an additional fee to cover laboratory supplies and equipment.

BIOL 516 Project in Biotechnology and Genomics (6 credits)
Prerequisites: BIOL 466; BIOL 368; or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
Each student conducts a project under the supervision of a faculty member at Concordia or other research institutions affiliated with the program. The project topic requires approval by the course coordinator. The project can be taken over an 8-month (10 hours per week) of a 4-month period (20 hours per week) at Concordia or other approved institutions or companies. The project will be chosen from one or more of the following fields: biotechnology, genomics, bioinformatics, and high-throughput experimentation. The nature of the project can be research, development, or application. A student who is working full-time or part-time can pursue the project in his/her place of employment subject to approval. (Approval will only be given to projects which are clearly demonstrated to be independent of the regular work requirement). At the end of the project, the student is required to submit a report on the results of the project and present the results publicly in the form of a scientific poster or a short talk at a scheduled Genomics/Biotechnology Research Day.

BIOL 521 Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology
Prerequisites: BIOL 511; BIOL 512.
This course provides an in-depth evaluation of current biotechnology tools used in pharmaceutical and forestry industries, and in environmental remediation. New technologies and genomic approaches that can be applied to these processes are also discussed.

BIOL 523 Agriculture and Agri-Food Biotechnology
Prerequisites: BIOL 511; BIOL 512.
This course provides an overview on the use of biotechnology in agriculture and in the agri-food industry. Plant genomics and genetic manipulation of plants are emphasized. Also discussed are biotechnology methods used in reducing agricultural pollutants and converting agricultural surplus to energy.

BIOL 524 High-throughput Instrumentation
Prerequisites: BIOL 511; BIOL 512.
This is a hands-on introduction to high-throughput instruments used in biotechnology and genomics. Students are exposed to capillary electrophoresis-based DNA sequencing, microplate-based PCR reactions and purification of PCR products, construction of DNA chips, microarray scanning, and liquid handling robotics. Enrolment in this course is restricted to ten students.

BIOL 525    Biological Computing and Synthetic Biology 
This is an interdisciplinary course offered to students who are either in Biology or Electrical and Computer Engineering programs. Students are introduced to the emerging field of synthetic biology and learn to design computational machines that can be implemented in biological media. The term is divided into two phases. In Phase I, Biology students learn basic computer hardware and software concepts, while Engineering students are introduced to gene structure and recombinant DNA technology. In Phase II, all students learn the principles and various applications of cell-based computational machines. Students work in teams to create a project proposal to describe the design of a computational machine using gene regulatory networks. A project is required.
Note: Students who have received credit for COEN 6211 or for this topic under a BIOL 631 or COEN 691 number may not take this course for credit.

PHIL 530 Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Biotechnology
Prerequisite: BIOL 367 or permission of the Diploma Program Director.
This interdisciplinary course examines some of the ethical, legal, and social implications of recent developments in biotechnology, genomics, and bioinformatics. Students explore current debates about biotechnologies in the fields of agricultural biotechnology, global development, and environmental risk. Issues such as commercialization and intellectual property, the role of media and public perceptions of biotechnologies, and social responsibility and policy formation are also addressed.

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