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Frequently Asked Questions

Academic

What happens if I do not meet the continuation requirements for Honors Physiology?

The honors program requires a minimum average GPA of 3.0 for the previous Fall/Winter semester to continue. If you completed a course with a grade below 3.0, that is okay, as long as the overall average of your courses is above this threshold. Spring and summer courses are not included in this calculation.

 

If you are required to withdraw from the program, you may have the opportunity to appeal this decision if your GPA is greater than 2.7. You may also choose to enter the Physiology Major program. Appeals and program changes are completed through the Faculty of Science administration, NOT at the department level. 

Which electives should I take?

For those currently in the program:

 

Take courses that you have a genuine interest in. With that in mind, here are some common electives:

 

PSYCH 104/105 and 200-level courses, SOC 100/224/225, MUSIC 103, CLASS 102, ANAT 403, SPH 200, MMI 133, ECON 101/102, HECOL 210/211, PALEO 200, ANTHRO 101.

 

 

For those entering the program in 2024 and beyond:

 

See the course calendar for the lists of approved options. 

 

NOTE: You must take at least 18* from the Faculty of Arts, and no more than 42* in junior (100-level) courses. 

Should I take CELL 201 or BIOL 201? 

Attend our “Your Future in PHYSL” information session that we host every spring before course registration! You will be able to get student opinions and perspectives on various courses throughout the degree and learn about their breakdown/assessments. 

 

CELL and BIOL 201 cover very similar material, but most students on our team enjoyed CELL 201.

 

Also consider the professor(s) teaching the course, the lecture time, the type of assessments, the date of the final exam relative to your other exams, etc. when making a decision.

What is the difference between this program and Integrative Physiology offered by the Department of Biological Sciences?

This program is based on human physiology, and includes a research project in a laboratory of your choosing during your 4th year. The program outline is more constricted compared to Integrative Physiology, but each required course is carefully chosen to supplement the material in the upper level PHYSL courses.

 

The Integrative Physiology program looks at various living organisms including humans, plants, and animals, and has a broader scope of courses to choose from. There is no research component integrated into the program. 

What is the difference between the Major and Honors Physiology program?

The Physiology Honors program integrates a research component into the last year of the degree, and has a greater number of physiology-focused courses in its curriculum. Please attend our Pathways in the Physiology Program (PIPP) seminar, which is hosted each Fall. 

The Physiology Major program contains a greater number of non-physiology courses, and does not include an integrated research component. Note that some PHYSL courses may be restricted to honors students only.

You can read more about the two streams HEREQuestions regarding these streams can be directed to Dr. Gosgnach at gosgnach@ualberta.ca.

I can’t register in PHYSL XXX on BearTracks. What do I do?

Some courses (ex. PHYSL 310, PHYSL 467/468/469) require manual enrollment by the department. Please email physiologyregistrations@ualberta.ca with your full name and student ID number.

Research

Can I get involved in research before my 4th year?

Yes! In fact, we highly encourage it. You can:

 

  • Work in a lab during the summer through a studentship (ie. you are paid). Attend our fall research seminars for more details, or check out the Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI) for information.

  • Volunteer in a lab that accepts volunteers

  • Take a research course, for example PHYSL 461 is a single-semester research project in a lab of your choosing. 

How do I find a lab that I am interested in?

Explore! You do not have to work in a laboratory within the department, as long as your project is related to physiology. For example, you can search in the Department of Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Oncology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cell Biology, and more. When you open the department website, there should be a tab for “Research” or “Research Areas” where you can find information on the Principle Investigators in that field. 

 

Tip: Read recent papers published by that lab to determine if you would be interested in partaking in their work!

How do I approach a professor I want to do research with?

Check out our fall research information sessions where we discuss this in great detail.

 

Email the professor and explain your work ethic and interest in their research, and outline your intentions (ie. Are you looking to be a summer student? Volunteer? PHYSL 4XX project student?). Some laboratories fill up very quickly, so the earlier you reach out and express your interest, the better. 

What if I’m not interested in research?

That’s okay! In your 4th year of the Honors program, you have the option to take PHYSL 463 and 464 instead of the research courses. These are literature-based courses where you will discuss and analyze scientific research in the field of physiology. 

 

We highly recommend attending our “Pathways in the Physiology Program (PIPP)” information session where we cover the various courses you can take (PHYSL 467/468/489/463/464) in more detail. 

UPSA

How do I get involved in the UPSA?

We host elections every spring, typically at the end of March. Information for applications will be emailed to you beforehand, and voting occurs on BearsDen. If you are not already a registered member of the UPSA on BearsDen, you will need to do so in order to vote. 

 

Each September we recruit a Year Representative for first, second, and third year. Application information will be emailed to you in early September, and selected candidates will be interviewed by 1-2 members of the executive team. 

What experience do I need to be on the team?

No formal experience or skills are necessary, but positions can be competitive. Important skills include strong teamwork, communication, and work ethic. Similarly, any prior experience with student groups, research, leadership, or volunteerism is an asset. 

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