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Honours in Biology

 The honours thesis (BIOL4499) is strongly recommended for anyone thinking about going to graduate school or interested in research. By doing honours thesis research, you will get a taste for what hands-on science is all about. 

Reasons for doing honours:

  • To conduct your own research project
  • To learn to work independently in the lab
  • To gain hands-on experience
  • To be part of a research team
  • To learn valuable scientific skills (writing, presentation, critical thinking, etc.)
  • To find out if you like research
  • To get to know faculty, other honours students and graduate students
  • And to have fun!

Comments of previous honours students:

"The biology honours program at the Mount provided me with an unparalleled learning experience. I was able to apply my classroom knowledge to a real research setting while developing practical skills that I will use for the rest of my career. I would highly recommend the honours program to anyone interested in working as a researcher."                                                         Amanda Griffin (2016) 


"My honours degree allowed me to explore my full potential and provided me with invaluable skills in scientific method, experimental design, and writing. I left with the experience necessary to be competitive and successful in my field."                                                      Ashley Martel (2015) 


"My experiences as an Honours student at MSVU were phenomenal, and provided me with the amazing opportunity to design and conduct my own research project in a fascinating field of biology. I gained valuable skills including time management, writing, public speaking, and problem solving, all of which have better prepared me for future endeavours."                             Christine Hammer (2014)

We are proud of our honours students, who have entered the graduate programs at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, Memorial University; entered the Veterinary program at UPEI; and entered the Medical School at Dalhousie University.


For more information, please speak to one of the Biology Faculty members, or contact the Honours Coordinator, Dr. Mirwais Qaderi, by e-mail at

For Program Requirements Click here


Titles of Previous Honours Theses


Tannic acid tolerance in dark septate endophytic fungi


Amanda Griffin

(Supervisor: Dr Kernaghan)

Does water stress affect growth, ethylene evolution and methane emission in sunflower (Helianthus annuus)?



Anna Jessop

(Supervisor: Dr Qaderi)


Combined effects of carbon dioxide, temperature and water stress on growth and chemical constituents of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) seedlings



Jamie MacDonald

(Supervisor: Dr Qaderi)

Does abscisic acid regulate growth and physiological responses of canola (Brassica napus) to temperature and water stress?



Sarah Pickrem

(Supervisor: Dr Qaderi)


Establishing in vitro culturing and determining the effect of inhibitors on bone development in chick embryonic eye tissue


Gregory Haller

(Supervisor: Dr Franz-Odendaal)


Interactive effects of temperature, watering regime, and mycorrhizae on growth and physiological characteristics of mung bean (Vigna radiata)


Alexis LeFait

(Supervisors: Drs Qaderi &


The individual and interactive effects of temperature, ultraviolet-B radiation, and salicylic acid on pea (Pisum sativum L.)


Ashley Martel

(Supervisor: Dr Qaderi)

Interactive effects of temperature, carbon dioxide and abscisic acid on growth and development of mung bean (Vigna radiata) plants


Megan Reardon

(Supervisor: Dr Qaderi)

Geographic variation in the song of the Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia)


Brianna Burns

(Supervisor: External)



A comparative shape analysis of the lower jaw of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) and the Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus)



Christine Hammer

(Supervisor: Dr Franz-Odendaal)

Investigating scleral ossicle development using fluorescent dye labeling and alkaline phosphatase staining



Kaitlyn Wilson

(Supervisor: Dr Franz-Odendaal)

Maternal environmental effects of temperature and exogenous gibberellic acid on evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) seed characteristics



Britanie LeFait

(Supervisor: Dr Qaderi)


Transmission electron microscopy as a tool for studying cell dynamics in early osteogenic condensations: Trials and tribulations of a classic approach



James Jabalee

(Supervisor: Dr Franz-Odendaal)

Combined effects of temperature and light quality on canola (Brassica napus) seedlings



Kuranda Slauenwhite

(Supervisor: Dr Qaderi)


A descriptive and comparative analysis: Morphological ontogenetic growth of the mandibular and gill arches in Danio rerio and two morphs of Astyanax mexicanus



Brittni Milligan

(Supervisor: Dr Franz-Odendaal)


Patterns of organic nitrogen utilization in fungal root endophytes



Erica Fraser

(Supervisor: Dr Kernaghan)


Nesting habitat differentiation of Nova Scotia’s three small cavity-nesting raptors, with an emphasis on the Boreal Owl (Aegolius funureus)



 Kathleen MacAulay

(Supervisor: External)




An investigation of spatial variation in the dietary niche breadth of little brown and northern long-eared bats in eastern Canada using stable isotope analysis



Ryan Hearn

(Supervisor: External)





Fishy bone development: Methods of observing bone growth and remodelling in Teleosts


 Sara Edsall

(Supervisor: Dr Franz-Odendaal)


Assessing the resource allocation regime between sexual reproduction and vegetative growth of a population of Scirpus longii that has suffered introgression from Scirpus cyperinus (Cyperaceae)



 Scott Dickey

(Supervisor: Dr MacKay)



Ontogenetic changes in tolerance to herbivory in three ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana


Caroline Tucker

(Supervisor: Dr Avila-Sakar)


A comparative study of scleral skeletal elements in modern and fossil sharks and fossil Arthrodires



Brettney Pilgrim

(Supervisor: Dr Franz-Odendaal)


Development of butyrylcholinesterase neuroimaging substrate analogues for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease



 Eric Joy

(Supervisor: Dr Pottie)


The effects of new technologies and natural antimicrobials on the control of micro-organisms and maintenance of food quality



Deana Sharpe

 (Supervisor: External)