Students

Science programs

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Jan 25, 2013
252 posts
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SCARBOROUGH
ADS1234 wrote:
Jan 29th, 2013 11:20 pm
If you want to go into research, as in doing science vs. applying it - UofT wins hands down. Yes, your marks will suffer. But if you want to do science, (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"), the fact that you need to study vs. "be lazy, drink[,] have fun" should be a positive feature. At UofT, the opportunities to do research - get hands - on knowledge of science are unparalleled.

You're paying a university lots of money, why not get the most out of it?

{disclaimer: currently a UofT undergrad}
Daymmnnnn straight, bro
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ADS1234 wrote:
Jan 29th, 2013 11:20 pm
If you want to go into research, as in doing science vs. applying it - UofT wins hands down. Yes, your marks will suffer. But if you want to do science, (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"), the fact that you need to study vs. "be lazy, drink[,] have fun" should be a positive feature. At UofT, the opportunities to do research - get hands - on knowledge of science are unparalleled.

You're paying a university lots of money, why not get the most out of it?

{disclaimer: currently a UofT undergrad}
There's no doubt that UofT has the largest science program (and the most well-funded one as well) compared to other universities in Canada. Their diverse set of available courses for their undergrads is also unrivaled based on what I've heard and seen. However, I don't agree with the research opportunities available at UofT for their undergrads. You can argue that they have most funding, but they also have more students to accommodate for, meaning that it may actually work against the student's benefits to obtain a research position there. Also, the closest opportunity for undergrads to experience research first hand is by taking on a research project, which is very hard to do because you need to be in their specialist programs to do so and all of these programs have a relatively high GPA requirement. Most of my friends who went there for life science ended up doing taking on two majors, and all of them said they barely had any real experiences working in a lab and doing research. Sure, the opportunities are there, but it's not really accessible to most of the students that end up going there.

In contrast, going somewhere else (i.e. Mac, Western, Queens) may actually prove to be more beneficial because they also have programs that incorporate a 4th year research thesis course into their programs and if you manage to end up doing a project there, you will actually be better off than someone who went to UofT who couldn't get the 3.8+ GPA to get into a specialist program and experience research first hand through doing a project. At the end of the day, doing research first hand is very different from just learning about it in class.

My two cents.
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Nov 18, 2010
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Regarding the GPA requirement, while it has been a couple years since I was first year, and had to apply to various departments, from what I recall, the highest GPA requirement was 3.5 for LMP (essentially considered pre-med by students). The other basic science research departments all wanted a 3.0 for their specialists.
Furthermore, most professors will accept 1-2 summer students, either as volunteers, but generally paid, provided you show interest and initiative. While a number of departments are opening up their research course to non-specialists, if one wants to go into research, I would argue a specialist is probably the best option - you learn about what research was done, and why we hold certain hypothesis, instead of just learning what those hypothesizes are.

Finally, on your point regarding opportunities per student, looking at the numbers, you get:
5.66 undergrads per faculty at UofT (including full time, and part-time faculty (primarily associated with other research institutions))
6.13 undergrads per 'academic staff' at Queens
17.75 undergrads per full-time faculty including clinicians.
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Nov 18, 2012
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windforcexx28 wrote:
Jan 30th, 2013 12:30 am
There's no doubt that UofT has the largest science program (and the most well-funded one as well) compared to other universities in Canada. Their diverse set of available courses for their undergrads is also unrivaled based on what I've heard and seen. However, I don't agree with the research opportunities available at UofT for their undergrads. You can argue that they have most funding, but they also have more students to accommodate for, meaning that it may actually work against the student's benefits to obtain a research position there. Also, the closest opportunity for undergrads to experience research first hand is by taking on a research project, which is very hard to do because you need to be in their specialist programs to do so and all of these programs have a relatively high GPA requirement. Most of my friends who went there for life science ended up doing taking on two majors, and all of them said they barely had any real experiences working in a lab and doing research. Sure, the opportunities are there, but it's not really accessible to most of the students that end up going there.

In contrast, going somewhere else (i.e. Mac, Western, Queens) may actually prove to be more beneficial because they also have programs that incorporate a 4th year research thesis course into their programs and if you manage to end up doing a project there, you will actually be better off than someone who went to UofT who couldn't get the 3.8+ GPA to get into a specialist program and experience research first hand through doing a project. At the end of the day, doing research first hand is very different from just learning about it in class.

My two cents.
So much analysis. Brain hurts.

I'm thinking it is simpler. UofT has the best researchers and facilities. So, if the aim is research, go where the best are.

Re: doing research at the undergraduate level.

If one is interested in the field, don't have to wait until a 4th year thesis. Sign up to volunteer at all the undergraduate labs in first year. Get to know the researchers. Ask them questions. They show you the ropes in first year. By 4th year, you have 4 years of lab experience + training from world's top researcher in world's best lab. Do your 4th year thesis. Apply for MA/PhD.

Going to a lesser school might help your GPA, but it does have a disadvantage.
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ADS1234 wrote:
Jan 30th, 2013 9:27 am
Regarding the GPA requirement, while it has been a couple years since I was first year, and had to apply to various departments, from what I recall, the highest GPA requirement was 3.5 for LMP (essentially considered pre-med by students). The other basic science research departments all wanted a 3.0 for their specialists.
Furthermore, most professors will accept 1-2 summer students, either as volunteers, but generally paid, provided you show interest and initiative. While a number of departments are opening up their research course to non-specialists, if one wants to go into research, I would argue a specialist is probably the best option - you learn about what research was done, and why we hold certain hypothesis, instead of just learning what those hypothesizes are.

Finally, on your point regarding opportunities per student, looking at the numbers, you get:
5.66 undergrads per faculty at UofT (including full time, and part-time faculty (primarily associated with other research institutions))
6.13 undergrads per 'academic staff' at Queens
17.75 undergrads per full-time faculty including clinicians.
I didn't go to UofT, so you may be right. The point I want to make is that not everyone that goes to UofT will end up with these research opportunities (It can be said for other schools as well). If one's goal is to get into a masters program for research, it doesn't matter what kind of experiences you have without the proper GPA. I'd argue that doing an undergrad elsewhere (assuming you can get a higher GPA elsewhere) and going to UofT for their masters research programs would give the greatest benefit.

Edit: Also wanted to add that the research opportunities at other schools are also present, and they are not necessarily inferior to UofT's research opportunities either.
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Jul 8, 2009
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^+1. There is nothing special about U of T, especially at the undergrad level. The majority of people doing degrees at U of T in masters program are coming from way easier schools. Once you set your requirement of an A- to get into grad school you eliminate basically all of the U of T students in science, engineering, business and anything that is not fluff like philosophy. U of T does not have a monopoly on research there are other schools that have it too. The only people bumping up U of T here are people who go there but wait until they graduate, cant find no job and come here whinning about how they were duped
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windforcexx28 wrote:
Jan 29th, 2013 5:08 pm
I didn't go to UofT but there are a lot of people who go to UofT on the forums that claim that they had a bad student experience there.
Well, yes, the UofT is not kind on appalling students, who would end up with an artificially inflated GPA in Mickey Mouse schools elsewhere. So if you're a poor student, with a rich and diverse social life and a busy party schedule, I would not advise attending the UofT unless it's their Aboriginal basket-weaving program.
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koalorka wrote:
Jan 31st, 2013 8:42 pm
Well, yes, the UofT is not kind on appalling students, who would end up with an artificially inflated GPA in Mickey Mouse schools elsewhere. So if you're a poor student, with a rich and diverse social life and a busy party schedule, I would not advise attending the UofT unless it's their Aboriginal basket-weaving program.
You should try taking a few courses at another university (within the same faculty as your major) and report back. If you manage to get a grade that's multiple letters above the equivalent course at UofT, then your argument would carry some weight.
[OP]
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Nov 1, 2012
93 posts
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Brampton
heys guys, undergrad. Im looking into enviromental science :)
Member
Aug 12, 2009
316 posts
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If you want a job with a science degree, without needing to do a masters, you could go into Geology, Comp Sci, Biological Sciences, Med Lab.

I say this because geology->oilsands, Comp Sci->software development, BioSci->lab tech, MedLab->lab tech.
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koalorka wrote:
Jan 31st, 2013 8:42 pm
Well, yes, the UofT is not kind on appalling students, who would end up with an artificially inflated GPA in Mickey Mouse schools elsewhere. So if you're a poor student, with a rich and diverse social life and a busy party schedule, I would not advise attending the UofT unless it's their Aboriginal basket-weaving program.
This BS is misleading. Students at UofT don't party much. I never really did. I would definetely not recommend going there. Horrible 4 years in their stupid science program. Ridiculous competition to get anything from a research oppurtunity/reference letter to grades. Go to a mid-level science uni like Guelph which is considered respectable for their science programs and fairer when it comes to your grades. And has a better student community. Western and Queens I'd recommend as well but Guelph is the only one which you can get a bus to from Mississauga/Toronto. I believe you can get one to McMaster too but that one's also near UT when it comes to the science problem.
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Mar 6, 2015
329 posts
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So which college or university or their programs in Canada is good for science if the applicant is like the OP and has only been driven by interest so far graduating from high school? Please help because sincerely I need help.
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Mar 26, 2018
12 posts
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Well it kind of depends which area of science you are interested in? If you are wanting to know any information about Biology and Medical Science at Western then send me a message and I can try to answer any questions you may have :)
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Nov 24, 2004
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The quality of undergrad science teaching will be pretty good everywhere, perhaps slightly better at smaller schools than at bigger ones. The quality of your undergraduate research experience may be better (in the sense of better preparation for graduate school) at larger research universities like U of T, UBC, McGill, Alberta, etc.

You need to provide more info on the fields you're interested in to allow us to give you more guidance.

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