The Bachelor of Humanities and Biology

francis bakewell

Science and the Great Books

The Bachelor of Humanities and Biology offers a broad training in the Liberal Arts and Biology, Chemistry, and Biochemistry. It is designed for students who intend to apply to Medical School, but can be taken simply out of a desire to combine Humanities with a Science training. Students combine the insights into nature given by modern science with the insights into the human spirit given by the Great Books.

The Bachelor of Humanities and Biology is an excellent training for a career in Medicine, Science Education, Science Policy, or Science Journalism.

Students spend 12 credits in Humanities, and the remaining 8 credits in Science.

Year One Year Two Year Three Year Four
Core — Myth & Symbol Core — Reason & Revelation Core — Culture & Imagination Core — Politics, Modernity & the Common Good
Greek & Roman Literature Origin of Judaism, Christianity & Islam European Literature Research Seminar
Anthropology & Religious Practice Language Requirement History of Art Biology or Biochemistry elective
Introductory Biology Genetics & Plant or Animal Biology History of Music Biology or Biochemistry elective
Introductory Chemistry Cellular Biology Microbiology & Organic Chemistry Biology or Biochemistry elective

Students can choose between a more and a less mathematics-and-laboratory intensive version of the degree, depending on whether or not they plan to go to Medical School. See the detailed course progression chart for the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology for details.

Students and Graduates of the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology

The Bachelor of Humanities and Biology admitted its first students in 2008. Here are statements from current and past students.

Bradley Laflamme (B.Hum-Biology 2015)
Graduate Student in Biology/Biochemistry
University of Toronto

bradley laflamme

When science courses are combined with Humanities courses that ask students to engage with ideas, rather than to categorize them as fact or fiction, there is a perfect balance. You get the necessary objective information while simultaneously being humbled before the sheer variety of ways in which human beings experience the world.

Bradley Laflamme (HUMS-BIO) received an NSERC CGS M ($17,500 over a 12-month period) to study plant biology/biochemistry under Darrell Desveaux at the University of Toronto. He will be designing a protocol for extracting and characterizing plant proteins associated with the plant immune response. Read More.

deepro chowdhuryDeepro Chowdhury
Bachelor of Humanities and Biology
Class of 2015

The Humanities and Biology program, with its study of biology, biochemistry and all the traditional Liberal Arts has provided me with something I never thought I’d have during my undergraduate years: a genuine desire to attend every single one of my classes, every day. Read more.

Aleksander Godlewski
Bachelor of Humanities and Biology
Class of 2015

francis bakewell

Francis Bakewell (B.Hum 2010)
Resident Physician in Emergency Medicine
University of Ottawa—Ottawa Hospital

The study of the great works of civilization forces the realization that each person that comes through our door is not just a patient with a complaint, but someone with the spark of reason and creativity that defines us as a species, someone with a life as meaningful as our own, and someone seeking help. The study of the Humanities is the broadest possible exercise in empathy. Read More.

people - rebecca warmington 1Rebecca Warmington (B.Hum 2011)
Fourth-Year Medical Student
University of Ottawa

The Humanities and Biology program was a perfect segue into medical school. Every day in medicine I am confronted with issues that the Hums and Bio program prepared me for.  When I assess a patient with type-2 diabetes, I know the pathophysiology of the disease from my biology training. But my critical thinking skills and understanding of different worldviews allow me to connect better with people in a way that goes beyond physiology. Read More.

kateri latour-coutureKateri Couture-Latour (B.Hum 2011)
Biology Teacher
American College of Sofia, Bulgaria

When my students discuss the social and ethical implications of science, my experience in the Humanities allows me to facilitate these discussions so that they can explore multiple perspectives and understand the real-world implications of what they learn. Read More.

How to Apply to the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology

Authoritative and complete application instructions for the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology program are on Carleton’s Undergraduate Admissions page. The following information is provided only for convenience.

Entry in First Year

Students normally enter directly into the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology in their first year of study at Carleton.

Canadian High-School Students

Applications to the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology degree from Canadian High School students, during the normal admissions cycle, are made through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC).

The OUAC Code is found under the College of the Humanities

OUAC Code: Option B — Bachelor of Humanities with Biology — CBD

High-School Courses

High-School applicants must have the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, including a minimum of six 4 U/M courses.

Applicants to the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology must also have either 4U Chemistry or 4U Biology or an equivalent.

Minimum Grades

Students normally have an admissions average of 80% or more.


Students with an admission average below 80% must submit an admissions portfolio along with their application in order to be considered for the program.

Students with an admission average of 80% or more are not required to submit an admissions portfolio, but they may do so if they wish.

See the main Humanities Admissions page for details on the portfolio.


It is possible to transfer into the Bachelor of Humanities and Biology in your second, or higher year, especially if you have already completed some of the Science requirements. In such a case, however, it will likely take more than 4 years to complete your degree.