Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ will be continuously updated.

Carleton University’s Biology and Biochemistry programs are still running in Fall 2020 / Winter 2021, despite the COVID-19 situation. All Fall term courses will run in an online format, including lab-courses (lab format will vary from course to course).  Winter term course format will be announced when known. The Biology and Biochemistry Departments are committed to delivering a high-quality educational experience to our students.

Course Selection FAQ Quicklinks

Course Delivery FAQ Quicklinks

Course Selection FAQ

Should I postpone courses that have labs until 2021-2022 so I can complete the lab?

It is recommended that you register for the same courses that you would have registered in if courses were not being shifted to on-line. Postponing a course this year, may leave you without the necessary prerequisites for the courses you want to take next year and prevent you from completing your program in a timely manner. This is particularly true of 1st and 2nd year courses with labs.

Should I (is it OK if I) take fewer courses?

If you choose to take fewer courses than a full course load (2.5 credits per semester), be sure to choose the courses that you will need as prerequisites for subsequent semesters. It is also safer to postpone “elective” courses than required courses, as there is no guarantee that 2nd year and 3rd year required courses will not conflict next year.

Will a course with an on-line lab be accepted as equivalent to the course with a face-to-face lab?

Yes – At Carleton courses taken with on-line labs will count as valid pre-requisite courses.

Will a course with an on-line lab be accepted by post-graduate programs and professional schools?

We encourage you to contact the institution(s) to which you intend to apply.  It is simply not possible for us to speak for other schools.  All institutions in Ontario are facing the same challenges.

Since there are ‘no labs’, can I take the non-lab version of courses for my degree?

No.  You must complete the course listed for your program in the Undergraduate Calendar and on your audit.

Can I take the lecture portion of the course this year and the lab portion next year?


If I have taken a course before and obtained a good mark in the lab portion but want to improve my grade by retaking the course, would I be able to use my previous lab grade?

This would depend on the course and you should contact the Laboratory Coordinator of the course.

Will courses with face-to-face labs be offered next summer to make up for the lack of labs this fall and winter?

There is no plan for this to happen.

Course Delivery FAQ

What would an on-line lab entail? How will online labs differ from normal face to face labs?

The format of on-line labs will vary from course to course.  Examples of possible lab activities include watching videos demonstrating laboratory techniques, analyzing data sets provided to you, completing lab simulations or using molecular modeling software.   Many evaluation methods will be the same as, or similar to, those used in face-to-face labs, for example, quizzes, assignments or lab reports (using prepared data) with emphasis on data analysis and critical thinking. You may be required to prepare experimental proposals or give presentations on established lab techniques or experimental data.  Further course specific information will be available over the summer through the Fall and Winter 2020-21 Course Specific Details page.

How will course material (and lab material) be given to students?

Material will be presented through CuLearn.

Will I need to be available during the time indicated on the schedule?

This will vary from course to course, but you should be sure that you are available during the scheduled course times just in case the course requires you to attend a synchronous session. Additional information about the timing of course material will be provided in the course syllabus and on the course’s CuLearn site as we get closer to the start of classes.

Keep in mind, you will not be allowed to have conflicts between scheduled courses even though the courses are on-line and given asynchronously.

What if I don’t have internet access (or regular or sufficient) internet access?

If you are in a situation where appropriate access to the on-line resources for your course (or courses) is an issue, you should talk to your course instructor.

Will tests, quizzes, and exams be on-line?


Can I complete the labs for the course any time during the semester?

Most labs will need to be done within a specific time period (1 day to a week or two) and there will be due dates for assignments just as with face-to-face labs however this will depend on the course and instructions from your lab coordinator.

Will I be required to carry out experiments at home?

This will depend on the course and instructions from your lab coordinator. We recommend you consult the course detail information page.

Will I be required to purchase additional material to carry out labs at home?

This will depend on the course, however, the cost will not be more than what would normally be required with a face-to-face course.

I am a student who is currently living in a different time zone from Carleton, can I still access the lab content and complete my lab work after it has already taken place? Will I miss all discussion sessions with my lab coordinator and classmates?

Much of your lectures and labs will be delivered asynchronous allowing you to complete them when it is convenient for you to do so. Those elements that are delivered synchronously will be taped for you to watch at a later time. You should discuss any concerns you have with the Instructor and/or lab coordinator at the start of the term once you have seen how the course is to be delivered.

I have difficulties keeping up with course material and I’m worried about the online teaching approach and my performance in the course. Are there any alternative course evaluations provided to accommodate students with such issues?

Biology and Biochemistry works with students registered with the Paul Menton Centre (PMC) to provide, where possible, accommodations for course work. We recommend that you consult with the PMC if you feel that accommodations are required for your course(s). Please note that accommodation for laboratory work is separate from accommodation for lectures.