The Best Classes I’ve Taken at UVic

If you boil down your degree into the number of courses you have to take, it usually adds up to 40 or more. Taking this many courses, it’s likely you’ll have some that you love and others you dislike.

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite courses so far. I’ve excluded research experience courses, since they’re entirely lab-based. I’ve also not included any courses I’m taking this semester, since the term isn’t finished yet.

BIOC 300A – General Biochemistry I


Streptavidin. Photo credit:

Professor: Dr. Martin Boulanger

This was easily the most interesting and useful course I’ve ever taken. It was the first course I took that forced you to really start thinking outside the box when solving scientific problems, instead of just memorizing and regurgitating information.

Dr. Boulanger was excellent at breaking down concepts then applying them to any biochemical problem. The problem-solving skills I gained from this class were immensely helpful when I was conducting my own honours project research and forced to think independently about why certain experiments weren’t working.

This class offered invaluable critical thinking skills which are going to stick with me throughout the remainder of my scientific career.

BIOC 102 – Biochemistry and Human Health

Influenza virus

Influenza virus. Photo credit:

Professor: Dr. Edward Ishiguro

I took this course in first year as an elective to gain exposure to UVic’s biochemistry/microbiology department and was blown away!

This class was instrumental in helping me choose my microbiology major. It offers a broad overview of biochemical topics including: viruses, vaccines, the human genome, immunology, cancer, genetically-modified organisms, and human aging.

Dr. Ishiguro is a great lecturer and a fair tester. He really keeps the class captivated for the entire duration of the lecture. If you’re a science major and not sure which major to pursue, take this class!

BIOC 403 – Biochemistry of Signal Transduction

cell signalling

Cell signalling. Photo credit:

Professors: Dr. Robert Burke, Dr. Perry Howard

In layman’s terms, this course describes how cells “talk” to one another using molecules.

It’s really cool to learn about how your cells are communicating using signalling pathways and other methods. You also learn a lot about cancer and how cells can develop resistance to drugs.

Both professors are great lecturers and enthusiastic about teaching the material, which definitely has a way of rubbing off on you.

MICR 303 – Immunology


Antibody. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

Professor: Dr. Terry Pearson

This course offers an overview of the human immune system. Many students in biochemistry/microbiology say this was their favorite class.

Dr. Pearson was an excellent prof and kept the class captivated for the full 80 minutes of each lecture. He also had loads of hilarious stories which made students look forward to going to class. Unfortunately Dr. Pearson has now retired, but Dr. Ishiguro has taken over for him, so you’re in good hands!

CHEM 437 – Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

Penicillin structures

Penicillin structures. Photo credit:

Professor: Dr. Fraser Hof

I took this as an elective in fourth year and loved it. Dr. Hof is hilarious, helpful, and a fair tester. The material you cover in this class is very interesting and ranges from how drug structure affects function to how to purify proteins.

Dr. Hof makes even the most complex portions of the course seem simple to any student. He really puts his students first and wants them all to succeed. This is a really popular class for science students, so take it as soon as you can! You won’t regret it.

I hope both incoming and current science students keep these classes in mind when deciding which courses to take in their upcoming years! I thoroughly enjoyed all of these, and hope that you do as well.

Honorable mentions:  BIOL 360 (Cell Biology), CHEM 231 (Introductory Organic Chemistry), BIOL 230 (Principles of Genetics).

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