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BioScience Technology

Diploma
BioScience Technology

Program Overview

Bioscience technologists use applied science to research problems and develop solutions to some of life's many important questions, ranging from food safety to new medicines.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic's BioScience Technology program (formerly Biotechnology) is a two-year diploma program that emphasizes a hands-on style of learning. Your classroom time includes theory, practical exercises and labs. A four-week practicum gives you on-the-ground experience working in a laboratory, so at the end of your program you're ready for the workplace.

The program is designed to give you a strong foundation in both scientific principles and analytic practices. The emphasis is on developing your lab skills to prepare you for work in the biosciences, biomedical research and applied research fields.

You'll develop the skills you need to:

  • analyse DNA, RNA and protein samples
  • follow good laboratory practices (GLP) guidelines
  • handle and prepare laboratory chemicals
  • organize and supervise laboratory activities
  • record, process and report data
  • use analytical instruments
  • work with plants and animals in a research setting
  • work with microorganisms

Did you know?

After two years of suitable industrial experience, Saskatchewan Polytechnic graduates are eligible to apply for membership with the Saskatchewan Applied Science Technologists and Technicians (SASTT).

You can also use your diploma as a stepping stone to a university degree - receive up to two years' university transfer credits to continue your post-secondary education in biosciences.

How does it fit?

Working in the biosciences involves detail-oriented and meticulous laboratory work. It also requires an open mind, an aptitude for problem solving and the ability to think on your feet. Bioscience technologists are members of multidisciplinary teams, so communication, interpersonal and team-building skills are an asset.

The BioScience Technology program works with industry partners to grow the bioscience industry in Saskatchewan. Saskatoon is host to over 30 biotechnology related companies and has great community, provincial and federal support. Sask Polytech students are hired by many of these local companies. The License to Farm documentary explores the role of science, sustainability and food safety in modern agriculture. License to Farm is brought to you by Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, Growing Forward 2, Government of Saskatchewan and Government of Canada. 

Career and Salary Information

Your Career

The biosciences are an exciting and rapidly expanding field with plenty of job opportunities. Saskatchewan Polytechnic's BioScience Technology program trains highly qualified lab technologists to work in the agricultural biosciences, biomedicine, bioproduct and environment sectors of the Saskatchewan biosciences industry.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic BioScience Technology grads are working for agriculture bioscience companies, private research and development laboratories, university research labs, provincial and federal laboratories, food manufacturing companies (quality analysis of dairy, meat and brewery products, etc.) and bioscience equipment and supply companies.

Agriculture Biosciences

Graduates employed in this sector are involved in research and development of agricultural crops such as wheat, canola and specialty crops. The work focuses on plant breeding, molecular biology and plant tissue culture. Other aspects may include testing of plant and animal samples using instrumentation, working with animals in the area of animal disease, testing for microbial or contaminants in animals or animal products, feed analysis and cell culture.

Biomedicine

Graduates employed in this sector are involved in research into diseases such as Alzheimer's and types of cancer. Work includes microbiology, molecular biology, cell culture, and may include instrumentation. Other aspects of research may involve working with animals or animal products.

Bioproducts

Graduates employed in this sector are involved in processing and production of bioproducts such as specialty oils, proteins and foods. The work includes aspects of quality control and quality assurance. It involves testing food and other products for quality, and may include standard tests for microbial contamination and other impurities. This may require basic microbial techniques or the use of analytical instruments.

Environment

Graduates employed in this sector conduct analysis of environmental samples and environmental remediation. The work includes aspects of microbiology, chemistry, molecular biology and analytical instrumentation. It involves testing environmental samples from the mining, chemical and oil and gas industries, as well as development of new techniques or solutions for environmental remediation.

Potential Careers

Sample Job TitleNOC Classification1Earning Potential2
Laboratory ManagerArchitecture and Science Managers (212)$64,500 - $112,100
Quality Assurance TechnologistBiological Technologists and Technicians (2221)$33,300 - $77,400
Research TechnologistBiological Technologists and Technicians (2221)$33,300 - $77,400

Length and Start Date

Start Date(s): September

Length: 72 weeks: 

Year 1 - 36 weeks; Year 2 - 36 weeks

Locations

  • Saskatoon

Admissions

Admission Requirements

  • Grade 12 with a minimum of 65% in each of the following subjects: Chemistry 30, Biology 30 and Pre-Calculus 30*
  • A combined average of 65% is required in English Language Arts A30 and English Language Arts B30
  • English Language Requirement

Note

  • Accepted applicants may be required to provide evidence of a Criminal Record Check prior to entering the practicum component of the program. At the discretion of the practicum agency, you may be declined access to a clinical or work placement based on the contents of the Criminal Record Check. The cost of the Criminal Record Check is your responsibility.
  • To comply with safety regulations, students who wear contact lenses must have a pair of prescription glasses to wear in the labs.


*Previous Saskatchewan mathematics requirement also accepted:

  • Minimum of 65% in Math B30

Special Admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through a special admission assessment. Interested individuals should still apply. Applicants are automatically considered for special admission. However, some specific admission requirements may still need to be met. Refer to the ACCUPLACER© cut scores for this program below, and review additional details concerning Special Admission.

ACCUPLACER©

  • 80 Arithmetic
  • 80 Elementary Algebra
  • 85 Reading
  • 85 Sentence
  • 4 WritePlacer

Admission Method

First Qualified/First Admitted

The First Qualified/First Admitted (FQFA) process is used for the majority of Saskatchewan Polytechnic programs. When we determine that you meet the program's admission requirements, you will be offered admission based on the date you fully qualify for the program. The earlier you provide the appropriate documents and information that qualify you for admission to the next intake, the earlier you might begin your studies. Your application, once qualified, is always considered for the next intake. 

Applicants to programs with multiple intakes in an academic year remain in the application pool until the last intake for that academic year has begun. Programs using the FQFA process receive applications year round and maintain an application pool for each academic year. Qualified applicants who are not offered a seat must reapply for the next academic year. 

Sponsored programs or programs targeted to specific groups do not accept applications year round or maintain an application pool.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Tuition and Fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as books and supplies. For a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program, click here to access the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus Tuition and Fee Schedules.

 

Year 1 - $7,400
Year 2 - $6,800

International Students

Saskatoon

Year 1 (36 weeks) - $15,400 tuition only (estimated)

Year 2 (36 weeks) - $15,600 tuition only (estimated)

Courses

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Year 1 - Semester 1

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
ANAT 182
Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology
6
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You will use the cat as a model of vertebrate anatomy and physiology relating structure to function. You will examine animal cell and tissue types and organ systems (including the gross anatomical features and function of organs of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, digestive, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive systems). You will also be introduced to the classification of animals and the characteristics of the vertebrates.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 96.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
ANIM 182
Care and Management of Laboratory Animals
2
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You will study the lecture information online. The course content includes animal production, care and management. Laboratory experiences will allow you to practice handling and restraint in small laboratory animal species.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 32.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
BOTA 180
Botany
6
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You will study plant anatomy and function in vascular plants with emphasis on angiosperms. The course content includes: plant cells and tissues, meristems, tissue differentiation and development of the primary and secondary plant body, flowering and reproduction, embryology, and fruit and seed development.You will also receive an introduction to the characteristics of the gymnosperms, seedless vascular plants, bryophytes and algae.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 96.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Lecture/Lab
CHEM 175
General Chemistry 1 for Bioscience
4
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You will receive a firm foundation in chemical concepts and principles and the role that chemistry plays in the bioscience field. Your laboratory experiments will be designed to enhance the concepts taught and provide application of the principles, as well as introduce you to laboratory techniques and safety.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 64.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
CHEM 294
General Chemistry 2 for Bioscience
4
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You will continue learning basic chemical concepts in the areas of chemical reactions, states of matter, chemical equilibrium, and solubility. Your laboratory experiments will be designed to enhance the concepts taught and provide application of these principles, as well as introduce you to laboratory techniques and safety in the lab.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 64.0
Prerequisites(s): CHEM 175
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
MATH 178
Mathematics 1 for Bioscience
2
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You will review the fundamental concepts of algebra. Your studies will focus on equations of various types, systems of linear equations, variation, properties of exponents and logarithms, logarithmic and exponential equations and graphing. Biological and chemical applications will be used whenever possible.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 32.0
Prerequisites(s): STAT 181(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Lecture/Theory
MATH 192
Laboratory Mathematics
2
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You will develop the mathematical skills needed to work in a research or diagnostic laboratory. Your studies will focus on the various types of solution calculations and different units of measurement.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 32.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Online, Lecture/Theory
SFTY 185
Laboratory Safety
1
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You will discuss topics related to safe working practices and procedures in the chemical laboratory. Many of these topics are related to government regulations and industrial laboratory guidelines.
Credit Units: 1
Course Hours: 16.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Online, Lecture/Theory
STAT 181
Introductory Statistics and Computer Applications 1
3
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You will be introduced to elementary probability, random variables and their distributions, frequency distributions, measures of location, variability and position, sampling theory, and several basic statistical methods that apply to bioscience and chemical technology problems. This introduction will also include using spreadsheets to assist in learning the statistical concepts.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): MATH 178(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Lecture/Lab

Year 1 - Semester 2

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
BIOC 281
Biochemistry
5
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You will be introduced to biological compounds including carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. You will compare the structure of each group and relate it to biological function. You will determine stereoisomerism using carbohydrates as the example and discuss its importance. You will learn current techniques used in the bioscience field during laboratory sessions.
Credit Units: 5
Course Hours: 70.0
Prerequisites(s): CHEM 287, MATH 278(concurrent), STAT 283(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
CHEM 283
Analytical Chemistry
6
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Your studies will focus on an intensive survey of the basic methods and chemistry of manual analytical techniques. You will gain an appreciation of quality laboratory practices and their relevance to the field of bioscience. Your laboratory work will focus on the skills required in titrations and gravimetric analysis.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 96.0
Prerequisites(s): CHEM 294, MATH 192, MATH 278(concurrent), STAT 283(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
CHEM 287
Organic Chemistry
4
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You will be introduced to the chemical and physical properties of organic compounds and their uses in the bioscience field. You will practice the techniques of organic chemistry in laboratory experiments while following quality laboratory practices in accordance with appropriate health, occupational safety, and environmental regulations.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 58.0
Prerequisites(s): CHEM 294, MATH 192, MATH 278(concurrent), STAT 283(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Prior Learning, Lecture/Lab
COMM 191
Communications 1
3
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You will receive instruction and practice in interpersonal and oral communications and business correspondence skills. You will also gain an understanding and appreciation of the organization and planning involved in the job search process. Developing the interpersonal, oral and written skills you will need in your job search will be emphasized.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Equivalent Course(s): BCOM 120, COMM 164, JOBS 190
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
GENE 181
Genetics
4
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You will be introduced to transmission, cellular, population and molecular genetics. You will explore Mendelian principles, modes of inheritance, cell division, chromosomes, population dynamics, genes, the genetic code of nucleic acids, gene expression and recombinant Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 60.0
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
MATH 278
Mathematics 2 for Bioscience
2
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You will review the fundamental concepts of trigonometry and be introduced to elementary topics in calculus, including limits and derivatives. Biological and chemical applications will be used whenever possible.
Credit Units: 2
Course Hours: 32.0
Prerequisites(s): MATH 178, STAT 283(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
PYSL 280
Plant Physiology
6
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You will study photosynthesis, metabolism, flowering, fruit and seed development, germination, disease and senescence. You will explore plant tissue and cellular function with respect to water, minerals, nutrition, light, environmental factors, and plant hormones and learn how to manage plants in a phytotron facility.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 96.0
Prerequisites(s): BOTA 180
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
QC 281
Quality Assurance and Control in Bioscience
5
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You will examine the need for and application of quality management as it applies to the bioscience field. Your studies will focus on quality practices in basic research and development, non-clinical safety testing, manufacturing, food safety, and accreditation. Discussion will include ethics, professional conduct and quality requirements such as quality practices in research and development, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) as outlined by various national and international agencies.
Credit Units: 5
Course Hours: 80.0
Prerequisites(s): SFTY 185
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
RDGR 281
Radiation Safety Certificate
1
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You will learn about all aspects of radiation safety. The course content includes radiation physics, safety precautions and emergency procedures. Upon successfully completing the course, you will receive a Level I Radiation Safety Certificate.
Credit Units: 1
Course Hours: 12.0
Prerequisites(s): SFTY 185
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
STAT 283
Introductory Statistics and Computer Applications 2
3
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You will study confidence intervals, tests of hypotheses, regression and correlation analysis, and categorical data analysis. You will learn how to implement these analyses using spreadsheets and statistical software.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): STAT 181, MATH 278(concurrent)
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab

Year 2 - Semester 3

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
GENE 282
Molecular Biology 1
6
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You will study deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis methods, transcription and translation. As part of a research project you will learn to isolate and purify DNA, construct recombinant DNA clones use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and hybridization techniques to screen and characterize DNA clones. You will also use bioinformatics to analyze DNA sequences.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 93.0
Prerequisites(s): BIOC 281, GENE 181, MICR 184(concurrent)
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
HSTC 183
Histotechniques
4
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You will receive an overview of the principles of microtechniques (including preparing plant and animal tissues for the production of permanent slides). You will learn proper use, care and handling of tissue processing equipment, microtomes and related slide preparation equipment. You will receive training in the preparation and use of tissue fixatives and stains, embedding, mounting and storing of paraffin sections. You will perform tissue sectioning, staining, and production of permanent slides. Special techniques including plastic embedding, histochemical staining, fluorescent staining and in situ hybridization will also be introduced.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 61.0
Prerequisites(s): ANAT 182, BOTA 180
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
LABT 182
Laboratory Preparation Techniques 1
3
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You will learn to perform functions normally expected of a laboratory technician by preparing material for first and second year laboratories; including chemical solutions, stains, reagents and various types of culture media. You will be introduced to the operation and care of laboratory equipment, inventory procedures and ordering supplies along with general housekeeping duties required in a laboratory
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): MICR 184(concurrent)
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lab/Practical
LABT 184
Analytical Instrumentation 1
6
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You will be introduced to spectrophotometry and electroanalysis as used in the bioscience field. You will study the chemical background, construction of and mode of operation of these instruments. You will explore basic operating techniques, the effects of operational parameters on data quality, and several applications in the laboratory.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 93.0
Prerequisites(s): BIOC 281, CHEM 283
Corequisites(s):
Equivalent Course(s): LABT 187
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
LABT 282
Cell and Tissue Culture
4
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You will be introduced to plant tissue culture techniques. You will perform sterilization techniques, prepare plant tissue culture media and maintain plant cultures. You will also prepare animal cell culture media and materials. You will learn to maintain and subculture cell lines, prepare a primary cell culture and perform cell transfection.
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 64.0
Prerequisites(s): ANAT 182, MICR 184(concurrent), PYSL 280
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
MICR 184
General Microbiology
6
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You will be introduced to the history and development of microbiology, microbial taxonomy and nomenclature and molecular techniques for microbial identification. You will study the characteristics of, growth, laboratory methods and control of microorganisms through cultivation of bacteria. Your laboratory experience will focus on techniques for safely handling, isolating and identifying bacteria.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 90.0
Prerequisites(s): LABT 182(concurrent) or LABT 186(concurrent)
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
STAT 284
Applied Statistics and Computer Applications
4
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You will study advanced statistical topics including analysis of variance, experimental design, non-parametric tests, advanced regression, and bioinformatics, and you will use standard statistical programs and spreadsheets to assist with the statistical applications
Credit Units: 4
Course Hours: 64.0
Prerequisites(s): MATH 278, STAT 283
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab

Year 2 - Semester 4

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
COMM 289
Communications 2
3
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You will study technical writing and oral presentation skills for the technologist. You will practice research methods, report writing, and oral presentation skills appropriate to the profession.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 48.0
Prerequisites(s): COMM 191
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Theory
GENE 283
Molecular Biology 2
3
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You will study the structure and function of proteins and amino acids, their synthesis and cellular localization. You will also explore the function of enzymes and their analysis. Your lab work will include the separation, isolation and purification of proteins, and the analysis of protein and enzyme activity.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 48.0
Prerequisites(s): GENE 282
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
GENE 284
Molecular Biology 3
3
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You will continue to study ribonucleic acid (RNA) biochemistry, eukaryotic transcription and its regulation and RNA Splicing. You will examine genome content and the use of molecular markers to analyze genetic information. Your lab work will include various methods of separation, isolation and purification of RNA. You will prepare and characterize complementary deoxyribonucleic acid (cDNA) clones using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Northern Blot.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 48.0
Prerequisites(s): GENE 283
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
IMMU 280
Immunology and Hematology
5
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You will receive an introduction to hematology and study innate and adaptive immunity and how they interact in health and disease. You will perform blood cell enumeration and differentiation and basic immunologic laboratory techniques and discuss their medical applications.
Credit Units: 5
Course Hours: 72.0
Prerequisites(s): ANAT 182, MICR 184
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
LABT 281
Analytical Instrumentation 2
6
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You will study gas chromatography (GC), liquid chromatography (LC), and capillary electrophoresis (CE). You will be introduced to using these instruments and the mass spectrometer (MS) in conjunction with the GC, LC and CE. You will apply current techniques and applications found in areas of research in bioscience. You will also be introduced to manual and computer-software control of the essential operational aspects of these instruments.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 96.0
Prerequisites(s): LABT 184
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab
LABT 283
Laboratory Preparation Techniques 2
3
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You will continue applying information and developing skills learned in Laboratory Preparation Techniques 1 (LABT 182). You will prepare materials for first and second year laboratories and apply quality control and assurance to the documentation of laboratory activities. You will demonstrate basic supervisory and leadership skills, operate and maintain laboratory equipment, assist with inventory and perform general laboratory duties.
Credit Units: 3
Course Hours: 45.0
Prerequisites(s): LABT 182, MICR 184, MICR 281(concurrent)
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lab/Practical
MICR 281
Applied Microbiology
6
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You will study the beneficial and detrimental aspects of microbiology in industry and the bioscience field. You will learn how to establish and maintain culture collections and be introduced to medical microbiology. Your laboratory studies will focus on all aspects of sample analysis including accurate recording, tabulating and analyzing laboratory data to evaluate sample quality.
Credit Units: 6
Course Hours: 96.0
Prerequisites(s): MICR 184, LABT 182, LABT 283(concurrent)
Corequisites(s):
Potential Learning Method(s): Lecture/Lab

Year 2 - Semester 5

Code
Name/Description
Credits
 
PRAC 285
Laboratory Practicum
8
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You will spend four weeks in a selected laboratory site applying acquired skills while participating in an ongoing or novel project. Placements may be in locations outside of Saskatoon; therefore, you may incur extra expenses. If you choose a location outside the province, you are not covered by Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation.
Credit Units: 8
Course Hours: 120.0
Prerequisites(s): GENE 284, IMMU 280, LABT 281, LABT 282, LABT 283, MICR 281
Potential Learning Method(s): Clinical/Practicum
  • Basic theoretical courses complement more advanced technique-oriented courses where emphasis will be placed on your competency in laboratory skills.
  • Your practicum consists of working in a private laboratory for four weeks in May. You will not be paid and you must find your own accommodation if you are placed outside of Saskatoon.

PLAR & Transfer Credit

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways and through many different means. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training.


Transfer Credit

Many Saskatchewan Polytechnic students benefit from transferring credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit from or to another college or university. To learn more, visit our transfer credit web page.

 


Transfer credit options vary over time; this information is subject to change. Transfer credit options for this program include:

  • block transfer of 45 credits toward the Bachelor of Science, Human Science post-diploma degree program, Athabasca University
  • block transfer into the third year of the Bachelor of Science degree programs, Royal Roads University
  • admission eligibility to the Bachelor of Technology program, Memorial University, Newfoundland (13 courses, totalling 39 credit hours, are required to fulfil the degree requirements; courses are available online)

Student Awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni, Saskatchewan Polytechnic gives away more than $2 million in student awards during the academic year.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers student awards for every certificate and diploma program at every campus. You don't have to be a brainiac to receive a student award. Not all student awards are based on marks - some are based on financial need or things like community or volunteer involvement.

More about scholarships

Accreditation

Canadian Technology Accreditation Board, valid for 3 years until March 2015

The Canadian Technology Accreditation Board (CTAB) accredits the program at the Bioscience Technologist level.

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