Biology 300: Fundamentals of Biostatistics

January-April 2020

Please note that the Canvas site will be the main course site for students enrolled in the course. Please use that site to get the latest announcements, assignments, etc.

Here is some general info about the course:

Professor: Darren Irwin (web site, email). Office hours: Mondays 10-11:30am, Biodiversity 209



MWF 2-3 p.m., Chemistry B250

To see the overheads from the first lecture (Jan. 6th), click here

Overheads from the whole Introduction material (Jan. 6th & 8th): click here

Overheads for chapter 2 material: click here

Overheads for chapter 3 material: click here


BioSciences 2004, starting second week of term (Jan. 13-17). Here are the lab sections, in chronological order:

  • L24: Mon 9-11am (Seth)
  • L21: Mon 12-2pm (Seth)
  • L22: Tue 8-10am (Sydne)
  • L23: Tue 11am-1pm (Rashika)
  • L25: Wed 9-11am (Nicola)
  • L27: Wed 12-2pm (Sydne)
  • L26: Thu 8-10am (Rashika)
  • L28: Fri 12-2pm (Nicola)


The textbook (The Analysis of Biological Data 2nd Ed., by Whitlock and Schluter) is available for purchase at the UBC bookstore. The first three chapters from the 2nd edition are available here, here, and here.) If you have a different edition, this will work, although you will have to get access to a copy of the 2nd edition for some assignment problems. (A copy is on reserve in the Woodward library.)

An e-book version is available from the Macmillan Learning site.

Exams, Homework, and Grading

To promote fairness for all students, I will only answer questions about the scope and format of exams when the whole class has the opportunity to hear the answer (i.e., in lecture).

Mid-term exam: Monday, March 2nd, in class. The exam will include both short-answer questions and some longer-answer questions (e.g., hypothesis testing or estimation), some involving calculation. You are allowed to use a simple calculator, and will be provided the formulae sheet and statistical tables (you should practice using them in advance). I will provide more details on the scope of the midterm about 2 weeks before the exam.

If you miss the midterm with a legitimate excuse (either by pre-arrangement or an acceptable medical or other emergency), the final exam grade will be used in place of the midterm in the final grade assessment, after adjustment to take into account the relative difficulty of the midterm and final.

Final exam: time and place to be set by Student Services. The final exam will cover material from the whole course. It will last 2.5 hours.

The course grade will be calculated roughly as follows:

  • Final 50%
  • Mid-term 30%
  • Homework 10%
  • Lab assignments 10%

Homework will be assigned each week, using questions in the back of each chapter of the textbook.

Policy on academic honesty:
Your performance on the exams, homework, and assignments is expected to reflect your own work. University policy dictates stern penalties (e.g. suspension or expulsion) for those who misrepresent another person’s work as their own or allow such misrepresentation to occur. On assignments, it is acceptable to work in groups, but it is not acceptable to copy another’s work or allow your work to be copied.