Course Information

If you’re anything like most undergraduate students, you’ve spent some time wondering about a particular course in which you’re thinking of enrolling.

How difficult is it? Is it interesting? What courses require it as a prereq? Do I need the textbook?

We were wondering the same things. The following are all student-written and will hopefully give you a bit more insight into what a course is really like than the online description will.

If you’re planning on contributing something about a course, please try to keep it about the course, and not necessarily about the professor, if it’s a course that’s frequently taught by multiple people. Not only will it then be more relevant for students who take the course as taught by someone else, but, also, we’d prefer this didn’t turn into a RateMyProf for BPK. We need the support of the faculty for many of our events, and would like to avoid stepping on anyone’s toes, if you know what I’m sayin.

Pre represents the prerequisites for a given course and post represents the courses for which a given course is a prerequisite. For example, BPK201 requires MATH154, MATH155 (which can be taken concurrently), PHYS101, and BP142. BPK110 is a prereq for BPK212, BPK311, BPK312, and BPK417.

Note: MATH 151 and 154 are considered to be equivalent. This is also the case for MATH 152/155, and MBB 201/231. These tables are intended for use by BPK majors, so if you are a BPK minor, biomedical engineering student, or member of some other group, your prereqs may be slightly different in certain cases – ie: BPK minors can often use 105 as a prereq instead of 205. Always check GoSFU to be absolutely sure.

100-level
Pre Post Description
BPK110 BPK212 BPK311 BPK312 BPK417 A lot of memorization in this course, especially when you reach the sections on vitamins and minerals and have to memorize functions, sources, signs of deficiencies and signs of toxicity for each one. There was a lot of information that’s also in BPK143 and BISC101, but the emphasis is on diet and its relation to particular chronic diseases like specific cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and type II diabetes. Depending on the professor the textbook may or may not be necessary.
BPK111
BPK140 Similar to BPK110, this class also requires a lot of memorization. The material includes a bit of information from health aspects such as psychological health, how stress affects health, physical activity, nutrition, obesity, drugs, alcohol etc. While some of these topics are covered in greater detail in other classes, BPK140 gives you a brief general overview on health. The textbook may or may not be necessary depending on the prof, but there is further detail in the textbook than what is given on the lecture notes.
BPK142 BPK201 BPK207 BPK241 BPK303 BPK304 BPK326 BPK340 BPK343 BPK375 BPK382 BPK461  This is probably the first course you’ll take in BPK. It’s the introductory course for the degree programs and covers a wide breadth of material as a result. It requires a lot of memorization of anatomy, so don’t ignore that part. Lecture exams are straight from the notes. Do the study questions in the lab manual! There’s no textbook, just the lab manual, so it’s a nice break from dropping hundreds like math and bio.
BPK143 BPK343 Awesome 1st year BPK course. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually get marks for running; you get marks for attending labs where you may choose to run. The material would be great for those interested in fitness. At first it seems a bit dry and common sense but when you get into the strength sections it starts to pick up. Apparently Tony uses iClickers in this class now and he assigns questions which is different from how he used to do it. A great part of 143 is how you get a chance to exercise while being in class, which you might have trouble making time for otherwise. Also after taking this class, challenging the BCRPA fitness theory exam is a breeze. No textbook, but Tony’s written notes are very necessary.
BPK180
200-level
Pre Post Description
BPK201 MATH154 MATH1551 PHYS101 BPK142 BPK301 BPK304 BPK306 BPK308 BPK326 BPK382 BPK402 BPK446 The first half of the course is much more quantitative, requires a lot of calculations, and revisits many concepts from in PHYS101; the calculations aren’t nearly as hard as what physics had, though. The second half of the course is much more physiology and looks at the properties of different tissues and materials in both the body (e.g. comparing ligaments and scar tissue) and environment (e.g. training in water vs. air).
BPK205 BISC101 CHEM281 PHYS101 PHYS102 BPK304 BPK305 BPK306 BPK308 BPK310 BPK311 BPK312 BPK326 BPK343 BPK375 BPK382 BPK461 Whereas 142 was an intro to everything and had somewhat of a focus on anatomy, 205 has a focus on physiology. It’s taught by a lot of different people and their styles vary, but what is common is that it’s a very information-dense course. There is a lot to know in 205, so try your best not to fall behind in the material. It’s a prereq for a ton of stuff, so take it as early as you can so you don’t get stuck unable to enroll in anything.
BPK207 BPK142 BPK381 BPK446 A lot of people count this as one of their favourite BPK courses. There are a lot of new and interesting concepts, and it kind of makes you look at movement in a completely new way: internal models. Dan and Kim are great and they don’t use textbooks, but attending lecture is definitely necessary. Because some of the material can be difficult to absorb at first, going to office hours could be really helpful. The tutorials aren’t really tutorials; they’re short one-hour labs. Marks are distributed across 2 midterms, 3 shorter lab assignments, and the final. Dan and Kim call it a 3rd midterm, but it’s twice as long as the other midterms.
BPK212 BPK110 Large group project that was kind of awkward for a distance course. Not much time required otherwise. Textbook’s necessary.
BPK241 BPK142 Doc Hedges has a tendency to speak quickly and quietly, so sit in the first couple of rows if you want to actually hear what he’s saying. And you should; it’s important. The Arnheim textbook is great, but you can get away without buying the other one. Learn ankle sprains really well, as well as terrible triad, scaphoid fracture, and concussion. Those aren’t the only things you’ll be asked, but he likes those ones a lot.
300-level
Pre Post Description
BPK301 PHYS102 BPK201 This is the biomechanics Lab. The work load varies each week because every group is doing a different lab each week and we rotate. Labs includes EMG, COM stuff, LED screen capture for angle joint movement (super fun but lots of work)…etc…There are 9 Labs in total. Which means each group gets 1 day off (no lab for a week). There is also a group project component, with the group project you have to come up with a project proposal and you get to use the stuff in the lab and put it into cool projects. No midterm, just a final. Overall, I found that the lab reports required a lot of effort and were quite challenging. However, the class is very rewarding and you get to learn a lot of actual movements and etc, I really recommended it if you enjoy biomechanics.
BPK303 BPK142 STAT201 This course is all about kinanthropometry: the study of mass, size, proportion, body composition and their relation to function, growth, performance and maturation. This course has a lab component where you do all the anthropometric measurements: skinfolds, bone breadths, girths, segment lengths. The course is pretty interesting when you look at the body composition lectures and methods but the stats stuff can get a tad dry. Luckily Richard is an amazing instructor and keeps everything entertaining. The marks are divided into a midterm, lab midterm where you’re evaluated on lab techniques, 2 lab reports, a collaborative paper and the final. The final is half open book and contains a lot of application questions.
BPK304 BPK142 BPK201 BPK205 STAT201 The lab exams are open note, so make sure you prepare detailed ones ahead of time. Richard’s .pdf “textbook” for the class is really important – exam stuff is right out of the notes.
BPK305 BPK205 MBB231 MATH155 BPK4072 BPK412 BPK444 BPK 305 is challenging and required, but make no mistake, it is easily one of the best undergraduate courses offered by our faculty. With proper time management skills this course has the potential to be the most rewarding of your undergraduate career. With a focus on the regulatory mechanisms of the circulatory and pulmonary systems, this course is regarded by most as highly interesting. Both professors who teach this course are highly knowledgeable and friendly, with questions being encouraged both in and outside of the lecture hall. Proper preparation is key for exams, as they are all long answer and essay questions. So make sure you can explain concepts to those around you, and this course should be a breeze!
BPK306 BPK201 BPK205 MBB231 MATH155 BPK4072 BPK415 BPK416 BPK446 BPK448 Very intense course, but has probably been my favourite so far. You cover the renal (which was not my favourite), digestive, reproductive, and nervous systems. It’s definitely a lot of work, and you need to know EVERYTHING inside and out. I found it to be okay because I was very interested in the content, and is not to bad if you keep up. The midterms are hard and consist of 3-6 mark long answers that require you to draw on many points in lecture. Textbook is necessary as Will’s slides tend to be pictures with no text. If you like neurophysiology, you’ll love this course…once it’s over. Just don’t take it in a hard semester.
BPK308 BPK201 BPK205 STAT201 This class is taken alongside Biomedical Engineering students, and it’s like a computing science class with applications to physiology.  The hour lecture covers the physiological concepts examined in lab that week and equates them to engineering principles.  The 3 hour lab section is spent collecting physiological data and analyzing it using MATLAB; while you don’t need to know the language going into the class, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of logic and programming as a lot of the time both in and outside of class is spent writing code to collect and analyze data for the assignment. A strong math background is helpful. Assignments have two parts: the group section, where 3 or 4 of you work together to write the code to analyze your data and answer relevant questions about it; the other is a smaller individual section.  Max Donelan is an amazing professor, and does an excellent job communicating the material and leading the lectures and labs.  There are no midterms or finals; your mark is simply based on assignments and participation
BPK310 BPK205 MBB231 One smaller assignment to hand in as well as a longer job/sport analysis paper, midterm, and final. The textbook looks like it’s from the 60s and is really dry, but is also really useful for the course.
BPK311 BPK110 BPK205 BPK417 As with any nutrition course, there’s a lot of memorization here. Some of the nutrition-related main topics covered were: Cancer, Aging, Lactation and Pregnancy, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease etc. The class mainly emphasizes on treatment and maintenance of diet with these topics. Depending on the semester, there may be a 10-13 minute oral presentation done in tutorials that features a nutrition-related topic that isn’t covered in depth in class. The textbook, while recommended and useful in that it goes into more detail, is not required.
BPK312 BPK110 BPK205 Has a long-term group project, which can be really hit-or-miss in a distance class. Hope you get paired up with decent partners, or be prepared to do most of the work yourself. Like any nutrition course, the exams require a ton of memorization.
BPK326 BPK142 BPK201 BPK205 BPK336 BPK426 BPK481 The only 4-credit course BPK has, which should tell you something about the time you should be prepared to put in. Doing really well on the lab exams absolutely requires time spent outside of lab sessions going over structures. You can use other anatomy atlases depending on your preference. The one recommended for the course uses photos of structures, and one like Netter’s is hand-drawn. Pick whichever you prefer. The Tortora textbook is probably unnecessary.
BPK336 BPK326 Like 326 but at a cellular level. Material has the potential to be interesting, but can be very dry.
BPK340 BPK142 STAT201 BPK3431 BPK417 It’s mainly focused on physical activity and its promotion, plus its relation to health, diseases and various methods of exercise interventions. If taking the class with James Carter, you have 2 midterms that are straight from his notes. You also do a group presentation where you get to pick a group of people (bus drivers, office workers, etc) who’s health is at risk and design an intervention for them to improve their health, which you present to the class at the end of the semester. For the presentation, you also submit a proposal prior to the presentation with a bunch of background information on your group, your proposed intervention and the expected outcome. There are also 2 assignments: the first is really easy where you just write a health information piece (i.e brochure, newspaper article) that’s 500 words for whatever group you’ve picked. The second is a 10-page paper written in review article format which is almost the same as your proposal for the group you’ve picked, but instead here you discuss which interventions you yourself would implement. Overall, it’s an interesting and straightforward class that should be a break from other intense classes!
BPK340 BPK142 STAT201 BPK3431 BPK417 With Stephen Brown, the class covers concepts regarding health promotion and intervention. Grading is broken up into 3 assignments, quizzes, in-class assignments and a final exam. For 2 of the 3 assignments, you are required to write a 1000 word essay regarding a given health topic for a particular group. For the 3rd assignment, this comes in the form of a 10 minute oral presentation in a group of 3. You’re able to choose any health-related topic (such as strength training for older adults, packing healthy lunches for young children, road safety etc.). In class assignments can be a hit or miss depending on the format given (ex. Video, reading an article, etc.). Overall, it is a lighter course for a 300 level and you take a lot of stretch breaks in between the hours.
BPK343 BPK142 BPK143 BPK205 BPK3401 S201
BPK375 BPK142 BPK205 Exam questions ask you to integrate a lot of information. There are quiz and tutorial marks, so it’s worth showing up. It’s worth showing up to listen to Richard’s hilarious stories anyway, though.
BPK381 BPK207 STAT2011
BPK382 BPK142 BPK201 BPK205
400-level
Course Pre Post Description
BPK402 BPK201
BPK407 BPK305 BPK3062 407 is just a great class where you learn practical skills that help consolidate all of the theoretical knowledge you’ve gained! 305 and 306 are pre/co-reqs (305 overlaps with the first half of the course and 306 overlaps with the second) – some people like taking 305 first but if you do 306 first instead, taking 305 as a co-req just means you’re learning the same things at the same time and that can be nice too. Do ALL of the study questions as the exam questions are all from here. Since there are a lot of them I recommend you get a small group of 3-4 people and share the workload. Aside from that 407 isn’t consistently heavy – there’s 2 written assignments, both short, and the questions also come from the study questions. The practical exam isn’t too bad, just attend the extra practice session and know the procedures and you’ll do fine!
BPK412 BPK305 A very rigorous course. Has a paper, midterm and final, and a partnered debate where you find out your side (pro/con) right before you present. Fairly MBB-heavy at times, and has a lot of research required for the assignments. You probably won’t be able to keep up taking notes with the way Glen lectures, so be prepared to listen to the recordings and make notes from those. It does require a lot of time, but the course is totally worth it if you’re willing to work. Just don’t ask dumb questions, ’cause Glen has a sharp wit.
BPK415 BPK306 Interesting class if you’re into neuro. Has a couple of writing assignments, but neither is overly long. The integrative assignment has a hard 5-page limit, so use all the tricks you can to fit more words in. Times New Roman, make the line spacing as small as you can, the works.
BPK417 BPK110 BPK306 BPK311 BPK340 There’s a writing assignment due every week, but no final exam so it kind of evens out. Lots of in-class group discussion, and some group projects: a wiki article and a presentation on a video you find (not create). Really important to go to class. Seriously. Fairly research heavy; the writing requires a lot of citing of peer-reviewed articles.
BPK426 BPK326 Like 326 but only the nervous system (general organization, spinal cord, brain etc). Buy her book, as she doesn’t give out lecture slides (the book is her lecture slides in – book form). This course is memorization heavy, and like 326, very detail oriented. There are two assignments (done in the form of medical case studies), which are actually really fun to do but should be done as detailed as possible or you will lose marks all over the place. Other than that, just memorize everything and you’ll be fine.
BPK431 MBB231
BPK444 BPK305 The lab part of the course involves practical knowledge of setting up and collecting ECG data. Pretty interesting, and potentially useful. If you take this class the ECG stuff in 407 is a joke. When Vic tells you to learn and understand why certain pathologies cause certain ECG aberrations, rather than trying to memorize them, she’s not kidding. It works way better.
BPK446 BPK306 Charles’ notes can sometimes be a little bit difficult to follow, but the course is really interesting if you can keep up. He’s a brilliant guy. The class has the standard midterm/final, as well as a lengthy paper and a presentation on a laboratory technique of your choice. Half the class always chooses some kind of MRI, so pick something else.
BPK448 BPK201 BPK207 BPK306 Very interesting course, but lectures tended to be dry. However, Hoffer’s dry sense of humor made them entertaining enough. The parts focusing of physiology are neat, but there is also lots of physics and electricity involved. You learn about lots of really high tech technology. The exams were hard. You needed to know how to apply the content, as well as memorize the notes pretty well inside and out. The notes are hard to read and sift through, but overall valuable content especially if you are considering physiotherapy.
BPK461 BPK142 BPK205
BPK481 BPK201 BPK326
BPK496 This is one of the two varieties of Directed Studies courses available, and is the literature review-based course. It’s worth 3 credits, but that’s where the similarities with most other courses end. It requires permission to register in, and how this normally happens is you approach an instructor and ask if they’ll supervise you for a directed studies course. This could be because you took a class they taught and really enjoyed it and want another opportunity to learn from them, it could be because you’re really interested in their field of study, and so on. How this proceeds varies greatly depending on the instructor, but typically you’ll meet regularly to discuss recent scientific literature in a given field and prepare some kind of final paper or presentation on a given topic.
BPK497 STAT201 BPK499 This is the first part of the Honours degree designation, the thesis proposal. It’s worth 3 credits, and is somewhat similar to 496 in that it involves a great deal of reading. Like the Directed Studies courses it requires permission for enrollment. Over the course of the semester you will, in concert with your supervisor and anyone else you might be working with in the lab, develop a proposal for a self-contained experiment. It’s like doing 496 one semester and then a much larger version of 498 the next semester.
BPK498 This is the other Directed Studies course, and is a lab-based offering. It also requires permission for enrollment, like 496. In this course, you will still naturally need a theoretical appreciation of the subject and thus be required to read relevant scientific literature, but this is more applied than 496 is. You work with your supervisor to develop a small research project (or get involved with a part of an ongoing project) and, with their guidance, carry it out. This may include experimental design, protocol troubleshooting, data collection, statistical analysis, and so on. If you want to see if you have an interest in research, this is probably the easiest way to test the waters, outside of volunteering in a lab setting.
BPK499 BPK497 This is the actual thesis part of the Honours program. Based on the approved proposal from 497, you spend the next semester (pretty much in its entirety – 499 is a 12 credit course) working in the lab, performing experiments, gathering data, and reading a lot of scientific papers. The culmination of this is the writing of an undergraduate thesis, which is printed, bound and distributed to you, your supervisor, and the department. You also get your first taste of what a thesis defense is like, where you present your findings and are mercilessly grilled by your supervisor to tests the depths of your knowledge on the subject. For real, though: super interesting.

1: Can be a coreq. 2: One of 305 or 306 must be a prereq, the other can be a coreq. 3: Or permission of the instructor.

5 comments

  • Thank you so much for putting all the effort in to making this info table. You will be making multitudes of degrees flow smoother!

  • Also I think I may have found a small typoe. Under the 306 post column I think it should be K417 instead of K416

  • This list has been updated quite a bit over the years of my degree. Its breadth is very useful and the lists much more complete. Thank you to those recent contributors.

    • Thanks Dan! We definitely do our best to keep it as updated as possible. If there are any classes that you have taken and have not been filled in yet, we would love to have your take on the class.

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