New MRU science majors look to the future of work in Alberta

Computer science and biology majors approved

The Faculty of Science and Technology teaches the basics of science and how to be an innovative problem solver.

New science majors at Mount Royal University will open up a world of options to students.

At the end of September, the province announced approval of new majors in biology and computer science within MRU’s Bachelor of Science degree. The new specializations add to the current selection of science majors in chemistry, environmental science, general science and geology, along with a degree in computer information systems.

The Bachelor of Science ― Computer Science represents the natural evolution of MRU’s current computer science university transfer program into a full major. Students in the program will study foundations of computing including mathematics, programming, computing theory, operating systems and networking. These foundations are complemented by other disciplines such as biology, geographic information systems, mathematics or chemistry. The result is a unique major featuring strength in computing, breadth in general education and a focus on a particular discipline of interest.

“The degree will assist in meeting the growing demand for computer science graduates in an increasingly technological world,” said Jonathan Withey, D.Phil., dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology at Mount Royal.

Zakie Shah is in his first year studying computer science and says the new major will alleviate the stress of transferring over to a new school halfway through the program, allowing instead more focus on “learning and well-being.”

Shah has big plans after graduation.

“I want to change the world,” Shah says. “I want to develop AI (artificial intelligence) that will help humanity in ways we can’t even imagine.”

The Bachelor of Science in biology, meanwhile, will provide students with strong foundational, technical and applied skills, while allowing both flexibility and the ability to specialize in a variety of concentrations (anatomy and physiology, cellular and molecular biology or ecology and evolution). Due to immense demand, MRU is providing increased access to biology programming with the launch of this new degree.

As she works towards her science degree at MRU, and applies to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program at the University of Calgary, fourth-year student and president of the Science and Technology Student Society Madison Hillstead is excited about the new opportunities for students.

“The new biology major will enhance our overall experience due to its increased flexibility and wide range of options,” she says. “Now students can have more freedom choosing what they are passionate about learning, which is ultimately what any university degree should be about. The major still has a solid foundation but allows for more exploration across all different areas of biology.”

Withey said both new majors allow for growth and evolution of innovative curriculum, ensuring MRU remains a great place for learning science and technology, for students securing an education relevant to their success, and for meeting the needs of both the economy and the community.

“New programs will continue to bear all the hallmarks for which we are known: access to first-class facilities, to work-integrated and experiential learning opportunities, and to research and undergraduate training initiatives.”

Looking ahead, Withey says MRU is committed to maintaining and developing distinctive programming in the sciences that has excellent outcomes for graduating students. To that end, and with more than 2,000 tech jobs unfilled in Calgary, MRU is developing a Bachelor of Science ― Data Science.

“It is essential that our repertoire of degrees continue to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing needs of students and society.”


Mount Royal’s Biology major gives students a solid foundation in the study of living organisms and allows them the ability to take a number of courses, including genetics, cell biology, microbiology, molecular biology, ecology, evolution, anatomy and physiology. The major is enhanced through hands-on, practical learning experiences. Students can specialize their degree by completing courses leading to concentrations in cellular and molecular biology, anatomy and physiology, or ecology and evolution.

Computer Science

Mount Royal's computer science major lets students pursue high-demand technical jobs in Alberta’s rapidly transforming economy. Students enjoy a variety of courses including computing, mathematics, programming, computing theory, operating systems and networking. Beyond the computer, they can enhance their computer science major with skills like communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.

Explore the opportunities provided by the Faculty of Science and Technology at Mount Royal University.

Nov. 5. 2019 ― Peter Glenn

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