Scientific discourse in the tutorial

The tutorials comprise 50% of the course content and time.  Fourth year students in the Life Sciences program are both tutorial assistants and mentors in these sessions.


  • Weekly tutorials encourage group discussions and appropriate etiquette in communicating with ones peers
  • Students are encouraged to analyze primary data, pulling the hypothesis and observations out of a paper or seminar before drawing conclusions
  • Students are encouraged to challenge their own preconceptions and be prepared to change their minds in the face of an evidence-based argument
  • Students present their analyses informally  every week, in addition to a formal oral presentation and a written paper
  • Students are encouraged to take a concept and examine it within a new context.  For example, we study the concept of the stem cell niche and students take this understanding with them as they identify new molecular components of niche function.

A sample tutorial (TA outline) is shown: Tutorial 3 – outline