Carrie M. Derick Genetics

Pioneered work in heredity

The Story

Derick received her BA from McGill University in 1890, earning the highest marks and winning several prizes. The following year, Derick became the first female instructor at McGill. In 1896, she earned her MA and, after a long struggle, was made a lecturer. Five years later, she was appointed acting chairperson of the botany department, a position she held for nearly three years. But when the university finally filled the position permanently, it passed over Derick, and hired a man. Derick eventually became the first woman ever appointed to a full professorship at a Canadian university. Her research on heredity was read by scientists around the world and paved the way for the future study of genetics. She was one of the few women listed in American Men of Science (1910). McGill awarded her the honorary title of Professor Emerita.

Sources: Despite the Odds 1990, Canadian Encyclopedia 2000 ed.

Image Source: Herstory website (University of Saskatchewan).

The Person

January 14, 1862
Clarenceville, P.Q
Date of Death
November 10, 1941
Place of Death
Montréal, P.Q.
  • McGill University, MA, 1896 (first class honours)
  • J. C. Wilson prize
  • Prince of Wales Medal
  • Logan Gold Medal, 1890
Last Updated
September 18, 2001

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