Changes to Second Year Core


What's happening? Starting September 2019, the 2nd year Biology core program will be

  • Diversity of Life (BIOL 200)
  • Mendelian & Molecular Biology (BIOL 205)
  • Evolutionary Genetics (BIOL 206)
  • Introductory Statistics (BIOL 243)
  • *NEW* Scientific Methods in Biology (BIOL 212)

What is the new course? We have created a new course called Scientific Methods in Biology (BIOL 212). This is a hands-on course that uses experiential learning to teach how to do biological research. You will learn to develop scientific hypotheses, design studies, and run experiments. Working in small pods, you will get to work with a range of cool organisms, learn new lab & field skills, and see how research can be used to answer some of our most pressing global challenges.

Why changes to other courses? Things can be busy in second year. To make room for the new course, we merged two existing courses into one (BIOL 201 & BIOL 202 → BIOL 200). We also removed the labs from all other 2nd year courses and replaced them with tutorials, which means your schedule will be less congested. 

What does this mean for me? More hands-on experience, more active learning, and a reduced workload compared to our old curriculum. 


BIOL 200/3.0   Diversity of Life
This course provides a phylogenetically based overview of biodiversity across the Tree of Life including viruses, archaea, bacteria, algae, fungi, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates.  Patterns of organizational complexity and species diversity are explained in the context of evolutionary processes, structure‐function relationships and ecology.
NOTE  Textbook and onQ course site for distributing reading material
LEARNING HOURS  120 (36L; 18T; 18O; 48P)
RECOMMENDATION   BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0

BIOL 205/3.0  Mendelian and Molecular Genetics
An introduction to Mendelian and Molecular Genetics covering the basic mechanisms of genetic transmission, gene structure and function, as well as the application of molecular genetics in medicine and biotechnology.  
LEARNING HOURS  120 (36L; 18T; 18O; 48P)
PREREQUISITE  A GPA of 1.90 in BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0.

BIOL 206/3.0   Evolutionary Genetics
An introduction to the genetic mechanisms of population differentiation and evolutionary change ‐ from molecules to species. The genetical theory of evolution is also applied to problems involving conservation, biotechnology and the evolution of disease.
LEARNING HOURS  120 (36L; 18T; 18O; 48P)
PREREQUISITE   A minimum grade of C‐ in BIOL 205/3.0.

BIOL 212/3.0   Scientific Methods in Biology  
A hands-on laboratory course that establishes the fundamentals of scientific investigation and applies them to selected biological questions. Students will learn to develop hypotheses, design and execute experiments, and to analyze and present results. There will be four modules structured as: Cell, Organism, Population, Ecosystem.  
NOTE   Blended learning, online material and hands-on activities in the lab.
LEARNING HOURS  122 (8L; 66Lb; 24O; 24P)
PREREQUISITE   A GPA of 1.90 in BIOL 102/3.0 and BIOL 103/3.0

I've spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I've done them with joy, and I've taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it?

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley