Foundations Biology Course

Yale’s biology departments (EEB, MCDB and MB&B) have combined efforts to launch a yearlong Foundations Biology course consisting of four one-half credit modules.  The completion of all these modules is a prerequisite for each of these majors and is an excellent foundation for any student contemplating a career in the health sciences professions, irrespective of major. 

Samantha Lin and Carter Takacs are the course coordinators for the foundations biology modules and should be contacted if you have questions.  Dr. Lin coordinates the BIOL series that start in Spring term (BIOL 101/102) and conclude in Fall term (BIOL 103/104).  Dr. Takacs coordinates the BIOL series that start in Fall term (BIOL 101/102) and conclude in Spring term (BIOL 103/104).


Placement Exam - Requirement

In the past, students with a score of 5 on the AP Biology Exam or a score of 7 on the IB Biology exam were exempt from taking the biology foundations course sequence (MCDB 120 + E&EB 122).  This is no longer the case.  All students are required to take all four of the new foundation modules as prerequisites for the EEB, MB&B and MCDB majors.  Students with scores of 5 on the AP Biology Exam or a score of 7 on the IB Biology exam are now eligible to take a Yale-developed placement exam in the biological sciences.  This will be available to incoming freshmen (with appropriate AP scores) as an online exam for each module during the summer before arrival at Yale.  Based on performance on the placement exams, students may be exempted from one or more modules.  Upperclassmen who have not yet satisfied the foundations biology prerequisites should get in touch with the office of the DUS as soon as is convenient.  Options to take the placement exam, to take one or more of the various new foundations modules or to take some course substitutes may be arranged.

Please note that many courses will now require one or more of these new foundations modules as prerequisites.  Please check each course description carefully.  Obviously, accommodations will be made for upperclassmen in good standing in the major.

 ***NOTE:  Information about the Placement Exam can be found at this website:  http://yalecollege.yale.edu/biology-1


BIOL Course Description

BIOL 101   Biochemistry and Biophysics

Fall 2015:  Michael Koelle (P); Course Coordinator: Carter Takacs

Spring 2016:  Anthony Koleske (P); Course Coordinator: Carter Takacs

M W 11.35-12.50, 1/2 Course credit
The study of life at the molecular level. Topics include the three-dimensional structures and function of large biological molecules, the human genome, and the design of antiviral drugs to treat HIV/AIDS.

Prerequisite(s):   The first of four modules in a yearlong foundations biology sequence; meets for the first half of the term.

BIOL 102   Principles of Cell Biology and Membrane Physiology

Fall 2015:  Mark Mooseker (P); Course Coordinator: Carter Takacs

Spring 2016:  Valerie Horsley (P); Course Coordinator: Carter Takacs

M W 11.35-12.50, 1/2 Course credit
The study of cell biology and membrane physiology. Topics include organization and functional properties of biological membranes, membrane physiology and signaling, rough endoplasmic reticulum and synthesis of membrane/secretory membrane proteins, endocytosis, the cytoskeleton, and cell division.

Prerequisite(s):   BIOL 101.  The second of four modules in a yearlong foundations biology sequence; meets for the second half of the term.

BIOL 103  Genes and Development

Fall 2015:  Vivian Irish (P); Course Coordinator: Samantha Lin

Spring 2016:  Weimin Zhong (P); Course Coordinator: Samantha Lin

M W 11.35-12.50, 1/2 Course credit
The study of genes, genetics, and developmental biology. How genes control development and disease; Mendel’s rules; examples of organ physiology.

Prerequisite(s):   BIOL 101; BIOL 102.  The third of four modules in a yearlong foundations biology sequence; meets for the first half of the term.

BIOL 104   Principles of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Fall 2015:  Leo Buss (P); Course Coordinator: Samantha Lin

Spring 2016:  Michael Donoghue (P); Course Coordinator: Samantha Lin

M W 11.35-12.50, 1/2 Course credit
The study of ecology, evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and the history of life. Evolutionary transitions and natural selection. Adaptation at genic, chromosomal, cellular, organismal, and supra-organismal levels. Distributional and social consequences of particular suites of organismal adaptations.

Prerequisite(s):   BIOL 101; BIOL 102; BIOL 103.  The fourth of four modules in a yearlong foundations biology sequence; meets for the second half of the term.

NOTE:  The BIOL modules will be capped at 220 students, as all BIOL modules are offered in each term.  This format is to reduce class size and to give students the flexibility to start the modules later.  Students must take the modules in order. 

The modules are also offered during the summer session.  BIOL S105, during the first session, covers both BIOL 101 and 102.  BIOL S106, during the second session, covers BIOL 103 and 104.