Introductory Biology Courses

We offer several introductory courses: BIOL BC1001, BIOL BC1002, and the year-long BIOL BC1500-series for majors. 


BIOL BC1002 Global Health and Ecology (Fall) 

What disease is the number one killer worldwide?  What will be the next pandemic?  Fundamentals of human physiology and microbiology are explored in the context of major global health issues.  Principles of ecology are outlined, with an emphasis on the bidirectional impact of the interactions of humans with global environment.  Lab exercises introduce biological techniques for studying these topics. 

This course is a good first course for students with little background in Biology, but who intend to major in Biology and/or pursue a pre-health career, though it does not fulfill pre-medical requirements. This is also a good first course for non-science majors wishing to fulfill the Science Lab GER.  Students who take 1002 in the fall can take either 1502/03 or 1001 in the Spring, depending on their goals. Students fulfilling a Foundations requirement, may take BC1002 as a one-semester course, with no prerequisites.  It also fulfills Thinking through Global Inquiry. 

Lab is required.  Enrollment is limited to 16 students per section.


BIOL BC1001 Revolutionary Concepts in Biology (Spring)

This course introduces basic concepts of molecular and cell biology, genetics, and evolution.  It is a foundational course intended for less experienced biologists and/or non-science majors.  This course introduces basic concepts of cell biology, anatomy and physiology, genetics, evolution, and ecology.  This course fulfills the Science Lecture GER, but not the Science Lab GER as there is no lab component to this course. 


BIOL BC1500-01 Introduction to Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Lecture & Lab (Fall) &
BIOL BC1502-03 Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology Lecture & Lab (Spring)

These courses are targeted at prospective biology majors and pre-health students, although non-majors are certainly welcome.  This course is most appropriate for students with more than one biology course in high school, AP/IB Biology, or a strong interest in the field.  Although most students begin the BIOL BC1500-series in the fall semester, it is perfectly acceptable to begin in the spring semester. 

The fall semester lecture (BIOL BC1500) and lab (BIOL BC1501 with the co-requisite lab recitation BIOL BC1511) courses focus on evolutionary and organismal biology. 

The spring semester lecture (BIOL BC1502) and lab (BIOL BC1503 with the co-requisite lab recitation BIOL BC1512) courses focus on cell and molecular biology.

The lecture components must be taken either as co- (preferred) or pre-requisites to lab. Students who have not taken the BIOL BC1500 lecture course may not enroll in BIOL BC1501 & BIOL BC1511; students who have not taken the BIOL BC1502 lecture course may not enroll in BIOL BC1503 & BIOL BC1512. 

However, lab is not required to enroll in either 1500 or 1502 lecture courses.

Which course should you take?
Goal Little Experience in Biology Strong background in Biology
Science major or pre-health career Start by taking 1001 in the Fall. Then, take 1502/03 in the Spring, and 1500/01 the following Fall Take 1500/1501 in the Fall, and 1502/1503 in the Spring
Fulfill lab science GER** Take 1002 in the Fall with lab, and 1001 in the Spring

Your choice:

a) Take 1002/1012 in the Fall, and 1001 in the Spring -OR-

b) Take 1500/01 in the Fall and 1502 in the Spring

c) Take 1002/1012 in the Fall, and 1503 in the Spring


**You are no longer required to take two science lectures from the same discipline to satisfy the Lab Science GER. Therefore, you may take BIOL BC1001, BIOL BC1500, or BIOL BC1502 lectures, in combination with a lecture+lab from a different scientific discipline. Or you may take the lecture + lab combinations of BIOL BC1002/1012 (Fall), BIOL BC1500/1501 (Fall), or BIOL BC1502/1503 (Spring) with a lecture from a different discipline. 


BIOL BC1599: Science Journal Club (Section 001)

Students participating in the Science Pathways Scholars Program will be introduced to the scientific literature by reading a mix of classic papers and papers that describe significant new developments in the field. Seminar periods will be devoted to oral reports, discussion of assigned reading, and student responses. The class meets once-a-week for one hour and is graded on a Pass-Fail basis.

BIOL BC1599: Biology Journal Club (Section 002)

This is a one point seminar course that serves as an enhancement to the Introductory Biology curriculum for first-year students who scored a 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam (or equivalent preparation) and are currently enrolled in the BIOL BC1500-level courses.  The class meets once-a-week for one hour and is graded on a Pass-Fail basis.


HSPP BC1001 - HSPP BC1002 Research Apprenticeship Seminar

Are you a first-year interested in science research? Consider applying for the Research Apprenticeship Seminar. This year-long seminar is offered by the Biology Department under the auspices of the Hughes Science Pipeline Project (HSPP), a science curriculum and undergraduate research program funded by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The seminar is open to 16 first-year students who are also enrolled in an introductory lab science sequence. The course will meet in a seminar format on Tuesdays from 2:10-4:00 p.m., and will discuss how research problems are defined, how scientists immerse themselves in the existing literature on a topic, how researchers craft experimental protocols and collect data, and how data can be used to test hypotheses. Students will also consider science stories in the New York Times and lead formal debates about ethical and social issues, such as the use of animal subjects in research. Occasionally, the seminar period will be devoted to tours of faculty science labs to learn about the research that Barnard professors conduct and the research opportunities available on campus. 

Additionally, students will participate in a month-long laboratory rotation each semester. During the rotation period, each student will spend 3 hours per week shadowing a Barnard junior or senior Research Intern who is conducting a year-long research project. In addition to this exposure to research at Barnard, students will discuss how to obtain summer science internships in laboratories off campus.

Seminar assignments will include readings about the research process, as well as short library-based research projects about scientific claims in textbooks. In the fall semester, students will develop their presentation skills in a session with Barnard’s Speaking Fellows. In the spring semester, each student will deliver an oral presentation about the research career of a scientist of her choosing. Students will also maintain a weekly "blog" that describes their reactions to readings, the results of their library research projects, and their reflections on laboratory rotations and events attended. Students will also be matched with alumnae mentors and participate in a job shadowing experience in partnership with Beyond Barnard.

The Research Apprenticeship Seminar is a year-long course that carries a total of 3.0 points of academic credit (1.5 points each semester).* The seminar will require no formal written assignments, with the exception of one bibliography, and there will be no exams.

*Note that students admitted to this class are required to take both semesters.