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Foundations of Biology

The Foundations of Biology course sequence for biological sciences majors takes an active learning approach that challenges students to apply their knowledge and work collaboratively to solve real-world problems. 

The goal in Foundations is not to teach biology; it is rather to train biologists. As such, students gain a background not only in the biological content standard for an introductory course — albeit in a sophisticated and integrated manner — but also develop the skills (e.g, in communication, collaboration, information management, self-assessment) required for a person to be a successful scientist within the discipline of biology.


BIOL 2002: Foundations of Biology for Biological Science Majors (Part 1)

BIOL 2002 is intended for majors in the College of Biological Sciences. It is the first of two foundational courses that cover core biological concepts, from biomolecules to ecosystems. This course emphasizes evolution, organismal diversity, and genetics within the context of problem solving and application. The lecture/recitation sections are integrated with laboratory exercises to give students basic experience with the methods of modern biology. Active participation by students is required.

BIOL 2003: Foundations of Biology for Biological Science Majors (Part 2)

BIOL 2003 and BIOL 3004 are intended for majors in the College of Biological Sciences. These courses comprise the second semester of the Foundations sequence.

Students must take BIOL 2003 and BIOL 3004 concurrently and must register first for 3004 before the registration system will allow them to register for 2003.

Concept lab ("lecture")

This course emphasizes ecology and cell biology within the context of problem solving and critical thinking. Emphasis is placed on application of quantitative skills, concepts, and tools to biological problems through team-based, collaborative short-term and long-term projects.

Research lab

Students design and perform research projects, and apply quantitative skills, the scientific method, and modern biological tools to real-world questions. Students meet regularly with instructors, but also are responsible for scheduling their time in an open lab in order to complete their research project. At the end of this course, student teams present their research findings to their peers and instructors. Students completing BIOL 3004 should be qualified to enter a faculty research lab, internship, or other venue of active science.

Biol 2002 enrollment for non-CBS students

Priority enrollment in BIOL 2002 will be given to current and admitted CBS students. As space is available, non-CBS students who have completed the prerequisites and are interested in transferring to CBS will be allowed to enroll in BIOL 2002. This access will be based on evaluation of the student’s academic record, with particular attention to science coursework.

Steps for enrollment:
  1. To be considered for a permission number in BIOL 2002, students must complete the BIOL 2002 Enrollment Request form online. Priority consideration will be given to students who complete this form by May 1, 2016.
  2. Each student’s academic record will be evaluated to determine if they are a viable candidate for transfer based on CBS admission requirements.
  3. After transfer eligibility is determined, the names of eligible students will be entered into a lottery for seats in BIOL 2002. The seat lottery will be composed of multiple tiers taking degree progress into consideration.  When space in BIOL 2002 becomes available, the Biology Program will contact students via University email with instructions to register.

Please contact Geri Grosinger from the Biology Department at gmgrosin@umn.edu with questions about this process.


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