Molecule to Organism

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Fall 2018, Winter 2019, and Spring 2019 quarters

Taught by

biology, virology, molecular biology
organic chemistry


One year of college-level general biology with laboratory and one year of college-level general chemistry with laboratory.

This program develops and interrelates concepts in experimental (laboratory and field) biology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry, thus providing a foundation for students who plan to continue studies in chemistry, laboratory and field biology, and medicine. Students will carry out upper-division work in biochemistry, microbiology, cellular and molecular biology, field biology and organic chemistry in a yearlong sequence. This program will also give students many of the prerequisites needed for the following health careers: medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, naturopathy, optometry, and pharmacy.

The program examines the subject matter through the central idea that structure defines function, integrating a scaled theme from the "cell" to the "molecule" and "ecosystem" levels. We will start with the cell and proceed to the whole organism and ecosystem with the examination of structure-function relationships at all levels. We will examine organic chemistry, the nature of organic compounds and reactions and carry this work into biochemistry and the fundamental chemical reactions of living systems. As the year progresses, the scaled theme will continue through studies of cellular and molecular processes in biological systems.

Each aspect of the program will contain a significant laboratory component, some of which may be based on field experiments, involving extensive hands-on learning. Every week students will be writing papers and maintaining laboratory notebooks. All laboratory work, and approximately one half of the non-lecture time will be spent working in collaborative problem-solving groups. Group work will also include reading and discussion of topics of current or historical significance in science. This is an intensive program: The subjects are complex and the sophisticated understanding we expect to develop will require students to work for many hours each week, both in and out of class.

Internship Opportunities

Spring, with faculty approval.

Program Details

Fields of Study

biochemistry biology chemistry

Preparatory For

laboratory and field biology, chemistry, education, medicine and health science


Fall Signature Winter Signature Spring Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning


$300 for an overnight field trip.

May be offered again in