Molecule to Organism

Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Spring 2019
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

biology, virology, molecular biology
organic chemistry

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.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

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


Credits per quarter


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

Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$300 for an overnight field trip in Spring.

Upper division science credit:

Upper division science credits in biochemistry, microbiology, cellular and molecular biology, field biology and organic chemistry will be awarded to students who successfully complete all program requirements.

Internship Opportunities:

Spring, with faculty approval.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Sunday, March 31, 2019 - 10:00 am
Purce Hall 6 - Classroom

Advertised schedule:

First class meeting: Tuesday, September 25th at 9:00AM (space TBD). 

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:


2018-08-10student fee for overnight field trip moved from Fall to Spring quarter
2018-04-23Fall signature text updated with link to application.