Biology for Non-Majors I

Western Texas College
  1. Basic Course Information
    1. Lecture Course Description: Provides a survey of biological principles with an emphasis on humans, including chemistry of life, cells, structure, function, and reproduction.
    2. Lab Course Description: The required laboratory activities will reinforce the lecture material.
    3. Required Pre-requisite: None
    4. Required grade for enrolling in the next course in this sequence: None
  2. Student Learning Outcomes
    1. Distinguish between prokaryotic, eukaryotic, plant and animal cells, and identify major cell structures.
    2. Identify stages of the cell cycle, mitosis (plant and animal), and meiosis.
    3. Interpret results from cell physiology experiments involving movement across membranes, enzymes, photosynthesis, and cellular respiration.
    4. Apply genetic principles to predict the outcome of genetic crosses and statistically analyze results.
    5. Describe karyotyping, pedigrees, and biotechnology and provide an example of the uses of each.
    6. Identify parts of a DNA molecule, and describe replication, transcription, and translation.
    7. Analyze evidence for evolution and natural selection.
    8. Apply scientific reasoning to investigate questions, and utilize scientific tools such as microscopes and laboratory equipment to collect and analyze data.
    9. Use critical thinking and scientific problem solving to make informed decisions in the laboratory.
    10. Communicate effectively the results of scientific investigations.
    11. Identify the importance of karyotypes, pedigrees, and biotechnology.
  3. Testing Requirements
    1. On-campus: All exams are given during scheduled lecture time
    2. Online: Standard exams and the final exam must be proctored by an approved testing organization.  (Ask your instructor for more details.)
    3. No outside materials are allowed during standard exams or the final
    4. All standard exams and the final are timed
  4. Course Requirements
    1. 10 multiple-choice quizzes
    2. 4 long-form responses to prompts based on current science articles
    3. 10 total lab assignments
    4. 3 non-cumulative multiple-choice lecture standard exams
    5. 1 cumulative multiple-choice final exam
  5. Information on Books and Other Course Materials
    1. Recommended Book: Essential Biology, 7th ed. by Campbell ISBN – 9780133917789
    2. Lab materials are provided
  6. Grading Breakdown

Types of Assignments


Not Proctored

In-Class Assignments



Chapter Quizzes



Article Questions






Semester Exams



Lecture Final Exam









  1. Other Policies, Procedures and important Dates - Please refer to the WTC Catalog for the following
    1. Campus Calendar
    2. Final exam schedule
    3. How to drop a class
    4. Withdrawal information
    5. Student Conduct/Academic Integrity
    6. Students with disabilities
  2. Course Content

Weekly Overview

Topics Covered

1 – Introduction to Biology

Common themes of life, introduction to evolutionary theory, the scientific method

2 – The Chemistry of Life

Energy, atoms, chemical bonds, hydrogen bonds, acids and bases, water chemistry

3 – Macromolecules

Carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, nucleic acids, ATP

4 – The Cell

Cell theory, cellular structure, prokaryotic traits, eukaryotic traits, organelles, cytoplasm components, the cytoskeleton

5 – Introduction to Metabolism

Enzymes, metabolic pathways, cell membranes, plasma membrane function, diffusion, active transport

6 – Cellular Respiration

Cell energy flow, glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron transport chain, fermentation

7 – Photosynthesis

Properties of light, light-dependent reactions, light independent reactions, carbon fixation strategies

8 – Cell Replication

Mitosis, interphase, senescence, cancer, meiosis, sexual reproduction

9 – DNA and RNA

DNA structure, DNA function, DNA replication, mutations, genes, transcription, translation, RNA structure, RNA function

10 – Genetics

Gene expression, genetic control, Mendelian genetics, epigenetics


Last Modified: August 21, 2019