Learning Outcomes

icon of a magnifying glass over a list

The content, assignments, and assessments for Biology for Non-Majors I are aligned to the following learning outcomes. A full list of course learning outcomes can be viewed here: Biology for Non-Majors I Learning Outcomes.

Module 1: Introduction to Biology

Define biology and apply its principles

  • List the defining characteristics of biological life
  • Describe classification and organizational tools biologists use, including modern taxonomy
  • Identify the main branches of biology
  • Describe biology as a science and identify the key components of scientific inquiry

Module 2: Chemistry of Life

Identify the principles of chemistry that are integral to biology

  • Define atoms and elements
  • Classify different types of atomic bonds
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the pH scale

Module 3: Important Biological Macromolecules

Identify and describe the main features of the four main classes of important biological macromolecules

  • Discuss why it is said that life is carbon-based and the bonding properties of carbon
  • Summarize the roles carbohydrates play in biological systems
  • Illustrate different types of lipids and relate their structure to their role in biological systems
  • Describe the structure and function of proteins
  • Discuss nucleic acids and the role they play in DNA and RNA
  • Discuss macromolecules and the differences between the four classes

Module 4: Cellular Structure

Identify and explain a variety of cellular components

  • State the basic principles of the unified cell theory
  • Compare prokaryotes and eukaryotes
  • Identify membrane-bound organelles found in eukaryotic cells

Module 5: Cell Membranes

Describe and explain the structure and function of membranes

  • Describe the structure and function of membranes, especially the phospholipid bilayer
  • Explain how substances are directly transported across a membrane
  • Describe the primary mechanisms by which cells import and export macromolecules

Module 6: Metabolic Pathways

Explain the metabolic pathways involved in the capture and release of energy in cells

  • Discuss energy and metabolism in living things
  • Describe how cells store and transfer free energy using ATP
  • Identify the reactants and products of cellular respiration and where these reactions occur in a cell
  • Illustrate the basic components and steps of fermentation
  • Identify the basic components and steps of photosynthesis
  • Discuss the connections between metabolic pathways

Module 7: Cell Division

Describe and explain the various stages of cell division

  • Understand chromosome structure and organization in eukaryotic cells
  • Identify the stages of the cell cycle, by picture and by description of major milestones
  • Identify and explain the important checkpoints that a cell passes through during the cell cycle
  • Understand how sexual reproduction leads to different sexual life cycles
  • Identify the stages of meiosis by picture and by description of major milestones; explain why meiosis involves two rounds of nuclear division
  • Describe and explain a range of mechanisms for generating genetic diversity
  • Examine karyotypes and identify the effects of significant changes in chromosome number

Module 8: DNA Structure and Replication

Relate DNA structure to the process of DNA replication

  • Explain how DNA stores genetic information
  • Explain the role of complementary base pairing in the precise replication process of DNA
  • Identify different viruses and how they replicate

Module 9: DNA Transcription and Translation

Describe the conversion of DNA to RNA to proteins

  • Outline the process of transcription
  • Summarize the process of translation
  • Identify the central dogma of life
  • Recognize the impact of DNA mutations

Module 10: Gene Expression

Explain the regulation of gene expression

  • Define the term regulation as it applies to genes
  • Understand the basic steps in gene regulation in prokaryotic cells
  • Discuss different components and types of epigenetic gene regulation

Module 11: Trait Inheritance

Complete monohybrid and dihybrid crosses and family pedigrees, and explain the inheritance of various traits

  • Identify the impact of Gregor Mendel on the field of genetics and apply Mendel’s two laws of genetics
  • Explain complications to the phenotypic expression of genotype, including mutations
  • Explain the conventions of a family pedigree and predict whether a disease will be passed through a family in one of three modes
  • Discuss the role environment plays on phenotypes

Module 12: Theory of Evolution

Explain the theory of evolution, which documents the change in the genetic makeup of a biological population over time

  • Describe the work of Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands, especially his discovery of natural selection in finch populations
  • Describe how the theory of evolution by natural selection is supported by evidence
  • Recognize that mutations are the basis of microevolution; and that adaptations enhance the survival and reproduction of individuals in a population
  • Read and analyze a phylogenetic tree that documents evolutionary relationships

Module 13: Modern Biology

Describe and discuss techniques used in modern biology

  • List key technologies enabling modern uses of biology
  • Identify societal uses of biotechnology
  • Discuss the risks and benefits involved in applications of genetic and genomic science


Did you have an idea for improving this content? We’d love your input.

Improve this pageLearn More