Molecule to Organism

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 75
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

biology, genetics, microbiology
organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, biochemistry

This program develops and interrelates concepts in experimental (laboratory) biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry by providing a foundation for students who plan to continue studies in chemistry, laboratory biology, field biology, and medicine. Students will carry out upper-division work in biochemistry, microbiology, cellular, molecular and neurobiology, and organic chemistry, in a yearlong sequence.

The program integrates two themes: one at the “cell” level and the other at the “molecule” level. In the cell theme, we start with the cell and microbiology and proceed to the whole organism with the examination of structure/function relationships at all levels. In the molecular theme, we will examine organic chemistry, the nature of organic compounds and reactions and carry this theme into biochemistry and the fundamental chemical reactions of living systems. As the year progresses, the two themes continually merge through studies of cellular and molecular processes in molecular biology and neurobiology.

In fall quarter this program will be remotely taught; there will be no in-person instruction. Later in the year we hope to be able to do some in-person labs. However, this will depend on our ability to deliver effective hands-on learning activities, while ensuring the safety of everyone in our learning community. If we do hold labs, students should expect that on a weekly basis they 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. Spring quarter will allow more flexibility for students who wish to take part of this program in conjunction with other work.

To successfully complete this program in fall quarter students should have access to a computer, high speed internet for synchronous activities, and access to Canvas daily. Students should expect to participate in 5 hours of synchronous meetings per week using Zoom and Canvas. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous (in person or remote) participation if conditions require.

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

biology, chemistry, medicine and health sciences, environmental science, and teaching.


Credits per quarter


A strong grasp of the material covered in a full year of both general biology with lab and general chemistry with lab, at the college level.

Online learning:
  • Fall Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
  • Winter and Spring: Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Upper division science credit:

All credits are upper division: cell biology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, and neurobiology. 

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 75

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 11:00 am

Located in: Olympia