Office of Undergraduate Instruction

01:119:199 Concepts in Biology

This course is restricted to first-year and second-year students who plan to pursue a Life Sciences or other science major, but do not meet the prerequisites or have the appropriate background to register for General Biology 119:115.  Junior level students or above will only be allowed to register if all interested first and second year students have been accommodated and after approval of their Dean's office and the instructor.  While Concepts in Biology may satisfy non-major science requirements, it is designed for biology majors.  Non-sciences majors should register only after discussing their goals with the instructor.  Non-majors are encouraged to take one the "non-major" Life Sciences courses (119:140, 148, 150, 152, 154, 160, 170, or 182) instead of Bio 100.

This course CANNOT be used to fulfill the requirements of the Biological Sciences major.


Fall and Spring


4 (including laboratory)


None; We recommend that the student be at the English 355:100 and Math 640:026 level or higher.

Course Description

The goal of Concepts in Biology is to prepare you for the General Biology sequence and any other science courses you may take.  Along with reviewing biological topics, Concepts is specifically designed to help you develop better ways of dealing with science courses and will spend significant time reviewing the cognitive psychology that underlies productive learning strategies.  Topics such as time management, how to use text books, how to deal with lectures, how to adequately prepare for exams, and metacognition are reviewed.  We require conscientious participation, as the course is highly interactive, both in lecture and in lab.  Assignments are designed to help you develop techniques, not just to help you learn material.  By the end of the semester, we believe you will feel more confident about your subsequent science courses.

If you plan to major in the life sciences, you must take General Biology 119:115, 116, and 117.  This class does not replace any of these courses.  However, we do have a special policy for students who earn an A or B+ in Bio 100 during the fall semester: you may go directly into 119:116 during the immediately following spring semester.  Thus, if you earn an A or B+ in Concepts in Biology during the Fall of 2014 you may register for General Biology 119:116 in the Spring of 2015.  Eligible students who elect to take 119:116 in the spring would complete 119:115 and 119:117 the following fall (Fall 2015).  If you elect not to take this option for the spring of 2015, but wish to take General Biology I and II you will have to take it in the normal sequence.  Most students begin the General Biology sequence with 119:115 the following fall. 

Course URL

Course Satisfies SAS Core Curriculum Learning Goals

1. Natural Sciences: Understand and apply basic principles and concepts in the physical or biological sciences. 

2. Explain and be able to assess the relationship among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments, and theory in scientific analysis.

3. Natural Sciences: Identify and critically assess ethical and societal issues in science.

Course Satisfies Department Learning Goals

 I. To acquire the appropriate factual and conceptual knowledge that provides students with a foundation to further their education and career in the areas of life science or health science.  Students will be able to demonstrate basic knowledge (ex. identify, define, explain...) of the concepts, practices and principles that comprise the biological sciences.

II. To develop data analysis and statistical reasoning skills that prepares students for a society increasing reliant on the use of data and information. Students will be able to interpret/evaluate patterns in data presented in tables, figures, and graphs as well as be able to organize, summarize and present data.

III. To develop the ability to use scientific reasoning as embodied by the structured process commonly known as the scientific method to empower students with the ability to generate and refine knowledge. Students will be able to evaluate and apply the practice of science.

IV. To develop critical thinking and problems solving skills appropriate to prepare students to evaluate, synthesize and generate knowledge that provides them with a competitive advantage to adapt to an evolving, global, and knowledge based society.  Students will be able to demonstrate application of higher order thinking (ex. classify, diagnosis, evaluate, synthesize, hypothesize...).  Students will develop an understanding of not only the connections within biology but also the connections between biology and other scientific disciplines.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Lecture (60% of grade):

Exam 1 = 10%

Exam 2 = 10%

Exam 3 = 12%

Final Exam = 18%

Quizzes & Homework = 10%

Laboratory (40% of grade):

Participation = 4%

Major Quizzes = 8%

Lab Work & Activities = 8%

Standard Homework = 6%

Lab Report = 6%

Final Practical = 8%

The final grade will be based on the following scale: A -90% and above; B+ - 88/89%; B - 80-87%; C+ - 78/79%; C - 70-77%; D - 60-69%; F - 59% or below. Students whose final average is 60% or above must also have earned at least a 60% on one exam and have earned at least 55% of the available laboratory points. If these conditions are not met, the student will receive an F even though their average is 60% or above. Students with more than two (2) unexcused absences from laboratory will automatically fail the course.

Attendance to both lecture and lab is mandatory.

Course Materials

Required text: Cambell Biology: Concepts & Connections, 8th ed. Reece et al.

ISBN:9780133909029- loose leaf version: ISBN: 9780321885173- hardbound version

Note: Access to Mastering Biology is NOT required; it will not be formally used in the course. Mastering Biology may come with the textbook you purchase, but you need not find a textbook package that includes Mastering Biology

Also required:

ResponseCard RF clicker (ISBN: 978-1-934931-39-4) for use in lecture and laboratory. 

A ResponseCard RF LCD clicker (ISBN: 9781934931400) for use in lecture and laboratory.  The more sophisticated ResponseCard Clickers (XR, NXT) are also appropriate, but not required. The basic RF clicker is sufficient.

Laboratory Manual: provided as part of lab fee.

See course website for more information about materials.

Course Closed?

You should continue to check WebReg to see if a spot has opened.  If you are not registered by the start of classes, go to the first class anyway.  Further information about registration will be given at that time.


Dr. Gregg Transue
Busch Campus
214 ARC
phone: 848-445-2594
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

** All information is subject to change at the discretion of the course coordinator.


Contact Us

Nelson Biological Laboratories

Nelson Biological Laboratories
604 Allison Rd
Piscataway, NJ 08854

p. (848) 445-2075
f.  (732) 445-5870