Course Descriptions


 This course is intended for non-science majors.

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








 Course Description  

This course is intended to allow non-scientists to understand the genetic principles and issues that underlie several topics that people hear about in the media and encounter in their lives. I provide only the aspects of genetics and molecular biology one needs in order to understand these larger issues, and I present all the biological material in a manner that expects that nobody has any background in this kind of biology. The legal and ethical issues associated with each current topic will also be included in our discussions.  Topics may include:

Forensics And Paternity Testing

Anthropology Research And Ancestry Testing

Behavioral Genetics Applied To Intelligence, Criminality and Interpersonal Attraction

Genetically Modified Plants, Animals and Humans

Stem Cell Therapy

Assisted Reproductive Technology

Course Syllabus 

Fall 2021 Syllabus

Course URL  

A Canvas site will be set up at the beginning of the semester

Course Satisfies Learning Goals 

  • To understand and develop an appreciation for research as the basis of scientific study 
  • To understand and to appreciate the process of science 
  • To acquire the ability to use scientific reasoning 
  • To understand biology as a framework of related concepts 

Course Satisfies SAS Core Learning Goals 

  • 21st Century: Analyze the relationship that science and technology have to a contemporary social issue. 
  • Natural Science: Understand and apply basic principles and concepts in the physical or biological sciences. 
  • Natural Science: Explain and be able to assess the relationship among assumptions, method, evidence, arguments, and theory in scientific analysis. 
  • Natural Science: Identify and critically assess ethical and societal issues in science. 

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Your grade will be composed (approximately) of:

Two exams, accounting for approximately half your grade

Approximately 10 sets of homework questions, accounting for approximately one-fourth of your grade

A group presentation, accounting for approximately one-fourth of your grade

Course Materials  

There is no book required for this course. I will supply all your readings.

Course Closed? 

If the course is closed, please use the following link to add your name to the wait list: Wait List Sign Up for Fall 2022 Courses . If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Instruction at 848-445-2075 or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Dr. Ron Michaelis

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