Course Descriptions



Biological Research Laboratory 01:119:117 (BRL117) is the laboratory component of the first year life science course required of all Life Science majors. It is appropriate for students who plan on attending a graduate or professional school in the life or health sciences. 

This is a CORE course required of all life science majors.


Fall, Spring, Summer




The first semester of General Biology, 119:115 or 119:101, is a required prerequisite for the lab. It is highly recommended to be co-registered with General Biology, 119:116 while taking BRL117. Students may take the lab after completing the two General Biology courses (119:115 and 119:116).

Course Description

In Biological Research Laboratory, students conduct research in two conceptual area, aquatic ecology and DNA seq.   Students design and conduct a novel research project in aquatic ecology. Students also isolate and sequence DNA from an organism they collect on a field trip to a local water body. The two research projects are linked ultimately via phylogenetics.  Through these projects, students are exposed to the process of science and tools and techniques used in science.

Course URL

A Sakai site will be available to students.

Course Satisfies Departmental 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

               Midterm Exam                      15 %
               Final Exam                           15%
               Assignments                         25%
               Capstone Project                   30%
                Lab Work                             10%
                Deportment                           5%
                Total                                   100%

 The Capstone Project is a multi-week research project that will be completed in groups and will include a written report and a group presentation. The project requires students to  develop and test a hypothesis and report on the findings. More information will be provided during the semester.

Course Materials

1. Textbook: Campbell Biology, 10th Ed, 2014  Reece et al. Benjamin Cummings, 1488 pp. ISBN-13: 9780321775658).

2.  A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, 9th Ed, 2015.  Pechenik, J.  Pearson.  Bound or binder version.

3.  The laboratory manual will be provided to students.

4.  Clicker for lecture:  Turning Technology ResponseCard NXT clickers (recommended version).

Course closed?

No special permission numbers or wait lists are available for Biological Research Laboratory. If the course is closed, please continue to look for openings up through the end of the add drop period in the beginning of the semester. The lab may be taken after General Biology 116. Wait list offered during summer session.


Dr. Monica Torres

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