This 4-credit course is one half of the introductory year of biology for science majors.  BIOL 1201 (General Biology of Organisms) is the companion course; it is a prerequisite for this course. Pre-calculus (MATH 1015) is also a prerequisite. Both BIOL 1201 and MATH 1015 must already be completed (passed) before BIOL 1202 may be taken. Although the basic chemistry that is needed in this course is provided in this course, it is advantageous to have completed General Chemistry I with lab (CHEM 1123/1125) before taking this course.

Every student in the course is expected to study this detailed on-line syllabus at the start of the semester.  Many questions that students might ask during a semester are answered here, and many comments and suggestions here will help some people avoid grade problems later.

Instructor: Dr. Carroll D. Rawn, Rm 410 McNulty Hall, 973-761-9054.   Web page address is   Go to this web site for assigned readings, lab study assignments, and announcements for the course. Note that all course materials that are posted online will be posted on my web page, at this web address, not on Blackboard.

Location: Lecture MWF 2:00-2:50 PM, McNulty Hall amphitheater, room 101. 
Lab sessions- McNulty Hall room 206.
Weekly recitation/review session- Tuesday 1:00-1:50 PM in the McNulty Hall amphitheater.
Punctuality is expected; in lab it is required.

Textbook: Life: The Science of Biology, 9th edition, by D. Sadava et al., Sinauer Associates, Inc. 2011(same book used in BIOL 1201 in Fall 2011).

Lab guidesheets:  There is no lab manual to purchase.For each week's lab work there will be a specific study assignment and a guidesheet (sometimes more than one) available on my web page. Students must print these guidesheets, study them before lab, and bring them to lab; they contain instructions for the lab work. 

About laptops and cell phones:  Unless instructions are given otherwise, laptop use is not permitted during the class meetings and is not permitted during the lab sessions, unless a particular lab session requires it.  This includes all other types of handheld electronic devices too.  Use of cell phones and other types of electronic devices is not permitted in class and lab. These must be silenced to avoid distraction during class and lab. Attention must be focused on the work at hand, not on distractions. Everyone's cooperation is expected and will be appreciated.The sole exception: you may use a small voice recorder (not a photo device or video device) to record the lectures if you wish.

Photo recording and video recording of classroom sessions or lab sessions, in any degree and for any purpose, are not permitted.

Lecture outline and text readings: The course has three parts. The major topics to be covered, and the related text reading assignments, are outlined below. Parts of some of the assigned chapters will not be covered since they are dealt with in BIOL 1201, the companion course. Some topics will be stressed more in lecture than in the text, and some items presented in lecture are not in the text. Consider the lecture your primary guide, especially in preparing for lecture exams.  The textbook is a supplement to lecture, not a substitute; reading the parts of the text that are covered in class will help you understand the lecture material.  Lecture attendance is essential if you hope to do your best.

A. An overview and setting for what is to come. Chap. 1
B. Basics of biological chemistry. Chap. 2, 3, 4
C. Size, variety, and internal organization of cells. Chap. 5
D. Structure and permeability of membranes. Chap. 6
E. Introduction to metabolism. Chap. 8, 9, 10, 51
***First lecture exam (20% of course grade)- at about 5 weeks

A. Cell cycle and cell division (mitosis, meiosis). Chap. 11
B. Inheritance. Chap. 12, 15
C. Genetic code and gene expression. Chap. 4, 13, 14, 16
***Second lecture exam (20% of course grade)

A. Viruses, bacteria, genetic engineering. Chap. 16, 18, 26
B. Cellular and molecular aspects of: (read Chap. 40, section 40.1 for background)
1. hormone action, cellular communication. Chap. 7, 41
2. immunity. Chap. 42
3. nerve cell function. Chap. 45
4. metabolic waste disposal. Chap. 52
5. muscle contraction. Chap. 48, sections 48.1, 48.2
***Third lecture exam (20% of course grade)- May 7 (last class meeting)

Additional information on some of the topics is located in other parts of the text. Metabolic waste disposal, for example, involves some things in addition to kidney function, as you will see in lecture, things that are covered elsewhere in the text (a page here, a few paragraphs there).  So, be guided by the lecture topics and use your text's index to locate those additional items. If changes need to be made in the topic coverage or reading assignments listed above, the changes will be announced in class or posted on my web page. You are responsible for the text's coverage of lecture topics, regardless of the amount of time given to each topic.

Exams and grade determination
3 lecture exam, each worth 20% of the course grade.
2 lab exams: the first worth 17% and the second worth 18% of the course grade.
Recitation Program (5% of the course grade) and review sessions.

Each lecture exam will cover its own block of lecture material. The lecture exams will be based on lecture material plus specifically assigned readings posted on my web page.  These assigned readings are not the same as the parts of the textbook listed above.Studying the assigned parts of the textbook will help you master the lecture material. Exam format will be multiple choice, short answer, essay, or some combination thereof.  The third lecture exam will be done in our last scheduled lecture period (May 7); dates of the other two will be announced at least one calendar week ahead of time. The first lecture exam will be at about 5 weeks, which will be close to the time of the first lab exam.  There is no final comprehensive, cumulative lecture exam. 

The first lab exam will cover the first five weeks of lab activity and will come shortly after the 5th lab session; the date will be announced at least one calendar week ahead of time. The second lab exam will cover the remaining six lab sessions and will be done during our assigned exam period during final exams week, May 10, period 1. The nature of the lab work is such that some of the early lab material is needed for later exercises. Therefore, the second lab exam will include some material from the first five weeks. Lab exam format will be similar to that of lecture exams except that lab exams will include the sort of calculations and problem solving that you do in lab.   READ CAREFULLY about the grade penalty for missing lab sessions- in the "Attendance" section below.

Since lecture and lab will reinforce one another, you should use each to help in studying the other.  For example, you will study properties of various molecules in lecture and in lab, and you will study enzyme catalyzed reactions in lecture and in lab, and you will study inheritance in lecture and in lab. 

Exam grades will be posted outside the lab, room 206.  For this purpose you will be assigned a confidential 3-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN). Grades will not be released to individuals by phone and will not be sent by e-mail. Exams are not returned for you to keep, but you will have the opportunity to review your exams, briefly in lab and in more detail afterward in office hours if you wish.  Exam review is strongly encouraged. It is possible to learn how to study more effectively by carefully analyzing mistakes on exams.

Review/Recitation: To assist with mastery of the material there will be a Recitation Program, involving online activity (5% of course grade), and Review Sessions on Tuesdays at 1:00-1:50 pm in the amphitheater. These activities will be overseen by Dr. Edward Tall. The online component will include assignments (practice questions, exercises, tutorials, e.g.) that must be completed by deadlines that will be specified in the instructions for the assignments. These assignments with instructions will be posted on an approximately weekly basis; they will be scored and reported electronically. The lowest-scoring online assignment (one) will be discarded, and the recitation grade will consist of the remaining scores. The score earned in these for the semester will account for 5% of the course grade.

Note: Access to the online material for the Recitation Program is through the portal at†† Dr. Tall will provide explanation about the Recitation Program in the first Tuesday session on January 24, 1:00-1:50 pm, in the McNulty Hall amphitheater.

Concerning the graded online activity of the Recitation Program, it is understood that a technology-based problem (e.g. website goes down) might interfere with someone completing an assignment. Technical issues will not automatically excuse anyone from completing the online assignments. Dr. Tall will monitor access to, and operation of, the online recitation system to detect general problems. Any individual student who has a recurring technical issue with his/her computer or internet access must notify Dr. Tall of the problem. [Of course, the possibility of electronic glitches is a good reason for students not to leave these assignments for the last minute.]

The Tuesday Review Sessions in the amphitheater, in which attendance will be taken, will provide the opportunity to review material as a group with a faculty member or designated teaching assistant. It is expected that students will keep up with the material week by week in order to gain the greatest benefit from these review sessions.

In lecture and lab you will hear much about what you should stress in studying. For example, the questions that I pose to the class when we meet for lecture are samples of exam questions. If you have trouble with those in-class questions, that's an early warning that you may have trouble with the exam questions. 

You are expected to take all exams on schedule. There is no automatic entitlement to get a makeup exam.  In the rare event that someone misses an exam, a makeup (which will be a different exam) will be allowed only after an acceptable reason is provided with written verification.  The professor decides what is acceptable. There are no "throw away" exam grades; no exam grades will be dropped. No other work will be substituted in place of exams or used in addition to exams to raise the course grade. 

The grade scale for all exams, for the recitation work, and for the course grade is:
93-100 points A 90-92 points A-;    87-89 points B+  83-86 points B;   80-82 points B-;   75-79 points C+  68-74 points C  65-67 points C-;60-64 points D+;   55-59 points D;   0-54 points F. 

As a final, minor factor in grade determination in borderline cases, elements such as the following may be considered: evidence of improvement, effective use of office hours and review sessions, your lab TA's evaluation of your lab performance, quality of your questions and answers in class, attendance. No one plans to finish the semester with a grade just below one of these letter grade divisions, but every year some people do end up in that situation. 

Note that you must pass this course before you may take Genetics (BIOL 2211) or biology electives; that's long-standing departmental policy.   

Academic dishonesty/cheating will earn an F grade; see departmental policy.


You are expected to attend all lectures, scheduled review sessions, and lab sessions that you are registered for. No one may move from one lab section to another without the professor's approval. No one who misses a lab session may "just show up" in a different lab group; only the professor may excuse an absence.  In such a large multi-section course, available time and facilities will not allow for make-up meetings.  And space is especially tight in the lab; no one may attend a lab session other than his/her own unless the professor has approved that beforehand. 

Attendance will be taken in each meeting. In lecture no points are subtracted for absence. It isn't necessary; you will penalize yourself automatically if you miss lecture since lecture exams are based on the lecture material. Also, excessive or unjustified absences create a poor impression and reduce the chance of your point grade being raised slightly in a borderline case. Lectures are not just repetition of what's in the text.

Though some people mistakenly believe that borrowing class notes makes up for missing class, lab work requires that you see and do the work yourself, hands on. You can't learn the assigned lab work adequately without doing it yourself. Therefore, every unexcused absence from lab will cost 10 points on the lab exam automatically.  And "absence" includes arriving too late, or leaving too early, to accomplish the assigned work.  Showing up to sign the attendance sheet and then leaving too soon to do any meaningful lab work is the same as absence.That is, showing up for the sake of showing up isn't good enough.  Due to space restrictions and the necessity of keeping a schedule, there is no guarantee of any make up lab work.  For reasons of lab safety and others, being on time to lab is required; being on time means being on time, not 10, 20, or 30 minutes after that.  Chronic tardiness in lab will not be tolerated; tardiness after a warning from the TA will cost 3 points on the lab exam for each occurrence. The TAs will maintain records of attendance and punctuality. Any question about attendance must be raised with Dr. Rawn, not the lab TA.

One other point about attendance is often overlooked. Absence will reduce your mastery of the course material regardless of the reason for absence. Everyone understands that at some time some circumstances will cause some people to miss a class. That's life. But if you are not here to see, hear, discuss, do, experience the material for yourself, you lose some of the value of the course, and the effect is cumulative. Think of it this way... If something prevents your piano practice, you do not master the instrument. The issue of whether you had a "good" reason to miss your practice just doesn't matter. If you hope to meet the standards of the course, absence must be minimized in both lab and lecture. 

Office hours

Office hours, room 410 McNulty Hall, are tentatively set as 3:00-4:30 PM MWF. Occasionally it may be necessary to change these hours; changes will be announced in class or posted on my web page. Of course I will try to arrange time slots for people who have schedule conflicts with these hours and for people who need more time than this schedule allows. Every year much more time is devoted to office hours than this schedule suggests, but this schedule gives us something to start with. 

You are strongly encouraged to use office hours to talk about factors that affect your course performance. Some people find that their real problems are with things other than the biology itself (poor study skills usually), but such problems will reduce exam grades and so must be dealt with quickly and seriously. Above all you must have the determination to do your best. Don't assume that you'll get good grades by working at the level you did last semester; most people have to work harder in this course because the material is more difficult.  If you suspect you're having trouble with the lecture and related text material as we go, don't wait for a low grade on the first exam to confirm your suspicion. If you know that you are giving the work your best effort (and that is required, absolutely) but you're not satisfied with the results, use office hours. 

Keeping up

Although every year some students say they don't understand why they are not getting better grades on the exams, the reasons are often clear enough. Some of these have already been mentioned. The experience of countless people who have come through the course before you shows clearly that failure to keep up with the work has been as much responsible for poor performance as has any other factor. The put-it-off approach to studying and a casual attitude toward the lab work (e.g. arriving late, leaving early, socializing instead of working, playing with cell phone in class) have been major causes of low grades. All such factors are controllable by the individual; their negative effects, therefore, are preventable. 


Use of cell phones, laptops, and other personal electronic devices is not permitted in the lab, unless the instructor says otherwise for some specific purpose. Please turn off or mute cell phones before going to the lab. For reasons of safety: consumption of food and fluids (any/all types) is not permitted in lab. No exceptions.

You will hear more from your lab instructor, but read carefully and think about the following things before you come to your first lab meeting, and review these from time to time during the term. 

As you read and think about these points, keep in mind that the lab exams will be based on the work done in lab each week. So, as you prepare for each lab session and then go through it and later review that material and study it again, remind yourself that each lab exercise will contribute material to the coming lab exam. Therefore, sloughing even one lab session could mean losing one or even two letter grades on a lab exam.

1. Although you will work with a lab partner in various exercises, you must think for yourself and master the calculations yourself. Certainly you will have to do so on the lab exams.  Mentally leaning on someone else in the lab work is a mistake.

2. For each week's lab work you will have a study assignment, including guidesheets, available the week before, posted on my web page at . You must study the assigned material before coming to the lab, and that doesn't mean "looking at it" for the first time 15 minutes before the lab starts.  Be sure to bring to lab the posted guidesheet(s) that you print; it will contain the instructions you need to do the lab work.

3. Be on time. If you arrive late, you'll miss instructions, comments, announcements, explanations from the lab instructor. Since those are necessary for safety and for proper lab technique, you must hear them.  A schedule must be followed in spite of weather, traffic, flat tires, faulty alarm clocks, dead car batteries, etc. The one exception, of course, will be cancellation of classes by the Administration of the university due to bad weather, in which case everybody's schedule must be adjusted as appropriate.  The penalties for unexcused absence and for tardiness have been stated above.

4. The lab work must be done at the assigned time and place in the lab section that you are registered for.   If you miss the material, there is no guarantee of makeup lab work.  Attending a lab section other than yours may be done only with my approval beforehand.

5. Organize your work. Follow instructions and think before you act. Be sure you understand what you are doing. Be observant; pay attention to details. Ask yourself why things happen the way they do. Ask yourself whether you could, on the exam, describe what you did in a procedure, what happened in a procedure, and why things happened as they did. Following instructions is extremely important in lab study in the sciences.

6. Your lab instructor is there to help. If you get stumped, try to find the answer or solution by yourself first; look up the definitions of the terms (vocabulary), reread the instructions, double check the algebraic formula or metric conversion factor, check for careless errors, try to reason it out before you ask for help. You will learn more that way. However, if you can't figure it out by yourself after a reasonable effort, ask the TA for help

7. Even though you don't have to turn in written work weekly, you must check your findings, calculations, solutions, results, etc. with the lab instructor. He/she will be "looking over your shoulder" every week anyway, in an effort to identify problems that you may not see yourself.  It is assumed that students have the motivation and initiative to want to understand the material and will ensure that by checking results with the lab instructor and by asking questions when necessary. 

8. The lab periodís length is sufficient to do the assigned work if you come to lab prepared and if you don't lose or waste time. Do not rush yourself; no one gets points for speed. It is important that your work be careful and thorough. You will not master the material if you just go through the motions. You are free to leave when you are satisfied you have mastered the assigned work. You may be sure that the lab exams will determine later whether the material has been mastered.

Remember that your effort will be assessed throughout the term by the lab instructor and that this factor may be considered at the end of the semester, as explained earlier. The lab is not a social club. We are here to study biology. Physical presence in the lab means nothing if one spends time gabbing, joking around, or goofing off. Since lab work is 35% of the course grade, it requires your undivided attention. 

9. Each week you must bring to the lab:
a. the lab guidesheet (for each week's work) that you print from my web page.
b. pens, pencils, paper, and a metric straightedge for taking notes and making drawings.
c. a few sheets of graph paper (both axes with linear scales). This can be printed from a link in the study assignments. 
d. a calculator, since several exercises require calculations. Studying the lab guidesheets that you print will tell you clearly when you need a calculator.
e. your textbook, if the guidesheet refers to parts of it. 

10. For safety's sake follow the instructions of the lab instructor and those in the guidesheets. A sheet of lab safety rules will be included in the first lab study assignment, for you to print and bring to the first lab session. You will be required to read those and show by your signature that you have read and understand and will abide by those rules.  Lab safety rules exist for your protection. 

Lab accidents in the past have been minor and rare.  Even so, common sense, alertness, and following instructions are required in order to minimize chances of any injury or accident, however small. If you have questions about safety, ask your instructor.  If you do see or have an accident or injury in lab, tell your instructor at once, regardless of how minor you may think it is. Safety must be the first concern! 

11. Each week you are expected to clean your work area and the non-disposable materials that you use (microscope, colorimeter, glassware, for example). You are expected to handle delicate materials and equipment with care and to clean up after yourself. 

12. Do not leave your books, notes, pocketbooks, calculators, or anything else that is valuable to you unattended in the lab or in the lecture hall. You are responsible for your belongings. The only sure protection against loss is your vigilance. 

13. Do not bring your laptop to lab unless the assignment tells you to do so.  For various reasons, including safety, laptop use in lab will not be permitted, unless laptop use is specified as part of the day's work.  Cell phone use in the lab is not permitted.

14. In case of fire alarm, stop work immediately and leave the building in an orderly fashion. Return when the security personnel announce the "all clear."

News and current topics

Since the pace of research and discovery in biology (that includes medicine, ecology, biotechnology, and dozens of other areas) is so dramatic now, it is important for the student of biology to make an effort to read about what is happening in the field as it is happening.  No textbook can have the latest information. Start reading the daily newspaper, looking for stories about biological topics. Some will come up in lecture and you'll be expected to know about some of them. **Everyone in the course is expected to keep up with biology-related news in The New York Times; it is available in the library and via the Internet (and linked on my web page). The Tuesday edition has a Science Times section that is especially good.** 

E-mail and keeping in touch

During the semester I will post some things on my web page as the need arises (lab study assignments, lab guidesheets, announcements, and assigned readings, for example). My web page address is:  This is not the same as Blackboard; I do not post course materials on Blackboard. 

If you need to send a message but can't reach me by phone (973-761-9054), use e-mail ( from off campus). Use of e-mail does not replace office hours, and the system is not intended for general question-and-answer purposes. That is, it isn't practical to ask routine questions about course material via e-mail; ask those in class or come to my office during office hours.  Also, e-mail is not practical for trying to discuss or solve problems, after an exam for instance; use office hours for that.  Since system glitches on occasion have prevented messages from getting through promptly or even at all, don't assume that your e-mail message got to me unless you get an e-mail acknowledgment from me. I check my e-mail several times each workday but not at night as a rule.  If you send e-mail in a timely manner (and it reaches me), you may expect a timely response. Use of e-mail messages does not change or eliminate any of the student's responsibilities in the course, such as attendance and taking exams on schedule.

Disability Services Statement
Students at Seton Hall University who have a physical, medical, learning or psychiatric disability, either temporary or permanent, may be eligible for reasonable accommodations at the University as per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. In order to receive such accommodations, students must identify themselves at the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS), provide appropriate documentation and collaborate with the development of an accommodation plan. The DSS phone number is 973-313-6003. For further information, please go to