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Changes to Mason Core Introductory Biology Courses

The Biology Department would like to announce the following changes to Introductory Biology courses in Fall 2021.

BIOL 106, 107 have been discontinued.

BIOL 102 GenBioA: Survey of Biodiversity and Ecology replaces BIOL 103.

BIOL 103 lecture and BIOL 105 lab GenBioB: Survey of Cell and Molecular Biology, replaces BIOL 107 lecture and BIOL 106 lab.

Please be aware that each courses' curriculum has changed pretty significantly.

This rollout brought a few urgent administrative problems that need to be clarified. Please note the following solutions to common problems:

1. BIOL 103 and BIOL 107/106 will run as-is in Summer 2021. This is the last time BIOL 106/107 will run.

2. Students who have takenBIOL 103 before Fall 2021 and are looking to move onto the next course (previously BIOL 107/106) should not register for BIOL 103/105 GenBioB. This will cause a repeat error we can’t override. These students need to enroll in BIOL 102 GenBioA. This will not be a repeated course, and is very different than the 103 they took before. It will satisfy their general education requirement. Any concerns about this should be directed to our Undergraduate Coordinator, Dr. Polayes.


Dr. Epstein, our BIOL 102, 103, 105 coordinator has provided a handy guide for students and advisors when choosing courses:

BIOL102 GenBioA: Survey of Biodiversity and Ecology  

Catalog description: This survey course introduces students to the evolution of biological diversity on Earth and explores how organisms interact with each another and their environment. Topics include the domains of life, how new species arise, evolution of populations and major topics in ecology and conservation.  Survey course suitable for any major. Biology majors may not take after BIOL 200-level or above courses have been taken.

  • This course is an ideal entry point for students who have not had AP biology or are looking for a general biology course for their Mason Core
  • Combined lecture and lab
  • Recommend students complete this course or equivalent before taking BIOL103 or BIOL105


BIOL103 GenBioB: Survey of Cell and Molecular Biology

Catalog Description: This survey of Cell and Molecular biology provides students with an understanding of basic cellular biology and an appreciation of the impact of molecular biology research on current societal challenges. Topics include how life emerged on early earth, cell structure and function, genes and heredity, plus viruses and genetic engineering. Notes: Students are encouraged to take BIOL102 or equivalent prior to BIOL103. Survey course suitable for any major. Biology Majors may not take after BIOL200-level or above courses have been taken. Offered by Biology. Limited to three attempts.

  • This course is a good choice for students who have had some previous general biology, but need cell and molecular biology basics before going on to BIOL 213
  • Best choice for students who have had AP biology (but scored less than 5)
  • Lecture only


BIOL105: GenBioB Cell and Molecular Biology Lab Only

  • Lab is designed for non-biology majors
  • Lab activities augment information presented in the lecture course (BIOL103)
  • Students encouraged to take BIOL102 or equivalent prior to BIOL103