This page focuses on the course 7.013 Introduction to Biology as it was taught by Professor Hazel Sive, Professor Tyler Jacks, and Dr. Diviya Sinha in Spring 2013.
At MIT, all undergraduate students are required to take introductory biology. 7.013 is one of the five versions of introductory biology that satisfy this requirement. All five versions cover a common core of material (biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and recombinant DNA technology). Each class has a particular focus; 7.013's special focus topics are genomic approaches to human disorders, neuroscience, development, and repair.
Students from this course go into many different majors, but it is estimated that at least half of them end up majoring in an area with a life sciences focus and/or conducting undergraduate research in a life sciences based lab. There are 13 majors based in the life sciences at MIT, and almost half of on-campus research is life sciences based.
Below, Professor Hazel Sive, one of the two professors for 7.013 Introductory Biology, describes various aspects of how she teaches the course.
Below, Dr. Diviya Sinha, course instructor for 7.013 Introductory Biology, describes various aspects of how she prepares materials for and coordinates the course.
Every spring semester
Typically around 300-400 students per year; roughly one third of MIT undergraduate students take 7.013 before they graduate.
Primarily freshman; some sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students.
All majors, since all MIT undergraduates are required to take one of the five introductory biology courses. The only alternative to taking introductory biology is passing the biology Advanced Standing Exam, which is typically passed by less than 5 percent of each year's incoming class. The Advanced Placement® biology exam is not accepted for this requirement.
Student background spans an enormous range. Some students have substantial biology background, having taken AP® biology or even having conducted biology research as high school students. Others, especially international students, might not have taken biology since elementary or middle school.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
7.013 has a large course staff to meet the needs of its ~400 students. The roles of the course staff are briefly outlined below.