Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


One of MIT's General Institute Requirement (GIR) Introductory Biology courses:

See also the OCW Scholar course 7.01SC Fundamentals of Biology which draws upon material developed for 7.012, 7.013, and 7.014.

Course Description

This course focuses on contributions of biochemistry toward an understanding of the structure and functioning of organisms, tissues, and cells. Topics include:

  • Chemistry and functions of constituents of cells and tissues and the chemical and physical-chemical basis for the structures of nucleic acids, proteins, and carbohydrates.
  • Basic enzymology and biochemical reaction mechanisms involved in macromolecular synthesis and degradation, signaling, transport, and movement. General metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and nitrogen-containing materials such as amino acids, proteins, and related compounds.

NOTE: The first half of this course, taught by Prof. Yaffe, is available on the MITx platform as 7.05x Biochemistry: Biomolecules, Methods, and Mechanisms. This OCW website provides content primarily from the second half with Prof. Vander Heiden, which focuses on metabolism.


Readings are from Berg, Tymockzko, Gatto, and Stryer Biochemistry (8th edition) OR from Miesfeld & McEvoy Biochemistry. Read one or the other. There is no need to read both.

Berg, Jeremy M., John L. Tymoczko, Gregory J. Gatto, and Lubert Stryer. Biochemistry. 8th ed. W. H. Freeman & Co., 2015. ISBN: 9781464126109.

Miesfeld, Roger L., and Megan M. McEvoy. Biochemistry. W. W. Norton & Company, 2017. ISBN: 9780393614022. 

Stryer is the traditional textbook in this course, and is one of the classic textbooks in the field of biochemistry (the other two being Lehninger, and Vogt and Vogt). Many of your professors learned biochemistry from one or more of these three books.

Miesfeld and McEvoy is an alternative textbook that presents the material in a slightly different style than Stryer. It contains more recent material, and may be a bit more fun to read.

Problem Sets

There are eleven problem sets. Collaboration on homework is permitted, but please submit answers that are your own words.


There are four exams, including the final exam.

Grading Policy

This class is not graded on a curve, and (due to the pandemic) will comply with the MIT emergency grading policy. Per MIT rules, the grades will be assigned as follows: PE (equivalent to an A, B, or C grade) = 45–100%, NE (equivalent to a D or F grade) = 0–44.9%.

Problem sets 10%
Four exams, including the final, @ 22.5% each 90%

Schedule Note

The last half of the course was conducted online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, some adjustments were made to the original schedule and requirements.