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Getting up to Speed in Biology

Course Description

This self-paced course was originally designed to help prepare incoming MIT students for their first Introductory Biology course (known at MIT as 7.01). It will also be useful for anyone preparing to take an equivalent college-level introductory biology class elsewhere.

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This course is brought to you by MIT OpenCourseWare and provided under our Creative Commons License.




Prof. Hazel Sive, Professor of Biology, MIT
Until June 2020, Hazel Sive was a Professor of Biology at MIT where she taught introductory biology to first year students and developmental biology to graduate students. In June 2020, Professor Sive moved to become Dean of Science and Professor of Biology at Northeastern University.

Dr. Diviya Ray, Technical Instructor, Department of Biology, MIT
Dr. Diviya Ray built this course with Professor Sive. She is a Technical Instructor who works with department faculty to teach and provide instructional support for undergraduate lecture and lab courses in Biology. In Fall 2020, Dr. Ray will start as an Assistant Teaching Professor in The Department of Biology at Northeastern University.

Related Content


Once you have completed this online course, you will be ready to explore MIT's introductory biology courses on the MIT OpenCourseWare site.

The MIT Biology Department Introductory Biology courses (7.012, 7.013, 7.014, 7.015, and 7.016) all cover the same core material, which includes the fundamental principles of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology. Biological function at the molecular level is particularly emphasized and covers the structure and regulation of genes, as well as the structure and synthesis of proteins, how these molecules are integrated into cells, and how these cells are integrated into multicellular systems and organisms. In addition, each version of the subject has its own distinctive material.

  • 7.01SC Fundamentals of Biology (Fall 2011). This OCW Scholar course focuses on the basic principles of biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, and recombinant DNA. It was designed specifically for independent study, and draws upon material developed for three versions of MIT's Introductory Biology classes known as 7.012, 7.013, and 7.014.
  • 7.012 Introduction to Biology (Fall 2004). The focus of 7.012 is on the exploration of current research in cell biology, immunology, neurobiology, genomics, and molecular medicine.
  • 7.013 Introductory Biology (Spring 2018). The focus of 7.013 is on genomic approaches to human biology, including neuroscience, development, immunology, tissue repair and stem cells, tissue engineering, and infectious and inherited diseases, including cancer.
  • 7.014 Introductory Biology (Spring 2005). The focus of 7.014 is the application of the fundamental principles of biology towards understanding the Earth as a dynamical system shaped by life. This leads to an understanding of microorganisms as geochemical agents responsible for the evolution and renewal of the biosphere and of their role in human health and disease.
  • 7.016 Introductory Biology (Fall 2018). The focus of 7.016 is on examples of the use of chemical biology and twenty-first-century molecular genetics in understanding human health and therapeutic intervention.

License and Terms of Use

This course is licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA), which permits you to freely download, share, and adapt the material so long as you give appropriate credit, use it only for non-commercial purposes, and any remix and redistribution of derivative works uses this same CC BY-NC-SA license.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to the most common questions and find information on further assistance here.
  1. Course Number:

  2. Classes Start:

  3. Classes End:

  4. Estimated Effort:

    4-6 hrs
  5. Length:

    3 weeks
  6. Year Created: