Biology GIR

The Biology Department offers several versions of its core course, 7.01x, all of which fulfill the Biology General Institute Requirement (GIR). There is the opportunity to complete the biology GIR every semester, but enrollment in a specific class is not guaranteed. Any biology class where the number of students registered surpasses the number of seats available will be subjected to a general lottery.

The core material focuses on function at a molecular level:

    • the structure and regulation of genes, and the structure and synthesis of proteins;
    • how these molecules are integrated into cells;
    • and how cells are integrated into multicellular systems and organisms;
    • and computational and genomic approaches to biology.

While these classes all cover the same core material, including the fundamental principles of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology, each class of the subject has its own distinctive material, described below.

  • 7.012 is an exploration into areas of current research in cell biology, immunology, neurobiology, human genetics, developmental biology, and evolution.
  • 7.013's focus is on the application of the fundamental principles toward an understanding of human biology. Topics include genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, disease (infectious agents, inherited diseases and cancer), developmental biology, and neurobiology.
  • 7.014 focuses on the application of the fundamental principles toward 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. Topics include biogeochemical cycles, population growth, ecosystem ecology, and microbial diversity.
  • 7.015 emphasizes the application of the fundamental principles to trending topics in microbiology- and immunology-related issues, and allows students to understand how biological principles are used in a direct, human health context. Introduces evolutionary principles, demonstrating their relevance to current topics in infectious diseases.
  • 7.016 offers an introduction to fundamental principles of biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics for understanding the functions of living systems. Covers examples of the use of chemical biology and 21st-century molecular genetics in understanding human health and therapeutic intervention.


The Biology GIR may also be fulfilled by taking and passing the Biology Advanced Standing Exam.


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