Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Introduction to Biology

 Course Objectives 

  • This is an introductory course and defines biology and its relationship to other sciences
  • This course is intended to give an overview of the field of modern biology which will help students inclined towards doing a major/minor in biology.
  • The course examines the overarching theories of life from biological research and also explores the fundamental concepts and principles of the study of living organisms and their interaction with the environment.
  • The course is conceptually oriented and needs to be taught with emphasis on information and build in the logical structure of biology.

 Teaching Methodology 

  • Follows an instructive and informative methodology of instruction
  • Lab component; through demonstrations and possible practical sessions.
  • Interactive class discussions on every concept. Small class size
  • Use of articles, news clipping, videos, etc to further explain concept i.e a practical understanding regarding the concept.


The course does not assume any background of biology at the +2 level

 Course Outline 

S.No. Topic Hours
1 Biology as a science:
· Biology in the broader picture of science.
· The sub-disciplines of Biology
· A brief history of biological thought.
· Contributions of biology to human history.
  Introduction of fundamental concepts in the philosophy of biology:
· The foundation of physics and chemistry, complexity, emergent properties, adaptation, optimization.
2 Diversity of life:
· The expanse of the living world. How many species do we have? Outline classification of the living world.
· The size range, why being the right size is important, scaling rules in biology. Morphology- the adaptive nature of physical form.
3 Levels of organization in life:
· Molecules, organelles, cells, tissue, organs, systems, individuals, populations, communities, ecosystems and the biosphere.
4 The chemical basis of life:
· Water, why all life is water based. Biomolecules: basic structure of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids.
· How molecules make a cell. Why specific functions are carried out by specific class of molecules e.g.
· Why lipids make the membrane, why enzymes are proteins etc. Concepts of metabolism, energy flow, metabolic regulation.
5 Biological information:
· Concept of inheritance, genetics, nucleic acids as carriers of information.
· Genetic inheritance in haploid and diploid organisms, Mendelian genetics. Other means of inheritance – epigenetic, maternal effects, cultural inheritance.
6 Signaling in biology:
· Levels of signaling, signaling molecules, coordination between systems.
· Signaling between individuals, the origins of multicellularity, social life and coordination.
7 Lab component:
· Lab component: Making and recording biological observations, Light microscopy and microscopy techniques (wet mount, staining, sectioning, micrometry), Example of biochemical estimations ( for example – reducing sugar)