Biology (BIOL) 204

Principles of Biology I (Revision 7)

BIOL 204

Revision 7 is closed for registrations, replaced by current version

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook) or grouped study with a home lab component. This course is charged a lab fee.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None. Senior-level high school biology is strongly recommended.

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

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Biology 204: Principles of Biology I is an introductory course in general biology and the first of two introductory biology courses that will prepare students for second-year biology courses. Designed to help students learn more about the nature of life, topics include enzymes, cells, cellular respiration, photosynthesis, classical genetics, modern genetics, and molecular biology.


BIOL 204 covers the material following chapters in the course textbook:

  • Chapter 1: Light and Life
  • Chapter 2: Origins of Life
  • Chapter 3: Selection, Biodiversity, and Biosphere
  • Chapter 4: Energy and Enzymes
  • Chapter 5: Membranes and Transport
  • Chapter 6: Cellular Respiration
  • Chapter 7: Photosynthesis
  • (Chapter 8 is not covered in this course)
  • Chapter 9: Cell Cycles
  • Chapter 10: Genetic Recombination
  • Chapter 11: Mendel, Genes, and Inheritance
  • Chapter 12: Genes, Chromosomes, and Human Genetics
  • Chapter 13: DNA Structure, Replication, and Organization
  • Chapter 14: Gene Structure and Expression
  • Chapter 15: Control of Gene Expression
  • Chapter 16: DNA Technologies and Genomics


To receive credit for BIOL 204, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least “D” (50 percent); and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Lab Report 1 10%
Lab Report 2 10%
Lab Results 5%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

The midterm and final examinations for this course must be taken online with an AU-approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators who can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes electronic textbooks. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to the eText Initiative site.

Russell, P. J., et al. (2010). Biology: Exploring the diversity of life (1st Canadian ed.). Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

Montpetit, C, Smit, J., & Keenleyside, W. (2010). Study guide for use with Biology: Exploring the diversity of life. Toronto, ON: Nelson Education.

A print version of the eTexts may be available for purchase from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided on the course website; you can also acquire the textbooks on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

Home Lab Kit. All other learning resources will be available online.

Special Course Features

The Home Lab Kit supplies most of the materials used for the home labs. The student will, however, have to supplement the Home Lab Kit with some common kitchen items or supplies.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 7, January 13, 2014.

View previous syllabus