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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

BIOL 0501: General Biology

Note: Students who complete BIOL 0501 will meet the ABE Advanced Level (Grade 11) learning outcomes and competencies for transfer credit as stated in the most recent BC Provincial Government’s publication Adult Basic Education: A Guide to Upgrading in British Columbia's Public Post-Secondary Institutions - An Articulation Handbook, including a completion of a minimum of seven labs.

This course is equivalent to Biology 11. The general aims of this course are to give a basic understanding of biological processes and to introduce a number of fundamental biological terms. To begin, students review the scientific method, microscope use, and basic cell biology. They then consider the evolution of biological diversity. As they explore the diversity of life, students progress from microbes to plants and animals, learning from observation in labs and neighbourhood field trips as well as from the excellent textbook and online resources. Finally they apply their biology skills to ecology.

Learning outcomes

The intended outcome of this course is for you as a conscientious student, to be as well prepared for further education and decision making as typical students who have completed other secondary school and adult basic education courses at the Biology 11 level, as articulated in the following sources

Course topics

  • Module 1: Biology and the Process of Science
  • Module 2: Microscopes and Cells
  • Module 3: Evolution and Speciation
  • Module 4: Classification and Microbes
  • Module 5: Biodiversity of Plants and Fungi
  • Module 6: Biodiversity of Animals
  • Module 7: Ecology

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Simon, E. J., Dickey, J. L., & Reece, J. B. (2019). Campbell essential biology with physiology plus Modified Mastering (6th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson. Type: Textbook: ISBN-13: 978-0135161883

The following resources are either provided in electronic format within the learning management system or included in your course package.

  • Denning, D. (1998). Grizzly bear biology student guide. Victoria, BC: British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks.
  • Thompson Rivers University. (2019). TRU Microscope Guide. (Login information provided in the course)
    Retrieved from
  • Westlab Custom Biology Slide Set
  • PocketScope: a simple hand-held microscope.

Additional requirements

Technical Basics lists the hardware, software, and computer skills requirements for your course.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

An Open Learning Faculty member is available to assist students. will receive the necessary contact information when starting the course.

Assignment 1: Biology and the Process of Science 6%
Assignment 2: Microscopes and Cells 10%
Assignment 3: Evolution and Speciation 9%
Assignment 4: Classification and Microbes 9%
Assignment 5: Biodiversity of Plants and Fungi 8%
Assignment 6: Biodiversity of Animals 10%
Assignment 7: Ecology 8%
Final Examination (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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