Lecture, two and one half hours; discussion, 75 minutes. Introduction to important concepts and issues in the field for non-life sciences majors. Topics include chemistry of life, genetics, physiology, evolution, and ecology--all explored in lecture and debates, with writing component. P/NP or letter grading.

Review Summary

Clarity
6.7 / 10
Organization
8.3 / 10
Time
5-10 hrs/week
Overall
6.7 / 10

Reviews

    Quarter Taken: Fall 2021 Online
    Grade: A+

    Dr. Phelan is fun! Lectures are fun and easy to understand, too. However, this is not an easy A class: My study group and I went over every review question before midterm and final and we put in a lot of work on our movie trailer to be the few that earned full extra credits (30 pts), which are the two most important components that helped me get an A+ in the end. Dr. Phelan would give the top 20 students on the final an A this quarter, which is great since you have a chance to make up for your bad grades for homework/midterm/participation, etc.

    Quarter Taken: Fall 2021 Online
    Grade: A

    Dr. Phelan is an engaging lecturer and I enjoyed his use of anecdotes. The exams were challenging but fair, consisting of both multiple choice and free response sections. Grades were based off of group projects (a debate and a presentation), discussion posts, and exams. There were two required books for the class, both written by the professor: Mean Genes and a textbook. Mean Genes was an interesting read but not necessary at all, however I do recommend purchasing (or opting into inclusive access for) the textbook.

    Quarter Taken: Spring 2022 Online
    Grade: B+

    Phelan is awesome. He really just wants you to learn and always helps you out. I got stuck with a bad ta, but with a good ta this course is not bad.

    Quarter Taken: Fall 2022 In-Person
    Grade: B+

    Lectures are based directly from the textbook. The discussion sections relied on group work. Quizzes and exams weren't too bad.

    Quarter Taken: Fall 2022 In-Person
    Grade: A-

    Jay Phelan is a great Professor. He's a funny and charismatic guy so his lectures are never boring. It also helps that the topics he talks about are already pretty interesting. There is an extra credit opportunity that involves making a music video or movie trailer relating to biology. In discussions, you will have to form groups. Here, you'll debate and present problem sets. His midterm and final was fair. He sets up reviews for both that I recommend going to. The class is great but it's a little demanding. Despite that, I think it's worth it.

    Quarter Taken: Fall 2022 In-Person
    Grade: A

    Phelan is a phenomenal lecturer. Super engaging. Content is highly applicable to life. Really recommended.

    Quarter Taken: Fall 2022 In-Person
    Grade: A+

    Best professor I’ve ever had. Lectures were engaging, brought in many fascinating concepts and examples, and even when I knew the content it still felt like I was learning something new.

    Quarter Taken: Fall 2022 In-Person
    Grade: A-

    Overall this class was good, but exams are hard and some parts are left up to TA opinion,

    Quarter Taken: Spring 2023 In-Person
    Grade: A

    Phelan tells you exactly how to get a good grade in his class, and if you pay attention and do the extra credit, you'll get it. It's alot of material but it's SUPER interesting and not too sciency. Defo recommend taking this class if you can, it changed my perspective and the way I think about certain aspects of life. I

    Quarter Taken: Spring 2023 In-Person
    Grade: A+

    Highly recommend to read the textbook. The exams are hard but if you put efforts into it, you will be good. Also do the video extra credit to boost your grade!

Course

Instructor
John Phelan
Previously taught
24S 24W 23F 23S 22F 22S 22W 21F 21W 20Su 16S 16W 15F 15S 15W 14F 14S 14W 13F 13S 13W 12F 12S 12W 11F 11S 10F 09F 08F 07F 07S 06F 05F

Grading Information

  • Has a group project

  • Attendance required

  • 1 midterm

  • Finals week final

  • 86% recommend the textbook

Previous Grades

Grade distributions not available.