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The MIT Biology Department core courses, 7.012, 7.013, and 7.014, all cover the same core material, which includes the fundamental principles of biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology. 7.013 focuses on the application of the fundamental principles toward an understanding of human biology. Topics include genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, disease (infectious agents, inherited diseases and cancer), developmental biology, neurobiology and evolution.

Biological function at the molecular level is particularly emphasized in all courses and covers the structure and regulation of genes, as well as, the structure and synthesis of proteins, how these molecules are integrated into cells, and how these cells are integrated into multicellular systems and organisms. In addition, each version of the subject has its own distinctive material.

Course Goals for Students

  • To be curious about biology and understand that biology is fascinating
  • To understand that the life sciences are huge and interface with almost every other discipline
  • To understand that life sciences and biology are studied in a rigorous way
  • To understand that biology is all about problem solving and applying information, not just learning information
  • To be able to make hypotheses and solve problems in biology

Possibilities for Further Study and Future Careers

Students from this course go into many different majors, but it is estimated that at least half of them end up majoring in an area with a life sciences focus and/or conducting undergraduate research in a life sciences based lab. There are 13 majors based in the life sciences at MIT, and almost half of on-campus research is life sciences based.

Course books


Sive is a Member of the Whitehead Institute, Professor of Biology at MIT and Associate Dean for the School of Science at MIT. Prof. Sive received her B.Sc. Hons. in 1979 from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and her Ph.D. in 1986 from Rockefeller University, New York; she carried out postdoctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Seattle, WA, before joining the MIT faculty in 1991. She was named a Searle Scholar and received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award.

Tyler Jacks is a Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an HHMI investigator, and director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, which brings together biologists and engineers to improve detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer.


Diviya is a technical Instructor in the Biology Department at MIT for introductory Biology Courses (7.01x) and works closely with Professors Hazel Sive and Tyler Jacks for 7.013 during Spring term and with Professors Robert Weinberg and Eric Lander for 7.012 during the Fall term. Diviya’s educational interests focus on generating current, lucid, and easy-to-implement materials for the Biological Sciences that can be of interest to a diverse student population, including Biology majors and non-majors.


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