Please read all of this carefully even if you took UN2005 last term. Last update 01/09/2017. Some of the links require a control-click or right-click.

Biology UN2006 is the second term of a one year introductory course for undergraduates who are premedical students and/or majors (or concentrators) in biology, biochemistry, biophysics, engineering, or neurosciences & behavior. Post-baccalaureate students & students in the School of Professional Studies must enroll in UN2402. Bio UN2006 covers cell biology, developmental biology and physiology. CC or GS Students in UN2006 should have completed Bio UN2005 or the equivalent with a grade of C- or better. (For SEAS students, a D is sufficient,  but a higher grade is greatly preferred.) Any exceptions to any of the rules on this page must be approved by Dr. Mowshowitz, in advance.

Section 1 of UN2006 meets in 417 IAB, Tuesday & Thursday, 10:10 - 11:25 am. 
Section 2 of UN2006 & UN2402 meet in 309 Havemeyer, Tuesday & Thursday,4:10 - 5:25 pm.

The lectures in both sections are identical.

For additional information see announcements on CW web site,  Lecture Schedule & Textbooks.  For a list of topics and links to notes, audios etc. of last year, see the 2016 schedule.

UN2006 vs. UN2402: The lectures in UN2006 and UN2402 are identical, and students in either course may attend lectures at either time (see above). The lectures are the same but the recitations are separate -- students in UN2006 must attend a UN2016 recitation. The exams for both classes are given in the late afternoon and evening. Students are assigned to an exam time. Students with conflicts can come at the 'other time.' See Announcements (or schedule) for exam dates & times. If you have a time conflict with the exam time your are assigned, or both times, please email Amanda <[email protected]>  as soon as you find out. You will need to provide written documentation of the conflict. The grading scale for both courses is the same (except for the points earned in recitation), so there is no advantage (gradewise) to taking "the other" class. See below for details of grading.

SCHEDULING PROBLEMS: There are two sections of UN2006 to avoid scheduling conflicts. The lectures in both sections are identical. You can register for either section, and you can attend either lecture on any given day.

RECITATIONS: UN2006 is a 4 point course -- it is 4 points, not 3, because of the weekly recitation. The recitation sections are run by teaching assistants (usually undergrads or post bacs who have taken and aced the course). The sessions will be used 
    (1) to answer student questions on the lecture material,
    (2) to go over the problems in the Learner's Manual, and to discuss how to solve biology problems in general.
    (3) to do special 'recitation' problems and assignments that are designed to introduce and/or review important topics, and
    (4) to give weekly quizzes (see below).
The recitation is designed to help you understand and master the material. To keep you from falling behind, there will be a weekly quiz on the current material and you may earn up to 100 quiz points toward your final grade in the course. Note carefully that the only way to be sure of getting all 100 points is to attend your recitation regularly  throughout the term. If you goof off for most of the semester, you can't earn extra points at the end. 

RECITATION SIGN UP: Please sign up for a recitation section (Bio UN2016) online through the registrar as soon as you can.  Recitations will begin at 6 pm Mon. 1/23/17, the second week of class.  Quizzes will start the following week. Students in UN2006 may not attend a UN2402 recitation (or vice versa).
You may want to form a study group in addition to attending recitation.

There will be weekly quizzes in recitation worth 15 points each. The quizzes will be written and graded by the teaching assistants and will be different for each section. At the end of the term, each teaching assistant will assign up to 100 points to each student in his or her section. You must take at least 8 quizzes to get any quiz credit. A maximum of 100 points of quiz credit will be added to your exam total in calculating your final grade.

EXAMS: There will be 3 exams given during the term and a 4th during final exam week. The lowest grade of the first 3 exams will be dropped. If you miss a midterm exam for any reason, that is the grade that will be dropped. The final (exam 4) cannot be dropped, but if it is your lowest exam, we will drop half the lowest midterm and 1/2 the final. The exam questions will be similar to the starred and R questions in the problem book and will probably be more difficult than the weekly quizzes given in recitation.  All 4 exams will stress material covered since the last exam, but the exams may refer back to topics covered earlier, since each section builds upon the material covered in previous ones.  Each of the 4 exams will be graded on the basis of 100 points. 

If there is an emergency at the time of the final, you will have to apply for an Incomplete (which your class office must approve) and take a make up exam at the officially scheduled time. 

All details about rooms, material covered, extra office hours etc. will be posted before each exam.

EXTRA CREDIT: Students may earn up to 4 points of extra credit by attending the SURF seminar and writing brief reports. See extra credit for details (including what to do if you have a conflict with work or other courses). Reminder: The SURF symposium is Friday, February 10, the day after the first exam - don't miss it!

ADVICE:  If you did not take UN2005/F2401 last term, be sure to check out "Advice to Students". It can't hurt to re-read it anyway even if you did take UN2005. 

STUDY QUESTIONS: The questions in A Learner's Manual are intended to help you learn the material and to develop skills in problem solving and critical thinking about the topics discussed in class. You are urged to discuss the questions with your fellow students. The questions from the manual will be discussed in recitation along with any other questions you may have. The best way to prepare for the exams is to work on the problem sets before the problems are reviewed in recitation. (If you can't do them all, at least try to do some of the problems as you go along -- if you leave them all until just before the exam you may not have time to do them properly.) You are not expected to know all the answers before recitation starts, but you are expected to have worked on the problems and to have questions of your own. See the manual and/or  http://www.columbia.edu/cu/biology/courses/C2005/advice/problem-solving-tips.html for more advice on how to handle the problems.

Additional questions ("recitation questions") will be given out weekly in recitation. These are intended to give you a chance to (1) work through some problems that do not have answers easily available, and (2) to work in a pair or larger group. You are expected to work through these questions in recitation, before you have access to the answers, and while you have the TA and your fellow students to help you. The answers to the recitation questions will be posted before each exam.

PRACTICE EXAMS: A practice exam (from '16 or a previous year) will be posted before each exam. Answers will also be provided, but not necessarily right away. The idea is to give you time to do the problems without the temptation to look up the answers.

Note: Students often claim that the exam problems are harder than the starred or R problems in the manual. This is highly unlikely, as virtually all the practice problems in the manual are from old exams. The exam problems probably feel more difficult because of the difference in circumstances -- doing problems under exam pressure (especially if they are to be carefully graded)  is not the same as doing them at home, at your leisure, when you can look up the answers in the back of the book. The recitation problems & practice exams are provided to give you multiple chances to try some exam-level problems that do NOT have answers readily available. If you are having trouble with the problems, please check out the advice on the web and feel free to consult Dr. M or your TA.

ONLINE RESOURCES: Detailed outlines (notes in outline form) of all lectures will be posted online, usually the night before the class. Audio recordings of the lectures will be posted in various formats, including podcasts, usually the day after the class. Outlines/notes & recordings will be linked to the lecture schedule as soon as they are ready. These resources are intended to supplement the live lectures. They are not intended to replace the live lectures, and regular attendance at the lectures is strongly advised. Exams from last year, answers to recitation problems, and answers to exams of the current year will be posted as the term progresses.

HANDOUTS: Handouts are intended to help you with note taking, so they will be provided in class. Extra copies of all handouts distributed in class will be available in the cubby boxes on the 7th floor of Mudd (aka Fairchild Extension) between rooms 749 & 753C. PDFs of all handouts will also be available on the web, usually in advance (the night before).

GRADING: We will use the following scale for grading, assuming that the average exam grade is 70-75:

Point Total = Total points from best 2 of 3 midterms + final + 100 points from quizzes (400 max. pts):

Grade Point Total Required
A 371
A- 356
B+ 341
B 326
B- 311
C+ 296
C 281
C- 266
D 251

If all the students in the course get over 371, everyone will get an A, no matter what the grade distribution is. This scale is based on the assumption that the average exam grade is between 70 & 75.  If exams prove to be more difficult than expected, and the exam median is significantly less than 70, then either we will add points to the raw exam scores and/or we will lower the cut-off points for grades appropriately, and publicize a new grading scale. This new scale will be determined by the grades in UN2006, and the grades for UN2402 will then follow the same scale. Note that the test scores earned by the postbacs do not affect this grading scale and there is no advantage to taking one course over the other. The median grade in the UN2006 class is usually a B.

If you achieve the indicated score you are guaranteed the corresponding letter grade. The scale may be adjusted downward, but will not be adjusted upward. That is, points required to earn a particular grade may be decreased, but will not be increased. The scale is intended to be realistic, but adjustments of a few points (at most) are possible. A+ , D and F grades are given on a case-by-case basis. Extra credit is not counted in calculating A+ grades.


Instructor Office phone Mailbox* e-mail @columbia.edu Office Hours
Dr. Mowshowitz 212-854-4497 2453


Tues  & Thurs. 2-3, or by appt. in 744D or 744E Mudd. Email or call to make an appointment. (Also available after each class.)

*The mailboxes are the metal ones located on the 7th floor of Fairchild near the Fairchild elevators. The wooden boxes in Mudd are not active mailboxes. The instructor's office is 744 D Mudd. It can be reached from Fairchild, via the connecting doors on the 6th or 7th floor of Fairchild.  

Additional office hours for Dr. M and the TAs will be scheduled before each midterm.