BSC 435C Evolutionary Biology Master Syllabus

General Information
 Northern Arizona University- Yuma; Department of Arts and Sciences
 BSC 435C, Evolutionary Biology
 Spring
 3 hrs. Lecture, 3 credit hours
 Marie McGee
 Science and Research building, Office 112
 Office hours: Monday/Wednesday 8:00am to 9:00am and 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Course prerequisites
BSC 350
Course Corequisite
Course description:
Evolution of organisms, including variation, natural selection, adaptation, population genetics,
speciation, patterns and rates of evolution, phylogenetics, and the fossil record. Letter grade only.
Student Learning Expectations/Outcomes for this Course
Upon satisfactory completion of this course, the student will be able to:
1. Describe Darwinian evolutionary theory, including natural selection, adaptation, sexual
selection, and coevolution
2. Analyze models of speciation
3. Describe the application of phylogenetic reconstruction to the study of evolutionary processes
4. Analyze macroevolutionary patterns, radiation and extinction, and biogeography
5. Analyze the fossil record and describe the significance of key events in the history of life on
6. Describe how the contributions of population genetics to the understanding of key
evolutionary processes, including variation, natural selection, genetic drift, and fitness
7. Describe evolution on the molecular level, including molecular clocks and evolution of multigene families
8. Develop hypothesis testing in evolutionary biology, through critical analysis of research
articles in the primary literature
9. Compare and contrast the difference between the scientific perspective of evolutionary theory
and the non-scientific concepts of creationism/intelligent design.
Course structure/approach:
Revised 04/22/03
The course may involve one or more of the following approaches: lecture and discussion;
application exercises; scheduled activities; case analysis; team projects; field trips, speakers with
relevant expertise, and/or other activities as appropriate to achieve learning outcomes.
Textbook and required materials: Student learning is facilitated with textbooks, readings,
audio-visual content, software, and/or other materials
Recommended optional materials/references (attach reading list): None
Course outline:
Week 1: Evolutionary Science, creationism and society
Week 2: Nova film: Intelligent Design on Trial
Week 3: Evolutionary Biology
Week 4: Tree of Life: Classification and Phylogeny
Week 5: Patterns of Evolution
Week 6: Cladistics and interpreting phylogenetic trees
Week 7: Evolution in the Fossil Record
Week 8: History of Life on Earth
Week 9: Sex and Reproductive Success
Week 10: The Geography of Evolution: Biogeography
Week 11: The Evolution of Biodiversity
Week 12: The Origin of Genetic Variation
Week 13: Conflict and Cooperation
Week 14: Genetic Drift: Evolution at Random
Week 15: Natural Selection and Adaptation
Week 16: The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection
Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
 Methods of Assessment: In-class exams, homework, in-class activities, research paper,
and/or presentations.
 Timeline for Assessment: Over the course of the semester
Grading System:
Letter grades for the course will be determined based on the percentage of the total points as
A Excellent
B Good
C Average
D Lowest passing
F Failure
Course policy:
Revised 04/22/03
Retests/makeup tests:
No make-up exams or re-tests except for what the instructor may deem as extenuating
Attendance Policy:
Under NAU Policy, students are expected to attend every session of the class in which they are
Statement on plagiarism and cheating:
Please refer to the NAU Student Handbook policy statement on Academic Integrity. Academic
honesty does not allow "plagiarism — knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as
one's own" (2005, Undergraduate General Academic and Graduation Policies).
If your instructor determines that you are guilty of plagiarism he deserves the right to give you a
zero on the alleged assignment up to failing the course in question. All incidents regardless will
be reported to the university.
University policies
Attach the Safe Working and Learning Environment, Students with Disabilities, Institutional
Review Board, and Academic Integrity policies or reference them on the syllabus. See the
following document for policy statements:
Your instructor reserves the right to make any changes to the course policies, schedule, or any
other aspect of the class as he sees fit.
Revised 04/22/03
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