Unit one: Cellular Structure and Function
Fundamentals of cellular biology, genetics and molecular biology are addressed. Major topics in cellular structure and function include prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, metabolic pathways and their regulation, membrane
dynamics and cell surfaces, organelles, cytoskeleton, and cell cycle. Major areas in genetics and molecular biology include viruses, chromatin and chromosomal structure, genomic organization and maintenance, and the
regulation of gene expression. The cellular basis of immunity and the mechanisms of antigen-antibody interactions are included. Attention is also given to experimental methodology.
Biological compounds – Macromolecular structure and bonding, Abiotic origin of biological molecules, Enzyme activity, receptor binding, and regulation, Major metabolic pathways and regulation – Respiration, fermentation,
and photosynthesis, Synthesis and degradation of macromolecules, Hormonal control and intracellular messengers, Membrane dynamics and cell surfaces – Transport, endocytosis, and exocytosis, Electrical potentials and
transmitter substances, Mechanisms of cell recognition, intercellular transport and communication, Cell wall and extracellular matrix, Organelles: structure, function, synthesis, and targeting – Nucleus, mitochondria,
and plastids, Endoplasmic reticulum and ribosomes, Golgi apparatus and secretory vesicles, Lysosomes, peroxisomes, and vacuoles, Cytoskeleton: motility and shape – Actin-based systems, Microtubule-based systems,
Intermediate filaments, Bacterial flagella and movement, Cell cycle: growth, division, and regulation (including signal transduction), Methods – Microscopy (e.g., electron, light, fluorescence), Separation (e.g.,
centrifugation, gel filtration, PAGE, fluorescence-activated cell sorting [FACS]), Immunological (e.g., Western Blotting, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence).
Unit two: Genetics and Molecular Biology
Genetic foundations – Mendelian inheritance, Pedigree analysis, Prokaryotic genetics (transformation, transduction and conjugation), Genetic mapping, Chromatin and chromosomes – Nucleosomes, Karyotypes, Chromosomal
aberrations, Polytene chromosomes, Genome sequence organization – Introns and exons, Single-copy and repetitive DNA, Transposable elements, Genome maintenance – DNA replication, DNA mutation and repair, Gene expression
and regulation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes: mechanisms – The operon, Promoters and enhancers, Transcription factors, RNA and protein synthesis, Processing and modifications of both RNA and protein, Gene expression and
regulation: effects – Control of normal development, Cancer and oncogenes, Whole genome expression (e.g., microarrays), Regulation of gene expression by RNAi (e.g., siRNA), Epigenetics, Immunobiology – Cellular basis of
immunity, Antibody diversity and synthesis, Antigen-antibody interactions, Bacteriophages, animal viruses, and plant viruses – Viral genomes, replication, and assembly, Virus-host cell interactions, Recombinant DNA
methodology – Restriction endonucleases, Blotting and hybridization, Restriction fragment length polymorphisms, DNA cloning, sequencing, and analysis, Polymerase chain reaction.
Unit three: Organismal Biology
The structure, physiology, behavior and development of organisms are addressed. Topics covered include nutrient procurement and processing, gas exchange, internal transport, regulation of fluids, control mechanisms and
effectors, and reproduction in autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms. Examples of developmental phenomena range from fertilization through differentiation and morphogenesis. Responses to environmental stimuli are
examined as they pertain to organisms. Major distinguishing characteristics and phylogenetic relationships of organisms are also covered.
Animal Structure, Function and Organization – Exchange with environment – Nutrient, salt, and water exchange, Gas exchange, Energy Internal transport and exchange – Circulatory, respiratory, excretory, and digestive
systems Support and movement – Support systems (external, internal, and hydrostatic), Movement systems (flagellar, ciliary, and muscular), Integration and control mechanisms – Nervous and endocrine systems, Behavior
(communication, orientation, learning, and instinct), Metabolic rates (temperature, body size, and activity).
Animal Reproduction and Development – Reproductive structures, Meiosis, gametogenesis, and fertilization, Early development (e.g., polarity, cleavage, and gastrulation), Developmental processes (e.g., induction,
determination, differentiation, morphogenesis, and metamorphosis), External control mechanisms (e.g., photoperiod).
Unit four: Plant Structure, Function, and Organization, with Emphasis on Flowering Plants
Organs, tissue systems, and tissues, Water transport, including absorption and transpiration, Phloem transport and storage, Mineral nutrition, Plant energetics (e.g., respiration and photosynthesis).
Plant Reproduction, Growth, and Development, with Emphasis on Flowering Plants Reproductive structures, Meiosis and sporogenesis, Gametogenesis and fertilization, Embryogeny and seed development, Meristems, growth,
morphogenesis, and differentiation, Control mechanisms (e.g., hormones, photoperiod, and tropisms).
Diversity of Life – Archaea – Morphology, physiology, and identification, Bacteria, Morphology, physiology, pathology, and identification, Protista, Protozoa, other heterotrophic Protista (slime molds and Oomycota), and
autotrophic Protista, Major distinguishing characteristics, Phylogenetic relationships, Importance (e.g., eutrophication, disease).
Fungi – Distinctive features of major phyla (vegetative, asexual and sexual reproduction), Generalized life cycles, Importance (e.g., decomposition, biodegradation, antibiotics, and pathogenicity), Lichens, Animalia with
emphasis on major phyla, Major distinguishing characteristics, Phylogenetic relationships, Plantae with emphasis on major phyla – Alternation of generations, Major distinguishing characteristics, Phylogenetic
Unit five: Ecology and Evolution
The interactions of organisms and their environment, emphasizing biological principles at levels above the individual are addressed. Ecological topics range from physiological adaptations to the functioning of
ecosystems. Although principles are emphasized, some questions may consider applications to current environmental problems. Topics in evolution range from genetic foundations through evolutionary processes and to their
consequences. Evolution is considered at the molecular, individual, population and higher levels. Some quantitative skills, including the interpretation of simple mathematical models, may be required.
Ecology – Environment/organism interaction – Biogeographic patterns, Physiological ecology, Temporal patterns (e.g., seasonal fluctuations), Behavioral ecology – Habitat selection, Mating systems, Social systems,
Resource acquisition, Population ecology, Population dynamics/regulation, Demography and life history strategies, Community ecology – Direct and indirect interspecific interactions, Community structure and diversity,
Change and succession, Ecosystems – Productivity and energy flow, Chemical cycling.
Evolution – Genetic variability – Origins (mutations, linkage, recombination, and chromosomal alterations), Levels (e.g., polymorphism and heritability), Spatial patterns (e.g., clines and ecotypes), Hardy-Weinberg
equilibrium, Macroevolutionary and microevolutionary processes – Gene flow and genetic drift, Natural selection and its dynamics, Levels of selection (e.g., individual and group), Trade-offs and genetic correlations,
Natural selection and genome evolution, Synonymous vs. nonsynonymous nucleotide ratios, Evolutionary consequences – Fitness and adaptation – Speciation, Systematics and phylogeny, Convergence, divergence, and extinction,
Coevolution, History of life – Origin of life, Fossil record, Paleontology and paleoecology, Lateral transfer of genetic sequences.
Unit one: Analytical Chemistry
Data Acquisition and Use of Statistics — Errors, statistical considerations, Solutions and Standardization — Concentration terms, primary standards, Homogeneous Equilibria — Acid-base, oxidation-reduction, complexometry,
Heterogeneous Equilibria — Gravimetric analysis, solubility, precipitation titrations, chemical separations, Instrumental Methods — Electrochemical methods, spectroscopic methods, chromatographic methods, thermal
methods, calibration of instruments, Environmental Applications, Radiochemical Methods — Detectors and applications.
Unit two: General Chemistry
Periodic trends, oxidation states, nuclear chemistry, Ionic Substances — Lattice geometries, lattice energies, ionic radii and radius/ratio effects, Covalent Molecular Substances — Lewis diagrams, molecular point groups,
VSEPR concept, valence bond description and hybridization, molecular orbital description, bond energies, covalent and van der Waals radii of the elements, intermolecular forces, Metals and Semiconductors — Structure,
band theory, physical and chemical consequences of band theory.
Unit three: Inorganic Chemistry
Concepts of Acids and Bases — Brønsted-Lowry approaches, Lewis theory, solvent system approaches, Chemistry of the Main Group Elements — Electronic structures, occurrences and recovery, physical and chemical properties
of the elements and their compounds, Chemistry of the Transition Elements — Electronic structures, occurrences and recovery, physical and chemical properties of the elements and their compounds, coordination chemistry.
Special Topics — Organometallic chemistry, catalysis, bioinorganic chemistry, applied solid-state and environmental chemistry.
Unit four: Organic Chemistry
Structure, Bonding and Nomenclature — Lewis structures, orbital hybridization, configuration and stereochemical notation, conformational analysis, systematic IUPAC nomenclature, spectroscopy (IR and 1H and 13C NMR),
Functional Groups — Preparation, reactions, and interconversions of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, dienes, alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, epoxides, sulfides, thiols, aromatic compounds, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids
and their derivatives, amines, Reaction Mechanisms — Nucleophilic displacements and addition, nucleophilic aromatic substitution, electrophilic additions, electrophilic aromatic substitutions, eliminations, Diels-Alder
and other cycloadditions, Reactive Intermediates — Chemistry and nature of carbocations, carbanions, free radicals, carbenes, benzynes, enols, Organometallics — Preparation and reactions of Grignard and organolithium
reagents, lithium organocuprates, and other modern main group and transition metal reagents and catalysts, Special Topics — Resonance, molecular orbital theory, catalysis, acid-base theory, carbon acidity, aromaticity,
antiaromaticity, macromolecules, lipids, amino acids, peptides, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, terpenes, asymmetric synthesis, orbital symmetry, polymers.
Unit five: Physical Chemistry
Thermodynamics — First, second, and third laws, thermochemistry, ideal and real gases and solutions, Gibbs and Helmholtz energy, chemical potential, chemical equilibria, phase equilibria, colligative properties,
statistical thermodynamics, Quantum Chemistry and Applications to Spectroscopy — Classical experiments, principles of quantum mechanics, atomic and molecular structure, molecular spectroscopy, Dynamics — Experimental and
theoretical chemical kinetics, solution and liquid dynamics, photochemistry.
Unit one: Calculus
Material learned in the usual sequence of elementary calculus courses — differential and integral calculus of one and of several variables — including calculus-based applications and connections with coordinate geometry,
trigonometry, differential equations and other branches of mathematics.
Unit two: Algebra
Elementary algebra: basic algebraic techniques and manipulations acquired in high school and used throughout mathematics.
Linear algebra: matrix algebra, systems of linear equations, vector spaces, linear transformations, characteristic polynomials, and eigenvalues and eigenvectors.
Abstract algebra and number theory: elementary topics from group theory, theory of rings and modules, field and number theory.
Unit three: Additional Topics
Introductory real analysis: sequences and series of numbers and functions, continuity, differentiability and integrability, and elementary topology of R and Rn.
Discrete mathematics: logic, set theory, combinatorics, graph theory, and algorithms.
Other topics: general topology, geometry, complex variables, probability and statistics, and numerical analysis.
Unit one: Classical Mechanics
Kinematics, Newton’s laws, work and energy, oscillatory motion, rotational motion about a fixed axis, dynamics of systems of particles, central forces and celestial mechanics, three-dimensional particle dynamics,
Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism, noninertial reference frames, elementary topics in fluid dynamics.
Unit two: Electromagnetism
Electrostatics, currents and DC circuits, magnetic fields in free space, Lorentz force, induction, Maxwell’s equations and their applications, electromagnetic waves, AC circuits, magnetic and electric fields in matter.
Unit three: Optics and Wave Phenomena
Wave properties, superposition, interference, diffraction, geometrical optics, polarization and Doppler effect.
Unit four: Thermo-dynamics & Statistical Mechanics
Laws of thermodynamics, thermodynamic processes, equations of state, ideal gases, kinetic theory, ensembles, statistical concepts and calculation of thermodynamic quantities, thermal expansion and heat transfer.
Unit five: Quantum Mechanics
Fundamental concepts, solutions of the Schrödinger equation (including square wells, harmonic oscillators, and hydrogenic atoms), spin, angular momentum, wave function symmetry and elementary perturbation theory.
Unit six: Atomic Physics
Properties of electrons, Bohr model, energy quantization, atomic structure, atomic spectra, selection rules, black-body radiation, x-rays, atoms in electric and magnetic fields.