Course Syllabus

Course Outcomes

  • Explain and discuss the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the theory of evolution and those things that members of the Church should consider when addressing this topic. 
  • Describe the lines of evidence that support the theory of evolution. 
  • Explain the factors that can force populations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium.
  • Explain the principles regarding speciation and how the relationships between organisms are determined.
  • Describe what is known regarding the origin of life.
  • Explain how the principles of evolutionary development explain and simplify the evolutionary process.
  • Describe the evidence regarding human evolution, including the development of bipedalism and the increase in brain size.

Course Description

In this course, basic Darwinian evolution and the history of evolutionary thought is presented. This course includes the study of the scientific processes through which both microevolution and macroevolution occur, the history of life on earth, phylogenetics, cladistics, molecular evolution, sexual selection, population genetics, and rates of evolution.


Before taking this course it is required that the student take BIO 375, which itself has prerequisites of BIO 180 and 181.

Required Materials

  1. Evolutionary Analysis, 5th Edition by Jon C. Herron and Scott Freeman (2014) ISBN: 978-0321616678.
    1. This required textbook is available as a low-cost auto access digital textbook. For more information please see I-Learn>Modules>Textbook Information.
    2. If the student does not want to use the auto access textbook, they must opt out. Learn more about BYUI auto access textbooks.
  2. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner (1995) ISBN: 978-0679733379
    1. The BYUI Library has two copies. The hard copy can be checked out for up to two weeks, and the other copy is read online only.
    2. This book is available in most libraries. Search WorldCAT to check listings for a local library.
    3. The student may purchase or rent this book through the BYUI University Store.
  3. Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences by Victoria E. McMillan (2012) ISBN: 978-0312649715 
    1. The course materials are available in the Course Materials List.
    2. Available in hardcopy and digital format. See the options in the BYUI University Store.
  4. The Magician's Nephew (1994) Lewis, C. S. & Baynes, P. New York: HarperCollins publisher.
    1. The student will only need access during the last two weeks of the semester.
    2. The course materials are available in the Course Materials List.
    3. This book is available in most libraries. Search WorldCAT to check listings for a local library.
    4. The BYUI Library has 10 copies of the eBook.
    5. The student may purchase or rent the book through the BYUI University Store.
  5. Access to a computer/laptop with internet connection.
  6. A microphone and webcam to complete an end-of-semester recorded presentation.
  7. Access to Adobe flash player 9.0 or later version.

Compare prices for the textbooks through the University Store Price Comparison site. They will show all of the options from the University Store plus several online options to help the student find the best price.

Course Structure 

The course is 14 weeks long. At the beginning of each week, review all activities for the week. If the student waits until the due date to read the instructions, they might not be able to successfully complete the activities.

Weekly Activities

  • Weekly Discussion Boards: Read and view the materials listed in the course study pages (textbook readings and sometimes video segments), then discussion the study questions in a weekly discussion board.
    • These activities will be in each week (Weeks 01–12).
    • In the discussion board, the student will be expected to collaborate with their peers to answer the key study questions for the week.
    • The student will also be invited to have a discussion around a couple of weekly application questions. It is expected that they share their thoughts on at least one of those questions.
    • The student will have the ability to reach out directly to their instructor if they need clarification on topics or concepts within the reading. 
  • Practice Activities: Some weeks have additional practice activities that will help the student master important concepts that will be assessed on their unit exams.
  • Content Quiz: These quizzes will review the information from the week. The student will have three attempts on these quizzes, and they are open note. 

Other Activities

  • Paper: Students are guided to complete tasks each week until they have completed a full research paper by Week 11.
  • Paper: Peer Review. In Week 10, students  review two of their peers’ papers.
  • Paper: Presentation and Evaluations. In Week 13, students prepare a presentation about their paper and evaluate others’ presentations.
  • Miscellaneous: There are other miscellaneous activities that vary each week.
  • Exams: There are three exams. They are held in Weeks 04, 08, and 12. Each exam covers four weeks of course content. All exam questions are short essays.

BYU-Idaho Learning Model

It is important the student understand the approach to online learning used at BYU-Idaho. The student will become familiar with this by viewing the Orientation to Online Learning at BYU-Idaho video found in Week 01. Be aware this is not an independent study course. Students progress through the course activities along with their classmates; do not expect to work through the course at an individual pace.

As in all BYU-Idaho courses (both on campus and online), the structure of this course is founded on the BYU-I Learning Model. It utilizes the following elements: prepare, teach one another, and ponder and prove. These elements will be implemented in the following ways:


Most of the student's preparation each week will be from their assigned textbook readings, though additional articles, videos, and practice activities will occasionally be used. Students are encouraged to take notes for themselves and write down questions they may have. While students complete their reading, they will answer the assigned study questions in the Weekly Discussion Board.

Teach One Another

The main bulk of teaching one another will occur through the Weekly Discussions. Students are encouraged to be active in posing and answering questions in the discussion associated with this activity. This will be an open environment for learning, teaching, and developing mutual understanding.

Ponder and Prove

The student will be able to show their learning through weekly quizzes and three unit exams. The course exams and the research paper will provide the major ways in which the student demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

Tips for Success

This course will provide valuable experiences for students, if they are willing to put forth the effort to fully engage in the designed activities. As with most things in life, what students get out of this course will depend upon what they put into it. The following are recommendations for success in this class:

  • Plan to spend 9–12 hours per week on this course. Students may need to spend more, depending upon their own learning style and skill set.
  • Navigate the course using the Modules view. The Course Summary (at the bottom of this page), To Do list, and I-Learn Calendar are all helpful tools to remind students of due dates, but should not be the primary means of navigating the course. The Modules view provides a comprehensive look at the week and helps students understand how the different activities fit together. 
  • Read every course page. This includes the Introduction pages for each week and Announcements provided by the instructor. Each course page and instructor announcement contains important information!
  • At the beginning of each week, read the Introduction page and Announcements page and skim the other pages for the week. Then, students plan their work.
  • Be sure to read and view all instructions, readings, and material in their entirety. It is critical that students do not take shortcuts.
  • Plan time to work consistently throughout the week in every week of the course. Students will have a quality learning experience and less stress if they spread the work out through the week. 

Grading Policies

Students will be graded on a linear scale (not curved). An A is a merit that will require dedication to coursework and mastery of subject matter. Just completing the minimum expectations does not denote A effort. Students will need to take the time to study, apply, and understand these topics (so that they could teach a section of this course on their own) in order to get an A.

Grading Scale

Grade Score
A 100–94%
A- 93.9–90%
B+ 89.9–87%
B 86.9–84%
B- 83.9–80%
C+ 79.9–77%
C 76.9–74%
C- 73.9–70%
D+ 69.9–67%
D 66.9–64%
D- 63.9–60%
F <60%

Grade Components

Grades will be determined as follows:

Item Points Approximate Percentage
Weekly Discussions (12 @ 5 or 10 pts. each) 100 14%
Weekly Quizzes ( 12 @  5 or 10 pts. each) 110 15%
Exams (3 @ 100 pts. each) 300 41%
Miscellaneous Activities 20 3%


  • Writing Roundtables (2 at 5 points each)
  • Proposed Topic (5 points)
  • Literature Exploration (5 points)
  • Thesis Statement (5 points)
  • Outline (10 points)
  • Abstract and Writing Issues (5 points)
  • Initial Submission (20 points)
  • Peer Reviews (10 points)
  • Final Submission (100 points)
170 23%

Presentation of Paper

  • Posting of Presentation (20 points)
  • Presentation Evaluations (10 points)
30 4%
Total 730 100%

Due Dates

Due dates are visible in the Course Summary at the bottom of this page, in the Modules view, and in the I-Learn Calendar. 

Late Work Policy

Students should complete their work on time, and generally, late work will not be accepted. However, the instructor has discretion to accept late work or extend due dates in case of extenuating circumstances.


Tutoring options for online students are available through the Academic Support Centers. There are tutors available to help with writing questions and there may be course-specific tutoring available. Check the details in the link provided.

Online Support Center

If the student needs assistance, visit the I-learn help tab located on the left hand side of the screen to contact the appropriate support center.


Each student has a responsibility to carefully read assigned materials and instructions. Questions should be noted and directed to the instructor. Students also have the responsibility to contribute to others’ learning through their participation in discussion boards and review material with partners.

This syllabus and the course schedule may be changed at any time prior to or during the semester as the need arises based upon circumstances. Any changes will be available to view on the course documents.

Mutual Respect

All of the student's correspondence with the instructor and their classmates must be respectful. Writing something disrespectful or "venting" is unprofessional and not becoming of a BYU-Idaho student. In addition, it is not in accordance with the Honor Code and the student will be subject to discipline accordingly.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course may require synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
  • Student with Disabilities
  • Complaints and Grievances
  • Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty

Although the Academic Honesty section of the University Policies explains what constitutes each of the many forms of academic dishonesty, as well as procedures and guidelines for handling such incidents, specific application of consequences are left up to each individual instructor.

In this course, instructors will be responsible for creating and applying their own policy regarding penalties for academic dishonesty. Penalties may vary from point deductions to receiving a zero on the entire assignment. In some cases, the instructor may report an incident to the University Honors Office. Cases will be analyzed on an individual basis and penalties applied according to the severity of the misconduct.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due