Biomolecular Engineering Fundamentals
Winter 2020 - Dr. Tang is definitely trying his best to teach us biology, and he definitely cares about the subject matter. While I personally enjoyed his class, and found the subject matter interesting, many, if not most of my classmates tended to dread and/or hate the class. Unless you took AP Bio, are genuinely interested in biology, and you have a VERY thorough background in molecular biology, be prepared to drink water out of a firehose. You're assigned 50-80 pages of reading per week. Much of the material in the book won't even show up on exams, but it might. While Dr. Tang doesn't require the reading, you have to read it to not be lost in lecture. Also, the lectures are 2 hours long of dense material. Again, I didn't hate them, and honestly enjoyed them, but the majority of my classmates couldn't wait for them to be over. Lectures are not mandatory, but you have to go to them to do well; otherwise, you won't know what's important in the book and what isn't. By the way, DISCUSSIONS ARE MANDATORY, which are very hit-and-miss. The exams were difficult. There's too much stuff to memorize; the exams had many oddly specific questions. Even if you memorized the slides, some questions will be hard. Even worse, you're dead in the water for the math-based questions. Dr. Tang gave us absolutely no practice for the math-based questions. You simply have to hope that the TAs covered the mathematical questions well enough during review sessions. The projects were busy work at the best. They were mindlessly following instructions on a worksheet with 3 friends. Even if you divided the work, the 3 projects took hours to complete. I actually enjoyed the subject material and the lectures, although I am in the minority. That said, I'm glad that this class is done and over. It felt like drinking out of a firehose. Not just that, but the exams had questions that a student couldn't be expected to answer, even if he/she had notes and the internet. By the way, the class is definitely curved, but in your favor. I got an average of 85% on the exams and 95% on the projects and still received an A. There's no avoiding Tang, so just take the class whenever you can/feel like it.