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CLAS 205 F: Bioscientific Vocabulary Building From Latin and Greek

Meeting Time: 
MWF 11:30am - 12:20pm
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Nicole Speth

Syllabus Description:

CLAS 205 — Bioscientific Vocabulary

Autumn 2020, Online


Instructor: Nicole Speth                                 


Office Hours: Tues. 11.00-12.00 and by appointment (


Department Course Coordinator:

Professor Alain M. Gowing



 Required Text:​

  • Donald M. Ayers, Bioscientific Terminology: Words from Latin and Greek Stems (The University of Arizona Press)

Recommended Reference Texts:​

  • Any reputable English dictionary with etymological entries, such as T​he American Heritage Dictionary (​3​rd e​d.), or W​ebster’s New World Dictionary.​
  • Online resources:
    Google dictionary (google “define + word”)
    Online Etymology Dictionary (
    Merriam-Webster Dictionary (
  • You might also find it useful to have access to a good medical dictionary. Examples: Dorland’s, Steadman’s, Taber’s, Mosby. You can find these via the UW Libraries website or online.



The primary goal of this course is to improve your understanding of technical vocabulary used in the biological sciences. You will learn to assess the meaning of words by breaking them down into component parts that derive from Latin and ancient Greek. By the end of the quarter you should be at ease in identifying rare medical or scientific terminology. No knowledge of Latin or Greek is required.

Successful completion of this class requires a great deal of memorization. Students must keep up with the assignments and review the contents of each lesson regularly.



On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I will post pre-recorded lectures along with handouts and answer keys to them.


Please keep in mind that our e-mail correspondence is a public record according to RCW 42.56, the Washington State Public Records Act, and I have the right to share it with my supervisor or other authorities if I think it is necessary (more information at to an external site.).



The UW's Religious Accommodations Policy: “Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.).”


The UW's Student Conduct Code: "The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals. Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution. More information can be found online at"(Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)

Access and Accommodation: Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or  (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Academic Integrity: University of Washington students are expected to practice high standards of academic and professional honesty and integrity as outlined here: (Links to an external site.)





Homework: To help you stay on track with memorization, there are 5 homework assignments in the format of canvas quizzes that consist of vocabulary items from recent reading. They are open-note and are each worth 10 points.


Participation: Consistent participation in class counts for 10 points. For 5 random classes, I will ask you a question (both in the recording and in the handout) to which you have to reply in the comments to the announcement (or by sending me a message). That way I will know that you are keeping up with coursework.


Tests: There will be four tests, worth 85 points each, given over the course of the quarter. The last test will be held on the day of the final (Wednesday, December 16th) but is not cumulative. The tests will be held on the day indicated on the schedule, but you can choose any time of the day to complete them.


Bonus points: I will give you an extra credit assignment to complete by the end of the quarter for 15 bonus points, as well as an opportunity to earn 5 bonus points on each of the tests.

Grading breakdown:

Homework: 5 x 10 = 50 points

Tests: 4 x 85 = 340 points

Participation: 10 points


Total: 400 points


4.0: 400-381      3.0: 320-312      2.0: 230-221      1.0: 139-120

3.9: 380-371      2.9: 311-302      1.9: 220-211      0.9: 119-109

3.8: 370-366      2.8: 301-293      1.8: 210-201      0.8: 108-98

3.7: 365-361      2.7: 292-284      1.7: 200-191      0.7: 97-87

3.6: 360-356      2.6: 283-275      1.6: 190-181      0.0: 86 or fewer*

3.5: 355-351      2.5: 274-266      1.5: 180-171

3.4: 350-345      2.4: 265-257      1.4: 170-161

3.3: 344-337      2.3: 256-248      1.3: 160-151

3.2: 336-329      2.2: 247-239      1.2: 150-141

3.1: 328-321      2.1: 238-231      1.1: 140-131


*Note: In order to pass this class, you must receive 87 points or greater.



All readings and assignments are due on the day they are listed on the syllabus.





Week 1 (9/30-10/4)


Introduction and syllabus

Lesson 1

Week 2 (10/5-10/11)

Lessons 2 and 3

Lessons 4 and 5

Lesson 6

Week 3 (10/12-10/18)

Lessons 7 and 8

Lesson 9

Test 1 (1-9)

Week 4 (10/19-10/25)

Lessons 10 and 11

Lessons 12 and 13

Lesson 14

Week 5 (10/26-11/1)

Lessons 15 and 16

Lessons 17 and 18

Lesson 19

Week 6 (11/2-11/8)

Lesson 20


Test 2 (11-20)

Week 7 (11/9-11/15)

Lessons 21 and 22


Lesson 23

Week 8 (11/16-11/22)

Lessons 24 and 25

Lessons 26 and 27

Lesson 28

Week 9 (11/23-11/29)

Lessons 29 and 30

Test 3 (21-30)


Week 10 (11/30-12/6)

Lessons 31 and 32

Lessons 33 and 34

Lesson 35

Week 11 (12/7-12/13)

Lessons 36 and 37

Lessons 38 and 39

Lesson 40


Final Exam: Monday, December 14th

I reserve the right to modify the syllabus.

Catalog Description: 
Designed to help the student master the scientific vocabulary of his or her particular field by a study of the Latin and Greek roots that are used to create the majority of scientific terms. No auditors. Knowledge of Latin or Greek is not required. Offered: AWSpS.
GE Requirements: 
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated: 
August 10, 2020 - 9:11pm