Free Biology Textbooks

Biologists study living organisms, their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. It is a huge field of study, as varied as the many creatures and plants that share the earth with us.

University students studying biology may opt to specialize in biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology or ecology. Biology is is the field of study originated by Aristotle and dates back to 300 years before the birth of Christ.

Biology is also one of those fields of study that many colleges and universities require all of their students to take an introductory course. It can be a real challenge for non-science majors. The availability of free course materials, lecture notes and online biology textbooks provide students with a better chance than ever to succeed.

The section of The Free Textbook list will focus on identifying free online biology textbooks that educators and scholars have made freely available to their own students and anyone else studying biology.

List of Free Biology Textbooks

Cells, Molecules and Mechanisms

Written by: E.V. Wong, P.h.D.

Cells, Molecules and Mechanisms is a free online molecular biology textbook written by E.V. Wong. Geared for college sophomores, PDFs free for downloading.

Essentials of Glycobiology

A team of educators at UC San Diego and elsewhere worked together to create Essentials of Glycobiology a free online glycobiology textbook. Written for scholars and novices.

Inside the Cell

Three science writers (2 with science-related Ph.D.s and 1 with a biochemistry graduate degree) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences offer a free biology textbook suitable for high school and college students.

Kimball’s Biology Pages

Written by: John W. Kimball (Tufts University and Harvard)

After a lifetime of teaching biology in classrooms, John W. Kimball continues teaching us all with his free online biology textbook and reference website.

Life on Earth

Written by: Edward O. Wilson

Life on Earth is full of glorious images, video and interactive exercises for biology students. Freely available on iTunes. Best resource on topic, from a visual perspective, IMHO.

Online Biology Book

Written by: Dr. Michael J. Farabee (Estrella Mountain Community College, Avondale, AZ)

Free online biology book written by Michael J. Farabee. 56 chapters of text, graphs, charts and illustrations.

Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology

Written by: Kenneth Todar (University of Wisconsin at Madison)

Free online bacteriology textbook written by an emeritus lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, Kenneth Todar Ph.D. Suitable for HS and college students.

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