Admissions Office
The College of St. Scholastica
1200 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811
(218) 723-6046
(800) 249-6412
TTY/TDD: (218) 723-6790

Kara Thoemke, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Science Center, Room 2129
(218) 723-7081 

B.A. Biology

Fast Facts: Biology Minor and Major

  • The biology department offers a variety of courses and experiences that enable students to learn fundamental biological principles and processes
  • The core biology curriculum provides students with a broad overview of biological science, the diversity of organisms, the cellular, molecular and biochemical mechanisms that unify living systems, and a strong foundation in human biology, genetics and evolution
  • Selection of advanced courses can be tailored to meet the student's individual career objectives
  • Laboratory courses expose students to the investigative process of science through experimentation and training in current laboratory techniques
  • The biology major is appropriate for students interested in pursuing an advanced degree in the biological sciences, medicine (including pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, optometry, physician assistant), or for those seeking entry-level employment in the biological sciences or biotechnology
  • St. Scholastica was named on the list of Top 200 schools for Native Americans pursuing degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) by Winds of Change magazine

Program Requirements

Major: 32 credits
Minor: 22 credits 

Research and Internships

The biology department maintains a strong commitment to undergraduate research and interested students may complete a laboratory-based research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. In addition to on campus opportunities, students in this program have obtained internships at a number of sites, including Hartley Nature Center, the Great Lakes Aquarium, Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Mid-Continent Ecology Lab. Students also may apply to participate in summer research programs at locations across the country sponsored by the National Science Foundation.


Students in this program have gone on to positions in both the public and private sectors, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Peace Corps, and various healthcare, biomedical and biotechnolgy facilities. Others have gone on to medical school or to pursue graduate degrees in such fields as Public Health, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, Microbiology and Immunology, and Ecology.

Become a biology teacher by pairing this program with the middle/secondary education major. Learn more

Pair with a language

Boost your brain power and give yourself a competitive edge in our global economy by pairing your major with a language. St. Scholastica offers programs and courses in American Sign Language, French, German, Latin, Ojibwe, Russian and Spanish.

Sample curriculum

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Please note that you would not necessarily need all of these courses to fulfill a major or minor. This list doesn't include general education courses. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.

Course Creation Center

Expand and Collapse Coursework

Expand and Collapse BIO 1110 - General Biology I

Study of living systems with particular emphasis on the molecular, cellular levels of organization within the various kingdoms of life. 3 class hours, 2-hour lab. This course is required of all biology majors.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3300 - Virology

A thorough investigation of viral biology from the perspective of both the virus and host cell. Topics covered include viral structure and classification, interactions between the virus and host cell, methods of virology, viral diseases, viral oncogenesis, and therapeutic uses of viruses.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3500 - Genetics

Study of classical and molecular genetics, gene interaction, linkage and population genetics. 3 class hours, 2-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 1110 and 1120. This course is required of all biology majors.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3600 - Cell Biology

Study of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells and viruses to include membranes, receptor proteins, organelles, cytoskeleton, sorting and trafficking, cellular communication, the extracellular matrix, and experimental methods. Prerequisite: BIO 1110 and 1120.

Expand and Collapse BIO 4160 - Molecular Biology

Current molecular biology research techniques, hypothesis testing and communication of results. Topics may include molecular cloning, plasmid isolation, restriction digest analysis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and DNA sequencing. Prerequisite: Bio 3500 and instructor permission.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1110 - General Chemistry I

Introduces atomic and molecular structure, bonding, stoichiometry, gas laws, chemical periodicity, and equilibrium. Three 50-minute lectures, one 2-hour lab each week. Prerequisite: high school chemistry and appropriate placement test score.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1120 - General Chemistry II

Studies solutions, equilibria, coordination chemistry, thermodynamics, electrochemistry, kinetics, nuclear chemistry, and qualitative analysis. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM 1110.

Expand and Collapse CHM 2200 - Organic Chemistry I

Introduces structure, properties, and reactions of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, alkyl halides, and ethers. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM 1120.

Expand and Collapse CHM 2210 - Organic Chemistry II

Introduces the structure, properties, and reactions of aldehydes and ketones, carboxylic acids and their derivatives, aromatic compounds, amines, phenols, carbohydrates, amino acids as well as infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy techniques. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM 2200.

Expand and Collapse CHM 3000 - Analytical Chemistry

Introduces the theory and practice of volumetric, spectroscopic, and electrochemical analysis and chromatographic separation techniques. Laboratory covers traditional quantitative analysis and instrumental techniques associated with determination of pH, ultraviolet-visible and atomic absorption spectroscopy, HPLC and gas chromatography. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM1120 and mathematical skill at or beyond college algebra; CHM 2210 suggested.

Expand and Collapse CHM 3220 - Intermediate Organic Chemistry

Studies modern infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance, and mass spectroscopy; molecular orbital theory applied to bonding and pericyclic reactions; organic synthesis; and topic areas including medicinal, bio-organic, or polymer chemistry. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM2210 or equivalent. (Offered fall semester in odd years: fall 2015, fall 2017, etc.)

Expand and Collapse CHM 3240 - Biochemistry I

Studies the structure and role of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids in metabolism. Emphasizes protein structure and function, enzyme operation, metabolic pathways and their cellular role and regulation. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM 2210.

Expand and Collapse CHM 3430 - Biochemistry II

Reviews aspects of modern biochemistry as reflected in current research literature. Topics vary but aspects of protein structure, enzyme function and mechanism, signal transduction, metabolism concepts applied to nutrition and metabolic disorders, gene function and regulation are typically presented. Prerequisite: C - or higher in CHM 3240.

Expand and Collapse CHM 3431 - Biochemistry II Lab

Applies techniques including UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy, protein purification, chromatographic separations, electrophoresis, enzyme kinetics, immunoassays, and antioxidant assays. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM 3000.

Expand and Collapse CHM 3460 - Physical Chemistry I

Introduces thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, kinetics, and phase equilibria. Prerequisites: C- or higher in PSC 2002, MTH 2222, CHM2210.

Expand and Collapse CHM 3470 - Physical Chemistry II

Covers postulates of quantum mechanics, particle in a box, harmonic oscillator, rigid rotor, and hydrogen atom with application to electronic structure of atoms and molecules and to atomic and molecular spectroscopy. Prerequisites: A grade of C- or higher in CHM 3460. (Offered spring semester in even years: spring 2016, spring 2018, etc.)

Expand and Collapse CHM 4060 - Undergraduate Research

Introduces students to original laboratory research in collaboration with a faculty member; requires literature searching, experimental planning, a minimum of 8 hours laboratory work a week, a final written report and an oral presentation of the work. Prerequisite: junior standing, application according to departmental policy and permission of the instructor.

Expand and Collapse CHM 4120 - Instrumental Analysis

Studies instrumentation for chemical analysis and method selection. Topics covered include ultraviolet- visible spectroscopy, atomic absorption and emission, polarography and voltammetry, thermal analysis, and chromatography. Prerequisite: C- or higher in CHM2210, 3000. (Offered spring semester in odd years: spring 2017, spring 2019, etc.)

Expand and Collapse MTH 2221 - Calculus I

Limits, continuity and fundamental theory of differentiation, symbolic and numerical calculations of derivatives, applications of derivatives; definite integrals and Riemann sums. Prerequisite: Precalculus or ACT Math score of at least 29.

Expand and Collapse PSC 2011 - General Physics I

This course and its continuation PSC 2012 serve as a two-semester introduction to classical and modern physics using calculus. Topics include principles of classical mechanics: descriptions of motion, force, torque, and rotational motion, energy, momentum, and their conservation: fluid mechanics, simple harmonic motion, wave motion, and sound.

Expand and Collapse PSC 2012 - General Physics II

Introduces the principles of electricity and magnetism, geometric optics, sound and light waves, and selected topics in modern physics. This is the second course in a two-course calculus-based general physics sequence. The physical principles and applications involved in these studies tend to be more abstract than the laws of mechanics that were studied in the first course in the sequence. In this course, many of the principles studied involve forces whose effects cannot be seen directly. Some of the forces studied only affect minute, invisible particles. Students will study models of unseen events and particles using graphs, sketches, analogies, mathematics, and descriptions. They will study the effects of the laws of physics using abstract models. Includes a 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: A grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in PSC 2011; either completion of MTH 2211 or 2222 or concurrent enrollment in 2222.

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  • "I have always had a fascination with how living organisms work. And within my first two years here, I had already taken courses involving the human body, microorganisms, genetics and evolution, to name a few. For me, this wide range of course material makes learning fascinating and exciting."

    – Meagan Robinson, ‘15