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 


Fast Facts: Biology

  • 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's 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 1120 - General Biology II

Advanced application of concepts presented in General Biology I with focus on the study of population genetics, evolution, ecology, plant biology and animal diversity. Current topics in biology are also investigated, including the genetic modification of organisms and the impact of global climate change on living systems. 3 class hours, 2-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 1110.This course is required of all biology majors.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3020 - Pathophysiology

Study of the general mechanisms of disease at the cellular and molecular levels, including abnormalities of fluid distribution, the inflammatory process, abnormal immune mechanisms, and neoplastic disease, followed by an application of the basic principles of pathologic processes to diseases of the neurologic, endocrine, reproductive, hematologic, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and digestive systems. Prerequisite: a completed course in Anatomy/Physiology.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3100 - Life's History

Study of the events concerning the creation of the solar system, earth and life. The evolutionary history of life and the processes of natural selection will be emphasized. Follow Earth’s 4.6 billion year history as it unfolds, producing from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful. Prerequisite: Must be in second year or higher in college. Recommended for all Biology Majors.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3130 - Embryology

Development of vertebrate animals with emphasis on anatomical development in humans. Coursework includes the differentiation of tissues of all major body systems. Prerequisite: a completed course in Anatomy/ Physiology.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3210 - Field Biology

A survey course of the contemporary and traditional field methods used by biologists. Topics include techniques used in the areas of entomology, floristics, ornithology, mammalogy and mapping. 4 hour lab course. Prerequisite: Bio 1110 and 1120.

Expand and Collapse BIO 3220 - Plant Systematics

Introduction to systematics of vascular plants with emphasis on identification of woody plants, representative families, terminology and use of taxonomic keys. 2 class hours, 4-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 1110 and 1120.

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 4125 - Biology of Aging

Aging changes evident in humans as the result of time interacting with molecular mechanisms of biological systems. Current knowledge of these mechanisms will be examined, followed by an application of the basic principles of biological aging to the systems of the body. Prerequisite: a completed course in Anatomy/ Physiology.

Expand and Collapse BIO 4130 - Endocrinology

Chemical systems of control of physiologic processes in the vertebrate animal with emphasis on the human. Pathologic activities will be included to the extent that they increase understanding of normal function. Prerequisite: a completed course in Anatomy/Physiology and biochemistry.

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 BIO 4170 - Ecology

Study of the basic principles of ecology, interrelationships and identification of plants and animals making up principal communities of this region, the dynamic balance of communities and the productivity of natural resources. The course includes a research experience. 3 class hours, 3-hour lab. Prerequisite: BIO 1110 and 1120.

Expand and Collapse BIO 4180 - Animal Behavior

An introduction to the basic questions and study of animal behavior. From an evolutionary perspective we investigate the adaptive value of behaviors such as foraging, communication, predator avoidance, dispersal, sociality, parental investment and mating systems, among other topics. Laboratory work, including an independent research project, under field conditions emphasizes the measurement and analysis of animal behavior.

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 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 PSC 2001 - Physics I

Covers algebra-based general physics including Newtonian mechanics (motion, force, energy, momentum), harmonic motion, fluids, and thermodynamics. Students must have ease and familiarity with basic algebraic and trigonometric techniques. Includes one 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: A grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in College Algebra (MATH 1111) or a C or better in a more advanced college math course or a math ACT score of 24 or higher or by permission of the instructor.

Expand and Collapse PSC 2002 - Physics II

Continues the study of algebra-based general physics including content in electricity and magnetism, geometric optics, sound and light waves, and selected topics in modern physics. Includes one 2-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: A grade of C (2.0 on a 4.0 scale) or better in PSC 2001.

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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