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The College of St. Scholastica

At St. Scholastica, biology majors gain the fundamentals: you’ll study human biology, genetics and evolution; learn about the cellular, molecular and biochemical mechanisms that unify all living systems; and gain a new appreciation for the beauty and complexity of all living things.

But at the same time, you will also sharpen your comprehension skills. You’ll learn to ask better questions, and embrace the scientific method as you design and conduct your own experiments, guided at every turn by your professors.

As a program graduate, you’ll be poised and ready for a variety of possible future career paths. These could include anything from advanced studies to employment in the exciting fields of biological science or biotechnology. You’ll be prepared.

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Named on the list of Top 200 schools for Native Americans pursuing degrees in STEM.

Winds of Change magazine

Benedictine Scholarship

All new first-year applicants to St. Scholastica will be awarded either the Benedictine Scholarship or the Access Award, upon admission to the College.

Financial Aid

100% of traditional incoming undergraduates receive some type of financial aid. The average for scholarships, grants and/or loans is $31,841.

Degree Details


Are You Looking for a Face-to-Face (on-campus) Experience?

St. Scholastica’s longstanding commitment to inclusivity and generous financial aid packages make our world-class educational programs accessible to students from any background.


Program Requirements

Major: 32 credits
Minor: 22 credits

Here are some classes you could take as part of this major or minor. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.


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.

BIO 3500 – Genetics

Studies classical and molecular genetics, gene interaction, linkage and population genetics. 3 class hours, 2-hour lab. This course is required of all biology majors.

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.

BIO 4160 – Molecular Biology

Study of 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.

CHM 1110 – General Chemistry I

Introduces atomic and molecular structure, bonding, stoichiometry, gas laws, chemical periodicity, and chemical reactions. Prerequisite: high school chemistry

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.

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.

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.

CHM 3000 – Analytical Chemistry

Analytical Chemistry is a branch of chemistry that aims to identify the components of a mixture (qualitative analysis) and/or determine the amount of one or more components (quantitative analysis). This course will explore the theory and practice of classical analytical methods and instrumentation with emphasis on solution equilibria, electrochemistry, spectroscopy, and chromatography and their relevance to modern chemical analysis. Application of computers and statistics to analytical problems will be a constant theme throughout the course.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

CHM 3460 – Physical Chemistry I

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

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.)

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

Research and Internships

The biology department maintains a strong commitment to undergraduate research and interested students may complete a laboratory-based research project under a faculty mentor’s guidance. In addition to on-campus opportunities, students in this program have obtained internships at several 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.

Career Outlook

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 biotechnology facilities. Others have gone on to medical school or pursued graduate degrees in 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.

Pair with a Language

Boost your brainpower 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.

Meet Our Faculty

Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators

Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who bring their deep experience to online and on-campus classrooms. Our values of community, respect, stewardship and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.