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

Bret Johnson, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Science Center, Room 3302
(218) 723-6598


The College of St. Scholastica's biochemistry program is accredited by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

B.S. Biochemistry

Fast Facts: Biochemistry Major

  • Hybrid major of biology and chemistry plus additional coursework in physics and calculus offers students a comprehensive background in the sciences
  • Great choice of major for those planning to attend graduate school to pursue careers in research or within the medical and health professions
  • High-tech instrumentation and computer labs provide in-depth, hands-on learning experiences
  • Small department engaged in student-focused research; students get the personal attention and assistance they need to succeed
  • Excellent placement rates for graduates
  • Student-run Chemistry/Biochemistry Club enables students with similar interests to further connect
  • 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: 72 credits

Research or Internships

Opportunities for student research and teaching abound in the Biochemistry major. These include:

  • Assisting faculty with personal research projects
  • Participating in paid summer research programs
  • Working as a paid teaching assistant or general assistant in the department


Graduates of the biochemistry program have gone on to work as research and environmental scientists, lab managers, hazardous materials managers and scientific writers. Others have pursued advanced degrees in biochemistry, chemistry, medicine, dentistry and pharmacy.

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 Elective Courses

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 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.

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 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 Coursework

Expand and Collapse BIO 2020 - Microbiology

Introduces microbiology including study of the morphology, diversity, evolution, physiology, genetics, metabolism, ecology, biotechnology, pathogenicity, immunology, epidemiology and control of microorganisms.

Expand and Collapse BIO 2021 - Microbiology Lab

Introduces microbiological laboratory work covering techniques and experiments in microbial structure, metabolism, growth and identification. BIO 2020 may be a prerequisite or a co-requisite. Recommended for all biology majors.

Expand and Collapse 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.

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.

Expand and Collapse CHM 1110 - General Chemistry I

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

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

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.

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 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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  • "Biochemistry was an excellent major for me to pursue for my pre-med program, as the major provided both the biological and chemical foundations to explain how the human body functions. I am convinced that pursuing this major was a significant factor in my acceptance to medical school."

    – Jordan Lindholm, '16

  • "Due to the intimate community of faculty and students in the biochemistry program, my love and understanding of science has grown much stronger during my years at CSS. Biochemistry is not easy, but it is rewarding and the department faculty truly demonstrate the meaning of the love of learning."

    – Liz Ophoven, ’16

  • "The biochemistry program at the College of St. Scholastica has prepared me for a life of learning in a complex world. I learned to critically think through problems and am forever indebted to the professors and classmates who mentored me throughout my four years in the program."

    – Kelsi Manley, ‘13