Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyAcademic Catalog: 2019–2020

  • Jeffrey Dahlseid, Program Director
  • Heather Haemig
  • James Parejko (Visiting, 2019–2020)

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is the study of the structures and functions of biological molecules. It entails investigating macromolecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids in order to understand their functions and interactions with each other, with small molecules, and with their surroundings. In essence, it is the study of the molecular basis of life.

The interdisciplinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major at Gustavus is intended for students interested in areas close to the interface between chemistry and biology, such as bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, neuroscience, and pharmacology, and provides a superb preparation for graduate or professional study. The curriculum is designed to be rigorous and thorough with a solid foundation of science courses, a breadth of upper-level core courses in Chemistry, Biology, and Biochemistry, a research-like investigative laboratory curriculum, a capstone experience that includes vocational reflection, writing intensive courses, and a seminar program. Students pursuing graduate study are advised to engage in research and to consult their advisor about the elective courses most appropriate for their interests.

The distributive major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology requires the following 16.5 courses:

  1. Foundation:
    1. BIO-101, Principles of Biology; BIO-102, Organismal Biology; BIO-201, Cell and Molecular Biology.


    2. CHE-107, Principles of Chemistry or CHE-108, Chemical Thermodynamics and Equilibrium; CHE-141 and CHE-251, Organic I & II.


    3. MCS-121 and MCS-122, Calculus I & II; PHY-122 and PHY-172, General Physics I & II with Calculus, and concurrent laboratory, PHY-121 and PHY 171.
  2. Core:
    1. BIO-388, Molecular Genetics.


    2. CHE-255, Biochemistry and the capstone course, CHE-360, Proteins.


    3. CHE-371, Physical Chemistry I.
  3. Electives:

    1. BIO-202, Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior and an additional Level III biology course.


    2. Two chemistry courses, chosen from CHE-246, Environmental Chemistry; CHE-258, Inorganic I; CHE-270, Quantitative Analysis; and the Level III chemistry courses.

Note: All majors must participate in four semesters of seminar (CHE-399).