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Biology is the scientific study of living organisms. The disciplines range from studying the structure of biomolecules to the interaction of species with their environment.

The biology major at Holy Cross is designed to be flexible in meeting the needs and interests of students. The degree prepares students well for further education in master’s, doctoral, and professional programs. Students are introduced to the discipline in the two-semester introductory course, Principles of Biology. Beyond that students are encouraged to select across the breadth of the discipline from ecological aspects to molecular/cellular aspects. Supporting the biology courses are course in general chemistry, calculus and physics. All students are encouraged to seek an undergraduate research experience to supplement their coursework.

Program Focus

biology.labAt Holy Cross College, biology majors will experience biology within a Catholic educational environment. Coursework exposes students to core training in the sciences and mathematics, while integrating the curriculum within a liberal arts context. Courses are taught from an evolutionary perspective, which explains the unity and the diversity of life.

Depending upon the students’ interests and goals, they may be advised to take supporting courses. For instance, biology majors interested in medical school will be advised to take the supporting courses: CHEM 212 (Organic Chemistry II), BIOL 256 (Anatomy and Physiology II), BIOL 308 (Molecular Biology), BIOL/CHEM 420 (Biochemistry) in addition to PHYS 152 (Physics II). Biology majors interested in areas of general biology will be advised to take BIOL 211 (Botany), BIOL 315 (Ecology) and BIOL 461 (Molecular Biotechnology Techniques). Non-science majors could easily obtain a minor in biology to complement their educational background and credentials.

Students will have the opportunity to diversify their biology education by being part of the tri-campus community of Holy Cross College, Saint Mary’s College and the University of Notre Dame. Students at Holy Cross are able to enroll in courses at the Notre Dame through the ND Co-Exchange Program as well as Saint Mary’s College via the Northern Indiana Consortium for Education (N.I.C.E.). Through these programs, students can experience the rich academic environment of the Notre Dame tri-campus community while attaining a personalized education at Holy Cross College.

Major and Minor Requirements

Biology-Health Profession

If the student’s goal is to obtain admission to professional school after completion of the bachelor’s degree, the advisor will work with the student to optimize the program of study so that both the bachelor’s degree is completed as well as the needed coursework for admission to the student’s program(s) of interest. Four year plans will consider what courses should be prioritized before national standardized admissions exams are taken after the junior year. Depending on career goals, exams may include the MCAT, DAT, GRE, LSAT, or others.

All pre-medical and pre-dental students need pre-calculus algebra and trigonometry knowledge. Some medical schools (5 of the 142 MD schools) and dental schools (3 of the 66 dental schools) require Calculus I, but most do not. Almost all optometry schools (18 of the 21 OD schools) do require calculus, and pharmacy schools do too. Typically, only biochemistry, chemistry, energy science, math, and physics majors will need more than one semester of calculus. Statistics and Probability (Math 210) is recommended for students planning on taking the MCAT. Students interested in working in a bioscience, forensic science laboratory or attending graduate school in Genetics, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Biology, or Chemistry should consider taking Bioinformatics (BIOL 235) and Molecular Biotechnology Techniques (BIOL 461).


Br. Lawrence Unfried, C.S.C., M.S.
Associate Professor of Biology

Martin Sulkanen
Martin Sulkanen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics

My Ph.D. in physics from Cornell University led me to a post-doctoral fellowship at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a career in astrophysics with companies and organizations such as NASA Marshall Flight Center, Michigan Research and Development Center, and Leidos, Inc. Because of my lifelong fascination with the profound consequences of the basic principles of physics on our universe, I have studied binary star systems, galactic radio jets, and worked on NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory Project Science Team.

As a professor of physics and mathematics, I encourage my students to develop an intuitive understanding for physics to guide the understanding of further mathematical analysis: “don’t get lost in the equations!” My students have gone on to a variety of careers in places such as at Yale University, the International Space Station and the the US Patent & Trademark Office.

Yuhui Lu
Yuhui Lu, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Chemistry

The study of chemistry is necessary for students who want to pursue a career in natural science, medical science, and engineering. It also helps liberal art students to improve their reasoning skills, understand scientific methodology, and gain deeper insight between human-nature relationships. I challenge all my students, regardless of background, to engage in logic, diligence, and self-discipline.

I have earned Ph.D.s in both chemistry and electrical engineering. I use this combination of disciplines to research nanoelectronics and single molecular devices with colleagues at the University of Notre Dame. I have also been a principal investigator of grants with the National Science Foundation, and undergraduate research supervisor. I am currently pursuing a variety of research opportunities for Holy Cross students.

Elvira Baumgartner, M.S.

Mary Merrill, M.A.
Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Rodney Robichaud, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Biology

Aris Alexandrou, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Biology

Zhutian Zhang, M.S.
Math/Science Instructor

Department Contact

Br. Lawrence Unfried, C.S.C.
Associate Professor of Biology
(574) 239-8412