Chemistry & Biochemistry

Discover the wide range of options with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry or Chemistry

Loras College Chemistry and Biochemistry (ASBMB accredited) programs provide students the opportunity to develop a strong foundation in chemical principles and to apply their training in the lab. This foundation enables Chemistry and Biochemistry graduates to pursue a very wide range of options after graduation including graduate school or a chemistry-related field; going directly into the workforce for a career in the chemical industry, government, education, engineering, forensic science or law; or entering interdisciplinary fields such as medicine, dentistry, other health professions, education and more.

ASBMB Accreditation Badge

Learn About Our Major in Chemistry or Biochemistry

Student Experience

A distinct aspect of the Loras Biochemistry program is our Medical Associates Recombinant DNA Laboratory. Students engage in research employing DNA cloning—a critical component of modern biochemistry—and molecular biology investigations.

Learn More

Unique Features
At Loras, we offer an engaged experience coupled with the quality and depth of instruction usually found only at a larger institution.

  • Loras offers a broad-based, rigorous chemistry program that provides students intellectual, experimental and communication skills to become effective scientific professionals.
  • Dedicated chemistry faculty. To adequately cover the discipline, a college chemistry program should have expertise in the areas of organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry and biochemistry. Loras has qualified chemistry faculty trained in each of these five major areas as well as in the important interdisciplinary area of polymer chemistry.
  • The opportunity for students to make use of modern facilities including the Medical Associates Recombinant DNA laboratory, the NMR laboratory and the Carver Foundation Molecular Biology laboratory. We have modern instrumentation that includes the recent acquisitions of several FT infrared spectrometers, a triple quad gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer and an atomic absorption spectrometer. Loras has added major pieces of equipment worth over $350,000 during the last 5 years. The acquisition of a $250,000 Bruker 300MHz high field nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer gives students access to an instrument found in very few small colleges. Larger institutions with this type of instrumentation seldom allow student hands-on access. Every student in the program has access to all of instrumentation throughout their time at Loras.
  • Opportunities to apply what is learned in the classroom to real life situations such as internships. Also, the Loras Chemistry Club has won national awards for student involvement and for tutoring and demonstration shows on campus and in local schools. Members of the club explore opportunities to attend national meeting in places like San Francisco and New Orleans.
  • A research project conducted by each Loras chemistry and biochemistry major during their junior and senior years or during summers. These research experiences are performed with Loras faculty during the academic year or at other institutions during the summer. The results of the research are presented at local, regional and national seminars and conferences. This experience helps prepare students for careers after college.

Loras College Chemistry Profile: Ryan Mcclellan (’00), Medical Science
Ryan Mcclellan (’00), Medical Science Liaison – Takeda Pharmaceuticals
“You use the equipment one-on-one with your professor rather than with someone you don’t know, or by yourself…it’s a much more personal type of education. The faculty are interested in you getting the most out of your experience.”

How has your Loras Chemistry Experience Advanced Your Career?
My Experience: Marla Kilburg (’90), Chemist
“I always felt like I could go somewhere and get the help I needed [to succeed]…[Y]ou will say, ‘I love Loras.’ We [my daughter and I] both just loved it!”

Chemistry Career Opportunities – Outcomes
Recent Loras graduates have gone on to a variety of careers, professional schools and graduate schools with:

  • Approximately 25% in medical school
  • Another 25% in a variety of health science programs including veterinary medicine, pharmacy, nursing, osteopathic medicine and optometry
  • 25% in graduate school or law school at institutions that include the University of Iowa, Drake, Duke, Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois at Chicago, Colorado, Wright State and Northern Illinois
  • 25% who are using their Loras training to teach in high school or to work in industry as laboratory technicians

Loras College Chemistry / Biochemistry Scholarship
The alumni and friends of the Loras chemistry department recognize that chemistry has greatly enhanced their lives. Therefore, to encourage others to pursue a career in chemistry or biochemistry, they have established a four-year scholarship in the amount of $1000 ($250 each year). The award is offered to prospective first-year students who have the greatest potential for achievement in chemistry or biochemistry.

Award criteria:
High School record, ACT or SAT scores and a short essay to be submitted by April 30. Financial need is not a primary factor for this award. A complete application for admission to Loras College must be received in the Loras College Admission Office prior to your essay submission. Award is generally announced in May.

Recipient must maintains a grade point average of 3.0 and makes satisfactory progress at Loras College toward a bachelor’s degree with a major in chemistry or biochemistry.

Submit your application by April 30 by emailing your essay to Be sure to include your full name, address, phone number and email address. If you would prefer not to use email, feel free to mail your submission to:

Loras College
c/o Dr. David Oostendorp
1450 Alta Vista
Dubuque, IA 52001
How does Loras Differ from Other Colleges and Universities
My Loras College Experience: Joe Plamondon (’63), Senior Scientist

Reflecting on the Broader Loras College Experience: Values

My Loras College Experience: Ted Haas (’72), MD OB/GYN Physician

How has your Loras experience impacted your career and life?

Loras College Chemistry: Tom Gawne (’94), President – Elemental Solutions

How has your Loras Chemistry experience advanced your career?

Loras College Chemistry: Bill Feld, PhD (’66), Professor of Chemistry – Wright State University

Chemistry Club Hosts Annual Chemistry Olympics for scholarships
The Chemistry Olympics is a daylong event that allows high school students to come to Loras College and compete in five events that test laboratory and content covered in general chemistry. Winning teams are awarded trophies and can qualify for individual Loras College scholarships up to $2,000.

The Chemistry Olympics also includes a science building tour, hands-on laboratory experiences in the DNA lab and infrared lab and a chance for high school students to talk with current college students and professors. The goal of the event is to cultivate greater interest in chemistry, inspire future pursuits in science, and further develop the relationship between Loras College and regional high schools.

“The science faculty and students at Loras are excited to continue hosting this event. We hope the chance for the high school students to participate in some friendly competition and see science at Loras will encourage them to continue in science,” said Assistant Professor of Chemistry Adam Moser, Ph.D.

The Loras College Chemistry Club is a student chapter of the American Chemical Society. The club received an Honorable Mention award from the organization for its programming, which included the annual Chemistry Olympics event and a Chemistry Carnival for elementary students.

Feel free to contact us for more information:

Adam Moser, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Student Learning Outcomes


Student Learning Outcomes – Biochemistry & Chemistry
1 Students will master the fundamentals in Biochemical, Inorganic, Analytical, Organic and Physical Chemistry.
2 Students will be able to plan and execute experiments and evaluate their results.
3 Students will be able to communicate scientific and experimental information to other scientists and the community at large.
4 Students will identify, comprehend, and evaluate relevant chemical literature.
5 Students will develop professional skills that support relevant vocations.


View Highlighted Courses

From Caveman to Scientist
From the discovery of fire to the production of antibiotics and polymeric materials, how did each great advance in technology lead to the next great advance and ultimately to modern society? Each day we will explore one of the great advances: fire, ceramics, metallurgy, electricity, fermentation, synthetic chemistry, polymers. The class will be a mix of hands-on discovery activities, mini-lectures with discussion, and team-based inquiries into historical information.

Polymer Chemistry
A study of the organic chemistry and physical chemistry of natural and synthetic high polymers. Topics covered include the synthesis of polymers, thermodynamics and kinetics of polymerization and the characterization and testing of polymers. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week.

Global Warming- Fact or Fiction
The scientific method will be used to explore the impact and assess the importance of human activities and natural events on recent increases in Earth’s average global temperature. Potential consequences of this global phenomenon for future generations and us will be explored. Actions that might prevent these changes, as well as the potential economic impact of these actions on society will also be studied. Students will collect and analyze data directly.

Biophysical Chemistry
This course treats systematically the fundamental laws and theories of chemistry from a biochemical perspective. An extended treatment is given of the properties and structure of gases, the laws of thermodynamics, the physical transformations of pure substances, the properties of mixtures, phase and chemical equilibrium, and electrochemistry.

Chemistry of Forensics
This course will provide an in-depth introduction to forensic science with an emphasis in forensic chemistry. The topics include: handling data, collection of physical evidence, identification of evidence, characterization of glass and soil evidence, examination of hairs, fibers, and paints, drug analysis, serology, fingerprint detection, and document analysis. This course will focus on the chemical basis behind the forensic techniques used in crime labs and the analysis of physical evidence.

View Biochemistry & Chemistry Courses

Major & Minor Requirements

Students will complete the following requirements in order to achieve a major in Chemistry, Biochemistry or a minor in Chemistry. 

Degree Requirements

Division of Molecular, Life & Health Sciences
Kate Cooper, Ph.D., Chair

This major is intended for students interested in careers in medicine and other health sciences, biochemistry and biotechnology laboratories, and graduate studies in biochemistry.
Major Requirements for Biochemistry (B.S.)

This degree is intended for those who plan careers in industry, or intend graduate study.
Major Requirements for Chemistry (B.S.)
Minor Requirements for Chemistry

This major is intended for those planning to teach chemistry at the secondary level.
Major Requirements for Chemistry/Secondary Teaching (B.S.)

Related Majors
Biology (B.S.)
Biological Research (B.S.)

Career Opportunities

“What can you do with a Biochemistry degree?”

Student research is a required component of our program and is integrated in the second year of the curriculum, culminating in a senior thesis project presentation. After receiving your degree from Loras, you could move on to graduate school or a career in one of these fields:

  • Chemical Industry
  • Government
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Forensic science
  • Health professions

“What can you do with a Chemistry degree?”

The Chemistry program offers undeniable advantages over larger universities. A small school atmosphere coupled with the quality and depth of instruction usually found only at a larger institution, Loras classes emphasize lab work in direct coordination with professors rather than teaching assistants. Faculty are easily accessible to their students, and many work one-on-one with students on student-designed research projects.

Two local hospitals provide many opportunities for collaboration and extension of study beyond the classroom, and high-tech facilities on campus give students hands-on experience with cutting edge technology rarely seen at the undergraduate level. With the flexibility of student design and a wealth of opportunities, a degree in this division can be largely tailored to each student’s individual interests. After receiving your degree from Loras, you could move on to graduate school or a career in one of these fields:

  • Pharmaceutical Research
  • Chemical Quality Control
  • Chemical Research
  • Government
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Forensic Science or Law
  • Academic Research
  • Environmental Protection
  • Environmental Safety
  • Interdisciplinary Fields (such as Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry and other health professions)

Supporting Your Investment

Loras takes great pride in supporting your investment – both through providing an exceptional learning experience and in sharing the cost of your degree. 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. We have scholarships, grants and special awards for all students based on their achievements and financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take me to earn my Loras degree?

Most students earn their undergraduate degree in four years or less. If you have questions about transferring any previously earned credits or degrees, please see our Transfer Student Information.

How much is tuition?

At Loras College, financial access to education is one of our defining values. We are committed to helping all of our students make their degree affordable. We partner with every student and family to understand their unique financial needs ensuring 100% of Loras students receive financial aid. Scholarships, grants and special awards are offered to all students based on their achievements and financial need. Loras is consistently ranked as one of the best universities for return on investment.  View our Tuition and Fees page.

How do I apply for schlarships and financial aid?

Submit your federal FAFSA, apply to Loras College and review our financial aid resources for detailed information, scholarship opportunities and much more.

Meet Our Professors

Kate Cooper, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Chair, Division of Molecular, Life & Health Sciences
Biomedical Sciences Program Director
563.588.7956 |
Full Profile

Christina Edwards, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
563.588.7012 |
Full Profile

Andrew Kehr, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
563-588-7133 |
Full Profile

Adam Moser, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
563.588.7920 |
Full Profile

David Oostendorp, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry
563.588.7259 |
Full Profile