Apr 18, 2024  
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog 
2021-2022 SDSM&T Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences Department

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Contact Information 

Dr. Zhengtao Zhu
Department Head/Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences
Chemical and Biological Engineering/Chemistry 2206
Office Phone:  (605) 394-2447
Email: Zhengtao.Zhu@sdsmt.edu
Department Website: https://www.sdsmt.edu/CBH/ 

Faculty & Staff

Professors Fong and Sani; Associate Professors Barth, Gilley, Heglund, Kunza,  Smirnova, and Zhu; Assistant Professors Dhiman, Lipatov, and Shchepin; Senior Lecturers Filipova and Adcock; Lecturers Mathews and Rácz; Research Scientist /Instructor Christofferson and Numan-Al-Mobin; Instructors K. Gilcrease and Marshall; Emeritus Professors Bang and Boyles; Emeritus Senior Lecturer Coble. Department Senior Secretary Deborah Tompkins; Chemical and Instrumentation Specialist Darren Schwede.

The Department of Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences (CBH) offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology , Chemistry , and Pre-Professional Health Sciences , and Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Biochemistry Specialization . Minors are offered in Biology , Chemistry , and Environmental Science 

Bachelor of Science Degrees

Bachelor of Science in Biology

Biologists study how living things work and how they interact with one another and their environment.  The field of biology is exploding, and new biological discoveries are happening every day in the world around us. The Biology degree at South Dakota Mines reflects modern-day biology that uses fundamental biological principles along with other sciences and emerging technologies to identify and solve real world problems.  Currently, the world faces many diverse biological challenges such as preventing the spread of deadly viruses, finding ways to prevent or cure genetic diseases, helping paralyzed people by making nerve cells grow, discovering ways to lessen the impact of changing global climate, identifying the risks of genetic modification of living organisms, and understanding how the bacteria in the digestive system affects human health.  Most of the courses in the curriculum include laboratories that give students hands-on experience in the processes of biological inquiry. Throughout the curriculum, biology students will learn to think critically and will acquire necessary knowledge and skills that will prepare them to play key roles in coming up with innovative solution to some of the biological and health-related challenges of society. 

Opportunities abound for our biology graduates.  Many are admitted into competitive professional professional and graduate programs in a variety of fields including medicine, dentistry, immunology, biomedical engineering, genomics, environmental science, nanoscience, epidemiology, medical research, patent law, and others.  Graduates also enter the workforce in biotechnical and medical industries, governmental agencies, research labs, patent offices, environmental agencies, biological sales, and many other cross-disciplinary careers.

Students May Choose an Area of Emphasis within the Biology Major

Biology is a multidisciplinary field and opportunities for biology majors are ample and diverse.  All biology majors complete the core curriculum to solidly prepare them for biology-related careers. Students may wish to choose an area of emphasis and an advisor will guide them in choosing program and free electives that will best prepare them for their chosen career path. 

Pre-Health Professions: for preparation for entry into graduate or professional schools in medicine, physician assistant, pharmaceutical science, physical therapy, prosthetics, or other areas related to healthcare.

Molecular Biology and Biomedical Research: for preparation to pursue careers related to biomedical research, genetic engineering, biotechnology or to prepare for entry into graduate school in programs emphasizing biomedical or pharmaceutical research, molecular biology, immunology, regenerative medicine, and related areas.

Environmental Science: for those interested in finding solutions for environmental problems, including alternative energy systems, pollution control, and natural resource management, and may be employed by government, industry, universities, or nonprofit organizations. Graduates with this emphasis may enter the South Dakota Mines Green and Sustainable Chemistry program and have an opportunity to obtain their BS in Biology and MS in Green and Sustainable Chemistry in 5 years. 

Pre-Biomedical Engineering: to prepare students to enter a graduate program in biomedical engineering. Graduates with this emphasis may enter the SD Mines Biomedical Engineering program and have an opportunity to obtain their BS in Biology and MS in BME in 5 years.

For more information on a Biology Major go to: https://www.sdsmt.edu/Academics/Departments/Chemistry-Biology-and-Health-Sciences/Undergraduate-Education/Biology-BS/

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

Chemistry is a branch of science that deals with the study of the composition, structure, properties and reactions, and behavior of substances. Living things are made of chemicals and the products of chemistry surround us: sunscreen used to protect skin, drugs to treat illness, materials for solar cells, computer chips, and airplanes. Chemistry is the essence of our daily lives. Chemists play a key role in technology, medicine, scientific research, and in public health and safety. Chemists enjoy many diverse career opportunities.

The Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry is certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society.  The curriculum provides a broad-based and rigorous education which emphasizes a molecular approach to chemical phenomena – an approach central to the heart of any chemical field.  The department offers foundation and in-depth coursework in the five major sub-disciplines of Chemistry: Analytical, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical Chemistry.  Students find opportunities to work with faculty who hold high caliber, peer-reviewed, externally funded research grants awarded by federal agencies including Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and many other agencies.  This research experience affords students opportunities to present their research at local or national biannual meetings of the American Chemical Society. 

Graduates find career opportunities in government, private, and academic sectors and are highly sought after by employers. In addition, students are well-prepared for graduate studies in chemistry, materials science, environmental science, and related disciplines as well as professional programs such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, forensics, and law.

Biochemistry Specialization: for students interested in the application of chemistry concepts to biological systems. Biochemistry provides the basis for practical advances in medicine, veterinary medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology.  It underlies many emerging fields of study such as biomedical engineering and molecular genetics. This emphasis is designed for students planning to continue their education in a health field or in a career or graduate school that has a focus in a related area.

For more information on a Chemistry Major go to https://www.sdsmt.edu/Academics/Departments/Chemistry-Biology-and-Health-Sciences/Undergraduate-Education/Chemistry-BS/

Bachelor of Science in Pre-Professional Health Sciences

Advances in medicine and the growth of the aging population is boosting the demand for healthcare professionals of all types.  The Pre-professional Health Sciences degree provides an excellent preparation for entry into professional programs while offering a well-rounded college education.  The Health Sciences degree is a flexible, yet rigorous science degree, requiring core courses in biology, chemistry, physics and math while allowing multidisciplinary electives and support courses from other areas such as psychology, sociology, and humanities.  This degree taps into the interdisciplinary nature of health care and medical research, preparing students for a wide variety of health-related careers.

Academic advisors interact with Health Sciences students to plan a course of study and choose electives that will make them competitive candidates for professional schools for high-demand careers such as physician assistant, genetic counseling, physical therapy, public health, and others.  Health sciences majors have ample opportunities for professional development through internships, research experience, shadowing opportunities, community service, membership in student organizations, and leadership development activities.

For more detailed information about the Pre-professional Health Sciences degree, please visit the CBHS Department Website at: https://www.sdsmt.edu/Academics/Departments/Chemistry-Biology-and-Health-Sciences/Undergraduate-Education/Pre-professional-Health-Sciences-BS/

Minors in CBHS

Biology Minor

Students in other science or engineering disciplines may pursue a Biology Minor to augment and complement their major. Visit the Biology Minor  program page for complete information.

Environmental Science Minor

Students in other science or engineering disciplines may pursue a minor in Environmental Science to augment and complement their major. Visit the Environmental Science Minor  program page for complete information.

Chemistry Minor

Students in other science or engineering disciplines may pursue a minor in Chemistry to augment and complement their major. Visit the Chemistry Minor  program page for complete information.

Professional Development: CBHS

The Department of Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences encourages students to have a well-rounded experience, including a strong focus on professional development. The CBHS department offers the following profession development opportunities to assist students in their pursuit of excellence.

Societies and Clubs:

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Other Enrichment Opportunities

Graduate Opportunities in CBHS

For students interested in graduate studies, the Department of Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences offers a thesis or non-thesis Master of Science degree in Green and Sustainable Chemistry . The MS Green and Sustainable Chemistry program curriculum is designed to address the growing demand for highly qualified professionals in the broad area of green and sustainable chemistry and technologies and to support and complement the current research foci of the green and sustainable chemistry. The program offers opportunities for advanced studies and research in renewable energy, sustainable chemistry, environmental science, human health, biotechnology, and biomaterials. Accelerated Masters programs in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, in which students can earn a MS in as little as one year after completion of their BS degree at South Dakota Mines, are available

The faculty of the Department of Chemistry, Biology, and Health Sciences also participate in several South Dakota Mines graduate programs including MS and PhD in Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Materials Engineering and Science, and Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

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