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Mission Statement

The SCU Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is a diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, and staff who promote knowledge, discovery and application of atomic and molecular level phenomena to enhance ethical scientific and technical literacy.

Program Goals 

  • To promote scientific and technical information literacy about chemical and biochemical issues in modern society.
  • To inspire and create undergraduate leaders in research and in creation of solutions that benefit the common good.
  • To develop quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and communication skills related to chemical and biochemical problem solving.
  • To foster an inclusive community of undergraduate and faculty scholars dedicated to chemical and biochemical education, research, and leadership.

Learning Outcomes for Chemistry & Biochemistry Majors

Students graduating from the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry will demonstrate

1. Scientific Reasoning: Students will demonstrate understanding of fundamental chemical concepts and have an ability to extend that knowledge to the solution of new problems in all chemistry subdisciplines (organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, and biochemical) through performance on assignments and exams (lecture setting) and laboratory experiments and reports (laboratory setting). Students will:

a. Explain foundational principles of chemistry and biochemistry, including

    1. symbols and terminology (the language) of chemistry
    2. sound mathematical concepts and be able to apply them to chemical systems
    3. organization of the periodic table
    4. atomic and quantum mechanical basis of chemical behavior
    5. chemical bonding and structure/reactivity relationships
    6. chemical kinetics and chemical equilibrium
    7. descriptive chemistry and of practical and everyday chemistry

b. Apply principles of chemical reasoning to solve qualitative and quantitative problems or questions.

c. Interpret and analyze chemical datasets or case studies.

2. Laboratory Skills: Students will demonstrate a thorough knowledge of laboratory safety and experimental approaches to solving problems of a chemical nature while recognizing sustainable practices in the field. Students will:

a. Design and perform controlled experiments to test hypotheses with knowledge of methods, instrumentation, and materials available.

b. Master a variety of safe standard laboratory procedures and operations, including proper chemical handling and waste disposal, including evaluation of the safest approaches for the scientist and society.

c. Use modern instruments and computational methods of analysis in chemical sciences.

3. Communication Skills: Students will demonstrate written and oral communication skills for presenting chemical information. Students will:

a. Maintain detailed, accurate laboratory notebooks.

b. Prepare written and oral reports that communicate scientific results effectively, including displaying information clearly using graphs and tables.

4. Chemical Information Literacy: Students will demonstrate their proficiency in the discipline through discovery of new knowledge and/or validation of existing knowledge in research or exploratory projects. Students will: 

a. Develop an appreciation of the importance of uncertainty in scientific measurements and develop the judgment to recognize that different levels of accuracy and reproducibility are appropriate in different settings.

b. Recognize and explain connections between chemical topics and everyday, “real world” situations.

5. Ethics and Inclusivity: Students will understand that scientific work should be carried out honestly and objectively with a concern for the societal, ethical, and environmental aspects of the works. Students will demonstrate growth and understanding of the benefits of including scientists from a diverse, global society.