Loyola University Maryland

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Learning Aims

The Loyola chemistry and biochemistry curricula are designed to provide undergraduates with a sound education in the fundamental areas of modern chemistry. The curriculum prepares chemistry and biochemistry majors to structure and interpret concepts, ideas, and relationships within the broader field of chemistry. Students who complete all required courses in the program receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The chemistry and biochemistry department has developed five learning aims for the chemistry/biochemistry major:

  • Students will develop a firm understanding in the general principles of chemistry. This will take place through foundational chemistry courses, which are those typically taken by majors during their first two years at Loyola.
  • Students will develop a firm understanding of detailed knowledge in specific areas of chemistry. Students take advanced courses in to each of the five major areas of chemistry: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. These advanced courses are typically taken by majors during their third and fourth years at Loyola.
  • Students will develop and learn experimental techniques in the five major areas of chemistry.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of chemistry through written reports. The purposes of writing in the chemistry department are to determine what a student has learned; if the student can express that knowledge clearly; if the student can analyze what was read or studied; and if the student is capable of original thought.
  • Students will learn to apply quantitative techniques and computational methods in the analysis of chemistry and chemical problems.

Biochemistry Learning Aims

Students who graduate with a degree in Biochemistry will be able to think like a scientist, will have extensive biochemical knowledge, will be well versed in biochemical techniques and technologies, and will be able to communicate to a diverse audience in both written and oral forms. Further discussion of these core areas of assessment is discussed in the sections below.

1. Thinking like a Scientist: Upon completion of a major in Biochemistry, students will be able to tackle biochemical problems in a scientific manner using observations, well-    thought hypotheses, predictions, and sound experimental design.

  • Demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues in the molecular life sciences.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think in an integrated manner and look at problems from different perspectives. .
  • Have firm foundations in the fundamentals and applications of current chemical theories for the physical world.
  • Be skilled in problems solving, critical thinking, and analytical reasoning.

2. Biochemical Knowledge: Upon completion of a major in Biochemistry, students will have knowledge of the core concepts that pertain to the field of Biochemistry which can  be applied to their careers and/or graduate studies.

  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the major disciplines at the interface of chemistry and biology and the chemistry of biological systems.
  • Apply their knowledge of biology and chemistry to competently solve quantitative problems, and employ critical thinking and analytical reasoning to make sure that their answers are reasonable.
  • Use molecular understanding in fields that are based upon chemistry.
  • Recall, relate, synthesize, deploy knowledge, and solve problems in all areas of chemistry.

3. Biochemical Techniques and Technology: Biochemistry Majors will gain proficiency in basic laboratory techniques in both chemistry and biology, and be able to apply the    scientific method to the processes of experimentation and hypothesis testing. Upon completion of a major in Biochemistry, students will have the ability to perform laboratory techniques used in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

  • Competently conduct experiments using a broad variety of classical chemical and biochemical laboratory techniques and modern instrumentation and critically analyze and evaluate experimental data.
  • Interpret and evaluate results critically. Identify and quantify uncertainties in measurements and limitations in methodologies.
  • Use computational methods to model chemical systems and use computers for data acquisition and processing. Use appropriate software for data analysis including graphing and basic statistics.
  • Follow proper procedures and regulations for safe handling, use, and disposal of chemicals and practice safe laboratory procedures.
  • Maintain proper records of laboratory activities.
  • Use modern library searching and retrieval methods to obtain information about a topic, chemical, chemical technique, or an issue relating to chemistry, going beyond textbooks and common handbooks.

4. Oral and Written Communication: Upon completion of a major in Biochemistry, students will be able to communicate, both orally and in written form, in a scientific manner. Students will also be able to explain complex biochemical concepts to scientists and nonscientists.

  • Communicate science in writing and orally for both expert and non-expert audiences in a variety of ways.
  • Collaborate effectively as part of a team to solve problems, debate different points of view, and interact productively with a diverse group of team members in and outside the class setting.
  • Read and understand original research including current issues in the discipline and present their findings through oral, written and visual presentations.
Theresa Nguyen

Theresa Nguyen, Ph.D.

Dr. Nguyen attributes her success as a scientist and as a professor to her Jesuit education