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Chemistry

Professors: Berberian, Forman (Chair), Murray

Associate Professors: Rao, Reynolds, Smolen, Zurbach

Assistant Professors: Cerda, Graham

Laboratory Coordinator: Longo

Program Overview

Chemistry is the branch of science that tries to understand the relationships between the detailed structure of a substance and its properties and reactivity. Chemistry is concerned both with naturally occurring substances and with new substances that are created by humans. Chemists work to determine why substances differ in their properties and how these properties can be controlled and used effectively. An important objective in chemical education is to develop in students the ability to solve problems by employing the techniques of the various subdisciplines of chemistry. A student who is majoring in chemistry at Saint Joseph’s University is introduced to all of the major subdisciplines: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. Throughout the program, emphasis is placed on chemistry as a laboratory science. Consequently, a student majoring in chemistry learns not only the basic theories of chemistry, but also how to use experimental techniques to solve chemical problems. The modern research-grade instrumentation in our laboratories enhances the experimental experiences of our students. Faculty members teach all of the sections of laboratory courses. In addition, chemistry majors are able to engage in faculty-directed independent research projects in the traditional subdisciplines of chemistry and environmental chemistry during the academic year and/or in the summer. Students often have the opportunity to present the results of their research in the chemical literature and at local, regional, and national scientific meetings. The curriculum for the chemistry major is designed to prepare students for continuing their educations in graduate and professional schools as well as for employment in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and government laboratories. The curriculum of the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry is certified by the American Chemical Society.

Departmental Mission

The Department of Chemistry trains students in both the theoretical and experimental aspects of the major subdisciplines of chemistry. Our modern research-grade instrumentation makes it possible for students to explore contemporary problems in all of these areas. Chemistry majors are encouraged to engage in faculty-directed independent research projects and to present the results of their studies in the chemical literature and at scientific meetings. The curriculum for a chemistry major prepares the graduates to continue their educations in graduate and professional schools or to work in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and in government laboratories. Our alumni are aware that through chemistry they can continue to make contributions to society that are of service to others.

Learning Goals

  • Students will develop an understanding of the theoretical and experimental methods that chemists use to explore and model the properties and behavior of matter.
  • Students will understand that ethical conduct is fundamental to progress in science.
  • Students will appreciate that the frontiers of science are expanding at an accelerating rate and that they must develop a commitment to life-long learning.
  • Students will recognize the importance of service to others, and they will be aware that chemistry provides opportunities for them to address major issues in society.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate a mastery of the key concepts in the five major subdisciplines of chemistry: analytical chemistry, biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry.
  • Students will learn to apply the scientific method to study problems in chemistry.
  • Students will learn to search the chemical literature for published work relevant to a problem of interest.
  • Students will learn to use contemporary computer software to study problems in chemistry.
  • Students will learn how to store, handle, and use chemicals safely.
  • Students will be given ample opportunities to gain hands-on experience with the instruments that are used to study problems in chemistry. The students will learn how to interpret the data that they obtain from these instruments.
  • Students will learn to work independently and in collaboration with others in the investigation of problems in chemistry.
  • Students will learn how to assess experimental data critically.
  • Students will learn to conduct research in an ethical manner.
  • Students will learn to predict the behavior of a new substance based on the known behavior of related compounds.
  • Students will learn to apply appropriate theoretical models to explain experimental observations.
  • Students will learn to describe the results of a chemical investigation both orally and in writing to specialists and to a general audience.