Learning Goals for the Chemistry Major

Upon graduation, chemistry majors typically find employment in chemical, pharmaceutical, consumer product, or biomedical industries, or they continue their education in graduate science programs, medical school, dental school, or pharmacy school. To be prepared for these endeavors, chemistry majors should:

  • comprehend current models of structure and bonding, for organic molecules, inorganic compounds, and materials.
  • understand how fundamental physical theories relate to chemical processes.
  • know how to describe chemical transformations in terms of reaction mechanisms, and to understand connections between mechanisms, reaction rates, and product distributions.
  • be competent in using mathematics to solve problems in chemistry.
  • be able to work quantitatively in a laboratory setting, using modern instrumentation to conduct and understand measurements using techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared, and UV-visible spectroscopies, mass spectrometry, and electrochemistry.
  • be proficient in analyzing and interpreting experimental data.

Graduates should also be competent in certain generic skills to function effectively as professional chemists. Specifically, these are problem-solving skills, chemical literature skills, laboratory safety skills, team skills, and ethics. Detailed descriptions of these skills can be found in a document prepared by the American Chemical Society's Committee on Professional Training: Development of Student Skills.

 

Learning Goals for Chemistry Courses

Learning Goals for World of Chemistry (101)

On completion of this course, students should

  • understand basic concepts related to atomic and molecular structure along with relationships between heat, work and energy.
  • be able to apply these concepts to explain and think critically about the molecular and physical basis for global warming, solution chemistry, acid rain, and atmospheric chemistry.

Learning Goals for General Chemistry I (115)

On completion of this course, students should

  • know the fundamentals of the properties of matter, measurement, and uncertainty.
  • understand the quantitative aspects of chemical formulas and reactions, for bot solution and gas-phase processes.
  • have an introductory appreciation for the theories of atomic structure and chemical bonding.
  • know the symbolism and terminology of chemistry as well as the organization and information conveyed by the periodic table of elements.
  • be competent in catgegorizing selected types of chemical reactions.
  • understand the various forms of energy and the role they play in physical and chemical processes.

Learning Goals for Genral Chemistry II (116)

On completion of this course, students should

  • have an appreciation for solid state structure, reaction kinetics, reaction equilibrium, thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, nuclear chemistry, and electrochemistry.
  • understand the concept of solution concentration.
  • be able to use colligative properties to determine molar mass.
  • be proficient with calculations involving aqueous acids and bases for titrations, buffer chemistry, and precipitation reactions.

Learning Goals for Analytical Chemistry (223)

On completion of this course, students should

  • understand the principles behind quantitative and qualitative analysis of chemical samples.
  • know how to design experiments to separate chemical components from mixtures.
  • understand the operating principles of analytical instrumentation, including high performance liquid chromatography, UV-visible spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy, gas-chromatography/ mass spectrometry, and electrochemical devices.
  • know how to use equilibrium chemistry to explain titration experiments.

Learning Goals for Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (227)

On completion of this course, students should

  • know how to maintain a laboratory notebook, and report results.
  • be able to carry out titration experiments for quantitative analysis (gravimetric, acid-base, redox, compleximetric).
  • know how to conduct analytical experiments using modern instrumentation (high performance liquid chromatography, UV-visible spectroscopy, atomic absorption spectroscopy, gas-chromatography/ mass spectrometry, and electrochemical devices)
  • understand the importance of reproducibility in experimentation.

Learning Goals for Organic Chemistry I (335)

On completion of this course, students should

  • know the structure, bonding, nomenclature, reactivity, properties, and preparations for alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, ethers, and alkyl halides.
  • understand the principles of reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry for the chemistry of these same functional groups.
  • be able to apply knowledge of reactions to analyze structures of molecules and propose schemes for their synthesis.
  • understand the principles of spectroscopic methods and be able to deduce molecular structures from spectra.

Learning Goals for Organic Chemistry II (336)

On completion of this course, students should

  • know the structure, bonding, nomenclature, reactivity, properties, and preparations for carbonyl compounds, aromatic compounds, carboxylic acids and their derivatives, and carbohydrates.
  • understand the principles of reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry for the chemistry of these same functional groups.
  • be able to apply knowledge of reactions to analyze structures of molecules and propose schemes for their synthesis.
  • understand the principles of spectroscopic methods and be able to deduce molecular structures from spectra.

Learning Goals for Physical Chemistry I (345)

On completion of this course, students should

  • understand the principles of chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics.
  • be able to apply thermodynamics and kinetics principles to analyze critically chemical equilibria, electrochemistry, phase transitions, and reaction rates.
  • be proficient in using mathematical tools, especially calculus, to solve chemical problems.

Learning Goals for Physical Chemistry I (345)

On completion of this course, students should

  • understand the principles of chemical thermodynamics and chemical kinetics.
  • be able to apply thermodynamics and kinetics principles to analyze critically chemical equilibria, electrochemistry, phase transitions, and reaction rates.
  • be proficient in using mathematical tools, especially calculus, to solve chemical problems.

Learning Goals for Inorganic Chemistry II (413)

On completion of this course, students should

  • apply acid base chemistry to non-aqueous media and develop a more thorough understanding of Lewis acids and bases, solvent system concepts, leveling effects and superacids.
  • acquire general knowledge of main group chemistry with an emphasis on aggregation phenomena, low valent species, hypercoordination, multiple bonding beyond the first period, cluster bonding as exemplified for borane and carborane clusters, main group organometallic chemistry.
  • develop understanding of general concepts of coordination chemistry: crystal and ligand field theory, isomerism in coordination compounds, correlation of d-electron configuration with magnetic and optical properties.
  • learn about organometallic chemistry of the transition metals and its application to catalysis: ligand types (sigma donor/pi-acceptor and sigma-donor/pi-donor), 18-electron rule and its rational, understanding of basic catalytic cycles (e.g. catalytic hydrogenation, hydroformylation, Ziegler-Natta polymerization, metathesis chemistry, cross-coupling chemistries)

Learning Goals for Physical Chemistry Laboratory (427)

On completion of this course, students should

  • master the measurement of selected thermodynamic and spectroscopic properties molecules
  • be able to apply in practice the principles of thermodynamics and quantum mechanics acquired in the lecture courses Physical Chemistry 345 and 346
  • be proficient in performing quantitative analyses of experimental data
  • be able to interpret the results of experiments in a logical, scientifically sound manner
  • know how to maintain a laboratory notebook
  • be able to write laboratory reports in clear and concise professional English

Learning Goals for Inorganic and Materials Lab (448)

On completion of this course, students should

  • be proficient in the synthesis of organic, inorganic, and organometallic compounds, including the use of air-sensitive techniques with Schlenk lines and glove boxes.
  • know how to interpret spectral and other characterization data for synthesized compounds (IR, UV-Vis, NMR, GCMS, GPC, and cyclic voltammetry).
  • understand the principles behind structure determination using single crystal X-ray diffraction methods
  • understand the principles of catalysis, be able to determine turnover frequencies, and know how to identify key steps in catalytic processes.
  • understand the principles of polymer chemistry, and know how to determine polymer molecular weights and polydispersities.