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Program Expectations

Students completing the Honours BSc Chemistry and Honours BSc Biochemistry and Biotechnology degrees will achieve the following program-level expectations.

Honours BSc Chemistry

  1. Articulate fundamental principles from all subdisciplines of chemistry and recognize their real-world applications.
    • Describe the models for chemical bonding and how computational methods can be used to predict observed properties.
    • Describe and illustrate chemical structure and composition, predict and explain chemical reactivity and elucidate and illustrate the mechanisms by which chemical reactions occur.
    • Identify methods for determining the composition of matter, including the structures of compounds and the concentrations of substances in mixtures.
    • Describe chemical principles in the context of living biological systems, including biochemical reactions and biochemical structures.
  2. Think critically and apply fundamental chemical principles to solve new problems, particularly quantitative problems.
    • Develop strategies to define and decipher both experimental and quantitative chemical problems.
    • Employ general problem-solving strategies.
    • Develop testable hypotheses.
    • Gain experience in the design and execution of experiments to test hypotheses.
    • Analyze and interpret data using appropriate statistical methods.
    • Formulate evidence-based conclusions.
  3. Demonstrate metacognitive skills.
    • Demonstrate an ability to self-assess, i.e., to reflect on one’s own learning and identify strengths and weaknesses.
    • Demonstrate an ability to regulate learning, i.e., to develop strategies and plans to address gaps in learning.
  4. Demonstrate technical laboratory skills and experience with classical and modern chemical instrumentation and equipment and apply these skills to conduct laboratory experiments.
    • Identify common laboratory equipment and associate this equipment with appropriate uses.
    • Perform common techniques and progress through a series of techniques that make up protocols.
    • Understand the need for and use of standards and control/calibration samples.
    • Follow standard operating procedures in laboratory manuals or instrument technical manuals.
    • Gain experience in the design and execution of laboratory experiments to test hypotheses.
  5. Demonstrate safe laboratory skills and practices.
    • Understand and apply the concepts of safe laboratory practices.
    • Demonstrate responsible disposal techniques.
    • Understand and comply with safety regulations.
    • Recognize and minimize potential chemical and physical hazards.
    • Be familiar with emergency lab procedures.
  6. Find and interpret chemical literature.
    • Give a general overview of the peer-review process.
    • Use Chemical Abstracts and other databases with search tools.
    • Retrieve specific information from chemical literature.
    • Recognize that all experimental findings are based on certain assumptions and reported with some level of uncertainty and therefore, peer-reviewed scientific literature and other technical articles are always open to interpretation and criticism.
  7. Effectively communicate scientific principles and research using both oral and written forms appropriate to the audience.
    • Present information in a clear and organized manner.
    • Write well-organized and concise reports in a scientifically appropriate style (e.g., logical abstract, well-constructed paragraph, appropriate mathematical communication, and proper referencing).
    • Use technology such as poster preparation software, word processing, chemical structure drawing programs, data analysis and graphing software, and computerized presentations in scientific communication.
  8. Exercise good team skills in solving scientific problems in a variety of settings (classroom, laboratory, and in homework assignments).
    • Demonstrate skills associated with effective leadership.
    • Interact productively and work effectively with a diverse group of peers.
  9. Act ethically, display high personal standards and integrity, behave responsibly and be aware of contemporary issues related to chemistry.
    • Understand that science is permeated with ethical judgements.
    • Analyze ethical problems in science and devise appropriate solutions.
    • Identify the role of chemistry in contemporary societal and global issues and developments in scholarly communications including those affecting authors' rights, the use of copyrighted materials in research and instruction, and open-access initiatives related to the scientific literature.
    • Understand the reasons for citing the literature in one’s own writing.

Honours BSc Biochemistry and Biotechnology

  1. Articulate fundamental principles in chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, and cell and molecular biology and appreciate them within the context of our society.
    • Describe structure and function relationships and interactions of biomacromolecules.
    • Describe, at a molecular level, the major pathways of DNA replication, transcription, translation, metabolism, biosynthesis, and processing.
    • Identify cross-disciplinary approaches for the characterization of biomolecules.
    • Describe chemical and physical principles in the context of living biological systems, including metabolic reactions and biomolecular structures.
    • Relate biochemical-level changes/abnormalities with pathologies.
  2. Think critically and apply fundamental principles in chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, and cell and molecular biology to solve new problems, particularly quantitative problems.
    • Develop strategies to define and decipher both experimental and quantitative chemical problems.
    • Employ general problem-solving strategies.
    • Develop testable hypotheses.
    • Gain experience in the design and execution of experiments to test hypotheses.
    • Utilize appropriate computational tools within the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology.
    • Analyze and interpret data using appropriate statistical methods.
    • Formulate evidence-based conclusions.
  3. Demonstrate metacognitive skills.
    • Demonstrate an ability to self-assess, i.e., to reflect on one’s own learning and identify strengths and weaknesses.
    • Demonstrate an ability to regulate learning, i.e., to develop strategies and plans to address gaps in learning.
  4. Demonstrate technical laboratory skills and experience with classical and modern instrumentation and equipment utilized in biochemistry and molecular biology and apply these skills to conduct laboratory experiments.
    • Identify common laboratory equipment and associate this equipment with appropriate uses.
    • Perform common techniques and progress through a series of techniques that make up protocols.
    • Understand the need for and use of standards and control/calibration samples.
    • Follow standard operating procedures in laboratory manuals or instrument technical manuals.
    • Gain experience in the design and execution of laboratory experiments to test hypotheses.
  5. Demonstrate safe laboratory skills and practices.
    • Understand and apply the concepts of safe laboratory practices.
    • Demonstrate responsible disposal techniques.
    • Understand and comply with safety regulations.
    • Recognize and minimize potential chemical and physical hazards.
    • Be familiar with emergency lab procedures.
  6. Find and interpret chemical and biological literature.
    • Give a general overview of the peer-review process.
    • Use Chemical Abstracts and other databases with search tools.
    • Retrieve specific information from scientific literature.
    • Recognize that all experimental findings are based on certain assumptions and reported with some level of uncertainty and therefore, peer-reviewed scientific literature and other technical articles are always open to interpretation and criticism.
  7. Effectively communicate scientific principles and research using both oral and written forms appropriate to the audience.
    • Present information in a clear and organized manner.
    • Write well-organized and concise reports in a scientifically appropriate style (e.g., logical abstract, well-constructed paragraph, appropriate mathematical communication, and proper referencing).
    • Use technology such as poster preparation software, word processing, chemical structure drawing programs, data analysis and graphing software, and computerized presentations in scientific communication.
  8. Exercise good team skills in solving scientific problems in a variety of settings (classroom, laboratory, and in homework assignments).
    • Demonstrate skills associated with effective leadership.
    • Interact productively and work effectively with a diverse group of peers.
  9. Act ethically, display high personal standards and integrity, behave responsibly and be aware of contemporary issues related to biochemistry.
    • Understand that science is permeated with ethical judgements.
    • Analyze ethical problems in science and devise appropriate solutions.
    • Identify the role of biochemistry in contemporary societal and global issues and developments in scholarly communications including those affecting authors' rights, the use of copyrighted materials in research and instruction, and open-access initiatives related to the scientific literature.
    • Understand the reasons for citing the literature in one’s own writing.

Contact Us:

Jane Davidson, Administrative Assistant

E: jadavidson@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2148
Office Location: Science Building, N3013A, Waterloo campus

Ian Hamilton, Department Chair

E: chemchair@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x2669

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