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Biochemistry (B.S.)

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Mission

The mission of the biochemistry program at Philadelphia University is to provide a high quality, rigorous curriculum, accredited by the American Chemical Society, that prepares our undergraduate students for the disciplines of chemistry and biochemistry where critical and analytical thinking skills, collaboration, innovation and a yearning for discovery are essential traits. Our stimulating and supportive environment allows students to grow intellectually and professionally through a curriculum that stresses thorough understanding of chemical concepts and principles while developing essential practical, hands-on skills through laboratory experiences such as faculty-led research and laboratory-based courses. In addition, the mission of the University ensures that our graduates not only possess the essential mathematical and scientific skills to be successful in the chemical and biochemical disciplines, but they also become lifelong, community-engaged learners as a result of our rigorous Hallmarks Core curriculum.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates from the biochemistry major will be able to:

  • Describe the fundamental laws and theories of chemistry pertaining to the properties of matter, chemical reactions and their stoichiometry, properties of gases, solution chemistry and acid and base chemistry.
  • Describe the chemistry of organic molecules including functional group structure and properties, structure and stereochemistry of alkanes, nucleophilic substitution and elimination reactions of allyl halides, the structure/synthesis/reactions of alkenes, alcohols, aromatic compounds, aldehydes and ketones.
  • Summarize chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics and quantum mechanics and relate this information to modern day chemistry.
  • Develop the language, terms and critical thinking/problem solving skills to use, understand and trouble-shoot analytical instrumentation used in chemistry and biochemistry today.
  • Acquire the necessary “bench top” laboratory skills, including knowledge of laboratory safety and behavior, to be functional with laboratory equipment and techniques.
  • Describe the utility and history of inorganic chemistry including atomic structure, simple bonding theory, symmetry and group theory, coordination chemistry and molecular orbital theory.
  • Describe metabolism (including signaling mechanisms, basic biochemistry of DNA and RNA and mechanisms of control of gene expression), protein structure-function and laboratory techniques used in biochemical research.
  • Garner information and critically analyze information (Information Literacy skills in general).
  • Effectively communicate in written formats germane to the sciences.
  • Successfully use their garnered research skills to probe new avenues of scientific inquiry.
  • Utilize communication skills to disseminate research to both the general public and the scientific community.

Program Description

The Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry combines the disciplines of biology and chemistry to enable students to pursue careers in research, industry and advanced study in graduate programs. A variety of opportunities exists in research and development in the pharmaceutical industry, specialty-chemical companies and genetics, molecular biology and bioengineering research. The program provides an appropriate preparation for medical and other health sciences professional schools. Biochemistry majors maintain a consistently high placement rate in major-related careers and graduate school programs.

A wide array of career choices are available to professionals in this important field, including research management positions at large pharmaceutical and chemical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Rohm and Haas, DuPont, Merck and Eastman Kodak.

The program, accredited by the American Chemical Society (ACS), not only prepares students for careers in research, development or production in the chemical industry, but for advanced study in graduate and/or medical school. The University maintains close ties with the ACS, which frequently invites students to present their research findings at meetings. Students have recently given presentations in Washington, D.C., San Francisco and San Diego. Students accumulate field-related research experience throughout their college careers due to the small class size and the faculty’s hands-on” approach. As a result, many students have seen their work published in scholarly journals as early as the freshman year.