Mission Statement 

We recognize that the disciplines of biochemistry and molecular biology have their basis in the fundamental underpinnings of biology and chemistry. Our graduates will have the skills to examine and describe living systems in terms of the molecules therein. 


Program Goal 1 - Molecular Literacy 

Students will build a comprehensive working knowledge of: 1) proteins - their chemistry and their role as enzymes, structural, recognition, and signaling molecules; 2) nucleic acids - their structures, properties, and their roles in the storage and transmission of genetic information; 3) lipids, carbohydrates, and more complex biomolecules that have a diverse array of functions; 4) the roles of biomolecules in cellular signaling, metabolism, structure, and cellular organization; 5) the thermodynamics of specific molecular transformations, as well as integrated complex processes, and 6) the integration, interaction, and regulation of complex developmental, signaling, and metabolic pathways at the organismal level. 

Learning Outcomes—Students will: 

  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the chemical and physical properties of small molecules found in living systems and will have a working knowledge of the phenomena that govern the behavior of biomolecules in aqueous and non-aqueous environments. 
  • Extend and apply their understanding of molecular structure and function to polymeric macromolecules and macromolecular complexes in order to predict and construct models for the behaviors of those more complicated biomolecules. 
  • Recognize and interpret the structural and functional aspects of molecules and their interactions that give rise to the supramolecular complexes such as organelles and cells and how those complexes function within organisms. 


Program Goal 2 - Critical evaluation and analytical problem-solving ability 

Students will solve problems, applying foundational knowledge to the analysis of the complex and unknown. Through the thoughtful examination of problems and phenomena, students will reinforce and expand their knowledge. 

Learning Outcomes—Students will: 

  • Evaluate sophisticated problems and synthesize detailed, logical and throughtful solutions thereto, by using an analytical and critical approach. 


Program Goal 3 - Experimental competency 

Students will propose explanations for the phenomena they observe and then rigorously prove or disprove those explanations through experimental science, generating new knowledge. 

Learning Outcomes—Students will: 

  • Develop the ability to apply the scientific method to scientific problems. They will identify, characterize, and analyze the components of scientific problems, ask significant scientific questions, formulate hypotheses and design experiments to test these hypotheses, and collect, analyze, and interpret data. 
  • Develop the ability to identify and utilize the proper methodologies and instrumentation necessary to successfully test experimental hypotheses. They will demonstrate an ability to apply the appropriate scientific methods to the investigation of scientific questions. 
  • Collect scientific data, maintain laboratory notebooks, and perform data analyses using graphical and statistical computer software. 


Program Goal 4 - Communication Proficiency 

Students will be thoughtful and effective communicators of knowledge, demonstrating independent thought and scientific intellect in written and oral mechanisms. 

Learning Outcomes—Students will: 

  • Develop a familiarity with the scientific literature, an awareness of the theories, laws, and methods that govern scientific research, and a fluency in the vernacular of scientific investigation. They will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively with their scientific peers both in written and oral formats. 
  • Critically evaluate investigations from the primary scientific literature. They will clearly articulate their understanding of the data presented, the science behind the investigations, and the findings in those primary scientific papers. Students will evaluate the author's conclusions and propose and defend additional investigations that could clarify the conclusions and/or add to the scientific literature. 


Program Goal 5 - Technology and information conversancy 

Students will be knowledgeable in the current state of the discipline by engaging the primary literature and by using contemporary technologies and tools for discovering and building knowledge in biochemistry and molecular biology. 

Learning Outcomes—Students will: 

  • Demonstrate the ability to utilize literature search engines to find and collect primary scientific papers, review articles, book chapters, and other scientific literature. They will further exhibit the capacity to critically analyze these scientific works. 
  • Develop an understanding of, and familiarity with, Internet databases as well as experimental and analytical tools utilized in scientific investigations, data analyses, and data dissemination.