Mission and Learning Goals

Department of Chemistry
Georgetown University

Our Mission

The Department of Chemistry is a student-centered department rooted in research that strives to provide exceptional education and training for both graduate and undergraduate students in an environment of outstanding scholarship expected at a top university.

Learning Goals for Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors

Students that graduate with a degree in Chemistry or Biochemistry will have completed a comprehensive and rigorous program which includes foundational course work, in-depth advanced course work, and extensive laboratory experience.  As expected of a rigorous science program, ours is built vertically: courses and program elements use and build on information, methods and principles learned in earlier semesters of the program. 

Through this program, Chemistry and Biochemistry majors can expect to gain:

General Skills

1.  Use critical thinking skills and scientific reasoning to evaluate arguments and address complex issues based on facts, experiments and observations.

2.  Recognize and work rigorously with qualitative and quantitative data.

3.  Learn and understand scientific principles, articulate scientific ideas, arguments and facts.

4.  Learn about the societal and ethical aspects of modern science.

Practical Skills

1.  Understand experimental objectives, properly carry out experiments and appropriately record data and critically analyze/interpret results.

2.  Know and follow proper procedures and regulations for safe handling and use of chemicals.

3.  Use standard laboratory equipment, modern instrumentation and classical techniques to carry out a wide range of experiments in organic, inorganic, analytical, biochemical and physical chemistry.

4.  Skillfully utilize the scientific literature.

5.  Use computers in data acquisition and processing and use a variety of software and statistical tools in mathematics based data analysis.

6.  Have the ability to work in teams to solve scientific problems.

7.  Have the ability to communicate effectively the concepts and results of experiments through written and oral communication.

Conceptual Knowledge

1.  Master a broad set of chemical knowledge in the disciplines of organic, inorganic, biochemical, analytical and physical chemistry.

2.  Have a working knowledge of chemical principles in thermodynamics, equilibrium, kinetics, quantum mechanics, spectroscopy, reactivities of substances and synthesis.

3.  Have the ability to apply formal knowledge to real chemical and materials problems.

Through additional electives and laboratory experience, biochemistry majors will:

4.  Be able to use emerging concepts in modern cell and molecular biology that are particularly relevant to traditional topics in biochemical research.

5.  Be able to use concepts and emerging research at the interface of biology and chemistry.

Integration of Knowledge

Chemistry and Biochemistry majors at Georgetown University have the opportunity to be immersed in multifaceted learning experiences. With hands-on research opportunities in a number of faculty-directed groups, and integrated coursework with the Math, Computer Science, Biology and Physics departments, our majors gain a unique and valuable perspective on their world. 

Our program is accredited by the American Chemical Society and meets the highest standards in preparing our graduates for:

  1. Careers in industry, government, academia and research.
  2. Graduate school in Chemistry, Biochemistry and other fields. Our students are exceptionally well-prepared for the most competitive graduate schools.
  3. Related studies in medical school programs and M.D.-Ph.D. programs. Degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry are highly regarded by medical professionals and medical schools as the best training for work that is done once a student attends medical school.
  4. Continued studies in dentistry and veterinary medicine.
  5. Other career paths that build on knowledge and skills obtained in the program including, but not limited to, careers in advertising, law, engineering, management, entertainment, etc.