Department Chair: Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D.
As the central science, chemistry is the foundation for our understanding of the physical world. It is used to solve many of the problems of the world ranging from human health (new medicinal compounds to treat or prevent disease, new tools to probe how the human body and brain work, new biomedical diagnostic strategies), energy, material science, food security, access to clean water and environmental pollution. Chemistry is an integral part of the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] fields that are in high demand and have continued to experience growth in employment opportunities and increasing salaries over the years. Our department offers a BS in Chemistry, a BS in Biochemistry, a BA in Chemistry and a Minor in Chemistry. We also offer a BAS in Chemistry and Secondary Education, a dual 3+2 year program leading to a BA in Chemistry (Salve) and BS in Chemical or Biomedical Engineering at Washington University, St. Louis, and a dual 3+3 year program leading to a BA in Biochemistry (Salve) and a PharmD from the University of Hartford.
Students who major in chemistry or biochemistry enjoy a scientific basis that allows for a wide range of career opportunities. These include both industrial and academic positions and often involve analysis, synthesis, and/or modeling. With a detailed curriculum and an interdisciplinary perspective including faculty-student research and laboratory-based courses, our Chemistry and Biochemistry programs will put students at the cutting edge of modern science and will thoroughly prepare students for careers in chemical, biochemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Training in chemistry or biochemistry could also lead to opportunities in interdisciplinary fields such as education, computational science, art conservation, technical writing, forensic science, patent law, biophysics, medicine and many others.
A BS in Chemistry prepares students for graduate studies (M.S. or Ph.D.) in Chemistry or related fields and professional graduate programs such as medical, dental, veterinary, pharmaceutical science and physical therapy. A BS in Biochemistry will provide students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge beyond the traditional fields of biology and chemistry while still having a solid grounding in a major discipline. The BS in Biochemistry program is a comprehensive multidisciplinary program committed to providing the practice knowledge and skills necessary for graduate study (M.S. or Ph.D.) in biochemistry, chemistry, molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology or admission to health-related programs. Students interested in the health-related professions should consult with the health professions advisor to determine the appropriate courses that should be taken. The B.S. in Chemistry or Biochemistry meets most of the requirements for these programs. Additionally, students are advised to check the admission requirements of the professional and graduate program of interest.
Our alumni in the past few years have gained admission at prestigious graduate schools, including Brown, Northeastern, Tufts University, Purdue University, the University of Connecticut, Boston University, the University of Maryland, and Stony Brook University. Others have entered medical school at New York University School of Medicine, dental school at University of New England, and pharmacy school at University of New England, Mass. College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) and Regis College. Other alumni have found employment at RI state crime lab, Abbott diagnostic, Sanofi Genzyme, Henkle Corporation, and Vantix Diagnostics, just to mention a few.
Chemistry Student Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the program, students will be able to:
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of major theoretical principles and experimental concepts across the five principle areas of chemistry including analytical, inorganic, organic, physical and biochemistry.
- Use critical thinking and efficient problem-solving skills within the context of the chemical discipline.
- Use standard laboratory equipment, modern instrumentation, classical techniques and computers to conduct experiments, analyze data, and interpret results, while observing safe and responsible scientific ethical conduct.
- Effective oral communication and writing skills, especially the ability to present complex technical information in a clear and concise manner.
- Use library search tools (e.g. SciFinder Scholar) to locate, retrieve, and evaluate scientific information about a topic, chemical, chemical technique, or an issue related to chemistry.
- Successfully pursue their career objectives by gaining entry into professional schools, graduate programs, or the job market.
This course provides an introduction to biochemistry. The organizing principles of cellular biochemistry are emphasized. Within this framework the structures, chemistry, and function of proteins, nucleic acids and amino acids, lipids and carbohydrates are presented. Molecular topics such as evolution, protein sequencing, proteomics are also introduced.
This course consists of laboratory exercises to give the students experience with fundamental biochemistry and structure and function of biomolecules. Lab exercises to give the students experience with amino acid properties and protein purification along with techniques to examine enzyme kinetics.
The metabolic pathways of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and their metabolic controls are presented. The central concepts of genomics, nucleic acid sequencing, the molecular basis of self-assembly, morphogenesis and cellular differentiation are stressed. Emphasis is also given to the important ultra-structural elements of the cell, neurotransmission, hormones, and cell signaling.
The laboratory portion of the course complements and reinforces the lecture through the use of modern techniques in experimental biochemistry. Experiments may include enzymology, protein purification, and gene expression and organization. Methods include spectrophotometry, polymerase chain reaction, DNA cloning, electrophoresis, protein detection by immunoblot, RNA hybridization, and computer analysis of DNA and protein sequence data.
The fundamentals of how chemicals produce therapeutic and toxic responses are presented. Emphasis is given to the absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of drugs from the body and their receptors and interactions. Through case studies and informed debate, students learn the effects of drugs on the human population and the environment. Junior or senior academic standing; Biology major or Neuroscience minor are required.
The laboratory portion of the course complements and reinforces the lecture through the use of modern techniques in pharmacology and toxicology. General biochemical techniques used in pharmacology and toxicology are covered with an emphasis on model systems and current techniques.
Students will study the principles of atomic and molecular structures, matter and measurement, chemical reactions, solution chemistry, thermochemistry, electronic structure, the periodic table and its trends, chemical bonding, gasses intermolecular forces and electrochemistry. Laboratory includes experiments related to lecture material.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in General Chemistry. Experiments include Introduction to Measurements and Error, Mole Ratio in Chemical Reactions via Conductivity, Determine the Empirical Formula of a Compound, Titration of an Acid with Standard NaOH, Determine the Limiting Reactant.
Students will continue the second semester of the general chemistry sequence. Topics include the principles of chemical kinetics, equilibrium, acid-base reactions, properties of solutions, electrochemistry, and thermodynamics. Laboratory includes experiments related to lecture material.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in General Chemistry. Experiments include Enthalpy of a Chemical Reaction, Colorimetric Analysis, Determine the Molar Mass of a Volatile Liquid, Molecular Weight by Freezing Point Depression, Determination of an Equilibrium Constant, Determine Ka of a Weak Acid by Half-Titration.
This survey course covers focused aspects of general, organic and biochemistry, including reactions, solution chemistry, biomolecule structure and interactions and nomenclature. Students develop critical thinking skills to be applied to human health.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in the chemistry of human health. Experiments include Significant Figures, Measurements, and Density, Atomic Structure, Compounds and Formulas, Chemical Reactions, Urinalysis, Dilutions, Acids and Bases, Properties of Organic Compounds and Hydrocarbon Reactions, Lipids and Enzymes.
The course entails learning, thinking about, and applying major laws, principles, concepts, and theories of chemistry to issues in contemporary society. In any one semester, topics may include air and water quality, global warming and forensic chemistry. The course will be offered in an instructor-led, online environment with regularly scheduled classroom review sessions.
The course provides a brief review of organic chemistry. The material is designed to focus on applicable areas of organic chemistry to students majoring in environmental studies or interested in health-related fields such as biotechnology or forensics.
A study of the common classes of organic compounds, including alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, and alkyl halides; their synthesis, and physical and chemical properties. An in-depth study of the basics of organic chemistry including bonding, reactivity, stereochemistry and reaction mechanisms will also be addressed. Laboratory work consists mainly of synthesis and characterization of organic compounds.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in Organic Chemistry. Experiments include Distillation of ethanol from wine, Steam distillation of citral from lemongrass oil, Acid/Base extraction, thin layer chromatography of pigments in spinach.
Additional Organic Chemistry problems are practiced and discussed every week in small peer led team learning (PLTL) groups during recitation class to foster a clear understanding of the course material.
A continuation of the mechanics and synthetic study of the common classes of organic compounds, including alcohols, aromatics, and carbonyl compounds, with an emphasis on the organic chemistry of biomolecules (e.g., carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, etc.). Structure determination using spectroscopic methods (IR, NMR, MS) is also introduced.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in Organic Chemistry. Experiments include Double dehydrobromination to an alkyne, Grignard synthesis, determination of an unknown compound, synthesis of benzocaine, Azo dye synthesis.
Additional Organic Chemistry problems are practiced and discussed every week in small peer led team learning (PLTL) groups during recitation class to foster a clear understanding of the course material.
This course introduces students to the underlying theories involved in quantitative analysis. Topics include statistics, chemical equilibria and their analytical applications (acid-base, precipitation, complex formation, oxidation, reduction), spectro-analytical chemistry and electroanalytical chemistry.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in Analytical Chemistry. Experiments include Gravimetric Determination of Ca as CaC2O4.H2O in simulated urine samples, Microscale spectrophotometric measurement of iron in foods by standard addition, Spectrophotometric determination of Iron in vitamin Tablets, Analysis of Ca2+ and Mg2+ (Water hardness) in natural waters using EDTA titration, Determination of vitamin C in vitamin Tablets using Iodimetric titration.
Topics include the kinetic theory of gases and the first, second and third laws of thermodynamics and their application to the pure substances, simple mixtures, chemical equilibria and electrochemistry. Latter topics include statistical thermodynamics. Includes recitation and laboratory focusing on gases and thermodynamics.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in physical chemistry. Experiments include the determination of the numerical value of the gas constant, determination of the heat and entropy of vaporization of a substance, constant volume calorimetry and others.
Topics include chemical kinetics, quantum mechanics, atomic, electronic and molecular structure, theoretical principles of spectroscopic and resonance methods, and molecular symmetry. Includes recitation and laboratory with experiments focusing on chemical kinetics, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in physical chemistry. Experiments include the kinetics of the iodine clock reaction, rotational/vibrational spectra of diatomic molecules, introduction to x-ray diffraction and others.
A study of the theory of modern instrumental methods of chemical analysis. Some of the topics include molecular spectroscopy (infrared, ultraviolet-visible, Luminescence, mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance), Atomic Spectroscopy (atomic absorption/emissions/florescence, atomic mass spectroscopy, atomic X-ray spectroscopy) and Separation science (liquid and gas chromatography).
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in Instrumental Analysis. Experiments include Determination of Calcium content in milk using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), Identification and Quantification of Volatile Organic compounds (VOCs), Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, o-xylene, m-xylene and m-xylene in Gasoline by GC/MS, HPLC Determination of Some frequently used Parabens in Sunscreens from the local stores, HPLC/MS/MS analysis of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water and seawater samples.
A study of the chemistry of the environment applying the principles of chemistry to such topics as atmospheric chemistry, air pollution, water chemistry, water pollution, hazardous chemicals, and hazardous waste management.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in environmental chemistry. Experiments include Acid Rain and Pollution Prevention, Measuring Air Pollution, Air-Water Partitioning. Measuring Water Contamination, Soil Analysis, Examining Renewable Resources.
The goal of the Advanced Organic Chemistry course consists in strengthening the student's grasp of fundamental organic chemistry principles. These would include mechanism, structure, including molecular chirality, and organic synthesis, including the use of newer synthetic methods. The laboratory focuses on extending the students exposure to multistep synthesis and literature based larger scale synthesis.
A detailed examination of structure and bonding along with studies in chemical and periodic trends, ligand substitution and reaction mechanisms, coordination chemistry, crystal structures of inorganic solids, symmetry and point groups, organometallic compounds, and spectroscopic tools used in inorganic chemistry. Laboratory includes experiments related to lecture material.
An integrated lecture/laboratory course designed to teach students fundamental laboratory techniques and measurements in Inorganic Chemistry. Experiments include Preparation of Chromium and Manganese Complexes, Investigating the Structure of Solids by Diffraction, Preparation and Properties of an Aqueous Ferrofluid, Octahedral Complexes of Cobalt.
This is the chemistry department capstone course for the BS in Chemistry and the BS in Biochemistry. Recent topics in chemistry will be addressed in the form of required reading from the literature, guest speakers and attendance at local seminars. As part of the course, students will present current research results from the literature. Senior standing or permission of instructor is required.
This course is an advanced treatment of the chemistry of proteins and protein containing supramolecular structures. It will provide an understanding of the structure of proteins and how these structures relate to biological function. Topics covered include amino acids and their properties, types of structural elements, classification of proteins, protein functions, determination of protein structures, and applications of data and technology to study protein structure and function. Isolation and purification of proteins will also be discussed.
This course, which is team taught, covers the theory and applications of advanced spectroscopic methods applied in studying the structure and function of biomacromolecules such as DNA, coenzymes, cofactors, and polysaccharides. An overview of modern Fourier Transform NMR, including one- and two-dimensional methods (COSY, NOESY, TOCSY) will be explored. Mass spectrometry principles including examples of the potential, limitations, and applications of; desorption ionization, electron impact, interfaced chromatography mass spectrometry and high-resolution tandem-mass spectrometry will be presented. A discussion of the theory and applications of other spectroscopic techniques, including electron spin resonance (ESR), molecular vibrational (raman, resonance raman, and infrared) and laser fluorescence spectroscopies also will be presented.
This course focuses on the physical chemistry principles that govern the behavior of biological systems. Emphasis will be placed on topics including the energetics of biomolecular dynamics and structure, protein folding, membranes and membrane proteins, spectroscopic investigations of macromolecules quantum mechanical descriptors and intermolecular interactions.
This course offers an in-depth survey into chemical kinetics with a focus on enzyme kinetics and catalysis. Topics of study include non-bonding interactions, catalysis energy diagrams and minimization, rate laws, kinetic analyses (simple and complex), steady state approximation, reaction mechanisms, inhibition and specific case studies.
A survey of the structure, occurrence, biosynthesis and pharmacological uses of compounds derived from nature, with emphasis on plants (particularly medicinal plants) and functional foods. The focus will be on the metabolic sequences leading to various classes of natural products. Some of the health conditions that are improved by natural products will also be discussed.
This course is an in-depth coverage of the principle reactions leading to carbon-carbon bond formation, along with functional group transformations. Strategies and methods for organic synthesis of natural products will be discussed. Topics will include the reactivity, methodology, and mechanistic aspects of the reactions of alkenes and alkynes, oxidations and reductions, enolates and related nucleophiles, pericyclic reactions, and organometallic chemistry.
This course is an overview of the organic chemical principles and reactions vital to the drug discovery, drug design, and drug development processes. Topics will include: pharmacophore identification, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, structure-activity relationships(SAR), combinatorial chemistry, drug-receptor interactions, enzymes as catalysts, drug resistance and synergism, and the use of computers in drug design. Case studies will be used to illustrate the rational discovery of drugs.
This course examines the chemistry of inorganic elements involved in life processes. The fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Spectroscopy will be examined in the context of this course. Students will learn about metal ions and important roles they play in biological systems. Current research methods used in the field will be explored.
This course examines the role that transition metals play in cellular processes. Special attention will be given to metal transport systems in bacteria. Students will gain an understanding of how metals are transported and regulated in cells as well as explore the techniques used to probe these metals.
In-depth investigation of a specific topic in chemistry. Topic and credit to be approved by the faculty member who is acting as research adviser. Permission of instructor is required.
A continuation of CHM-497.
Supervised study in an area not available in a regularly scheduled course. Permission of department chair is required.