Assessment of Student Learning: Goals for Chemistry Majors

The list of goals below indicates what the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is trying to accomplish in its undergraduate program. We are trying to provide our graduating students with proficiency in theoretical and experimental aspects of chemistry, mathematical and communications skills, self-confidence in their abilities, and a foundation for life-long learning in science.

For convenience the list is divided into various categories but these are not mutually exclusive. Because the body of scientific knowledge continually increases it is not possible to write a complete and final list of goals for a chemistry graduate. The instructors reserve the right to individually determine expectations for their courses.

Although one of the purposes of this list is to serve as a guide for assessing the effectiveness of our program, we do not expect that objective, quantitative assessment will be practical or even possible for all of the goals. A more important purpose is that these goals are intended as a reminder of where we are headed. Even though some goals cannot be easily assessed, they are still worthwhile aims to keep in mind.

Upon completion of a chemistry major at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, a student will be able to . . .


1. Factual and theoretical knowledge of chemistry

Describe the structure and composition of matter.
Plan the synthesis and characterization of inorganic and organic compounds.
Apply theoretical and mechanistic principles to the study of chemical systems employing both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
Use theories of microscopic properties to explain macroscopic behavior.
Explain the role of energy in determining the structure and reactivity of molecules.

2. Lab knowledge and skills

Read and follow written experimental protocols.
Properly set up and safely manipulate laboratory equipment.
Plan and execute experiments, including the use of the chemical literature.
Perform accurate quantitative measurements.
Maintain accurate records of experimental work.
Analyze data statistically and assess reliability of results.
Interpret experimental results and draw reasonable conclusions.

3. Use of instruments and computers

Use and understand modern instrumentation.
Use computers for chemical applications including technical writing, collecting and processing experimental data, and database searching.

4. Communication skills

Prepare effective written scientific reports and papers.
Present effective scientific talks.
Use correct chemical nomenclature.
Use mathematical representations of physical phenomena.

5. Information retrieval

Retrieve specific chemical information from the chemical literature, including research articles, books, and databases.
Read and understand technical material.
Comprehend and assimilate orally presented information.

6. Chemical safety

Anticipate, recognize, and respond properly to hazards of chemical manipulations.
Know where to find information on chemical hazards.
Dispose of chemical waste safely.

7. Teamwork and cooperation

Work cooperatively in problem solving situations.

8. Science and society

Understand the benefits and problems of modern chemistry for society.
Know where to find career opportunities for persons with chemical training.

Hours and Location

Department Office
Halsey Science Center, Room 432

Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Mailing Address

Department of Chemistry
UW Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901

Contact Us

 (920) 424-1400
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