1.1 History of Biochemistry Department
The Department of Biochemistry started as a unit under the Department of Science, Faculty of Engineering, Science and Technology in May 1999. Mr. Victor Enemuo was the first coordinator. In 2002, the Department of Chemical Sciences was created under the same Faculty, with Biochemistry and Industrial Chemistry as the two programmes. Dr. Igwilo I.O was then appointed Acting Head of Department. During the first National University Commission’s accreditation visit in April, 2004, the Institution was advised to create a separate Faculty of Science. In November 2004 the Faculty of Science was created and four units were raised to full departmental status. These were; Departments of Biochemistry, Computer sciences, Industrial chemistry and Microbiology. Dr. Igwilo I.O was then appointed the first Head of Department of Biochemistry in Madonna University.
The Department has been teaching Biochemistry to its students and students from other departments of the University. Presently the teaching responsibilities include: B.Sc. Biochemistry, Medical Biochemistry (College of Medicine and Health Sciences) and General Biochemistry to Science and Pharmacy Students. The academic staff strength of the Department is very robust and effective. Currently there are eighteen (18) academic members of staff in all areas of specialization in biochemistry and Dr. Philippe E. Mounmbegna is the Acting Head of Department.
The academic members of staff are very dedicated and effective lecturers. They have trained over 400 B.Sc. (Hons) Biochemistry students. They have contributed to the training of all the Medical Doctors, Pharmacists, Anatomists, Physiologists and Microbiologist etc. who have graduated from Madonna University Nigeria. They have also been involved in the training of Medical Laboratory Sciences and Nursing students. The first student intake of the programme was eleven (11). Students started graduating from the programme in 2003. Admission is by examination UME or Direct Entry after the University screening exercise. Students admitted through entrance examination undergo a four years degree programme while those admitted through Direct Entry undergo a three years degree programme.
Staff of Biochemistry Department have been very regular and consistent in their participation at national and international conferences. Governance of our Department adopts an integrated approach in which each member of staff is assigned to a duty as a coordinator or officer. Main duties in the Department are carried out by these coordinators/officers. These officers in turn report to the Head of Department who supervises their duties. Departmental meetings are held on first Wednesday of each month from 12:00 p.m. During monthly meetings issues affecting or likely to affect the wellbeing of biochemistry staff and students as well as the teaching of the courses are raised, deliberated, debated and finally resolved in a cordial way that enhances the sustainability of our role as staff and relationship with students and the University administration.
Biochemistry is the bedrock of the Medical Sciences and the foundation from which Biomolecular Sciences derive their basic ideas and techniques in the service of mankind and humanity. It is the basis of the Biotechnology Industry, Molecular Biology, Biotechnology, Immunology, Neurochemistry and Forensic Science, while the new and exciting disciplines of proteomics, genomics, bioinformatics, genetic engineering, and drug design all rely on the knowledge of and competency in biochemistry and molecular biology.
It is against this background that the B.Sc. Biochemistry degree programme in Madonna University, Nigeria will continue to promote sound education and cutting-edge research in Biochemistry, with a view to producing exemplary graduates who will be able to compete globally, especially in World-class universities and institutions and be competent to work in specialized areas such as Medicine, Pharmaceutical and Food Industries, Agriculture, Environment and Bioengineering.
1.3 Objectives and Scope of Programme
Deriving from the broad philosophy of the Department, the following objectives are pursued:
a. To provide students with a broad and balanced foundation of sound scientific, biochemical knowledge and practical skills.
b. To develop in students the ability to apply knowledge and skills to solving theoretical and practical problems in biochemistry.
c. To train students are trained to develop a range of transferable skills that are of value in biochemical and non-biochemical employment
d. To equip students with knowledge and skills with which they can proceed to postgraduate research and training in specialized areas of biochemistry or multi-disciplinary areas involving biochemistry; or enter the work force, especially in the private sector, as allied health professionals, laboratory or field scientists.
e. To provide, through training and orientation, strong analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking abilities and arm them with excellent research and communication skills and multi-disciplinary approach to the solution of complex life problems.
f. To generate in students an appreciation of the importance of biochemistry in industrial, economic, environmental, technological and social development.
g. To instill in students a sense of enthusiasm for biochemistry, an appreciation of its application in different contexts and to involve them in an intellectually stimulating and satisfying experience of learning and studying.
Thus, the degree programme lays emphasis on topics such as nutrition and food science, biochemistry of soil and microorganisms, plants and animals, biochemical aspects of diseases, biochemical basis of chemotherapy, including African traditional Medicine and human biochemical genetics. The inclusion of Research project on local biochemical topics as one of the compulsory courses in the final year of every biochemistry student is to achieve these objectives.
1.4 Admission Requirements
(i) UME Entry Requirements: Students applying for the four years programme for the award of Bachelor of sciences of Madonna University must satisfy the minimum University Matriculation Requirements. Such students must have at least five credit (5) passes in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and English language in the West African School Certificate or its equivalent (GCE, SSCE, NECO), in not more than two sittings.
(ii) Direct Entry Requirements: In addition to requirements in the above, candidates who possess any of the following qualifications can be considered for admission.
a. At least two advanced Level passes in the General Certificate of Education (GCE) or the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or any of their recognized equivalents at not more than two sittings. The subjects should include any two of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
b. Diploma from other recognized Universities with at least an Upper credit level pass in any of the following:
Food And Brewing Science (DFBS)
Analytical And Industrial Chemistry (DAIC)
Science Laboratory Technology (DSLT)
c. Ordinary National Diploma (OND) with at least an Upper credit level pass in the areas listed above
d. Higher National Diploma (HND) with at least an Upper credit level pass in Science Laboratory Technology (SLT) or Food Technology from recognized Polytechnic or College of Technology.
1.5 Graduation Requirements
Students are required to complete a minimum of 128 units for graduation, 60 of which must come from Biochemistry.
1.6 Programme Leading to the B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Biochemistry
Courses at 200 & 300 levels are open to students from other disciplines/departments, while 400 level courses are mainly for final year students majoring in biochemistry as well as other undergraduate students from other departments possessing the necessary pre-requisites and postgraduate students of biochemistry and allied disciplines requiring remedial biochemistry at this level.
1. At 100 level, Biochemistry majors take courses in Botany, Zoology, Chemistry, Physics and General Studies.
2. At 200 level, apart from the listed core courses in Biochemistry, students are required to take stipulated courses in other science subjects.
3. At 300 level, in addition to the indicated core courses in Biochemistry, students are expected to take courses in Chemistry, Microbiology, Physiology, Botany and Anatomy.
4. At 400 level, Biochemistry majors take all their courses from the department of Biochemistry.
1.7 Facilities for Research
The Department is continuously improving on the facilities for research. In addition to the usual conventional laboratory equipment which is fully provided, the Department possesses a functional flame photometer, refrigerated centrifuge and HPLC equipment tough yet to be mounted. Arrangements have recently been made by the University to provide the Department with a functional amino acid analyzer, a Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrophotometer and PCR machine. There is also reasonable technical support available in the department. The department is preparing an application to Seeding Labs (Boston, USA) for an equipment grant to conduct life-changing research.
1.8 Job Opportunities
Opportunities abound for Graduates of Biochemistry in the following areas:
1. Agriculture and Veterinary Science: to study soils, feedstuffs, insecticides, plant and animal nutrition and disease, biochemical aspects of germination, growth, ripening and spoilage of fruits, vegetables and crops.
2. Industrial Raw Material Research and Development: to study tropical products of economic significance (such as hides and skins), commercially important natural fibers, timbers, gums, resins and other forest products with particular reference to the biochemical problems associated with their production, utilization, storage, biodeterioration etc.
3. Health Sector: in disease diagnosis and treatment through the application of innovations in Enzymology and Biotechnology.
4. Oil and Gas: application of Biotechnological techniques in exploration and development of oil and gas; Environmental management- Pre- and Post- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), and Bioremediation; Health- Safety and Environment (HSE).
5. Law and Politics: harnessing the knowledge of Genetic Engineering in crime bursting and detection, formulation of national policy on science and technology.
6. Education and Human Development: training the mind and contributing to manpower resource development.
1.9 Definition of Terms
General Study Courses: A course which every student in the University must compulsorily take and pass at foundation level. They are not directly related to any programme, but are necessary in the holistic formation of students before graduation.
Core/Compulsory Course: A course which must be registered for and passed by a student to obtain the degree in Biochemistry.
Required ancillary Course: A course that a student takes at a level of study and must be passed before graduation.
Elective Course: A course that students take within or outside the faculty. Students shall choose an elective course from among three others in order to make up the required additional units for the award of the degree. Students may graduate without passing the course provided the minimum credit unit for the course had been attained.
Pre-requisite Course: A course which student must take before the course for which it is a prerequisite can be taken. Courses can only be designated prerequisite to other courses at a higher level. A prerequisite may be waived for a suitably qualified candidate by the Department.
Credit Load per Semester: The Minimum credit load per semester is 15 units while the maximum is 24 units.
Course Unit: A series of approximately 15 one-hour lectures, or tutorials or 15 x 3-hour laboratory or field practical classes, or an equivalent amount of assigned study, or any combination of the above.
Course Credit Unit System: This should be understood to mean a ‘quantitative system of organization of the curriculum in which subject areas are broken down into unit courses which are examinable and for which students earn credit(s) if passed’. The courses are arranged in progressive order of difficulty or in levels of academic progress, e.g. Level or year 1 courses are 111, 112 etc. and Level II or Year II courses are 211, 212 etc. The second aspect of the system is that courses are assigned weights allied Credit Units.
Grade Point Average (GPA): Performance in any semester is reported in Grade Point Average. This is the average of weighted grade points earned in the courses taken during the semester. The Grade Point Average is obtained by multiplying the Grade Point average in each course by the number of Credit Units assigned to that course, and then summing these up and dividing by the total number of Credit Units taken for the semester
Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA): This is the up-to-date mean of the Grade Points earned by the student in a programme of study. It is an indication of the student’s overall performance at any point in the training programme. To compute the Cumulative Grade Point Average, the total of Grade Points multiplied by the respective Credit Units for all the semesters are added and then divided by the total number of Credit Units for all courses registered by the student
1.10 General Studies (GST)
The goal of GST courses is to produce a well-rounded, morally and intellectually capable graduate with vision and entrepreneurial skills in an environment of peace and social cohesiveness.
Objectives: The objectives of the General Studies programme consist of the following:
(a) Acquisition, development and inculcation of the proper value-orientation for the survival of the individual and society.
(b) The development of intellectual capacities of individuals to understand, appreciate and promote peaceful co-existence.
(c) Production of graduates with broad knowledge of individual of Nigerian Nationals and people with a view to inculcating in them mutual understanding and patriotism.
(d) Exposing graduates of Nigerian Universities to the rudiments of ICT for computer literacy and ability to live usefully in this ICT age.
(e) Preparing students for a post university life with opportunities for job creation and entrepreneurial skills.
(f) Production of graduate capable of communicating effectively (both oral and written).
1.11 Course Coding
A course is coded by a combination of three letters and three digits. The three letters code stands for the Department offering the course. Biochemistry courses are coded as BCH. For the three digits numbers, the first digits indicates the year of study, the second indicates the subject stress area while the third digit shows the semester. First semester are represented with odd numbers while second semesters are represented with even numbers.
1.12 Admission and Withdrawal from Courses
(a) Admission into courses closes at the end of the third full week of each semester. Students who fail to register as stated shall be considered for late registration. Any student who fails to register within the first two weeks after late registration has commenced shall be advised to defer the semester. Only in special circumstances and through the approval of the Vice Chancellor on behalf of the Senate, may a student be allowed to register thereafter. An application for late registration shall normally attract a prescribed fee.
(b) A student can withdraw from a course without penalty any time up to and including the seventh week of the semester. Any student who withdraws after the seventh week will be deemed to have failed except in special cases approved by Senate.
(c) The minimum load permissible per semester is 15 units while the maximum load is 24 units. However, a final year student who requires less than 15 units of courses in either semester to complete graduation requirements will be allowed to register for the outstanding courses only. Students who wish to register above 24 units must seek the approval of the University Senate through the Vice Chancellor through the Dean of the Faculty and through the Head of Department.
(d) A final year student is one who has not more than 48 units of workload to graduate. Students with more than 48 units outstanding will be asked to stay back in 300 level.
1.13 Academic Standing
(a) The maximum time a student can spend in Biochemistry Department is as itemized below:
(i) for a 3-year programme (direct entry), 10 semesters or 5 sessions
(ii) for a 4-year programme, 12 semesters or 6 sessions;
(b) Any student whose semester GPA is below 1.00 for the first time shall be placed on Probation.
(c) Any 100 Level students whose semester GPA is less than 1.5 for two consecutive semesters will be asked to withdraw from the course. This also applies to students admitted by Direct Entry.
(d) For the avoidance of doubt, any student desiring transfer from another course to Biochemistry shall not be admitted if it is certain that he/she cannot complete the programme and graduate within the stipulated period for the course as in (a) above.
2. COURSE EVALUATION
2.1 Continuous Assessment
The progress of the students enrolled in each course is continuously assessed by means of tests; written assignments, reports and/or such other means as may be consistent with the objectives and conduct of the course as determined by the Department.
(a) Each course is normally examined at the end of the semester in which it is offered.
(b) The length of any examination shall be a period of not less than one hour and not more than three hours.
2.3 Final Marks
(a) Each course shall be graded on the basis of 100 total marks with proportions for continuous assessment and course examination as determined by the appropriate Faculty Board. In no case shall the proportion for continuous assessment be less than 30% or greater than 50% except in cases specified by the Faculty Board. The minimum pass mark in any course shall be 45% (applicable to students admitted from 2014/2015 and beyond)
(b) Each course shall be graded out of a maximum of 100 marks and the score for each course shall be assigned appropriate letter grades and grade points as follows:
Mark Letter Grade Grade Point
70 – 100 A 5.0
60 – 69 B 4.0
50 – 59 C 3.0
45 – 49 D 2.0
40 – 44
0 – 39 E
2.4 Probation: Probation is a status granted to a student whose academic performance falls below an acceptable standard. A student whose Cumulative Grade Point Average is below 1.50 at the end of a particular year of study, earns a period of probation for one academic session.
2.5 Withdrawals: A candidate whose Cumulative Grade Point Average is below 1.50 at the end of a particular period of probation should be required to withdraw from the University. However, in order to minimize waste of human resources, consideration is given to withdrawal from programme of study and possible transfer to other programmes within the University.
2.6 Repeating Failed Course Unit(s) (Carry Over)
Subject to the conditions for withdrawal and probation, student may be allowed to repeat the failed course unit(s) at the next available opportunity, provided that the total number of credit units carried during that semester does not exceed 24, and the Grade Points earned at all attempts shall count towards the CGPA.
2.7 External Examiner System
External Examiners are invited only in the final year of the undergraduate programme to assess final year courses and projects, and to certify the overall performance of the graduating students as well as the quality of facilities and teaching.
2.8 Classification of Degrees
(a) For the purpose of classification of degrees, all courses taken by students shall count. Degree classification shall be based on the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) obtained by each student as follows (applicable to students admitted from 2014/2015 session onward);
Class of Degree CGPA
First Class 4.50 - 5.00
2nd Class Upper 3.50 - 4.49
2nd Class Lower 2.40 - 3.49
Fail 1.50 - 2.39
1.00 – 1.49
Stress Areas Code
General/Functional Biochemistry 0
Metabolism of Biomolecules/Regulation of Pathways 1
Membrane Biochemistry/Bioenergetics 2
Industrial/Food/Nutritional Biochemistry/Toxicology 3
Plant/Tissue Biochemistry 4
Pharmacological Biochemistry/Immunochemistry/Inorganic Biochemistry 5
Biochemical Methods/Biochemical Reasoning/Biochemical Literature
and Philosophy of Science 6
Enzymology/Genetic Engineering/Medicinal Chemistry 7
Seminar/Industrial Training 8
Research Project 9
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