Program Overview

Chemistry deals with phenomena that affect nearly every aspect of our lives and environment. A liberal arts education in this scientific and technological age should include some exposure to the theories, laws, applications, and potential of this science.

Majors in chemistry and biochemistry are offered. The chemistry curriculum is sufficiently flexible to allow students with career interests in areas such as the health professions, law, business, and education to design a major program suitable to their goals. Students interested in careers in chemistry or biochemistry will find chemistry electives that provide a strong background for work in graduate school, industry, or other positions requiring a strong foundation in chemistry. The department and its curriculum are approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS), and an ACS-certified major is offered. More information on the chemistry department and the majors is available on the website (

Chemistry Major

The requirements for chemistry majors include core courses, elective courses, and senior research and seminar. Some courses have math and/or physics prerequisites. Students who major in chemistry may use no more than one of the following toward their General Education requirements: physics minor, General Education concentrations C006 (Applying Mathematical Methods) or C056 (Physics of the Large and Small). Students may not double major in chemistry and biochemistry. 200-level core courses should be completed by the end of the junior year.

Pass/Fail Grading Option: Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the chemistry major.

Advanced Placement: Students receiving scores of four or five on the Chemistry AP examination, a grade of A or B on the A-level Chemistry examinations, or a grade of six or seven on the IB HL program examination may receive credit for CHEM 107 and/or 108. These credits may be used toward a major or minor in chemistry and may be used as a prerequisite for any course that requires CHEM 107 or 108. They may not be used as a prerequisite for medical school.

General Education: Chemistry majors may satisfy the [W2] requirement by completing any three of the following courses: CHEM 212, 215, 301, 310, 321, 325, 327, s37, or s42.

Biochemistry Major

Biochemistry encompasses the study of the form and function of the proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids found in living organisms. Traditionally, biochemistry has been an interdisciplinary field, drawing on techniques and expertise from physics, medicine, biology, and chemistry. The required courses for the major give a student a solid foundation in basic science, while the array of elective courses allows wide latitude in pursuing an area of individual interest. The thesis provides a final integrating experience.

Biochemistry Major Requirements: The major requires thirteen or fourteen courses, including a one- or two-semester thesis, mentored by a faculty member from either the biology or chemistry department.

Students may not double major in biochemistry and biology, chemistry, or neuroscience.

Seminar Requirement: Each biochemistry major is required to make one formal thesis research presentation for each semester of thesis completed. Each senior is also required to attend at least four seminars presented by visiting scholars in either the biology or chemistry department.

B.S. Requirements: In addition to CHEM 107A and CHEM 108A, MATH 106 or MATH 206 and two semesters of physics (PHYS 107 or FYS 314, and PHYS 108 or FYS 274) are required. Since three of these courses are required for CHEM 302 and 310, only PHYS 108 or FYS 274 is an additional requirement.

Pass/Fail Grading Option: Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the major.

Chemistry Minor

Students may complete a minor in chemistry by taking seven chemistry courses that include 107A, 108A, and five upper-level chemistry courses or departmentally designated courses, at least one of which must be a 300-level course, s37, or s42. Independent study courses (360 or s50) cannot be used to satisfy minor requirements. Only departmentally designated cross-listed courses may be applied toward the minor.

Students majoring in biochemistry or the chemistry track of environmental science may not minor in chemistry.

Pass/Fail Grading Option: Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses counting toward the minor.

General Education:  Biochemistry majors may satisfy the [W2] requirements by completing BIO 242.