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 may not double major in chemistry and biochemistry, may not earn a Chemistry minor, and may not use the Chemistry GEC to satisfy General Education requirements. AP, IB, or A-level credit may be used instead of Chem 107 or 108 as a prerequisite. 200-level core courses should be completed by the end of the junior year. Course descriptions are found here.

Required Courses

All of the following: 

CHEM 107A. Atomic and Molecular Structure/Lab.

CHEM 108A. Chemical Reactivity/Lab. (Chem 107 prerequisite)

CHEM 212. Separation Science/Lab.  (Chem 108 prerequisite)

CHEM 215. Inorganic Chemistry/Lab. (Chem 108 prerequisite)

CHEM 217. Organic Chemistry I/Lab. (Chem 108 prerequisite)

CHEM 218. Organic Chemistry II/Lab. (Chem 217 prerequisite)

CHEM 301. Quantum Chemistry. (Chem 108, Math 106, and Phys 107 or 109 prerequisite; Math 205 co-requisite)

One of the following:

CHEM 302. Statistical Thermodynamics. (Chem 108, Math 106 prerequisite; Phys 107 or 109 corequisite)

CHEM 310. Biophysical Chemistry. (Chem 108, Math 106 prerequisite; Phys 107 or 109 corequisite)

Elective Courses. Chemistry majors take two chemistry courses numbered 200 or above

When satisfying the elective requirements, three restrictions apply. First, one course may not serve as both a core course and an elective. Second, independent study courses (360 or s50) cannot be used to satisfy elective requirements. Third, short term courses may not be used as electives. Course selections depend upon the goals and interests of the student. All students preparing for graduate study or for a position in the chemical industry, should take the advanced courses in their specific area of interest. Courses in mathematics and physics are prerequisites for some of the advanced courses in chemistry.

Senior Research and Seminar. The written thesis required of all chemistry majors may be either a laboratory thesis or a library thesis. Students conducting a laboratory thesis may register for CHEM 457, 458, or both, while students undertaking a library project may register for CHEM 457 or 458. Students pursuing honors register for both 457 and 458. The senior research and seminar courses include participation in the department’s seminar program. All majors are required to deliver one presentation per semester of thesis credit during the senior year. Each senior is also required to attend at least four seminars presented by visiting scholars in the chemistry department.

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. Note that some medical schools will not accept AP/IB credit as prerequisites.

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

Majors ACS Accreditation: In order to earn an ACS accredited major, students must also take Chem 321 (may count as an elective), two additional courses with a laboratory component (e.g. Chem 305, 322, s37, s42, or s27) and both 457 and 458. In addition, students must take at least two physics courses. Details are provided in the table below.

Required Courses for ACS majorFoundational Course(ABIOP)In-Depth Course4 requiredLaboratory 350 hours total beyond Gen. Chem.(220 h courses130 h research)Cognate Courses
Chem 212Analytical33 hours
Chem 215Inorganic33 hours
Chem 217Organic30 hours
Chem 218130 hours
Chem 301Physical
Chem 302 or 3101
Chem 321Biochemistry33 hours
2 courses with lab (305, 322, s37, s42, s27)22 x 33 hours
Chem 45765 hours
Chem 45865 hours
2 math coursesx
2 physics coursesx