Major Curriculum

Since the major program in chemistry is highly sequential, students should seek advice from the chemistry faculty early in their careers. Besides ensuring that all prerequisites are completed in a timely manner, faculty can help with selection of electives that will prepare students for their career goals. The following sequence of courses is recommended for the first two years.

Freshman Year
Fall Semester Credits Spring Semester Credits
General Chemistry I (CHEM 111) 4 General Chemistry II (CHEM 112) 4
Calculus I (MATH 121) 3 Calculus II (MATH 122) 3
Degree requirements and electives 6-10 Degree requirements and electives 6-10

Note – students who begin with Pre-calculus (MATH 111), take MATH 122 during the sophomore year. Students who begin with CHEM 101, take CHEM 112 either in the summer or in fall of the sophomore year.   Students with an interest in medicine or other health science fields should take BIOL 121, 132 or BIOL 125, 126 as electives.
Students interested in research should consider URES 197 as an elective.

Sophomore Year
Fall Semester credits Spring Semester credits
Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 211) 4 Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 212) 4
University Physics I (PHYS 105) 4 University Physics II (PHYS 106) 4
Chemical Analysis I (CHEM 253) 4 Chemical Analysis II (CHEM 254) 4
Degree requirements and electives 3-4 Degree requirements and electives 3-4
Alternatively, students can complete Chemical Analysis I and II in the junior year instead of Physical chemistry laboratory I and II.

In the junior and senior years, chemistry majors take the remainder of the required courses and select electives that will be useful for their career goals. Whether the student plans to attend graduate school or enter the job market, additional chemistry courses beyond the requirements, including independent study, are strongly recommended to make students more competitive.

Although a chemistry major may decide to complete the requirements for a second major in order to develop breadth in a related field, this choice requires that all of the courses for the second major be taken even though they may not be necessary for the student’s goals. Besides likely problems in scheduling classes, such a choice may prevent the student from devoting adequate time to either major. An alternative that has proven successful for many students is to supplement the chemistry program with courses in related fields such as mathematics, statistics, computer science, biology, geology, physics, economics, or business administration so as to complete a career-focused grouping: e.g., chemistry/mathematics or computer science for interest in chemical engineering and industrial chemistry; chemistry/economics or business administration for chemical sales; chemistry/biology for medicine and the health sciences; or chemistry/geology for energy or environmental research.

Listed below is the recommended chemistry course sequence for the junior and senior years. The schedule would be filled out with general education requirements and appropriate related-field electives.

Junior Year
Fall Semester credits Spring semester Credits
Physical Chemistry I (CHEM 383) 3 Physical Chemistry II (CHEM 384)
P. Chem. Laboratory I (CHEM 387, WI) 2 P. Chem. Laboratory I (CHEM 388) 2
Degree requirements and electives 9-12 Degree requirements and electives 9-12
(Chemistry electives may be taken either semester.) Frequently, students complete P.Chem Laboratory I and II in the senior year instead of the junior year. Students pursuing the ACS degree should consider taking either Biochemistry or Inorganic Chemistry and the corresponding laboratories in the junior year and then complete the other in the senior year.


Senior year
Fall semester Credits Spring semester Credits
Experimental Methods in Chemistry (CHEM 423) (WI) 4 Seminar (CHEM 453) (SI) 2
Degree requirements and electives 9-12 Degree requirements and electives 9-12
CHEM 423 is sometimes offered in the Spring Semester while CHEM 453 is offered in the Fall semester. Chemistry electives, including CHEM 491, Individual Study, may be taken either semester.

Chemistry Electives may be chosen from the following:

Course Credits
Biochemistry I, II (CHEM 317, 318) 3,3
Biochemistry Laboratory I, II (CHEM 319, 320 ) (WI) 1,1
Environmental Chemistry (CHEM 331) (EA) 3
Inorganic Chemistry (CHEM 343) 3
Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (CHEM 345) 1
Instrumental Methods of Analysis (CHEM 392) 4
Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHEM 411) 3
Advanced Topics in chemistry (CHEM 471) 2-3
Individual Study (CHEM 491) 1-4
Internship (CHEM 499) Variable Credit