General Chemistry Course Objectives

Instructors in CHEM 111 agree to cover the following topics. They may choose to cover more, but must not include material that the Department agrees will be reserved for CHEM 112.

Instructors in CHEM 112 cannot assume their students have exposure to topics not on the departmentally approved CHEM 111 objectives. Instructors are free to cover this material in the order they find most convenient.

Objectives for CHEM 111


  • Measurements: units, uncertainty
  • Dimensional analysis, problem solving
  • Atomic theory
  • Formulas, masses, the mole
  • Chemical equations: balancing, stoichiometry, net ionic equations

Thermochemistry; enthalphy, Hess’s law, enthalpy of formation, calorimetry

  • Laws of thermodynamics

Structure and Bonding

  • Light and spectroscopy
  • Bohr model versus Quantum Mechanical model
  • Orbitals, quantum numbers, periodic table
  • Periodic trends
  • Electronegativity; ionic versus covalent compounds
  • Lewis structures, formal charge, resonance
  • VSEPR, hybridization, molecular orbital theory

States of Matter

  • Gas laws
  • Kinetic molecular theory
  • Real gases
  • Intermolecular forces
  • Liquids and solids
  • Phase changes

Objectives for CHEM 112


  • Reaction rates
  • Rate law
  • Collision theory
  • Reaction mechanisms, rate-limiting step
  • Radioactive decay

Chemical Equilibrium

  • Dynamic equilibrium; homogeneous versus heterogeneous equilibria
  • Equilibrium constant and related calculations
  • LeChatelier’s principle

Chemical Applications

  • Solutions and solution chemistry
  • Acid-base equilibria
  • pH
  • Titrations
  • Buffers
  • Solubilities of ionic compounds
  • Common ion effect


  • Entropy, spontaneity, standard entropy
  • Gibbs free energy
  • Electromotive force
  • Voltaic cells
  • Standard Potentials and the Nernst equation
  • Radioactivity

Laboratory Skills for CHEM 111 and CHEM 112

Instructors in CHEM 111 and 112 agree to address the following skills in laboratory exercises.


  • Use of volumetric glassware, including buret
  • Cleaning glassware
  • Use of Balance
  • Use of Bunsen burner
  • Use of spectrometer
  • Use of pH meter
  • Use of basic laboratory equipment

Safety and General Good Laboratory Practices

  • Safe lab practices
  • Proper handling of reagents
  • Notebook skills (data acquisition and data handling)
  • Spreadsheet skills (tables and graphs)

Specific techniques

  • Preparation of Solutions
  • Titrations

In addition, our program introduces experimental design and builds critical thinking skills through project oriented laboratories (at least one project per semester).