Course Requirements

Common Core

All students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in chemistry must complete a common core of courses in the department. These courses are consistent with the requirements of all degree programs accredited by the American Chemical Society. The courses in the common core consist of:

Introductory Courses

The department offers General Chemistry each summer. In this case, the combination of CHE 136/CHE 137 and CHE 138/CHE 139 may substitute for the three-quarter sequences above.

Foundation Courses


One year of calculus is required to earn a baccalaureate degree in chemistry. This may be accomplished by completing any of the following three-course sequences offered by the Department of Mathematical Sciences:

Students interested in earning credit for multi-variable calculus should not take the MAT 170/MAT 171/MAT 172 sequence. Business calculus cannot be substituted for any of the sequences above.


One year of calculus-based physics is required to earn a baccalaureate in chemistry. This may be accomplished by completing the following three-course sequence offered by the Department of Physics:

Non-calculus-based physics cannot be used to meet the requirements of the common core unless previously approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Chair.

Departmental Program Requirements

The following enrollment-related policies are fully enforced by the Department of Chemistry

  1. All students enrolling in the first course of a General Chemistry sequence must independently meet a minimum mathematics requirement and successfully complete either the General Chemistry placement examination or a General Chemistry preparation course (CHE 128/CHE 129). See the course descriptions for General Chemistry for up-to-date information.
  2. All prerequisite chemistry courses must be completed with a C- or better. Students not meeting this requirement may be removed from course rosters before the start of an academic session. This requirement may be waived only with departmental consent.
  3. The department offers lower-level sequences several times each academic year. Due to potentially small class sizes, upper-level courses are typically scheduled every other year. Students should consult with their faculty academic advisor to develop a program they can complete in a timely fashion.

Sequencing and Prerequisites

Students should begin their General Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus sequences in their freshman year, provided they have an adequate mathematics background. The Organic Chemistry sequence and Analytical Chemistry should be taken in the sophomore year. Students not yet prepared for calculus should take the prerequisite courses in the first year and take Calculus and General Physics one year later than suggested above. Advanced courses in Chemistry may be taken as soon as students have met the appropriate prerequisites.

Students in Biochemistry are recommended to consider taking the General Biology sequence (BIO 191, BIO 192, BIO 193) prior to taking the Biochemistry sequence .

Since the Undergraduate Common Core in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics is particularly demanding in the first two years, students take the majority of their Liberal Studies courses in their junior and senior years. This is necessary so that students have the necessary prerequisites for advanced courses.