Department of Chemistry
The department’s undergraduate programs are designed to train students with a range of interests in the general chemical sciences. Chemistry majors are well prepared for graduate education, for careers in research, teaching, industry, or regulatory agencies, and, as a premedical track, for professional training in medicine and related health fields. Other majors advantage their training in chemistry while pursuing careers in business and the legal profession. The department offers three majors: a major in chemistry, a major in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry, and a major in chemistry with a concentration in secondary education. The majors are built upon a core of courses covering the principal areas of chemistry (chemical principles, analytical, organic, physical, inorganic, and biochemistry), as well as the supporting calculus and physics classes. Advanced undergraduate courses offer training in materials chemistry, natural products chemistry, chemical physics, and computational chemistry. Undergraduate chemistry junior and senior majors also frequently enroll in graduate-level courses. Research opportunities are abundant for undergraduates.
For the BA in Chemistry, two options are offered. Option A not only qualifies students for certification by the American Chemical Society but also permits diversification through coupling to minors in other fields of science, mathematics, or computer science, and to the Modular Medical Integrated Curriculum (MMEDIC) program. The Option B major, with its reduced set of course requirements and greater flexibility, may be attractive to students who wish to design programs with additional elective possibilities. The Chemistry: Biochemistry concentration is also an ACS-certified major.
The BA program in the teaching of chemistry coordinates with the School of Education, and qualifies graduates for certification as high school teachers. An advising system provides each undergraduate major with an advisor drawn from the faculty’s professorial ranks, as well as from the School of Education.
The faculty is actively engaged in research with undergraduates in coordination with the graduate program. Research at the frontier of the discipline is an essential component of the primary mission of the department: the education of its students both in the classroom and the laboratory. As such, the Chemistry Department places a strong emphasis on research in both the traditional areas of chemistry, as well as in interdisciplinary fields including biological and biophysical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry, and materials research. Most Chemistry majors engage in at least one year of research, and many have publications in peer-reviewed journals before graduation.
Prospective chemistry majors are strongly encouraged to consult with the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies early in their college careers.
Approved safety glasses and lab coat must be worn in all laboratory courses. Students with prescription eyewear may wish to obtain prescription safety glasses.
For all sequenced courses in the Department of Chemistry, credit may be received for the first course in a sequence without taking the subsequent course. In all two-course sequences, the first course is prerequisite to the second unless otherwise indicated, and a failing grade in the first course precludes registration in the second. A grade of D in the first course of a sequence requires permission of the instructor to continue the sequence. Students must receive a grade of at least C in all core, principal, and required related courses taken to satisfy major requirements.
Students may receive credit for only one sequence in general chemistry (CAS CH 101, 102 or CH 109, 110 or CH 111, 112). The same applies to organic chemistry (CH 203, 204, 220 or CH 211, 212 or CH 203, 214).
Chemistry majors who start in a particular track (CAS CH 111, 112 or CH 109, 110 or CH 101, 102, 201) must complete that track; the same is true for CH 211, 212 and CH 203, 214. Crossing between tracks is not allowed.
Seniors and BA/MA students completing a two-semester sequence in undergraduate research or senior Honors in Chemistry research are required to present the results of their research at the Departmental Undergraduate Research Colloquium held at the end of the spring semester. All students engaged in undergraduate research are encouraged to participate in the departmental colloquium and specialized seminar series.
Honors in Chemistry
Honors in Chemistry is awarded to graduating seniors who have completed honors research (CAS CH 401 and 402) in their senior year and successfully defended their honors thesis before a committee of three faculty. To be eligible for Honors in Chemistry, a student must also graduate with a minimum 3.0 overall GPA and a 3.2 GPA in required chemistry major courses. Applications for Honors in Chemistry are due before the fall semester of the senior year.
See Honor Societies.
The student affiliate chapter of the American Chemical Society, Chemia is open to all students interested in chemistry. It sponsors free tutorial sessions for all freshman and sophomore chemistry classes, visiting lecturers, tours of scientific facilities, and social activities. Chemia also publishes a newletter each semester.
J. Philip Mason Memorial Scholarship
This award is given each year to one or more upper-level students in one of the chemistry programs. It recognizes academic excellence, a strong interest in chemistry, and a demonstrated commitment to achieve a high level of performance under difficult conditions.
Anne Gounaris Scholarship
This award is given to one or more deserving CAS students majoring in chemistry, with a preference for female students receiving financial aid. It recognizes excellence and high motivation in the field of chemistry.
Laursen Summer Research Scholarship
This award is given in alternate years as a summer stipend to enable a rising junior or, preferably, a rising senior to remain on campus in the summer to do research.