BA in Chemistry

The Chemistry major, with its emphasis on research skill development, builds on a core of courses covering the principal areas of chemistry (analytical, organic, physical, inorganic, and biochemistry). Advanced courses cover the emerging areas of materials, computational, and biological chemistry, with training on research instrumentation in advanced, project-oriented laboratory courses that enable the students to explore the areas of chemistry that most interest them. Chemistry majors are exceptionally well prepared for graduate education, careers in chemical research, teaching, the chemical industry, or regulatory agencies, and, as a premedical track, for professional training in medicine and related health fields. The vast majority of our majors participate in research, with publications in peer-reviewed journals.

The Option A major not only qualifies students for certification by the American Chemical Society but also permits diversification through coupling with minors in other fields of science, mathematics, or computer science, and with the Modular Medical/Dental Integrated Curriculum (MMEDIC) program.

The Option B major, with one less course requirement, offers greater flexibility and may be attractive to students who wish to design programs with additional elective possibilities. Option B may also lead to ACS certification.

All students should refer to the Departmental Regulations section of the Chemistry Department page for important stipulations. NOTE: Students may not switch tracks in general or organic chemistry after the initial course in the sequence.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Demonstrate mastery of the foundational material of general chemistry in order to advance further into the traditional chemistry sub-disciplines of the curriculum (inorganic, organic, biochemistry, physical chemistry).
  • Learn to use and apply appropriate concepts and quantitative methods in all sub-disciplines of chemistry, both intellectually and experimentally.
  • Learn to integrate and apply a relevant body of knowledge to the evaluation of existing scientific studies, and to design studies to test specific hypotheses to address unsolved problems in the chemical and life sciences that benefit from expertise in chemistry.
  • Learn to use computers in data acquisition and processing, and to utilize appropriate software as a tool in data analyses.
  • Learn to employ modern literature search tools to locate and retrieve appropriate scientific information, and effectively communicate both orally and in writing about the processes of the chemical sciences as the result of scientific inquiry.
  • Follow the ethical practice of research, experimental interpretation, presentation, and application of research in both the instructional and research labs.


All BU undergraduate students, including both entering first-year and transfer students, will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, the University’s general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements can be satisfied in a number of ways, including coursework in and beyond the major as well as through cocurricular activities. Students majoring in Chemistry will ordinarily, through coursework in the major, satisfy BU Hub requirements in Quantitative Reasoning, Scientific Inquiry, and most of the requirements in Communication and the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, cocurricular experiences.

The Chemistry major requires a minimum of eleven 4-credit courses in chemistry, as well as three math and two physics 4-credit courses. Unless noted otherwise, all required courses are 4 credit hours. All required chemistry courses must be completed with a grade of C or higher to count toward the major.

Core Chemistry Courses

  • CAS CH 111, 112 (or CH 109, 110, or CH 101, 102, 201 or CH 101, 116, 201)
  • CAS CH 211, 212 (or CH 203, 214, or CH 203, 204, 220 or CH 218, 214 or 218, 204, 220)
  • CAS CH 232
  • CAS CH 351, 352
  • CAS CH 421
  • Two of four advanced laboratory courses: CAS CH 301, 303, 354, and 524

Note: CAS CH 201 and CH 220 are 2 credits. CAS CH 116 is 5 credits.

Required Related Courses

  • CAS CH 225 (or CAS MA 225 or MA 230)
  • CAS MA 123, 124 (MA 127 or MA 129 fulfills the MA 123, 124 requirement)
  • CAS PY 211, 212 (or 241, 242, or 251, 252)

Option A:

  • Core chemistry courses
  • Required related courses
  • Two advanced 4-credit courses in chemistry numbered CAS CH 400 or higher, excluding CH 421 and CH 525. GRS CH courses can be used to fulfill the advanced course requirement.
    • One advanced course may be satisfied by the completion of the requirements of a major or minor in astronomy, biology, biomedical engineering, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics, or physics.
    • Students in the MMEDIC program may substitute GMS BI 751 and CAS CH 527 for CH 421, and GMS BI 751 and CAS CH 528 for CH 422; one additional course in chemistry numbered CAS CH 400 or higher is required.
    • Only one semester of undergraduate research (CAS CH 461, CH 462, CH 401, or CH 402) can be applied toward fulfillment of the advanced course requirement.

Option B:

  • Core chemistry courses
  • Required related courses
  • One additional advanced 4-credit course as described under Option A. Students choosing option B may not use a major or minor in astronomy, biology, biomedical engineering, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics, or physics to fulfill the advanced 4-credit course requirement.

Honors in the Major


  • CAS CH 401, CAS CH 402 Honors Research in Chemistry

Minimum 16 hours per week of research within a chemistry department research group, or approved research group outside the chemistry department undertaking research in the chemical sciences. An Honors thesis will be submitted at the end of the spring semester and successfully defended before a committee of three faculty members, including the research advisor. A grade of B or higher is required in CH 401 and CH 402 in order to graduate with Honors in Chemistry. An oral presentation at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at the end of the spring semester is also required.

Prereq: 3.0 overall GPA, 3.2 GPA in required major courses, and approval of Honors application by Undergraduate Programs Committee.