Any student who is considering a major in the sciences or is preparing for a health professions career needs to take two of the necessary science and math courses every semester, starting with the first semester on campus.
Students should note that certain course sequences with prerequisites are offered only once a year and should plan their schedule very carefully, especially if they are considering a semester off-campus or abroad. In order to keep as many options open as possible, potential science majors should consult with science faculty early, and those considering a career in the health professions should contact the Health Professions Advisory Committee early and take advantage of the programs it offers.
We strongly encourage students to consider undergraduate research or an internship
experience as early as the summer following their first year.
Advice on Specific Courses for your First and Second Year
Chem 117, Chemistry (W). Offered every semester in 24-student sections with a "studio" format of three 2-hour sessions per week that include a hands-on lab or classroom activity in almost every session. This is the usual first course in chemistry for all students and is taken by about 1/3 of the student body. It does not require any prior chemistry background. Most science majors and all pre-health professions programs require this course, so it's a good idea to take it in your first year if you are considering those options. Students with a particularly strong background in high school chemistry (e.g. more than one year or Advanced Placement chemistry) should consider taking Chemistry 230 Organic Chemistry I (Fall only) instead and should talk with a chemistry faculty member about this option. This course also counts as one of the college's writing courses (W).
Chemistry 230-235, Organic Chemistry I (Fall) and II (Spring). Chemistry 230 and 235 are required for most pre-health professions programs, for the chemistry and biochemistry majors, and one or both courses are required for most biology majors. Two class sections and two lab sections of Chemistry 230 are offered in the Fall, and students can take either class with either lab section to make scheduling easier. Although many students taking Chemistry 230 will have completed Chemistry 117 the year before, a reasonable number of new students with strong high school preparation in chemistry skip Chemistry 117 and take Chemistry 230 successfully instead. Students considering starting in Chemistry 230 instead of Chemistry 117 should consult a chemistry faculty member about this option.
Chemistry 220, Environmental, Analytical, and Geochemistry (Spring). Chemistry 220 is required for the chemistry and biochemistry majors. In combination with Chemistry 117, it meets the usual medical school requirement for a year of general chemistry plus a semester of quantitative analysis or analytical chemistry. The major emphasis of the course is aqueous environmental chemistry, so this course is recommended for those with environmental interests. Students should be comfortable with mole calculations and balancing chemical equations before taking this course. Although Chemistry 220 and 230 require rather different conceptual and practical skills, experience suggests that taking either one will significantly improve performance in the other.
Chemistry 280 (1/4), Professional Tools for Scientists (Spring). This weekly seminar is tied closely to work done in Chemistry 235 and also focuses on preparing for and locating a summer research experience or other internship. It should ideally be taken at the same time as Chemistry 235.
Sequence of Courses
As indicated above, students with a strong high school chemistry background can successfully start in Chemistry 230 in the fall of their first year, gaining added flexibility for finding a good internship early or for scheduling time away from campus on study-abroad or other off-campus programs. Although Chemistry 220 and 230 require rather different conceptual and practical skills, experience suggests that taking either one will significantly improve performance in the other. The more usual sequence is to take Chemistry 230 before Chemistry 220. As indicated above, Chemistry 280 should be taken with Chemistry 235. Chemistry 245 is often taken concurrently with Chemistry 250, especially when students have been off campus for an overseas seminar during a fall semester.
Prerequisites for chemistry courses.
|Fall Courses (prerequisites)||Spring Courses (prerequisites)|
| 117 Chemistry
225 Topics in Instrumental Analysis (220, 230)
230 Organic Chemistry I (117)
245 Molecular Modeling, Visualization, and Computational Chemistry (P101, M110)
250 Solid State Chemistry (220 or 230 or G100 or P210)
300 DNA & Protein Biochemistry (220, 235, some Biology)
380 Senior Seminar (1/4 unit)
385 Senior Thesis (1/2 unit)
Chemistry. Particularly for those going on to graduate school in chemistry or a closely related science, or for those who plan to work in a chemically-related industry.
Applied Chemistry. This more flexible major is intended for students who want to use a background in chemistry to prepare for work or study in a field other than chemistry or a closely related science discipline. Examples include biomedical, environmental, pharmaceutical, materials, forensic, and neuroscience, toxicology, archaeology, business and law. A proposal for this major, including courses and a rationale, must be approved by the department.
Environmental Chemistry. This strongly interdisciplinary major is intended for students who want to use a background in chemistry to prepare for work or study in environmental science or environmental policy or related fields. A proposal for this major, including courses and a rationale, must be approved by the department.
Biological Chemistry. This major is intended for students planning on medical school, graduate school in biochemical disciplines, and careers based in chemical aspects of biochemistry
Biochemistry. This major in biology and chemistry is intended for students who want a strong background in both, either in preparation for graduate school or professional school.
Overseas Seminars and International LearningRelevant to the major
A language based seminar
A semester traveling in Europe and Turkey
JobsRelevant to the major