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Bachelor of Science in Chemistry (B.S.Chem.)

The curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Chemistry has been planned for students preparing for professional work in chemistry, biochemistry, or related fields. The major in chemical sciences entails a lesser degree of specialization than that leading to the B.S.Chem. 

The B.S.Chem. is the most rigorous degree in pure chemistry offered by the department, and it should be the degree of choice for students who plan to pursue Ph.D. studies in one of the traditional sub-areas of the field (organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, and analytical chemistry) or students who plan to seek careers in the chemical industry. Students are required to take several lecture and lab courses in all of these core areas and are also required to complete four credits (two semesters) of undergraduate research.

The program leading to Honors in chemistry is available to qualified students.

In addition, there is a five-year joint degree program with the College of Engineering that leads to a B.S.Chem. and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Chemical Engineering).

It is strongly recommended that students who are thinking of degrees in chemistry should arrange an appointment with a chemistry advisor via the online appointment scheduling system as soon as possible, preferably before the end of their freshman year but certainly before the end of their sophomore year. 

Degree Program

A minimum program leading to this degree is given in the following list of courses and requirements. 

Exclusions: Students who elect the B.S.Chem. may not elect the following majors: Interdisciplinary Chemical Sciences or Chemical Science. They may also not elect any of the Chemistry minors.

A Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree requires competentcy in each major area of knowledge and a deep understanding of chemistry. Each student is required also to achieve competency in the use of the English language, to acquire second-year college-level proficiency in a language other than English, to receive credit for an approved course addressing questions on race and ethnicity, and to fulfill the quantitative reasoning requirement. The B.S.Chem. degree requires 60 credits of approved courses in the physical and natural sciences and/or mathematics. 

Chemistry Degree Credit and GPA Requirements 

A student must complete a minimum of 124 credits with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 (C) or better. This includes chemistry courses, mathematics and physics prerequisites, and advanced electives that are part of the degree program.

Special Departmental Policies (effective Fall 2015)

The department strongly recommends that a student earn a grade of at least C– in all CHEM courses and mathematics, physics, and biology courses that are prerequisite for subsequent elections. A major program grade point average of at least 2.0 is required; this includes chemistry courses, mathematics, physics, and biology prerequisites, and advanced electives that are part of a major plan. Prerequisites must be taken for a grade. Students must request any change in a chemistry course grade within the first 15 University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. 


Prerequisites to the Program (Must be taken for a grade)

  • CHEM courses through 215, 216, CHEM 241/242, and CHEM 260 or 370
  • PHYSICS [135/136  or 140/141] and [235/236 or 240/241]
  • MATH 115 (or 120), and MATH 116 (or 121)
  • CHEM 262 (or MATH 215, and MATH 216 or 217)

PHYSICS 240 or 235 and MATH 215 are prerequisites for CHEM 461, and students should, whenever possible, complete both of these before their junior year.

Chemistry Degree Course Requirements 

CHEM 302 or 303, 402, 447, 461, 462, 463, 482, and 483, plus four credits of CHEM 399 taken over at least two terms, as well as one advanced lecture course in chemistry.

Honors Plan in Chemistry

The B.S.Chem. degree is the basis of the Honors degree in chemistry. Maintenance of a satisfactory GPA (3.4) in the  courses required for the degree program, including prerequisites, and satisfactory completion of an Honors thesis (CHEM 499) based on the research done in CHEM 399 are required for Honors. All students, whatever their program, who are interested in an Honors degree should see the chemistry Honors advisor (Room 1500 Chemistry) for approval for participation in the Honors Program in chemistry.