After careful planning and review, the College on May 11, 2004, and the faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry approved a comprehensive plan for significant curricular restructuring in the introductory chemistry course sequence (defined here as the first two years of chemical instruction). Designed to meet the rapidly evolving needs of the diverse student body served by the department, this plan begins with a condensed modern introduction to basic principles, then continues through organic and bioorganic chemistry to bioanalytical principles with a curricular emphasis on topics that reflect current applications of the chemical sciences. Plans were developed to implement the new four semester sequence sequentially, with the first offering of CHEM 131 and 132 (the first semester course and its associated laboratory) during the fall 2005 semester.

Details of New Curriculum

 Semester 1

CHEM 131+132(Fundamentals of General Chemistry) +(General Chemistry I Laboratory)

CHEM 131 and its companion laboratory CHEM 132 (Chemistry and Biochemistry majors have their own lecture and lab courses, CHEM 146-Principles of General Chemistry, and CHEM 147 or 177-Introduction to Laboratory Practices and Research in the Chemical Sciences, begin with descriptions of our chemical surroundings, both macroscopic and microscopic, using the Periodic Table as a framework. Students then proceed to topics deemed necessary to undertake the study of organic chemistry (chemical bonding, thermochemistry, and chemical equilibria). Based on studies of student success in Introductory Chemistry, CHEM 131 will require math eligibility of MATH220, MATH130, or MATH140.

Semester 2 and Semester 3

CHEM 231+232 (Organic Chemistry I) + (Organic Chemistry I Laboratory) followed by:

CHEM 241+242 (Organic Chemistry II) + (Organic Chemistry II Laboratory)

Semesters 2 and 3 will follow along the lines of the present organic chemistry sequence (CHEM231/232 and CHEM241/242) taking into account the different background of students in the new sequence. Some topics not dealt with in CHEM 131/132, but included in the old CHEM 103/113 curriculum, are now introduced in the context of organic chemistry. Indeed, a guiding principle of the new curriculum is that abstractions are best learned in the context of a tangible subject. Chemistry and Biochemistry majors will have their own organic chemistry courses (which include a laboratory): CHEM 237 (Principles of Organic Chemistry I) and CHEM 247 (Principles of Organic Chemistry II).

Semester 4

CHEM 271 (General Chemistry and Energetics) + CHEM 272 (General Bioanalytical Chemistry Laboratory)

For the fourth semester of the new chemistry sequence, an entirely new and special course provides students unprecedented exposure to faculty research specialties and to sophisticated laboratory experience within a biochemical context. For non-majors, CHEM 271, the lecture component, meets twice per week, and CHEM 272, the laboratory component, meets for one lecture and one 3-hour lab per week. For Chemistry and Biochemistry majors, CHEM 276 (General Chemistry and Energetics – Majors), the lecture component meets for two lectures per week, and CHEM 277 (Fundamentals of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry), the laboratory, meets for one lecture and two laboratory sessions per week. The CHEM 272 and 277 laboratories focus upon analytical chemistry with emphasis upon bioanalytical methods employing state-of-the-art-instrumentation.

How does this relate to my major requirements?

  • CHEM/BCHM Majors
  • Other majors – The new chemistry curriculum has been discussed with every department on campus that requires chemistry or biochemistry courses. The best source of information concerning which chemistry courses you should take is your major advisor.


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