Course descriptions

Our courses

CHEM 111 General Chemistry I (with lab):  The first introductory course in chemistry, suitable for students majoring in the sciences or needing multiple semesters of chemistry for post-graduate plans.  Topics include atoms and molecules, subatomic particles, chemical bonding, solution chemistry, balancing equations, stoichiometry, thermodynamics, gases.  Offered each fall semester.

CHEM 112 General Chemistry II (with lab):  The second introductory course in chemistry, a continuation of CHEM 111.  Topics include intermolecular forces, phase diagrams, kinetics, equilibrium, acids and bases, electrochemistry, nuclear chemistry.  Offered each spring semester.  Prerequisite: CHEM 111.  

CHEM 113 Accelerated General Chemistry (with lab): An accelerated introductory course in chemistry for well-prepared students.  The course topics include atoms and elements, bonding, molecular structure, reactions, thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, solutions, and acid-base chemistry. Students who pass this course also receive competency for Chem 111.  Credit cannot be earned for both Chem 112 and Chem 113.  Offered each fall. Enrollment is by permission only, restricted to well-prepared freshmen  

CHEM 221, 222 Organic Chemistry I and II (with labs): A study of the chemistry of the compounds of carbon. Fundamental concepts of chemical bonding are employed to develop chemical models and to correlate structure-property relationships within and among the various classes of carbon compounds.  221 is taught in Fall and Summer 1; 222 is taught in Spring and Summer 2. Prerequisite: CHEM 112 or CHEM 113 is a prerequisite for CHEM 221; CHEM 221 is a prerequisite for CHEM 222.  

CHEM 260 Descriptive Inorganic Chemistry (with lab): A study of the elements and their compounds. The properties of these substances, spanning the entire periodic table, will be described and explained through the connections to chemical theories and concepts. The occurrence, isolation, uses, and compounds of elements will be explored. Biochemical and industrial applications will be considered. Lab experiments include a strong emphasis on quantitative techniques.  Offered Spring 2016, Spring 2018. Prerequisite: CHEM 112 or CHEM 113.  

CHEM 270 Environmental Chemistry (with lab): This course focuses on the role chemistry plays within the environment (terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric), with a significant focus on the application of chemical principles. The analysis of real-world environmental samples by chemical instrumentation will also be presented within both the lecture and laboratory settings. Offered Spring 2017. Prerequisite: CHEM 112 or CHEM 113.  

CHEM 280 Sophomore Seminar/Communicating Chemistry:  Scientific communication skills: Literature searching skills, written and oral scientific presentation skills. Introduction to research methods: Planning and organizing a research project, data analysis techniques. (1/2 unit) Offered every Spring. Prerequisite: CHEM 221, co-enrollment in 222 encouraged.  

CHEM 331, 332 Physical Chemistry I & II (with labs): The physical aspects of chemical phenomena, including the properties of solids, liquids, gases and solutions; thermodynamics; kinetics; electrochemistry; and elementary quantum theory. 331 is offered every Fall, 332 every Spring. Prerequisites: CHEM 222, MATH 122, and two units of physics are prerequisites for CHEM 331; CHEM 331 is a prerequisite for CHEM 332.  

CHEM 340 Pharmaceutical Chemistry:   A study of the chemistry of pharmaceuticals, with emphasis on the molecular-level interactions between drugs and the body. Drug metabolism, drug-receptor interactions, and drug development are explored with case studies including cancer drugs, opiates, and antibiotics. Offered Spring 2017, Spring 2019. Prerequisite: CHEM 222.  

CHEM 341 Biochemistry I:  Structure and Function (with lab):  This course provides an overview of the structure and function of biological monomers and polymers, using examples from medicine.  Proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, and lipids are studied in detail with an emphasis on intermolecular interactions, kinetics, and thermodynamics.  Offered every Fall.  Prerequisite: Chem 222.

CHEM 342 Biochemistry II:  Metabolism (with lab): This course provides and overview of the major metabolic pathways found in animals, plants, and prokaryotes, including connections to medicine and health.  The catabolism and anabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins are studied in detail, along with oxidative phosphorylation and photosynthesis.  The laboratory consists of a semester-long project in which students modify, express, purify, and study a protein important to the metabolism of currently-used chemotherapeutics.  Offered every Spring.  Prerequisite: Chem 341.

CHEM 350 Instrumental Analysis (with lab): Regardless of their interests, all chemists rely on the use of equipment to characterize chemical phenomena.  In this course we will study how chemical systems can be monitored using instrumentation, the construction of instrumentation capable of such measurements, and the application of these tools to a variety of complex systems.  The laboratory is focused on providing students significant hands-on opportunities to operate chemical instrumentation independently. Offered every Fall. Prerequisite: CHEM 331 or CHEM 341. Completion of CHEM 260 strongly encouraged.

CHEM 420 Advanced Organic Chemistry: An in-depth study of selected topics in organic chemistry, with particular emphasis on physical organic chemistry. Offered Spring 2016, Spring 2018. Prerequisite: CHEM 222  

CHEM 460 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry:  Advanced topics in inorganic chemistry with an emphasis on bonding and structure. Offered:  Spring 2017, Spring 2019. Prerequisite: CHEM 222 

Students can also earn academic credit for research and internships.  Contact the department chair, Dr. Catherine Sarisky ( for more information.