Med Chem FAQ

Medicinal Chemistry Concentration

The Medicinal Chemistry concentration provides additional coursework in chemistry for students interested in a deeper understanding of chemistry as it relates to pharmaceutical development, production, and the practice of medicine.   

Students may declare this concentration in combination with any major.  As with all concentrations, students will need three units towards the concentration that are not counted towards the major.   

Students may not combine the chemistry minor with this concentration.

Required courses:

  • Chem 111/117 (or competency):  General Chemistry I
  • Chem 112/118: General Chemistry II
  • Chem 221: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 222: Organic Chemistry II
  • Chem 340: Pharmaceutical Chemistry (alternate spring terms)
  • Chem 420: Advanced Organic Chemistry (alternate spring terms)

One required elective, from the list below:

  • Chem 341:  Biochemistry I
  • Chem 342:  Biochemistry II  
  • Chem 350:  Instrumental Analysis (CHEM 255 is a required pre-req)
  • Industrial or pharmaceutical company internship (Chem 416) with the approval of the concentration coordinator.
  • Chem 399 or 499: Special Topics, with approval of the concentration coordinator

Students are encouraged to consult frequently with the concentration coordinator or their assigned advisor, as some courses are offered on an alternate year basis.  


What do BS Chem majors add to their major courses to complete the concentration?

You can use 340, 420, and internship/342 towards the concentration.  And for the major electives, you'll take two of 460, 342 (if you did an internship), and 270, to avoid overlaps.

What do BS Biochem majors add to their major courses to complete the concentration?
Chem 340, 420, and either 350 or an internship.  You can complete the biochem elective with research, 260, 270, 332, 350 (if not used in the concentration), or 460.

What do BS Biology majors take for the concentration?
Only Chem 111/117-112/118 are overlaps.  You'll add Chem 221-222 (which you might be taking for pre-health anyway), 340, 420, and any one of the electives on the list.  (Chem 341 is recommended for pre-health preparation.)

How does this new concentration compare to the minor? The concentration requires the same total units, but is more specific about which units can be chosen. Students cannot declare both the Medicinal Chemistry concentration and the Chemistry minor.

What kinds of internships count?
The goal is an industrial internship with substantial chemical/biochemical content.  The industrial site needn't be a pharmaceutical company.  Internships in retail pharmacies won't count.  Talk to Dr. Sarisky.

What if I took Pharmaceutical Chem when it was numbered 240 instead of 340? Not a problem!  You can count it

When should I declare?
Students are encouraged to start planning early for the concentration, as scheduling can be tricky  You need to be done with organic chemistry by the end of the summer between sophomore and junior year to be on track to complete the concentration in four years.  If you are a Chem or Biochem major, make sure you understand how the overlap rules are going to work with your specific major, as some of the courses you'll need are offered on an alternate year schedule.