Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
The mission of the Chemistry Department at Washington College is to provide outstanding undergraduate education in the chemical sciences by integrating classroom instruction with laboratory experimentation, faculty-student collaborative research, and service opportunities. Our goal is to inspire students to become liberally educated scientists. Our program is approved by the American Chemical Society. The program is designed to prepare students for graduate work in pure chemistry, for professional work in other scientific fields such as environmental science, engineering, medicine, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, neuroscience and veterinary science, for teaching at the secondary school level, and for work in industrial or governmental laboratories. Chemistry graduates have established diverse career paths that range from a dedication to pure or applied scientific research, to management of scientific and business concerns, to consultantships with industries and governments on scientific, environmental, legal, and business issues, and to service as medical personnel and elected public officials.
Students who have an interest in majoring in chemistry or double majoring in chemistry and another subject are advised to take CHE 111 and CHE 112 during their first year. Premedical students and students interested in the 3:2 pharmacy program are advised to take CHE 111, 112 and BIO 111, 112 during their first year. Students intending to teach at the secondary school level should consult with the Chair of the Department of Education and the Chair of Chemistry about planning a full-course schedule as early as possible in their college career. Such students need to be aware that NASDTEC Certification in Chemistry requires BIO 111, 112 and at least one course in computer science.
Programs In Chemistry
The Department offers two programs leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry: a non-ACS Certified Chemistry major and an ACS Certified Chemistry major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CHEMISTRY MAJOR
The table on the following page summarizes the REQUIRED courses for both tracks in chemistry as well as for students who have declared a major in chemistry late (Spring of sophomore year or Fall of junior year).
BIO 111 is a pre-requisite for BIO 409/CHE 309.
Elective courses are courses at the 200-level or above. Three of the four elective courses for the non-ACS certified degree can be BIO or PHY courses not counted towards that major. The three elective courses for the ACS certified degree in chemistry must be CHE courses such as: CHE 303, CHE 310, CHE 314, CHE 403, CHE 410, CHE 395, 495, or CHE 394, 494.
Historically students who obtained a C- or below in the second semester of general chemistry did not perform well in CHE 201 and CHE 202. Therefore we do not encourage students to pursue CHE 201 and CHE 202 (Organic Chemistry I, II) if their grade in CHE 112 is not satisfactory. We also strongly recommend that students take Organic Chemistry I and II the year immediately following General Chemistry I and II.
Requirements For The Chemistry Minor
Students intending to minor in Chemistry should meet with the Department Chair early in their career to insure that they are able to complete the following courses and to get their minor declaration card signed.
Six chemistry courses are required for the chemistry minor.
- CHE 111, 112. General Chemistry I and II
- CHE 201, 202. Organic Chemistry I and II
- Two courses at the 200 level or above.
All junior and senior majors participate in a two-semester Chemistry Seminar which constitutes one course equivalent. For juniors this is in the spring semester and for seniors it is in the fall semester. Each junior and each senior gives one seminar each semester on a topic of his or her choice that has been approved by a department member.
Senior Capstone Experience
Chemistry majors fulfill the Senior Capstone Experience by conducting a yearlong research project either based on a laboratory project or an in-depth literature review in collaboration with a chemistry faculty member. Many research projects involve synthetic and preparative procedures and include the use of the department’s research grade analytical instrumentation. The results of this research are presented in the department’s annual research symposium and are included in a written, thesis-quality report. Many projects involve synthetic and preparative procedures and include the use of the department’s research-grade UV-VIS, FTIR, AA, NMR, GC, HPLC, GC-MS, ICP-MS, electrochemical analyzer, and polarimeter. Students pursuing the ACS-certified degree in Chemistry must perform a laboratory-based research project for their SCE to meet the number of laboratory hours required by the ACS. This requirement could be waived if ACS-certified majors have already performed research for credit during the academic year or during the summer. Seniors present the results of their project in a poster session that is open to the College community. The department has a set of Senior Capstone Experience Guidelines that are distributed to both junior and senior chemistry majors each Fall. For those students meeting the College-wide standards of eligibility for departmental honors at graduation, the capstone experience also forms the basis of an oral examination given at the end of the students’ final semester. Students must enroll in CHE SCE in their final semester to obtain credit for the Senior Capstone Experience. The Senior Capstone Experience is graded according to the Washington College grading system, which involves the use of letter grades (A-F) that may be modified by a minus or a plus.
Internship and Research Opportunities
A number of stipend-bearing internships and research opportunities exist for chemistry majors and minors. Summer on-campus research projects as well as summer and semester-long off-campus internships not only provide additional laboratory experience, but also allow students the opportunity to explore, in depth, areas of chemistry not covered in the core curriculum. Off-campus internships may or may not bear credit. On-campus summer internships are credit bearing.
The Department of Chemistry offers Honors sections of General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II.
For distribution credit in Natural Sciences, the Chemistry department offers CHE 111, 112 General Chemistry I, II, and CHE 110 Chemistry of the Environment.
Advanced Placement Credit
Students scoring 4 or 5 on the chemistry advanced placement examination may, with the approval of the department, receive credit for General Chemistry I, II.
110. (ENV 110) Chemistry of the Environment
An introductory course focusing on the chemical dimensions of current environmental problems such as global warming, ozone depletion, water and soil contamination, and non-renewable fuel consumption. Fundamental principles of chemical bonding, equilibrium and kinetics are studied as they arise in connection with each environmental issue. Interdisciplinary aspects are explored to further understand the multiple dimensions of the problems. Intended for students planning to major outside the sciences. Three hours of lecture and one hour and 3/4 of laboratory each week. (Offered annually)
111, 112. General Chemistry I, II
This two-semester sequence focuses on the fundamental principles of chemistry. Key topics are atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, and stoichiometry, with an emphasis on molecules and reactions important in biological systems. Other topics include thermochemistry, kinetics, chemical equilibria, electrochemistry, intermolecular forces and states of matter, periodic properties, coordination chemistry, and an introduction to organic chemistry, biochemistry, and Green Chemistry. Laboratory work is designed to complement lecture material. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each week. Chemistry 111 is a prerequisite for Chemistry 112. (Offered annually)
201, 202. Organic Chemistry I, II
This two-semester sequence is concerned with the molecular architecture and chemical reactivity of a broad spectrum of organic molecules, including aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons, their halogenated derivatives, and molecules containing oxygen and nitrogen, alone or in one or more combinations. Particular emphasis is placed on the structure and function of organic molecules important in biological systems. Heavy emphasis is given to the study of reaction mechanisms. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each week. Prerequisite. Chemistry 112 or its equivalent. Chemistry 201 is prerequisite for Chemistry 202. (Offered annually)
210. (ENV 210) Environmental Chemistry
The cycling of natural chemical species and pollutants in the water, soil and air of our earth system is a major component of our complex ecosystem. In this environmental chemistry course, we will develop an understanding of the transport and reactions controlling natural chemical species in our environment, as well as the cycling of pollutants. We will focus primarily on current issues of water, soil and air pollution and will study how scientists are cleaning up currently polluted sites, such as through bioremediation, and then look forward to how society is working towards reducing the movement of pollutants through our environment. In the laboratory portion of the class, we will investigate the water quality of local water bodies, including the Chester River, as well as conduct hands-on experiments related to the environmental issues studied in class. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each. Prerequisites Chemistry 112. (Offered Fall: even numbered years)
301. Analytical Chemistry
A detailed treatment of simple and complex chemical equilibria with particular emphasis on theoretical aspects of acid-base, oxidation-reduction, complexometric, and precipitation equilibria. Applications of the techniques to inorganic, organic, biochemical, and environmental analysis are covered in the lecture and lab components of the course. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each week. Prerequisite. Chemistry 112. (Offered annually: Fall)
303. Chemistry of Biological Compounds
This course is designed for majors and minors in the physical and biological sciences and provides an understanding of the structure, function and chemistry of biological macromolecules. Topics include protein and nucleic acid folding, thermodynamics of macromolecular interactions and mechanistic enzymology. Methods for elucidating enzyme mechanisms will be discussed with an emphasis on kinetics and examples from the literature. Prerequisite. Chemistry 202. (Offered annually: Spring)
305. Chemical Thermodynamics and Chemical Dynamics
Thermodynamics is the study of the behavior of matter and the transformation between different forms of energy on a macroscopic scale. Chemical dynamics is the study of the rate at which the macroscopic properties and composition of matter change. These changes can involve either transport properties, such as thermal conductivity, viscosity, and diffusion or chemical kinetics. Some of the chemical kinetics topics covered are rate laws, temperature effects on reaction rates, reaction rate theories, reaction mechanisms, and enzyme catalysis. Applications of chemical thermodynamics and chemical dynamics are drawn from environmental chemistry and biochemistry. Laboratory exercises include determination of thermodynamic properties and kinetics experiments. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 112 and, Mathematics 202, Co-requisite: Physics 111. (Offered annually: Fall)
306. Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
Quantum chemistry is the application of quantum mechanics to the field of chemistry. Topics included in the discussion of quantum chemistry are the early development of quantum mechanics, quantum mechanical models for molecular vibrations and rotations, and electronic structure of atoms and molecules. Spectroscopy is the study of the interactions of electromagnetic radiation with matter, and is the principal experimental tool used to investigate the predictions made using quantum mechanics. The laboratory exercises include spectroscopy experiments and the use of molecular modeling programs. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 112 and Mathematics 202 Co-requisite: Physics 112. (Offered annually: Spring)
309. (BIO 409) Biochemistry
An examination of living systems at the chemical level. Topics will include structure and function of macromolecules, cellular energetics, cellular respiration, and photosynthesis. A laboratory will be conducted weekly to introduce students to experimental techniques. Prerequisite: Biology 111 and Chemistry 202, or permission from instructor. (Offered annually: Fall)
310. Greener and Sustainable Chemistry
Environmentally friendly scientists are increasingly conscious about the need to make chemistry “greener.” The goal of this course is to present a different perspective regarding chemistry and its applications in academia and industry worldwide. This course will cover both the theoretical and practical aspects of green and sustainable chemistry. The introduction will include the foundations of green chemistry and sustainability as well as a description of the tools and principles it employs. There will be an in-depth study concerning the evaluation of methods and tools in designing environmentally benign reactions and chemicals. Real-world examples will be used to illustrate the goals of green chemistry. Throughout the semester students will have the opportunity to enhance their writing and oral presentation skills and improve their communication and discussion abilities. Three hours of lecture each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 112 and Chemistry 201. (Offered Spring: in rotation with Chemistry 410)
311. Inorganic Chemistry
This course is an in-depth study of structure and bonding in molecules. Topics include atomic structure, symmetry and bond theory, ionic and covalent bonding, coordination and organometallic chemistry, and catalysis. The laboratory work focuses on the synthesis and characterization of the following: main group compounds, bioinorganic molecules, zeolites, coordination and organometallic complexes used in catalysis. It also introduces green inorganic chemistry, computational chemistry, and metal complexes used in bioinorganic chemistry. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Co-requisite: Chemistry 305. (Offered annually: Fall)
314. Instrumental Methods of Analysis
This course examines instrumental methods based on their selectivity, sensitivity, and detection limits. Instrumental systems are analyzed in terms of electronics, computers, and optics. The following topics are included: Molecular and atomic spectroscopy, electroanalytical techniques, and separation techniques. Applications of the techniques to inorganic, organic, biochemical and environmental analysis are covered in the lecture and lab components of the course. The laboratory emphasizes the critical evaluation of data. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 201. (Offered annually: Spring)
354, 453. Chemistry Seminar
Chemistry majors and chemistry faculty participate in the department’s weekly seminar program. Each student participant will make oral and written presentations based on current scientific literature and collaborative research. Instruction modules will include literature-searching methods, history of chemistry, contemporary problems in the chemical and biochemical sciences, molecular drawing, and modeling and calculation programs. Two credits per semester for a maximum of four credits. Prerequisite: chemistry major status. (Offered annually)
194, 294, 394, 494. Special Topics in Chemistry
A detailed study of an advanced topic or topics in chemistry chosen on the basis of current student interest and faculty expertise. Special topics include but are not limited to: Biophysical Methods, Hetero-cyclic Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, Solid-State Chemistry, Chemistry of Macro-molecules, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Electronics Instrumentation. Three hours of lecture per week. (Offered annually)
195, 295, 395, 495. On-Campus Research
This course is comprised of a ten-week summer research project guided by a faculty mentor. The student and faculty mentor develop a research project supported by a reading list and involving theoretical, laboratory, or field investigations supervised by the faculty mentor. Participants will produce a final report detailing the findings of their research. The course may be taken twice for credit. Not offered as Pass/Fail. Prerequisite: Permission of the mentor. (Offered annually)
403. Advanced Organic Chemistry
A study of mechanisms for organic reactions and reaction rates. Topics to be covered include kinetic methods, effects of structure change on reactivity, isotope effects, reaction rate theory, and methods of determining reaction mechanisms. Laboratory work consists of a course in the identification of organic compounds and mixtures. Both chemical and instrumental methods of structure determination will be used. Three hours of lecture each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 202.
410. Materials Science
Our lives are influenced by all types of materials in transportation, housing, clothing, communication, recreation, and food production. The development and advancement of societies have been dependent on the ability to use existing materials, produce, manipulate, and select new materials suitable in many technologies that make our existence more comfortable. This course depicts relationships between the processing of a material, its structure, and finally its performance based on its properties in terms of the design, production, and utilization of the material. The overall goal of this course is to become familiar with the selection process that scientists and engineers use when designing a suitable material at a reasonable cost with minimal environmental impact. Three hours of lecture each week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 305 (Offered Spring: in rotation with Chemistry 310)
196, 296, 396, 496. Off-campus Research
The course consists of an individual research project chosen by the student in consultation with a faculty mentor. The student will, with the help of the mentor, design a project to be implemented during a one- or two-semester period. The student will conduct an appropriate literature search, carry out the research, and submit a written report by the end of each semester. One-half course credit will be awarded for each semester. One course credit in research may be counted toward the major and the degree. Prerequisite: Permission of the mentor.
190, 290, 390, 490. Internship
197, 297, 397, 497. Independent Study
SCE. Senior Capstone Experience
Chemistry majors fulfill the Senior Capstone Experience by conducting a yearlong research project in collaboration with a chemistry faculty member and writing a thesis-quality report. Many projects involve synthetic and preparative procedures and include the use of the department’s research-grade UV-VIS, FTIR, AA, NMR, GC, HPLC, GC-MS, ICP-MS, electrochemical analyzer, and polarimeter. Students pursuing the ACS-certified degree in Chemistry must perform a laboratory-based research project for their SCE to meet the number of laboratory hours required by the ACS. This requirement could be waived if ACS-certified majors have already performed research for credit during the academic year or during the summer. Seniors present the results of their project in a poster session that is open to the College community. The Senior Capstone Experience is graded according to the Washington College grading system, which involves the use of letter grades (A-F) that may be modified by a minus or a plus. (Offered annually)