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Curriculum Overview

Welcome to the Chemistry Department family!

 Students interested in declaring the chemistry major or minor should contact the Chemistry Department Chair, Dr. Leslie Sherman, to complete the necessary paperwork and develop a plan for completing the academic requirements during your remaining time at Washington College.

Chemistry Graduation Checklist

Academic Requirements

The Washington College Chemistry Department has an innovative organic-first curriculum that is accredited by the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the American Chemical Society. We seek to educate well-rounded scientists prepared to solve the challenges of the 21st century. Our graduates have been accepted to top graduate and professional schools in the country and have enjoyed rewarding careers in the laboratory, classroom, and beyond.

The Chemistry Department offers two programs leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Chemistry:

  • American Chemical Society (ACS) Certified Degree in Chemistry
  • Non-American Chemical Society (ACS) Certified  Degree in Chemistry.

Each program involves a core chemistry curriculum, auxiliary courses in math and physics, and chemistry electives. Students are strongly encouraged to complete auxiliary courses in math and physics within their first two years, as these are required prerequisites for some advanced chemistry courses.

While both programs provide a comprehensive foundation in chemistry, the ACS-certified major is carefully regulated by the American Chemical Society and requires students to complete foundational courses in each of the major subdisciplines within chemistry, additional in-depth courses in chemistry, and at least 400 laboratory hours. Because of these more stringent requirements, the ACS-certified major is recognized nationally and internationally as the gold standard in undergraduate chemistry education. Students with an interest in attending graduate school in chemistry or intentions of working in industrial or governmental laboratories after graduation as a chemist are encouraged to complete the ACS-certified degree in chemistry.

The non-ACS certified degree in chemistry also requires a range of foundational and elective courses in the various subdisciplines within chemistry, but students have greater freedom in selecting their courses and can even count a course from a related discipline (Biology, Environmental Science, Physics, or Psychology) toward their chemistry major. Given this increased flexibility, the non-ACS certified degree is an excellent option for students with more interdisciplinary interests, especially those interested in pursuing careers in teaching, engineering, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and law. Given the slightly reduced number of total credit hours relative to the ACS-certified degree, this option is also ideal for double majors working to complete requirements for multiple programs. 

No matter which degree path you follow, we recommend that all students with an interest in chemistry take the following course sequences during their first two years at Washington College.

Chemistry Courses: 

  • CHE 120 Chemical Principles of Organic Molecules 
  • CHE 140 Reactions of Organic Molecules

Math Courses: 

  • MAT 201 Differential Calculus
  • MAT 202 Integral Calculus

Chemistry Courses: 

  • CHE 220 Quantitative Chemical Analysis
  • CHE 240 Chemistry of the Elements

Physics Courses: 

  • PHY 111 General Physics I (offered every fall) OR PHY 101 College Physics I (offered every fall)*
  • PHY 112 General Physics I (offered every spring) OR PHY 102 College Physics I (offered every spring)*

*Non-ACS certified track can take PHY 101 and PHY 102.

These students are advised to take CHE 120, CHE 140, BIO 111, and BIO 112 during their first year.

These students are advised to consult 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. 

The National Association of State Director of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC Certification) in Chemistry requires BIO 111, BIO 112, and at lease one course in computer science.

Requirements for the American Chemical Society Certified Chemistry Degree

  • CHE 120 Chemical Principles of Organic Molecules (offered every semester)
  • CHE 140 Reactions of Organic Molecules (offered every spring)
  • CHE 220 Quantitative Chemical Analysis (offered every semester)
  • CHE 240 Chemistry of the Elements (offered every spring)
  • CHE 305 Chemical Thermodynamics and Chemical Dynamics (offered every fall)
  • CHE 306 Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy (offered every spring)
  • CHE 309/BIO 409 Biochemistry (required for students on the pre-med track, offered every fall) OR CHE 303 Chemistry of Biological Compounds (offered every spring)
  • CHE 340 Synthesis of Organic Molecules (offered every fall)

Mathematics Courses: 

  • MAT 201 Differential Calculus (offered every semester)
  • MAT 202 Integral Calculus (offered every semester)

Physics Courses: 

  • PHY 111 General Physics I (offered every fall)
  • PHY 112 General Physics II (offered every spring)

Chemistry Courses: 

  •  CHE 392 Chemistry Junior Seminar (Equivalent to 0.5 course or 2 credit hours,offered every spring)
  • CHE 491 Chemistry Senior Seminar (Equivalent to 0.5 course or 2 credit hours, offered every fall)
  • CHE SCE Senior Capstone Experience in Chemistry*

*Students who did not perform a summer research internship must complete a lab-based SCE project to meet the 400 lab hours required for ACS certification.

Students must take three in-depth courses in chemistry, such as:

  • CHE 210. Environmental Chemistry 
  • CHE 310. Green and Sustainable Chemistry
  • CHE 314. Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • CHE 320. Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHE 403. Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 405. Biophysical Methods 
  • CHE 410. Fundamentals of Materials Science
  • CHE 394, 494. Special Topics in Chemistry
  • CHE 395, 495, 396, 496. On- or Off-Campus Summer Research (Equivalent to 1 course or 4 credit hours) 

Requirements For The Non-ACS Certified Chemistry Degree

  • CHE 120 Chemical Principles of Organic Molecules (offered every semester) 
  • CHE 140 Reactions of Organic Molecules  (offered every spring) 
  • CHE 220 Quantitative Chemical Analysis (offered every semester)
  • CHE 240 Chemistry of the Elements (offered every spring)
  • CHE 305 Chemical Thermodynamics and Chemical Dynamics (offered every fall) OR CHE 306 Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy (offered every spring)
  • CHE 340 Synthesis of Organic Molecules (offered every fall)

Math Courses: 

  • MAT 201 Differential Calculus (offered every semester)
  • MAT 202 Integral Calculus (offered every semester)

Physics Courses: 

  • PHY 111 General Physics I (offered every fall) OR PHY 101 College Physics I (offered every fall)
  • PHY 112 General Physics I (offered every spring) OR PHY 102 College Physics I (offered every spring)

Chemistry Courses: 

  •  CHE 392 Chemistry Junior Seminar (Equivalent to 0.5 course or 2 credit hours)
  • CHE 491 Chemistry Senior Seminar (Equivalent to 0.5 course or 2 credit hours)
  • CHE SCE Senior Capstone Experience in Chemistry
  • Students must take three approved chemistry electives  at the 200-level or above.

*One of these three courses can be an approved  biology (category II), physics, psychology, or environmental science course,  provided this course is not counted toward another major or minor.

*One of these three courses can be an approved on- or off-campus research or internship experience equivalent to 1 course or 4 credit hours.

 

Areas of Emphasis

Students in both degree paths have the option to specialize their chemistry major in one of four areas of emphasis: Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, Greener Materials Science, Physical and Instrumental Chemistry, or Biophysics and Biological Chemistry. This area of emphasis will be noted on a student's transcript at graduation.

Each area of emphasis requires students to complete their Senior Capstone Experience in the selected area, as well as three additional 4-credit courses.  Successful completion of an area of emphasis will be noted on a student’s transcript. Given that the SCE must be completed in the selected area of emphasis, a student may only complete one area of emphasis. The requirements for each area of emphasis are outlined below.   

SCE specialization in Organic or Medicinal Chemistry, plus three of the following courses:

  • CHE 403. Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 320. Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHE 303 OR CHE 309. Chemistry of Biological Compounds OR Biochemistry
  • CHE 394/494 or CHE 395/495/396/496. Approved Special Topics Course or Research Experience

SCE specialization in Greener Materials Science, plus three of the following courses:

  • CHE 294. Art in the Anthropocene
  • CHE 310. Greener and Sustainable Chemistry
  • CHE 410. Materials Science
  • CHE 314. Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • CHE 394/494 or CHE 395/495/396/496. Approved Special Topics Course or Research Experience

SCE specialization in Physical or Instrumental Chemistry, plus three of the following courses:

  • CHE 305 AND CHE 306. Chemical Thermodynamics and Chemical Dynamics AND Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
  • Approved PHY elective at the 200-level or above
  • MAT 203 OR MAT 345. Multivariable Calculus OR Differential Equations
  • CHE 394/494 or CHE 395/495/396/496. Approved Special Topics Course or Research Experience

SCE specialization in Biophysics or Biological Chemistry, plus three of the following courses:

  • CHE 303. Chemistry of Biological Compounds
  • CHE 309. Biochemistry
  • CHE 320. Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHE 305 AND CHE 306. Chemical Thermodynamics and Chemical Dynamics AND Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy
  • Approved BIO elective at 200-level or above
  • CHE 394/494 or CHE 395/495/396/496. Approved Special Topics Course or Research Experience

The Chemistry Minor

Washington College students can minor in chemistry by completing six chemistry courses. This includes four required courses at the introductory and intermediate levels, plus two advanced electives. Recent chemistry minors have majored in Biology, Economics, Business Administration, Environmental Science, Psychology, Sociology, Physics, and Theatre.

Please note, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) majors are not permitted to minor in chemistry due to overlap in the major and minor requirements.

Academic Requirements for the Chemistry Minor

  • CHE 120 Chemical Principles of Organic Molecules (offered every semester)
  • CHE 140 Reactions of Organic Molecules  (offered every spring) 
  • CHE 220 Quantitative Chemical Analysis (offered every semester)
  • CHE 240 Chemistry of the Elements (offered every spring) 

Students must take two approved chemistry electives at the 200-level or above, such as:

  • CHE 210. Environmental Chemistry 
  • CHE 309/BIO 409 Biochemistry 
  • CHE 303 Chemistry of Biological Compounds 
  • CHE 310. Green and Sustainable Chemistry
  • CHE 314. Instrumental Methods of Analysis
  • CHE 320. Introduction to Medicinal Chemistry
  • CHE 403. Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 405. Biophysical Methods 
  • CHE 410. Fundamentals of Materials Science
  • CHE 394, 494. Special Topics in Chemistry 

Course Tranfer Equivalents

The Chemistry Department implemented an innovative new curriculum in the fall of 2018 that integrates introductory topics from General Chemistry into the specific sub-disciplines within chemistry. This change allows students to take courses focused on organic and bio-organic chemistry at the beginning of their college chemistry education. 

All students begin their chemistry coursework with the gateway course CHE 120 Chemical Principles of Organic Molecules. In this course, students are exposed to the topics typically discussed in General Chemistry I and Organic Chemistry I such as atomic structure, bonding, chemical properties, functional groups, isomerism, thermodynamics, equilibrium, acids and bases, kinetics and substitution reactions. Upon successful completion of CHE 120 Chemical Principles of Organic Molecules, students can take CHE 140 Reactions of Organic Molecules and/or CHE 220 Quantitative Chemical Analysis depending on what the requirements are for their intended major.

Below we outline the chemistry courses taught at Washington College and their equivalent courses taught at other institutions, as well as which courses students interested in a health professional school or an engineering program should take.

Washington College Course Title

                   

Equivalent Course

         
Chemical Principles of Organic Molecules  w/Lab CHE 120  

Organic Chemistry I w/Lab

CHE 201    
Reactions of Organic Molecules w/Lab CHE 140 Organic Chemistry II w/Lab CHE 202    
Quantitative Chemical Analysis w/Lab CHE 220 Analytical Chemistry w/Lab  CHE 301 
Chemistry of the Elements w/Lab CHE 240      Inorganic Chemistry w/Lab  CHE 311 

Many health professional schools require between two and four courses in chemistry, and specifically General Chemistry I, General Chemistry II, Organic Chemistry I, and Organic Chemistry II. As stated above the Chemistry Department does not offer courses in General Chemistry. Instead, the introductory topics traditionally covered in General Chemistry are now incorporated in the various subdisciplines of Chemistry. Students interested in pursuing a career in the health professions will be exposed to all of the topics from General and Organic Chemistry by completing CHE 120, CHE 140, and CHE 220. If a student requires additional Inorganic Chemistry knowledge, we suggest they take CHE 240.

Many engineering programs, including Washington College’s Engineering Dual-Degree Program with Columbia University, require that students are exposed to the topics typically found in General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II. To ensure students who are pre-engineering are exposed to the chemical topics they need for engineering programs, students should take CHE 120 and CHE 220.