2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
    Feb 07, 2023  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry Major

Chemistry Overview

Undergraduate Program

Chemistry is a central science that is important to the intellectual and technological advances in society and many of the sciences.  The boundaries between chemistry and other science fields are continually blurring and thus chemistry remains an important part of a liberal arts education.


The Chemistry Department offers an undergraduate program with the following goals in mind:

  • to provide a variety of course offerings that are consistent with the accreditation requirements of the American Chemical Society (ACS);
  • to offer a program that will prepare students for graduate work in chemistry and related fields;
  • to provide a strong scientific background for students planning careers in health-related professions;
  • to provide students not majoring in science an overview of the impact of science on society


The department offers two tracks leading to a B.A. in chemistry. The requirements for the two tracks are designed to allow students to choose their course work depending upon their ultimate career goals.  The Standard Track offers a flexible yet comprehensive chemistry major that is appropriate for those students with an interest in chemistry, but who plan to go into a field in which chemistry is not the major focus such as the health professions (medical, dental or veterinary school), high school teaching, technical sales, etc.  The ACS-certified track meets the entrance requirements for graduate study in chemistry and is recommended for those students with a strong interest in chemistry and a desire for a profession in the chemical sciences.  Students are encouraged to consult early with a faculty member in the department to determine the appropriate course plan based on career or post-graduate goals.


For more information, please visit the Chemistry Department’s website.

Major Requirements

Students pursuing either track are required to take a minimum of eight chemistry courses beyond the Introductory Chemistry course sequence.  Three of the eight chemistry courses must be Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 131), Analytical Chemistry (CHEM 140), and a physical chemistry course (CHEM 260 or BCMB 264).  At least four of the remaining five courses must be at the 200-level and three of those five courses must have a laboratory component.  All students must complete a capstone experience, which can be met through a variety of 200-level courses.  Students pursuing the ACS-certified track must complete an additional 200-level course with a laboratory component.  For ACS-certified track majors, one of the remaining two 200-level courses must be a directed research course (CHEM 297 or CHEM 299).  Students who participate in a summer research project and provide an acceptable final report do not need to take CHEM 299 as one of the remaining 200-level course.  All students must complete two mathematics courses and two science courses outside chemistry or biochemistry.  Students must also demonstrate competence in communicating chemical concepts (through reports based on research in the chemical literature, Academic Spree Day presentations, Directed Study papers, Honors theses, or publications).  All majors are required to take a standardized undergraduate chemistry knowledge diagnostic exam before graduation.  All courses for the major must be taken for a letter grade.


All majors are encouraged to undertake independent research projects as a candidate for Honors, through Directed Study or through one of the department’s summer research fellowships.  Students are encouraged to begin the research experience by taking CHEM 199 Introduction to Research  with one of the department faculty prior to CHEM 299 Directed Study  or CHEM 297 Honors .

Standard Track

Introductory Course Sequence

This course sequence is intended to provide students with foundational knowledge and skills and exposure to the sub-disciplines in chemistry.


Students must complete two mathematics courses and have two options.

Students are advised to check the math prerequisites for CHEM and BCMB courses to insure that the two mathematics courses selected are appropriate.

Science courses outside chemistry or biochemistry

Students must complete two courses outside of chemistry and biochemistry and have two options.

Core chemistry courses

Students must complete the three core chemistry courses.

Students opting to take CHEM 260 require Calculus through MATH 121 or MATH 125.

Additional chemistry courses

Students must complete five additional courses in chemistry or biochemistry.  Three of the five courses must have a laboratory component.  Two courses may be lecture only.  Courses that are lecture only must be at the 200-level.

Courses with laboratory components are:

ACS-Certified Track

Introductory Course Sequence

This course sequence is intended to provide students with foundational knowledge and skills and exposure to the sub-disciplines in chemistry.


Students must complete two calculus courses.

Science courses outside chemistry or biochemistry

Students must complete two physics courses.

Core chemistry courses

Students must complete the three core chemistry courses.

Additional chemistry courses

Students must take six additional chemistry courses, four of which have laboratory components and will cover the key sub-disciplines in chemistry.  The remaining two courses are 200-level chemistry or biochemistry electives.


Students planning graduate study in chemistry are strongly urged to take additional advanced course in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biochemistry beyond the minimums prescribed here.

Capstone Requirement (Both Tracks)

A capstone experience, taken during the student’s senior year, is required for the chemistry major.  Capstone experiences allow students to acquire knowledge and professional skills through research experiences, course work, or internships.  A capstone experience in chemistry will involve either participation in evaluative research or creation of a research proposal.


The capstone requirement can be fulfilled in one of four ways:

  1. Participation in the CHEM Honors Program (CHEM 297 )
  2. Completing a minimum of one unit of directed research (CHEM 299 )
  3. Completing one unit of an internship for academic credit (CHEM 298 )
  4. Completing one 200-level CHEM elective identified as eligible for the capstone experience


Students must register for the appropriate course section and submit the capstone declaration form with the instructor’s signature to the Chemistry Department by the end of the first week of the semester that the capstone will be completed.  Students must submit a written report or written proposal to the relevant capstone instructor in partial fulfillment of the capstone experience.  Students are responsible for completing all non-departmental requirements (e.g. obtaining credit for internships, establishing off-campus research experiences, etc.).


Courses eligible for fulfillment of the capstone requirement:


An Honors Program is offered for highly qualified and motivated majors.  Students who want to enter this program must apply in writing to the department chair prior to the beginning of their senior year.  Applicants must have a minimum B+ GPA in science and math courses.  Participants are required to engage in an independent research project, participate in the department seminar program, present the research project results in a public seminar, submit an honors thesis (or a journal publication based on the research project) at least one week before the public seminar, and pass a set of comprehensive examinations.  Further information about the program is provided on our undergraduate research website or can be obtained from the department chairman, Professor Luis Smith (Room S212, Sackler Sciences Center; lusmith@clarku.edu).

Chemistry Faculty


Sergio Granados-Focil, Ph.D.
Shuanghong Huo, Ph.D.
Charles Jakobsche, Ph.D.
Ernest Krygier, MA
Noel Lazo, Ph.D.
Arundhati Nag, Ph.D.
Donald Spratt, Ph.D.
Luis Smith, Ph.D.
Mark Turnbull, Ph.D.


Daeg S. Brenner, Ph.D.
Karen L. Erickson, Ph.D.
Frederick Greenaway, Ph.D.
David Thurlow, Ph.D.
Wen-Yang Wen, Ph.D.