Chemistry Major

67-69 units


Chemistry has been called the “central science” because an understanding of it is necessary for study in the fields of biology, astronomy, earth science, and physics. Chemistry is also fundamental to interdisciplinary fields such as biochemistry, ecology, medicine, pharmacology, and environmental toxicology. The department offers CHEM 101 which meets General Education requirements and educates the student not only in basic chemical principles, but also in how chemistry impacts the planet.

The core requirements of the chemistry major include a year each of general chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry (Quantitative Analysis and Instrumental Analysis), and physical chemistry. The remaining requirements give the student a foundation in related fields and provide breadth. In addition to classroom requirements, it is strongly recommended that students complete a special project during their junior or senior year. This may involve collaboration with one of the science faculty in a research project, an off-campus internship in industry, or a project in which the student pursues one of his/her own ideas.

Program Learning Goals

This program develops students who can:

  • Apply basic knowledge, theories, and mathematical problem-solving approaches to this field.
  • Demonstrate traditional chemistry instrumentation and laboratory applications.
  • Relate modern discoveries in chemistry to applications in medicine, pharmacology, toxicology, foods, industry, waste management, and environmental issues.
  • Matriculate into graduate programs in medicine, biochemistry, and research.

Career Opportunities

The chemistry major is excellent preparation for graduate studies in chemistry, biochemistry, and environmental studies. Students who attend graduate school and obtain a master’s or doctoral degree may find employment at a university or in the private or government sectors. The chemistry major is also excellent for students planning to attend professional school in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, medical technology, forensic science, or pharmacology.

Examples of careers students pursue after graduation include entry-level positions as a research or laboratory technician, in governmental or industrial technical support, in management (when coupled with a major or minor in business management), or in teaching at the secondary level. It is highly recommended that students desiring employment immediately after graduation complete an internship in the private or government sector before graduation.

Note: Entry requirements differ among graduate schools and jobs. Students are responsible to research the requirements of graduate programs and professions in which they are interested.


BIOC 380Biochemistry I4
BIOL 496Writing 3: Ethics and the Sciences 23
CHEM 151General Chemistry I 1, 34
CHEM 152General Chemistry II 34
CHEM 251
CHEM 261
Organic Chemistry - Theory I
and Organic Chemistry - Lab
CHEM 252
CHEM 262
Organic Chemistry - Theory II
and Organic Chemistry - Lab
CHEM 300
CHEM 310
Quantitative Chemical Analysis - Theory
and Quantitative Chemical Analysis - Laboratory
CHEM 320
CHEM 330
Instrumental Analysis - Theory
and Instrumental Analysis - Lab
CHEM 401
CHEM 411
Physical Chemistry I
and Physical Chemistry I Lab
CHEM 402
CHEM 412
Physical Chemistry II
and Physical Chemistry II Lab
CHEM 461Inorganic Chemistry3
Select at least 6 units from the following:6
Biochemistry II
Advanced Organic Chemistry
Advanced Topics in Chemistry
Directed Research 4
Multivariable Calculus
Ordinary Differential Equations
MATH 161
MATH 162
Calculus I
and Calculus II 3, 5
Select one of the following:8-10
Physics for Life Sciences I
and Physics for Life Sciences II 1, 3
Physics for Science and Engineering I
and Physics for Science and Engineering II 1, 3
Total Units67-69

Meets the General Education Natural Science requirement.


Meets either the General Education Writing 3 requirement or the General Education Integrative and Applied Learning requirement, but not both.


This course may be waived with an appropriate Advanced Placement test score.


Three units are required if CHEM 498 is chosen.


Meets the General Education Quantitative Literacy requirement.