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Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry and Biochemistry Homepage


Knowledge of the chemical world is important for any educated person because chemical concepts and issues affect so many aspects of our personal lives and society. Coursework in chemistry naturally prepares one to understand the physical and living worlds; it also prepares one to make scientifically-informed contributions to many other fields and to society. Areas such as molecular biology, environmental law and policy, bioethics, patent law, medicine and education are examples of fields where chemical knowledge is needed. Both biochemistry and chemistry majors pursue graduate studies in chemistry, biochemistry or medicine upon graduation. Other career paths available to these majors include employment in fields such as the pharmaceutical industry, law, environmental monitoring and technical sales/management.

The chemistry faculty encourages students to participate in collaborative research during the school year, Winter Term and summers. Such research is an important facet of a student's education. Students may also choose to pursue an internship at a national laboratory or in an industrial or medical setting at some point in their training. All chemistry students may participate in the activities of the award-winning Chemistry Club. The Women in Science group also sponsors speakers and activities of interest to chemistry students.

Majors and minors are offered in chemistry and biochemistry.

Courses in Chemistry and Biochemistry

CHEM 120 Structure and Properties of Organic Molecules. (1 course, class and lab, Science and Math)
This course introduces the basics of chemical bonding, structure and behavior in the context of organic molecules. Emphasis is placed on the nature of bonding, how chemists determine structure, the three-dimensional aspects of structure and how molecular structure determines chemical behavior. Lab activities are designed to reinforce class topics while introducing common organic lab techniques, such as liquid-liquid extraction, NMR, IR, GC/MS, and molecular modeling. Prerequisite: high school chemistry or CHEM 100. May not be taken pass/fail.

CHEM 130 Structure and Properties of Inorganic Compounds. (1 course, class and lab, Science and Math)
An introduction to structure, bonding, properties and simple reactions of inorganic compounds. Topics covered include basic quantum theory, bonding theories, molecular and solid state structure and periodic properties of the elements and their compounds. Application of these topics to biological, environmental and geological systems will be stressed. The lab will focus on the synthesis, structure, properties, and reactivity of inorganic substances, including simple ionic substances and coordination complexes. Characterization using infrared and visible spectroscopy is also introduced. Prerequisite: high school chemistry or CHEM 100. May not be taken pass/fail.

CHEM 170 Stoichiometric Calculations. (1/4 course, class only)
A review of the quantitative treatment of chemistry and chemical reactions. Topics include ways to express the absolute and relative amount of chemicals (grams, moles and concentration), balancing chemical reactions, mole-to-mole relationships, limiting reagents and theoretical yields. The course is composed of a series of self-paced modules. There are no class meetings. Prerequisite: high school chemistry or CHEM 100. May not be taken pass/fail.