Chemistry

Chemistry is the study of molecules and as such is central to both the physical and biological sciences. Chemists have played significant roles in resolving many scientific problems ranging from decoding the DNA molecule to the discovery of semiconductors. Chemistry courses offer students the opportunity to master the chemical concepts necessary for an understanding of much of the natural sciences. These courses encourage students to think independently, to approach problems and tasks creatively and skillfully, and to test hypotheses critically. Laboratory experience is integral to most chemistry courses. Experimental design, modern laboratory techniques, and data analysis are emphasized. Courses, internships, and research are all part of the chemistry program, and academic credit can be earned for each.

Major Program. The chemistry major encourages students to achieve a sound understanding of the fundamental concepts of molecular science, to employ scientific approaches to tasks and problems, and to prepare for careers in industry and technology, for professional health science schools, for teaching science, and for graduate study in chemistry. Wesleyan chemistry majors have enjoyed success in all these and other career options.

Students are first exposed to a survey of modern chemistry in a two-course sequence. This background provides the basis for more specialized studies in analytical, organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry, which together form the core of the major. Upon completion of the chemistry major, students will be prepared to pursue graduate studies in chemistry or to enter professions that required a strong and diverse background in the field or a general degree in science. Further, they will be well suited to continue their education in medicine, pharmacy, dental, veterinary, or allied health fields.

Forensic chemistry, biochemistry, and special topics in chemistry are electives which serve to provide further breadth and depth to the student's knowledge of chemistry, as does a required course in research methods. To ensure breadth in ancillary disciplines which are important to the study of chemistry as a central science, students also take courses in physics and mathematics. Near the completion of their studies, students enroll in our research-intensive capstone course designed to develop insights into the interconnections that exist between the subdisciplines of chemistry, and between chemistry and other natural sciences. Department faculty can be contacted to help with initial course selection and the development of a long-range plan for course sequencing. Aspirants for medical, pharmacy, dental, allied health, and veterinary schools must satisfy the specific entry requirements for those schools.

Major Coursework Requirements: Chemistry

The chemistry major curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students who plan to graduate school in chemistry or to enter professions that require a strong background in chemistry. Further, this course of study is suitable for students who plan to continue their education in areas requiring a strong background in science, such as medicine, pharmacy, or allied health fields.

Requirements: A minimum of 55 semester hours. These include the chemistry core courses (41 semester hours) of CHM 101, CHM 102, CHM 221, CHM 222, CHM 240, CHM 320, CHM 361, CHM 412, and three courses from the following: CHM 318, CHM 325, CHM 362, and CHM 396. Other required science and mathematics courses (14 semester hours) include PHY 121 and 122 (or PHY 115 and 116), and MAT 205, 206. Additionally, MAT 207 is recommended.

Five student learning outcomes have been identified for the required courses in the Chemistry major:

I. Foundational understanding in the study, scope, and processes of the core concepts of chemistry and of the scientific method;
II. Expanding understanding of organic, physical, analytical, and inorganic chemistry;
III. Diversifying understanding through exposure to a broad base of knowledge gained from different subdisciplines of chemistry;
IV. Integrating knowledge previously gained in chemistry coursework and developing experience in application of knowledge, research, and critical thinking;
V. Associating knowledge in other disciplines through coursework in physical science and in mathematics
 
I. Foundational Courses (both courses required):
CHM 101 General Chemistry I 4 hours
CHM 102 General Chemistry II 4 hours
 
II. Expanding (Upper-level Core Courses; all courses required):
CHM 221 Organic Chemistry I 4 hours
CHM 222 Organic Chemistry II 4 hours
CHM 240 Quantitative Analysis 4 hours
CHM 320 Inorganic Chemistry 4 hours
CHM 361 Thermodynamics 3 hours
 
III. Diversifying (elective courses; three classes required):
Three of the following courses:
CHM 318 Biochemistry (3 hours)
CHM 325 Forensic Chemistry (4 hours)
CHM 362 Quantum Chemistry (4 hours)
CHM 396 Special Topics in Chemistry (3 hours)
 
IV. Integrating (Required)
CHM 412 Research Experience in Chemistry 4 hours
 
V. Associating (required courses in other science and math disciplines):
MAT 205 Calculus I 3 hours
MAT 206 Calculus II 3 hours
PHY 121 General Physics I 4 hours and PHY 122 General Physics II 4 hours
OR PHY 115 College Physics I 4 hours and PHI 116 College Physics II 4 hours
 

Professional Development: Throughout her Wesleyan education each student is given opportunities to explore professional and career choices, and to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills essential for professional success. Each student will complete a PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and submit a PDE 401 Professional ePortfolio prior to graduation. The Professional Development requirement in Chemistry is met through CHM 452 Field Study. Students are encouraged to pursue internship and research opportunities with faculty members and with local laboratories.

Chemistry Minor. The minor in chemistry encourages students to acquire a solid knowledge base of the fundamental concepts of chemistry, an understanding of more specialized areas within the discipline, and the ability to employ the process of scientific inquiry within the laboratory setting.

Minor in Chemistry Requirements: The chemistry minor consists of a minimum of seven courses within the discipline. These courses will include a core curriculum (25 hours minimum): CHM 101 and 102, 221 and 222 (or 361 and 362), 240 and two 300-400 level chemistry electives.

Resources for Non-Majors. All Wesleyan students are welcome to include some chemistry courses in their curricula of study. CHM 101 may be used to satisfy the general education requirements category. In addition, CHM 101 and 102 provide the necessary background for advancement to additional coursework within the chemistry program. Non-majors can elect to take additional coursework in chemistry within the prerequisite structure.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities. Research is a highly desirable component of the curriculum for chemistry majors. Many upper-level chemistry courses have research components. Independent research experience is strongly encouraged as a prelude to a career in chemistry or to post-graduate study. Chemistry faculty welcome the opportunity to support and direct the research efforts of students enrolled in CHM 451, 452, and 499, and to have students participate as research assistants in ongoing faculty research programs. Students in this program receive academic credit and usually do not require additional semesters in order to complete degree requirements. Students are also welcome to participate in other internships through the College's internship program.

Chemistry (CHM) Gen. Ed. Course Descriptions

101-101L: General Chemistry I.
Goal: To explore the nature of matter. To examine qualitatively and quantitatively the principles which govern the physical and chemical changes of matter. To encourage critical thinking, logical derivation, and creativity, through solving problems. To develop an understanding of the composition and operation of the material universe and an appreciation of the greater environment. To prepare students for further studies in science.
Content: A comprehensive introduction to chemistry including stoichiometry, chemical reactions, properties of gases, thermochemistry, acid-base theory, and atomic structure.
Taught: Fall.
Prerequisites: MAT 130 or placement at MAT 140 or higher.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring how the natural world functions; (SM)
Credit: 4 hours (3 hours lecture and 3 hours lab per week).
 

Chemistry (CHM) Other Course Descriptions

102-102L: General Chemistry II.
Goal: To explore the nature of matter. To examine qualitatively and quantitatively the principles which govern the physical and chemical changes of matter. To encourage critical thinking, logical derivation, and creativity, through solving problems. To develop an understanding of the composition and operation of the material universe and an appreciation of the greater environment. To prepare students for further studies in science.
Content: A comprehensive introduction to chemical bonding, molecular structure, properties of liquids and solids, reaction kinetics, and chemical equilibrium.
Taught: Spring.
Prerequisites: CHM 101.
Credit: 4 hours (3 hours lecture and 3 hours lab per week).
 
221, 222: Organic Chemistry I and II.
Goal: To examine the structure and the physical and chemical properties of hydrocarbon compounds and their derivatives. To apply the mechanistic approach to understanding the basic nature of organic reactions. To encourage critical thinking, logical derivation, and creativity, using organic synthesis as a vehicle. To apply laboratory techniques used in determining structures of organic molecules.
Content: An introduction to the chemistry of carbon compounds including their structures, physical and spectral properties, chemical reactivity, and synthesis. Laboratory work includes the isolation, purification, and identification used in determination of structures of organic molecules, as well as determination of physical and spectral properties.
Taught: CHM 221, Fall; CHM 222, Spring.
Prerequisites: CHM 102; CHM 221 for CHM 222.
Credit: 4 hours.

240: Quantitative Analysis.
Goal: To expand the study of ionic equilibria involved in acid-base, oxidation-reduction, precipitation, and complexometric reactions. To apply equilibrium principles and stoichiometry to modern analytical volumetric and gravimetric analyses. To develop statistical methods of analyzing and comparing analytical results.
Content: A study of analytical chemistry determinations which rely on gravimetric and volumetric analysis. Laboratory work includes hands-on experience with classical analytical techniques used in these determinations.
Taught: Spring. Alternate years.
Prerequisite: CHM 102 as co- or prerequisite.
Credit: 4 hours.

318: Biochemistry.
Goal: To survey the structure, function, and metabolism of the basic classes of organic molecules. To interrelate the various metabolic pathways into a unified concept of metabolism at the organismal level.
Content: Protein, carbohydrate, lipid and nucleic acid structure and synthesis; the metabolic pathways in which these four classes of molecules participate.
Taught: Spring. Alternate years.
Prerequisites: BIO 110, 112, CHM 101, 102, and 221 or permission of the instructor.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as BIO 318.

320: Inorganic Chemistry.
Goal: To systematically examine the properties and reactions of inorganic compounds with an emphasis on structure and bonding.
Content: Structure, properties, and reactions of inorganic compounds with emphasis on main-group and transition elements are included.
Taught: Fall. Alternate years.
Prerequisite: CHM 102
Credit: 4 hours.
 
CHM 325: Forensic Chemistry.
Goal: To build upon fundamental chemical principles by applying critical thinking skills to forensic analyses of minute sample sizes similar to those typically found as trace evidence at crime scenes. To understand the methods and challenges associated with forensic science from a chemical perspective.
Content: This course is designed to introduce students to the role modern chemistry plays in crime laboratories through analyses of samples for substances including, but not limited to, illicit drugs, gun-powder residue, paint, and heavy metals. Laboratory exercises focus on challenges associated with sample preparation in forensic analyses as well as the scrutiny with which laboratory results of this nature are usually subjected when they enter the legal system. Students gather qualitative as well as qualitative data as they gain hands-on experience with instrumental laboratory tools including chromatographic and spectrometric techniques.
Taught: Spring. Alternate years.
Prerequisite: CHM 101.
Credit: 4 hours, cross-listed as FSC 325.

361: Thermodynamics.
Goal: To examine the principles of chemical thermodynamics and their applications to phase and reaction equilibrium.
Content: An in-depth study of the first, second, and third laws of thermodynamics, and their application to physical systems at equilibrium.
Taught: Fall
Prerequisite: CHM 102, PHY 122 (or 116), and MAT 206.
Credit: 3 hours, cross-listed as PHY 361.
 
362: Quantum Chemistry.
Goal: To examine the principles of quantum mechanics and their use in determining and describing molecular energies, spectra, and bonding.
Content: An in-depth analysis of chemical bonding, molecular energies and mechanics, and electromagnetic properties of molecules. An introduction to modern physical chemistry laboratory methods.
Taught: Spring, alternate years.
Prerequisite: CHM 102 and CHM361, PHY 122 (or 116), and MAT 206; or permission of instructor.
Credit: 4 hours, cross-listed as PHY 362.
 
396: Special Topics in Chemistry.
Goal: To provide an opportunity to explore a topic not normally offered in the chemistry curriculum. To update students about new developments in chemistry.
Content: An in-depth examination of a special area of chemistry. Topics vary.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisite: CHM 102.
Credit: 3 or 4 hours. A student may take a maximum of six to eight semester hours (two courses) of special topics in any one field.
 
412: Research Experience in Chemistry.
Goal: To provide a capstone research experience in which students conduct research and make connections between chemistry and other disciplines.
Content: Students will apply knowledge and skills learned in previous chemistry classes to the world around them and make connections to other disciplines within the liberal arts. In addition, they will learn basic methods and techniques of research and apply these to conduct an original research project of their own. In order to understand the basis for and context of their projects, students will read and interpret related scholarly work. Further, students’ exposure to the scientific literature will provide the foundation for their development of skills required for communicating in manners consistent with norms of professional communication in chemistry. Students will present their findings in both written and oral forms.
Taught: Fall.
Prerequisite: 12 hours in Chemistry
Credit: 4 hours.
 
451: Directed Independent Study.
Goal: To enable an intensive exploration of a topic of special interest. To promote original, independent, creative, and critical thinking. To solve real problems in a scientific manner. To provide an opportunity to conduct independent laboratory work and to learn new techniques.
Content: Directed independent work of a critical or analytical nature. Under careful faculty supervision, qualified students are encouraged to develop originality of thought and thoroughness of method. Some emphasis on research methods.
Taught: Upon request of student, with approval of sponsoring faculty.
Prerequisite: Permission of program director.
Credit: 1-6 hours.

452/199: Field Study.
Goal: To afford actual experience in a professional chemical laboratory or in industrial chemistry.
Content: Applied areas in chemistry or chemical employment. May be elected for internship credit. The student submits a brief plan including objectives, anticipated activities, a list of readings, and the nature of reports to be submitted to the sponsor.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisites: CHM 221; permission of advisor, program director, faculty sponsor, and the Director of Career Development.
Credit: 1-12 hours.

499: Honors Thesis. Fee Required.
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