The Chemistry Department offers students a flexible curriculum to acquire a knowledge of chemistry within the environment of a liberal arts college.

Questions about studying chemistry at BC?

Professor Lynne A. O'Connell
Chair, Undergraduate Chemistry Studies
Merkert 111

Professor Kenneth R. Metz
Director, Advanced Chemistry Laboratories
Merkert 317

Biochemistry is an interdisciplinary major, administered jointly by the Biology and Chemistry departments. The major provides the student with a broad background in biochemistry and related courses in biology and chemistry.

Biochemistry major

Undergraduate Courses

1000 Level Courses

CHEM1109-1110 General Chemistry I-II (6 credits)
CHEM1111-1112 General Chemistry Laboratory I-II (2 credits)
CHEM1117-1118 Honors Modern Chemistry I-II (6 credits)
CHEM1119-1120 Honors Modern Chemistry Laboratory I-II (6 credits)

2000 Level Courses

CHEM2231-2232 Organic Chemistry I-II (6 credits)
CHEM2233-2234 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I-II (2 credits)
CHEM2241-2242 Honors Organic Chemistry I-II (6 credits)
CHEM2243 Honors Organic Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit)
CHEM2234 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II (1 credit)

3000–5000 Level Courses

CHEM3322 Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry (3 credits)
CHEM3324 Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit)
CHEM3351 Analytical Chemistry (4 credits)
CHEM3353 Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (0 credits)
CHEM4465 Introduction to Biochemistry (3 credits)
CHEM4475-4476 Physical Chemistry I-II (6 credits)
CHEM5552 Advanced Methods in Chemistry I (4 credits)
CHEM5554 Advanced Methods in Chemistry Laboratory I (0 credits)


MATH1102-1103 Calculus for Math/Science Majors I-II* (8 credits)
MATH2202 or MATH2203 Multivariable Calculus (4 credits)
PHYS2100-2101 or PHYS2200-2201 Introductory Physics I-II (8 credits)**
PHYS2050-2051 Introductory Physics Laboratory I-II (2 credits)

Program Details

Core Courses

We live in a vast and complex universe and natural world, from the largest cluster of galaxies to the smallest subatomic particle. Science is our way of making sense of and understanding nature through systematic observation and experimentation. Scientific knowledge is organized through logical, theoretical, and mathematical frameworks. Mindful of the impact that discoveries and technology can have on our society, we seek to apply scientific understanding to the ultimate benefit of humankind.

Student learning outcomes for chemistry courses that satisfy the core requirement for the natural sciences

Students completing chemistry core courses will:

  1. Expand their understanding of the principles, body of knowledge and investigative strategies that comprise chemistry and its applications
  2. Develop a chemical and scientific literacy that will promote curiosity, respect for the scientific method, and general awareness of the limitations of scientific conclusions
  3. Recognize the role of scientific discovery, past, present and future, in interrelated concerns such as human health, societal well-being and planetary sustainability
  4. Appreciate the role of science and chemistry in defining their relationship with the natural world and their position within the cosmos.

Each of the following courses will satisfy one core course requirement in the natural sciences:

  • CHEM1105   Chemistry and Society I
  • CHEM1106   Chemistry and Society II
  • CHEM1109   General Chemistry I
  • CHEM1110   General Chemistry II
  • CHEM1115   Fundamentals of Chemistry    
  • CHEM1117   Honors Modern Chemistry I
  • CHEM1118   Honors Modern Chemistry II

Introductory Course Advice

Advice for Freshmen and Other Students Regarding Introductory Chemistry Courses

One year of introductory level Chemistry is required for Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Neuroscience majors and can satisfy co-requisite requirements for Physics, Psychology B.S., Environmental Geoscience and Geological Sciences majors. Students interested in satisfying the Pre-Health requirements will also need to take one year of introductory Chemistry.

Students must take the Chemistry lecture, laboratory and discussion sections concurrently. The two introductory level Chemistry courses are:

CHEM1109 General Chemistry I (3 credits)

Multiple sections are offered. This course must be accompanied by the co-requisite CHEM1111 General Chemistry Laboratory I (1 credit). Students may register for any of the laboratory sections offered, regardless of which section of CHEM1109 they choose to take. Students will also be prompted to register for a supplementary discussion session (0 credits). 

The General Chemistry course is recommended for the majority of students.

CHEM1117 Honors Modern Chemistry I (3 credits)

One section is offered. This course must be accompanied by the co-requisite CHEM1119 Honors Modern Chemistry Laboratory I (1 credit). Students will also be prompted to register for a supplementary discussion session (0 credits).  

The Modern Chemistry course is recommended for students who have taken and performed well in an advanced level chemistry course in high school, such as Advanced Placement (AP), Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB) or British A levels. It is the first course of the Honors Program in Chemistry. A score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam would be an indication that this more challenging track in chemistry might be suitable. The Modern Chemistry course moves at an accelerated pace, covering a year’s worth of General Chemistry principles in one semester. During the second semester of freshman year, students in this course begin to study organic chemistry.

In rare instances, it might be appropriate for a student to register for CHEM2231, Organic Chemistry, and CHEM2233, Organic Chemistry Laboratory, in the fall semester of freshman year. This course of action would require departmental permission and is only indicated if a student feels that he/she has an especially strong background in chemistry. In most instances, a student who skips the introductory level chemistry courses would be required to take a year of chemistry at a more advanced level before graduating.

For additional information, please contact Professor Lynne O'Connell, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Merkert 111, ext. 2-3626, oconnell@bc.edu.

Honors Program

The main goal of the honors program is to train talented undergraduate students in chemistry through intellectually engaging and highly interactive classes and original laboratory research.

The heart of the program consists of four one-semester courses and three specially designed laboratory sections. These courses are designed to teach all the important fundamentals of chemistry in the context of their significance to modern medicine and novel technologies. Classes are highly interactive and utilize the state-of-the-art in audiovisual aids. Laboratory sessions include the use of state-of-the-art instruments (NMR) and are designed to teach critical concepts in observation, data collection and the art of teamwork in science. Smaller class size provides nearly complete and open access to the faculty and teaching assistants (top graduate students).

The Honors Program is based on the philosophy of "teaching through research." Concepts in the classroom are taught based on modern research results. The fourth Honors laboratory often involves a three-month stay in a research group. By the end of their sophomore year, most of the Honors students have selected and officially joined a research group.

The Honors Track

Selected first-year students are invited to enroll in the honors courses CHEM1117-1118 Honors Modern Chemistry and the associated laboratory courses CHEM1119-1120 Honors Modern Chemistry Laboratory. These courses are taken in place of CHEM1109-1110 and CHEM1111-1112 in the first year. In the second year, honors track students enroll in CHEM2241-2242 Honors Organic Chemistry and also take CHEM2243 Honors Organic Chemistry Laboratory followed by CHEM2234 Organic Chemistry Laboratory. If you are interested in the honors track, contact the professor who is teaching the course to discuss enrolling in it.

Study Abroad

Before going abroad, Chemistry majors must have completed the following prerequisites: General Chemistry, CHEM1109-1110 or CHEM1117-1118 and lab; Organic Chemistry, CHEM2231-2232 or CHEM2241-2242 and lab; Analytical Chemistry, CHEM3351 and lab; Inorganic Chemistry, CHEM3322 and lab; Calculus, MATH1102-1103 and MATH2202; Physics, PHYS2200 and lab. Exceptions must be approved by the department.

In order for a course studied abroad to count for major credit, prior department approval is required for each course. Students must meet with the department study abroad advisor for course approval, advisement, and planning: Professor Lynne O'Connell.

Office of Global Programs

American Chemical Society, Boston College Student Chapter

ACS Student Chapter of Boston College

The ACS Student Chapter of Boston College is an organization for Chemistry majors.  Members participate in programs and activities that enhance their college experience and prepare them for successful careers.

BC ACS student chapter

American Chemical Society

Many professional chemists (certainly almost all of your chemistry professors) are members of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The ACS holds national and regional chemistry conventions, publishes a wide range of chemical journals and other materials, and provides many other services for its members. You can become a member of the ACS after you graduate with a B.S. degree in chemistry or biochemistry, but you can join as a student affiliate for a small cost and receive a subscription to the weekly news publication of the ACS, Chemical and Engineering News. 

ACS website

ACS, Northeastern Section

The local chapter of the ACS, the Northeastern Section, is one of the largest of the approximately 190 sections in the U.S., with about 5000 members. The Northeastern Section holds monthly meetings featuring speakers or symposia on topics of current interest to chemists; sometimes the meetings are held at BC. The meetings are preceded by dinner. Students are welcome; the cost for students is nominal. Watch for posters advertising the meetings. 

ACS Northeastern