Chemistry Major Degree Requirements

The Chemistry Department offers a flexible curriculum for those who wish to acquire a knowledge of chemistry within the environment of a liberal arts college.

Ten 1-semester courses are required for the Major in Chemistry plus five co-requisites from other departments. The ten 1-semester courses amount to 37 credits, and the co-requisite courses amount to 22 credits. Students who wish to prepare for graduate school in Chemistry should seek the advice of a department faculty member.

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 (2 credits)
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)
CHEM3322 Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry (3 credits)
CHEM3324 Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit)
CHEM3351 Analytical Chemistry with Laboratory (4 credits)
CHEM4465 Biochemistry (Chemistry Majors) (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)

The co-requisites are:

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)

The preceding fulfills the Boston College requirements for a B.S. degree in chemistry. For this degree to be also certified by the American Chemical Society, one year of undergraduate research for credit is required, which is usually fulfilled by taking CHEM5591-5592 Undergraduate Chemical Research..

Guidelines and advice for Chemistry Majors

Mathematics Advice

Chemistry majors normally fulfill the mathematics requirement by taking three mathematics courses:

  1. MATH1102 (Calculus I)
  2. MATH1103 (S) or MATH1105 (F) (Calculus II)
  3. MATH2202 (Multivariable Calculus)

Frequently, freshmen students who have taken a year of calculus in high school qualify to begin with MATH1103, and even in some cases to begin with MATH2202.

For students who complete the MATH requirement for the Chemistry Major in fewer than three semesters, the department strongly recommends enrolling in more advanced courses in mathematics. After completing Multivariable Calculus, chemistry majors should consider taking MATH2210 (Linear Algebra). Other useful advanced math courses include MATH4410 (Differential Equations) and MATH4460 (Complex Variables). These are fundamental courses in the study of physical chemistry and provide a solid foundation for graduate work in the physical sciences and engineering.

Physics Advice

Chemistry majors may fulfill the physics requirement by taking either PHYS2100-2101 or PHYS2200-2201. Students should consult with their advisor about which course is most appropriate.

  • PHYS2100-2101 is intended for students who are studying life sciences (Biology and Psychology majors, students in the Pre-Med track, etc.). Typically, two large sections are offered with about 150 students in each.
  • PHYS2200-2201 is intended for students who are studying physical sciences or math (Physics, Math, Computer Science majors, etc.). Typically, one small section is offered with about 50-60 students. This sequence covers the same topics as PHYS2100-2101 but with more mathematical rigor.

The department strongly recommends that students take Physics in the first, second or third year and Analytical Chemistry in the second or third year. The links below display examples of course sequences for chemistry majors. These are just examples. Consult with your faculty advisor to find the best program for you.

Other options:

The department strongly recommends that students take additional advanced chemistry electives (courses numbered CHEM5500 or higher).

Students are urged to engage in a research project under the direction of a faculty member, particularly if the student is planning to attend graduate school. Juniors who show exceptional ability may engage in an independent research project and receive academic credit by registering for CHEM4491-4492, Introduction to Undergraduate Research I and II. Students who wish to pursue research in their senior year should register for CHEM5591-5592, Undergraduate Chemical Research. Students who intend to complete a Scholar of the College thesis should register for CHEM5595-5596, Advanced Research in Chemistry I and II. Consult a faculty advisor concerning these research options. See also Undergraduate Research.

If you have questions about the Chemistry major, please contact
Prof. Lynne O'Connell, Merkert Center 111, 617-552-3626,