Chemistry 105/106

The Principles of General Chemistry sequence (Chem 105/106) is designed for students who have only one year of high-school chemistry or physics OR students who would benefit from a review of chemistry fundamentals.

Principles of General Chemistry I (Chem 105)

This course traces the development of chemistry from early atomic theory to modern descriptions of structure, bonding, and intermolecular interactions. Over the course of the semester, the students learn how macroscopic observations of stoichiometry, chemical reactions, the properties of elements and compounds, and chemical periodicity developed into the microscopic understanding of molecular structure and bonding. The semester begins with fundamentals related to stoichiometry, chemical reactions, solution chemistry, and gas properties, with an emphasis on quantitative problem solving. The octet rule, Lewis structures, and valence-shell-electron-pair repulsion (VSEPR) theory are then introduced as early efforts to describe the stability and structures of molecules. The localized electron model (LEM) and molecular-orbital theory (MOT) are next described as modern descriptions of chemical bonding. The course concludes with intermolecular forces such as hydrogen bonding and van der Waals interactions.

Prerequisite skills include the following: proficiency in algebra, familiarity with solving simple quantitative word problems, and familiarity with unit analysis.

Principles of General Chemistry II (Chem 106)

This course covers chemical equilibrium, thermodynamics, and kinetics at a fundamental level, with an emphasis on in-class problem solving. Gas-phase reactions, heterogeneous (multi-phase) reactions, acid-base reactions, and solubility equilibria are introduced first. Chemical thermodynamics is then taught in its relation to chemical equilibrium. The course finishes with chemical kinetics and rate laws. The content is similar to that in Chem 112A, but advanced applications are omitted to allow more in-class guided active learning.

Prerequisite skills include the following: proficiency with algebraic manipulation of equations and relationships, familiarity with solving multistep quantitative word problems, familiarity with unit analysis.

Knowledge-based prerequisites include the following: familiarity with (1) stoichiometry, balancing chemical equations, determining the limiting reagent; (2) compounds and chemical formulas; (3) unit conversions, including grams to moles; (4) determining molarity and dilution calculations; (5) states of matter; (6) fundamental acid/base reactions in water; (7) writing net ionic equations; (8) balancing redox reactions; and (9) the ideal gas law and Dalton's law of partial pressures. All these prerequisites are provided by Chem 105.

Required Materials


Chemistry: The Science in Context (6th edition) by T. Gilbert, R. Kirss, N. Foster, S. Bretz, and G. Davies. The electronic version (e-text with access to online animations) is required. A hardback version is also acceptable for supplementary purposes. There will be two copies of the text on reserve in the Chemistry Library after the fall semester starts.


Only the following models of electronic calculator will be allowed during quizzes and exams: TI-30 XS Multiview (preferred 4-line model), TI-34 Multiview (preferred 4-line model), TI-30Xa (acceptable 2-line model), TI-30X IIs (solar 2-line model). Allowable calculators must be four-line or two-line, non-programmable, non-graphing calculators. This policy will be strictly enforced with no exceptions. Acceptable calculators are available from the WU bookstore as well as Amazon, Walgreens, Staples, Office Depot, and other office supply stores.

Online Homework

In the upcoming academic year, Chemistry 105 and 106 will not use an online homework platform.

Diagnostic Exam

If you're a first-year student registering for Chem 105 in the fall, you need to take the online diagnostic exam.

Diagnostic Exam

Recitation Subsections

Every student who registers for Chemistry 105 and 106 must register for a lecture section that meets MWF, as well as a recitation subsection that meets on Thursdays.  These subsections are designed to enhance your understanding of the topics introduced in lecture through specifically-designed question packets that are completed with a small group and discussed thoroughly each week.   

Recitations: Recitation sections are 1.5 hours long and include a quiz during the first 15 minutes of class.  Following the quiz and a brief summary of the week’s topic(s) by the trained recitation leader, students will work in small, structured groups on guided-inquiry problem sheets that have been written specifically for Washington University Chemistry 105 and 106 topics.  These problem sets are designed to help develop self-teaching and problem-solving skills, as well as to call attention to crucial concepts discussed in lecture through exploration and analysis of challenging example problems.

The custom-designed exercises and selection of problems include an emphasis on conceptual aspects of the topic. This format is designed to help you gain a deeper understanding of the concepts underlying problems.