Major & Minor Requirements

Chemistry Major

We provide you with the foundation to pursue a variety of careers in scientific research and discovery, education, medicine, engineering, or careers outside of chemistry.

Major Course Requirements

Course Number Course Title Credit(s)
Chem 111A General Chemistry I 3
Chem 112A General Chemistry II 3
Chem 151 General Chemistry Lab I 2
Chem 152 General Chemistry Lab II 2
Chem 261 Organic Chemistry with Lab I 4
Chem 262 Organic Chemistry with Lab II 4
Math 131 Calculus I 3
Math 132 Calculus II 3
Math 233 Calculus III 3
Physics 197 Physics I 4
Physics 198 Physics II 4
Chem 401 Physical Chemistry I 3
Chem 402 Physical Chemistry II 3
Chem 461 Inorganic Chemistry 3

Students earning a Chemistry Major must take 9 additional units in chemistry at the 300 level or above (not including Chem 490 or Chem 495).

Advanced Lab Requirement

At least one advanced lab, selected from:

Course Number Course Title Credit(s)
Chem 358 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II 4
Chem 435 Nuclear and Radiochemistry Laboratory 3
Chem 445 Instrumental Methods: Physical Chemistry Laboratory 3
Chem 470 Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory 3

 

Additional Notes

Students have the advantage of planning their course program with their adviser in accordance with personal interests. Some graduate courses also are available to seniors.

All chemistry coursework must be taken in residence at Washington University to be eligible to earn a chemistry major. A minimum grade of C- must be earned in each course to count toward the chemistry major.

Note: Per the College of Arts & Sciences guidelines, if a student has a major and a minor or has two minors, only introductory (100- and 200-level) courses may be counted, when relevant, toward the requirements of both programs. All advanced (300- and 400-level) courses must be unique to each program, i.e., no advanced course may "double-count" for the coursework needed to fulfill either program's minimal requirements. Should a student's major/minor programs require the same course, a departmentally-sanctioned elective must be chosen to replace the course in one of the programs.

Program Assessment

In an effort to develop an annual program evaluation in cooperation with the Higher Learning Commission, the Chemistry Department offers an exit interview and an exit exam to all graduating seniors. All graduating majors are required to sit for the exam, the ACS Diagnostic of Undergraduate Knowledge in Chemistry exam. It takes one hour and includes questions with multiple choice answers. The performance on this exam does not affect the student’s transcript of GPA. The exam is tentatively scheduled for the week of Commencement each Spring.

Chemistry Major with a Biochemistry Focus

Major Requirements

Course Number Course Title Credit(s)
Chem 111A General Chemistry I 3
Chem 112A General Chemistry II 3
Chem 151 General Chemistry Lab I 2
Chem 152 General Chemistry Lab II 2
Chem 261 Organic Chemistry with Lab I 4
Chem 262 Organic Chemistry with Lab II 4
Math 131 Calculus I 3
Math 132 Calculus II 3
Math 233 Calculus III 3
Physics 197 Physics I 4
Physics 198 Physics II 4
Biol 2960 Principles of Biology I 4
Biol 2970 Principles of Biology II 4

 

Advanced Courses in Biology

Students are required to take a minimum of 18 units in advanced courses in biology and chemistry, among which must be included:

Course Number Course Title Credit(s)
Chem 481 General Biochemistry I 3
Chem 482 General Biochemistry II 3
Chem 401 Physical Chemistry I 3
Chem 402 Physical Chemistry II 3
Chem 461 Inorganic Chemistry 3

 

Advanced Labs

Students must select at least one advanced lab from:

Course Number Course Title Credit(s)
Chem 358 Organic Chemistry Laboratory II 4
Chem 435 Nuclear and Radiochemistry Lab 3
Chem 445 Instrumental Methods: Physical Chemistry 3
Chem 470 Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory 3
Biol 437 Laboratory on DNA Manipulation 4
Biol 4520 Protein Function in Model Cellular Systems 3
Biol 4522 Laboratory in Protein Analysis, Proteomics and Protein Structure 3

 

Additional Notes

All chemistry course work must be taken in residence at Washington University to be eligible to earn a chemistry major. A minimum grade of C- must be earned in each course to count toward the chemistry major.

Note: Per the College of Arts & Sciences guidelines, if a student has a major and a minor or has two minors, only introductory (100- and 200-level) courses may be counted, when relevant, toward the requirements of both programs. All advanced (300- and 400-level) courses must be unique to each program, i.e., no advanced course may "double-count" for the coursework needed to fulfill either program's minimal requirements. Should a student's major/minor programs require the same course, a departmentally-sanctioned elective must be chosen to replace the course in one of the programs.

Chemistry Minor

Minor Requirements

A student planning to complete a minor in Chemistry must complete the following pre-requisite courses:

Course Number Course Title Credit(s)
Chem 111A General Chemistry I 3
Chem 112A General Chemistry II 3
Chem 151 General Chemistry Lab I 2
Chem 152 General Chemistry Lab II 2
Chem 261 Organic Chemistry with Lab I 4
Chem 262 Organic Chemistry with Lab II 4
Math 131 Calculus I 3
Math 132 Calculus II 3
Math 233 Calculus III 3
Physics 197 Physics I 4
Physics 198 Physics II 4

In addition, nine units of Chemistry encompassing at least two sub-disciplines are required at the advanced (300+ level). Chem 490 and Chem 495 are specifically excluded from the minor.

Honors

Latin Honors

Latin Honors are determined on the basis of a student’s performance through eight semesters in college.  To be eligible for Latin Honors, the student must have maintained a 3.65 GPA and must complete the Latin Honors curriculum in Chemistry.

The Latin Honors Curriculum for Chemistry majors requires the completion of a second advanced chemistry lab. One of the advanced labs must be a Physical Chemistry Lab (Chem 435 or Chem 445). The other advanced lab must be a Synthetic Chemistry Lab (Chem 358 or Chem 470). 

The Latin Honors Curriculum for Chemistry with Biochemistry Focus majors requires the completion of an additional 3 units of advanced biochemistry or biological chemistry course credit. Courses may be chosen from the following list: Biol 334, Biol 349, Chem 453, Chem 464, Chem 485, Chem 358, Chem 435, Chem 445, Chem 470, Biol 437, Biol 4522, or Biol 4520.

 

Department Honors

Departmental or “English” honors are awarded by the Chemistry Department for the successful completion of a rigorous program of study in Chemistry, which emphasizes research as an important part of Chemistry education. 

To earn Chemistry Department honors, a student must first complete the Latin Honors Curriculum and must also achieve the following:

Department Honor Chemistry GPA Requirement Research Requirement
With distinction 3.50 At least one semester of Chem 490 research*
With high distinction 3.65 At least two semesters of Chemistry research, one of which is Chem 495
With highest distinction 3.80 At least two semesters of Chemistry research, one of which is Chem 495

*for students with alternate research experiences, petitions will be considered Chemistry research is defined as a research project performed under the direction of a Chemistry faculty member or a research project approved by the Chemistry Undergraduate Work Committee. The Chemistry GPA is calculated from the grades received in Chemistry courses and Chemistry prerequisites (including lower-level Chemistry courses, Math, Physics, and Biology (if pursuing the Biochemistry Focused major). The level of Department Honors a student achieves will appear on the student’s final transcript.

Have more questions about courses and requirements?

Consult WashU's catalog of programs and degree requirements 

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