Chemistry

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Davidson, NC 28035

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Chemistry Major

Chemistry majors consistently perform well on a comprehensive national assessment and gain admission into top graduate and medical programs. However, the chemistry department is phasing in a more flexible revised curriculum due to several factors:

  • Student demand for a program in biological chemistry,
  • Facilitation of study abroad,
  • Changes in accreditation guidelines of the American Chemical Society (ACS),
  • Recommendations by an external review, and
  • 2015 MCAT changes that emphasize biological and de-emphasize organic chemistry.

These curriculum revisions offer, as new ACS policies recommend, a set of five foundation courses (200-level courses with labs) that cover the five divisions of chemistry—analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, and physical—followed by a selection of five in-depth courses (300- and 400-level courses). CHE 115 or its AP equivalent still is a pre-requisite for all foundation courses. In-depth courses can fall within a single division (e.g. Organic II) or span multiple divisions (e.g. Environmental Chemistry).

The chemistry courses that you took in high school will play a role in determining your schedule of chemistry courses here at Davidson. Additionally, physics and mathematics pre-requisites are preferably taken in the first and second years. As a prospective chemistry major, you should discuss your interest and course planning with a faculty member as soon as you begin considering the major.

Major Requirements

Chemistry Courses

  • All five foundation courses (220, 230, 240, 250, 260)
  • Five in-depth courses at the 300-level or higher
    • Two must have a lab
    • One must be a 400-level seminar
    • One science course taken outside the chemistry department may count (with prior approval from the department chair) as a non-lab in-depth course
    • CHE 496 may count as a non-lab in-depth course

Supporting and Pre-requisite Courses

  • CHE 115 or AP equivalent
  • MAT 113, 140, or AP equivalent
  • PHY 220 or 230

Attendance at 10 sessions of the Chemistry Colloquium Series during junior and senior years.

Emphasis in Biological Chemistry

Students primarily interested in biological chemistry are advised to take the following courses, which fully satisfy the requirements for a chemistry major:

  • All five foundation courses (220, 230, 240, 250, 260)
  • Five in-depth courses at the 300-level or higher
    • CHE 330 and 430
    • BIO 201 or 208 (accepted in place of a non-laboratory in-depth chemistry course with prior approval from department chair)
    • Two additional in-depth electives, one of which must have a lab

The requirements for supporting and prerequisite courses, as well as attendance at the Chemistry Colloquium Series, is the same as for the traditional chemistry major.

Initial Placement & Math Requirements

Initial Course Placement

When planning your schedule and your first chemistry class as a first-year student at Davidson, consider the following:

  • If you have completed the AP test (with a 4 or 5) or IB test (with a 6 or 7), you can receive credit for CHE 115 and then enroll in any foundation (200-level) course (Note that CHE 260 has MAT prerequisite).
  • If you have completed a year of high school chemistry but have not earned AP/IB credit, then enroll in CHE 115.
  • If you have little background in chemistry, then start in CHE 110.
  • If you are considering a chemistry major, you should also enroll in a mathematics or physics course in your first semester.

Math Requirement

You can fulfill the math requirement by receiving credit for either MAT 113 or MAT 140

  • Typical path to MAT 113: MAT 111/112 then MAT 113
  • Credit for some math courses may be earned through AP/IB testing
    • MAT 111: AP Calc AB 3 or higher or AP Calc BC 3
    • MAT 111 and 113: AP Calc BC 4 or higher, IB Calc 6 or higher
  • Typical path to MAT 140: MAT 112 then MAT 140 (calculus with modeling sequence)
  • Both mathematics courses must be taken at Davidson
  • MAT 112 has no AP/IB equivalent

Most incoming chemistry students have already taken calculus in high school. Starting with MAT 111 is only necessary if you do not have any calculus background. With AP/IB credit, you are eligible for MAT 113; without AP credit, you likely will take MAT 112 and 140. Keep in mind that while MAT 113 and 140 each fulfill the math requirement for chemistry, you are encouraged to take additional math courses if you intend to pursue graduate school in chemistry.

Please see Mathematics Course Placement for additional information.

Advanced Chemistry Programs

Some students pursue graduation with honors and/or a degree that is certified by the American Chemical Society. If you are interested in either of these options, please speak with your major adviser or another chemistry faculty member.

Graduation with honors requires fulfillment of the basic major as well as completion of CHE 497, which may be used as one of the five in-depth course requirements.

The American Chemical Society recommends a specific program for all chemistry majors who plan to study chemistry in graduate school or to seek employment as professional chemists. Students who complete the basic major with five in-depth chemistry courses, including at least one semester or summer of independent research, fulfill the ACS requirements. Students who use summer research to fulfill this requirement must submit a written report of their work to the department chair; others, to their adviser. If you are pursuing ACS certification, you are strongly encouraged to take MAT 150 or 235.