Chemistry

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Chemistry Major

The Chemistry Department curriculum for a major is very linear with successive courses building upon previous ones. Chemistry courses, therefore, must be taken in a fairly rigid order and within a set time frame. The chemistry courses that you took in high school will play a role in determining your schedule. Additionally, physics and mathematics prerequisites are preferably taken in the first and second years.

Major Requirements

As a prospective major, you should discuss your interest and course planning with a faculty member as soon as you begin considering the chemistry major. The prerequisites for advanced courses require careful planning to obtain a feasible schedule.

1. Chemistry courses:

  • 201 (115 is prerequisite for this course), 202, 215, 351, 352, 361, 371, 391, and 401
  • One additional 300- or 400-level course, except 306

2. Supporting and prerequisite courses:

  • Mathematics 135, 137, 140, or 160
  • Physics 220 or 230

3. You must attend 10 sessions of the chemistry colloquium during your junior and senior years.

Placement & Requirements

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 either CHE 215 or 201.
  • 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.

Major Outline

Below are two outlines for a chemistry major at Davidson: The first is for a student who starts in CHE 115; the second is for a student who receives AP/IB credit for CHE 115.

Without AP/IB CHE 115 credit
With AB/IB CHE 115 credit
Year

Fall

Spring

Year

Fall

Spring

1

CHE 115
MAT 111/112

CHE 215
MAT 113

1

CHE 215
MAT 111/112

CHE 201
MAT 113

2

CHE 201
PHY 120/130
MAT 160

CHE 202
PHY 220/230

2

CHE 202
PHY 120/130
MAT 160

CHE 361
PHY 220/230

3

CHE 351
CHE 371

CHE 352
CHE 361

3

CHE 351
CHE 371

CHE 352
CHE 391

4

CHE 401
elective

CHE 391

4

CHE 401

elective

Scheduling Options

If you do not start taking chemistry courses in your first semester, you can make the following adaptations:

  • CHE 215 can be taken concurrently with CHE 201 or 202 during your sophomore year.
  • CHE 371 can be delayed until senior year if you need to take CHE 202 or 215 during fall of junior year.
  • Physics can occasionally be delayed until junior year.

As a last resort, some students may need to consider completing the general chemistry or organic chemistry requirements at another institution during the summer between sophomore and junior years. Students seeking transfer credits should discuss this option with their major adviser in advance.

Advanced 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.  It may be used to fulfill the elective requirement of the basic major (CHE 497 replaces the one additional 300- or 400-level course requirement).

American Chemical Society Undergraduate Chemistry Program

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

The program includes general chemistry, foundation courses, in-depth courses, and experiences in the laboratory and research. Completion of the American Chemical Society program requires fulfillment of the basic major as well as a research experience. The research experience may be satisfied through either a summer of research after the junior year or by completion of CHE 496. Students who fulfill this requirement through summer research must submit a written report to the department chair; others, to their adviser. 

You may use CHE 496 or 497 to satisfy the elective 300- or 400-level requirement (1.b.) of the basic major. If you are pursuing the American Chemical Society degree, we strongly encourage you to take MAT 150 or 235.

Math Requirement

You can fulfill the math requirement by receiving credit for either MAT 140 or MAT 160.  Only the MAT 160 option is shown in the course outline tables above. Please see the Mathematics Course Placement page for additional information.

  • Normal path to MAT 160: MAT 111/112 > MAT 113 > MAT 160 (calculus sequence)
    Credit for MAT 160 requires a total of three courses, however credit for both MAT 111 and 113 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]  With appropriate AB/IB credit, a student may fulfill the math requirement for chemistry by only taking MAT 160.
  • Normal path to MAT 140: MAT 112 > MAT 140 (calculus with modeling sequence)
    Credit for MAT 140 requires only two courses, and both must be taken at Davidson. MAT 112 has no AP/IB equivalent.

Most incoming chemistry students have already taken calculus in high schol. With AP/IB credit, you are eligible to take MAT 113 and 160, possibly just MAT 160. Without AP credit, you will likely take MAT 112 and 140. Starting with MAT 111 is only necessary if you do not have any calculus background. Keep in mind that while MAT 140 and 160 each fulfill the math requirement in chemistry, we encourage you to take additional math courses if you intend to pursue graduate school in chemistry.