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Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry serves as the basis for understanding the natural and physical sciences; biochemistry explains biological structures and processes from the perspective of chemistry. A college graduate with a major in chemistry or biochemistry is prepared for a wide choice of careers.

The chemical and pharmaceutical industries provide opportunities for applied chemical and biochemical research; the food industry needs chemistry/biochemistry graduates to design and engineer new food products. Medicine applies advances in chemistry to elucidating and addressing biomedical problems. Public service-minded individuals can find their niche in environmental protection agencies, consumer advocacy groups and various government offices. In the field of education and academia, students are prepared to pursue graduate degrees in diverse fields including chemical biology, neuroscience, and materials science.

For an overview of recent student accomplishments in STEM, click here (PDF).

For further information, please contact Dr. Chaya Rapp,

Mission Statement 

The mission of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is to provide our students with a solid foundation in the chemical and biochemical sciences and the skills required for scientific analysis and critical thinking. Upon completing the chemistry or biochemistry major the students will be prepared to attend graduate schools (Ph.D. programs) or professional schools (medical, dental, optometry and others). They will be also ready to study and work at various engineering and academic institutions.

Program Student Learning Goals

  1. Students will obtain a firm foundation in chemical and biochemical principles.
  2. Students will be able to interpret and evaluate scientific data and findings from laboratory findings and scientific literature.
  3. Students will be able to communicate scientific concepts and research findings orally and in writing.
  4. Students will be able to utilize quantitative skills to address scientific problems.

Program Information

Please see the Schedule of Classes for the current semester’s offerings.

Chemistry (CHEM); Biochemistry (BIOC)

  • 1010C Essentials of General Chemistry 4 credits
    Introduces students to the essential theories and principles of general chemistry and their application to modern society. Topics include chemical reactions, atomic and molecular structure, stoichiometry, bonding, the periodic table, acid-base theory, equilibrium, properties of gases, liquids and solids, and kinetics. The lecture course emphasizes problem-solving techniques while the laboratory portion introduces students to the methods of scientific investigation and basic laboratory techniques. (lecture: 3 hours; lab: 2 hours) Laboratory fee.
  • 1045C, 1046C General Chemistry 4 credits
    Lecture and laboratory course for students going into the biological, chemical, health, or physical sciences. Atomic structure and stoichiometry; properties of gases, liquids, and solids; thermochemistry; quantum theory; electronic structures of atoms and molecules; chemical bonding; properties of solutions; thermodynamics; chemical equilibria including acid¬base and solubility; kinetics; electrochemistry; nuclear chemistry. Laboratory experiments enhance understanding of principles taught in lectures. Emphasis on quantitative techniques; computer interfacing and spreadsheet applications. Second semester includes semimicro qualitative analysis. (lecture: 3 hours; recitation: 1 hour; lab: 3 hours) Laboratory fee.
  • 1125C Analytical Chemistry 4 credits
    Theory and practice of classical and modern analytical chemistry. Laboratory applications of volumetric, gravimetric, and instrumental methods including potentiometry, spectrophotometry, and chromatography. One laboratory hour is a conference hour. (lecture: 2 hours; lab: 5 hours) Laboratory fee.
    Prerequisite: CHEM 1046C.
  • 1213C Organic Chemistry I 5 credits
    The structure, properties, synthesis and reactions of hydrocarbons and alkyl halides, reaction mechanisms, stereochemistry. A brief discussion of carboxylic acids, their derivatives, carbohydrates and amino acids. Laboratory experiments are designed to illustrate methods of separation, purification, identification, and synthesis of organic compounds. Spectroscopic measurements and molecular modeling are included.  (lecture: 3 hours; recitation: 1 hour; lab: 4 hours) Laboratory fee.
    Prerequisite: CHEM 1046C.
  • 1214R Organic Chemistry II 3 credits
    Conjugated unsaturated systems, aromatic hydrocarbons, structure, properties, syntheses and reactions of the main classes of organic compounds, spectroscopy, polymers and compounds of biological importance. (lecture 3 hours; recitation 1 hour.
    Prerequisite: CHEM 1213C)
  • 1376R Biochemistry—Lecture 3 credits
    Structure and function of biomolecules; kinetics and mechanism of enzymes; bioenergetics and metabolism; membrane structure and dynamics; signal transduction.
    Prerequisite: CHEM 1213C or permission of the instructor.
  • 1377L Biochemistry Lab 2 credits
    Laboratory experiments are designed to illustrate methods of purification, separation, and characterization of proteins; acid-base titration of amino acids; biomembranes; enzyme kinetics; molecular modeling, computational chemistry, and bioinformatics of biologically relevant molecules.
    Prerequisite: CHEM 1376R.
  • 1415R Physical Chemistry— Lecture 3 credits
    Thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium, solutions, electrochemistry. Applications to biological and biochemical problems are used to illustrate general principles.
    Prerequisites: CHEM 1046C; MATH 1412 (or higher) 
  • 1416R Physical Chemistry— Lecture 3 credits
    Quantum chemistry; the Schrödinger equation and some simple applications; extension to three-dimensional systems; H¬atom; many electron atoms; structure of molecules; introduction to computational methods (molecular mechanics, ab initio methods); molecular spectroscopy; statistical mechanics; kinetic theory; chemical kinetics.
    Prerequisites: CHEM 1046C; PHYS 1031C or 1041C; MATH 1413
  • 1930; 1931 Current Topics 2 or 3 credits
    Selected subjects in chemistry. Discussion of current developments, problems, and literature. Open to seniors and selected juniors majoring in chemistry.
    Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.
  • 1937 Seminar in Advanced Chemistry 1 credit
    Topics in all fields of chemistry presented by students and guest lecturers. Seminar meeting two hours every two weeks.
    Pre or co-requisite: CHEM 1214R or permission of the instructor.
  • 4901, 4902 Independent Study
    See Academic Information and Policies section. Laboratory fee on an individual basis.

Chemistry Major

CHEM 1045R, 1046R, 1047L; 1125; 1213R, 1214R, 1215L; 1415R, 1416R; 1937 or 2 credit elective approved by department and one additional CHEM course; MATH 1412, 1413; PHYS 1031C, 1032C or 1051C, 1052C.

Chemistry Minor

CHEM 1045R, 1046R, 1047L; CHEM 1125C or 1415R; 1213R, 1214R, 1215L; and one additional CHEM course.

Biochemistry Major

BIOCHEM: 1045R, 1046R, 1047L; 1213R, 1214R, 1215L; 1415R or 1416R; 1376R; 1377R,1377L; BIOL 1011C, 1012C; MATH 1412; PHYS 1031C, 1032C or 1051C, 1052C; one course selected from BIOL 3207C; 3230C; 3513C; 3521.

For detailed biochemistry and chemistry factsheets go to the Academic Advisement webpage

The following list includes faculty who teach at the Beren (B) and/or Wilf (W) campus.

  • James Camara
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Chemistry (W)
  • Ran Drori
    Assistant Professor of Chemistry (B)
  • Donald Estes
    Senior Laboratory Instructional Specialist (B)
  • Jianfeng Jiang
    Associate Professor of Chemistry (W)
  • Anderson Oliveria
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry (B)
  • Chaya Rapp
    Associate Professor of Chemistry (B)
    Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Anshu Sharma
    Laboratory Specialist (B)


Information and applications for undergraduate research programs may be found in the following sites:

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