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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.
    a.  Students will know basic chemical terms.
    b.  Students will be able to predict the outcome of chemical reactions.
    c.  Students will be able to recognize the relationship between structure and function of molecules.
  2. Students will be able to interpret and evaluate scientific data and findings from laboratory findings and scientific literature.
    a.  Students will be able to accurately measure physical and chemical properties of systems.
    b.  Students will be able to associate data with scientific principles and scientific findings.
    c.  Students will be able to understand central points of scientific articles.
  3. Students will be able to communicate scientific concepts and research findings orally and in writing.
    a.  Students will be able to compose written reports summarizing and explaining experimental results.
    b.  Students will be able to write an overview of a specific scientific topic.
    c.  Students will be able to deliver oral presentations of research.
  4. Students will be able to utilize quantitative skills to address scientific problems.
    a.  Students will be able to identify the appropriate equation to solve a chemical problem.
    b.  Students will be able to manipulate equations to solve for unknown quantities.

Program Information

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

Chemistry (CHEM); Biochemistry (BIOC)

  • 1010C Essentials of General Chemistry; Lecture and Lab (4 credits)
    Introduces students to the essential theories and principles of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry, 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, organic compounds, biomolecules, and kinetics. The lecture course emphasizes understanding chemical concepts and the laboratory portion introduces students to the methods of scientific investigation and basic laboratory techniques. 
  • 1045, 1046 General Chemistry I and II; Lecture (4 credits)
    Lecture courses 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.
  • 1047L General Chemistry Lab (2 credits)
    Laboratory experiments are designed to complement lecture topics in CHEM 1045 and 1046 and enhance students understanding of the principles introduced.  Skills introduced include the transfer and manipulation of substances, synthesis and purification of inorganic compounds, absorption spectroscopy, titrations, quantitative analysis, chemical kinetics, and electrochemistry. Students gain experience in scientific writing through several lab reports. Prerequisite:  CHEM 1045, Corequisite:  CHEM 1046
  • 1125C Analytical Chemistry; Lecture and Lab (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.
  • 1213 and 1214 Organic Chemistry I and II; Lecture (6 credits)
    Organic chemistry is the basis of various fields, from biology and health to materials science and engineering. Biologists and doctors rely on organic chemistry to explain many of the processes that occur in living organisms. The design of drugs on one hand, and of new materials on the other hand revolves around basic knowledge obtained by organic chemists. This course will cover the structure and bonding of organic molecules, functional groups, alkanes and their stereochemistry, chirality and optical activity, reactions of alkenes, substitution and elimination mechanisms, aromaticity and carbohydrates. In the second semester of the course, we will study the chemistry of carbonyls, including carboxylic acids, ketones and aldehydes; alkynes; aromaticity; alcohols and phenols; amines and polymers. Reactions with biological importance will be emphasized. Prerequisites: 1046, 1047
  • 1215L Organic Chemistry Lab (2 credits)
    Organic Chemistry Laboratory covers the most common basic experimental techniques in organic chemistry. Emphasis is placed on basic techniques in separation, purification, identification and preparation of organic compounds. Students gain experience in scientific writing through several laboratory reports. Corequisite:  CHEM 1213 
  • 1376, 1376H 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. Corequisite or Prerequisite:  CHEM 1215L
  • 1378 Advanced Biochemistry; Lecture (3 credits)
    Biochemistry is the chemical description of biomolecules that interact in living cells and allow organisms to function.  We will use the knowledge obtain in Principles of Biochemistry to answer more advanced questions of biological nature, such as the metabolism of DNA, RNA, and proteins.  We will also talk about the cause of several diseases and conditions of human health.  Prerequisite:  CHEM 1376
  • 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 1376
  • 1410 Biophysics; Lecture and Lab (4 credits)
    The course combines lecture and lab and is intended to provide a new experience for students by employing a research-based approach, which combines lectures, assignments, lab experiments, data analysis and student presentations. At the beginning of the course, the students will be introduced to new principles (via lectures) and new methods/instruments (in the lab). As the course progresses, the students will be more hands-on in the lab by designing their own experiments in light of their hypotheses and conducting the experiments by themselves. Prerequisite: CHEM 1046, 1047L
  • 1415 Physical Chemistry I; Lecture (3 credits)
    Thermodynamics, chemical equilibrium, solutions, electrochemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM 1046; PHYS 1032C or 1042C; MATH 1412 
  • 1416 Physical Chemistry II; 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 1046; PHYS 1032C or 1042C; MATH 1412
  • 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 1214 or permission of the instructor.
  • 4901, 4902 Independent Study
    See Academic Information and Policies section. 

Chemistry Major

CHEM 1045, 1046R, 1047L; 1125; 1213, 1214, 1215L; 1415, 1416; 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 1045, 1046, 1047L; CHEM 1125C or 1415; 1213, 1214, 1215L; and one additional CHEM course.

Biochemistry Major

CHEM 1045, 1046, 1047L; 1213, 1214, 1215L; 1415; 1376; 1378; 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

  • Ran Drori
    Associate Professor of Chemistry 
  • Donald Estes
    Senior Laboratory Instructional Specialist
  • Jianfeng Jiang
    Associate Professor of Chemistry 
  • Anderson Oliveria
    Assistant Professor of Chemistry 
  • Chaya Rapp
    Associate Professor of Chemistry 
    Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Anshu Sharma
    Laboratory Specialist 
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