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Departmental Mission Statement

Requirements for Major

Biochemistry Concentration requirements

American Chemical Society requirements

Secondary Education

Requirements for Minor

Course Descriptions


Chair, Associate Professor Peter K. Walhout

Professors Daniel Burden, Mark Niemczyk, Timothy Wilkinson

Associate Professor Becky Eggimann

Assistant Professor Benjamin Lovaasen

Instructor Lab Manager


Chemistry is an interdisciplinary subject with roots in physics and mathematics. An understanding of the principles of chemistry is essential to the study of many fields of science and technology. The Chemistry Department emphasizes the fundamental principles of chemistry and the development of laboratory skills. We also desire to foster an ethical perspective of the role of science in the world and to develop competent individuals who can provide service to our society.

The chemistry program is approved by the American Chemical Society to certify degrees in chemistry and biochemistry. The ACS certified degree requires additional course work beyond the basic major.

The major prepares students for graduate studies in chemistry, biochemistry, and allied fields; for entry into health professions; for work in industry and government; and for teaching at the secondary level. A sound understanding of analytical and problem-solving skills provides the student with a foundation for engaging in a wide range of service, management, and leadership roles.

Students who complete a Chemistry major are granted a Bachelor of Science degree unless they request a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Basic major requirements comprise a core of 34 hours in chemistry including CHEM 236, 237, 294, 341, 342, 355, 371, 372, 475, 494, either 436 or 437, and either455 or 457. Two hours of CHEM 294 are required, preferably taken each semester sophomore year. Two additional hours of chemistry courses at the 400-level are required for a total of 36 hours. PHYS 231 and 232 are required supporting courses.

Biochemistry concentration requirements include the 34 hour core of the basic major, but substitute CHEM 461 for any four hours in the core beyond 371 (excluding 494). CHEM 462 is required to bring the total hours to 36. PHYS 231 and 232 are required supporting courses.

American Chemical Society certified major requirements beyond the basic major requirements are CHEM 455 or 457 (whichever has not yet been taken), 461, and 485. Also, CHEM 436 must be taken as part of the core requirements rather than CHEM 437. Total = 42 hours.

American Chemical Society certified major with a concentration in biochemistry requirements beyond the basic major (34 hrs) requirements are CHEM 461, 462, and two hours chosen from either CHEM 495 Biochemistry research), or CHEM 485. Total = 42 hours.

Secondary Education with Chemistry Teacher License. Students who desire Illinois state teacher licensure will complete a double major in Chemistry and Secondary Education. However, the Illinois license in this area is much broader than a single subject. This license will entitle the student to teach the beginning level of any science class and advanced levels of Chemistry classes. Students should consult with the Science advisor and the Education Department regarding required classes. A Master of Arts (MAT) program is available with a Chemistry major. A combined Bachelor’s/MAT may be completed in five years and one summer. See the Education Department section in this catalog.

*       Core (28 hours) consists of: CHEM 236, 237, 341, 342, 355, 371, 461, 494.

*       Required supporting courses (20 hours) consist of: PHYS 221, 222, ASTR 301 or ASTR 302, SCI 321, BIOL 201, GEOL 211. Total = 48 hours.


A departmental honors program for majors requires four hours of honors course work and four hours of research credit (495) including a thesis. Plans should be established no later than the fall semester of the junior year.

Requirements for a minor in Chemistry are 20 hours of chemistry courses, which must include CHEM 221 or 236, 222 or 237, 241 or 341, and 355. CHEM 203 cannot be used for the minor.

Safety is an integral part of education in chemistry and is emphasized in all laboratories. Students are expected to know and follow safety precautions at all times.

Chemistry Courses (CHEM)

See the Financial Information section of this catalog for course fees.

CHEM 201. Applications of Chemistry. Basic concepts of chemistry applied to topics such as food, food additives, household chemicals, drugs, chemotherapy, polymers, cosmetics, and sports. The laboratory includes the preparation and analysis of common chemical products. For non-science majors. Three hours lecture, three hours laboratory. (Not open to students who have taken CHEM 221.) No prerequisite.

CHEM 203. Drugs and Society. An interdisciplinary course dealing with the nature and use of both legal and illegal drugs. An introduction to the discovery and development of new drugs is given, followed by a brief explanation of the relationship between the chemical structures and functions of drugs used in the human body. Psychoactive drugs consisting of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and tranquilizers are surveyed, and a unifying theory of chemical neurotransmitters at the synapse is introduced. The future of drug use is discussed, including new technologies in drug delivery; the societal impact of widespread drug availability and drug abuse; and the development of new treatment approaches to chemical dependence. No prerequisite. (2)

CHEM 221. Introductory Chemistry I. Introductory survey of basic concepts in chemical science including stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, gases and condensed phases, solutions, intermolecular forces, acid-base and oxidation-reduction chemistry. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: high school algebra and chemistry. F 2015

CHEM 222. Introductory Chemistry II. Introduction to principles of thermodynamics, kinetics, and chemical equilibrium (gas phase and solution), electrochemistry, polymers, and an introduction to organic and biochemistry. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 221 or consent of instructor. S 2016

CHEM 236. General Chemistry. Stoichiometry, introduction to reaction types, Lewis structures, gases and condensed phases, solutions, chemical equilibria (gas phase and solution), thermodynamics, and kinetics. Three hours lecture, three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: high school algebra and chemistry. F 2015

CHEM 237. Inorganic Chemistry. Atomic structure (nuclear and electronic), chemical bonding models, solid state, acid-base theory, electrochemistry, coordination compounds, periodic and physical properties of the elements. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: CHEM 236 or CHEM 221. S 2016

CHEM 241. Principles of Organic Chemistry. A one-semester survey course in organic chemistry. Topics include common classes of organic compounds—especially those of biological interest—nomenclature, structure-reactivity, principles, reactions, and mechanisms. The laboratory stresses investigation of principles discussed in lecture. This course does not meet the requirements for medical, dental, or veterinary schools. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 222 or 237 or consent of the instructor. S 2016

CHEM 294. Chemistry Colloquium. Features a variety of presentations by students, faculty, and outside speakers on topics including current research, current events in chemistry, and history of chemistry. Also includes ‘faith and learning’ discussions of various books and articles. Intended for sophomore chemistry majors, though majors from other years are also welcome. Taught each semester. (0 or 1)

CHEM 341, 342. Organic Chemistry I, II. A two-semester study of organic chemistry. Topics include nomenclature, principles of reactivity, reaction mechanisms, synthesis, and spectroscopy. The laboratory stresses the synthesis and characterization of organic compounds. (Not open to students who have taken CHEM 241.) Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 237. F 2015 S 2016

CHEM 355. Introduction to Analytical Chemistry. Statistical treatment of scientific data sets (regression analysis, confidence intervals, ANOVA, principle component analysis). Solution activities. Introduction to instrumentation theory and methods for ultraviolet, visible, and atomic spectroscopy. Potentiometric and chromatographic theory. One lecture, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 241 or 341, or consent of instructor. (2, lin) F 2015

CHEM 358x. Techniques in Recombinant DNA. See BIOL 358. (2)

CHEM 371. Physical Chemistry I. An introduction to quantum mechanics and kinetics. Includes atomic theory, bonding theory, computational chemistry, kinetics of simple and complex chemical systems, and reaction dynamics. Prerequisite: PHYS 232. F 2015

CHEM 372. Physical Chemistry II. A study of the laws of thermodynamics and their application to physicochemical systems, followed by an introduction to statistical mechanics. Prerequisite: CHEM 371 (2, lin) S 2016

CHEM 436. Physical Inorganic Chemistry. This course focuses on the bonding, electronic structure, and geometry of inorganic compounds. Topics include: molecular orbital theory, molecular symmetry, group theory, vibrational spectroscopy, electronic spectroscopy of transition metal complexes and solid state chemistry. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 371. (2) F 2015

CHEM 437. Organometallic Chemistry. A course in the structure, reactivity and applications of organometallic compounds with a focus on transition metal organometallic compounds. Topics will include: electronic structure; reactivity and mechanisms of coordination compounds; ligands, descriptive chemistry, reaction mechanisms, characterization of organometallic compounds; catalysis. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 371. (2) F 2015

CHEM 455. Advanced Analytical Chemistry I. Instrumental methods used in analysis and research. Scientific instrumentation electronics, computer interfacing, and signal processing. Cyclic voltammetry and fluorescence techniques. One lecture, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 371 or consent of instructor. (2, lin) S 2016

CHEM 457. Advanced Analytical Chemistry II. Instrumental methods used in analysis and research. High performance liquid chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, atomic and mass spectrometry. Tools for nanoscale/single-molecule investigations. One lecture, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 371 or consent of instructor. (2, lin) F 2015

CHEM 461. General Biochemistry. The chemical reaction mechanisms of life processes. The structure and function of biomolecules. Protein purification and characterization. Enzyme kinetics. Bioenergetics and the role of metabolic interconversions in energy production. Membrane transport, regulation, and compartmentation. Use of the biochemical literature. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisites: CHEM 342 or 241. CHEM 355 recommended. S 2016

CHEM 462. Advanced Biochemistry. Advanced topics in biochemistry, including biosynthesis and action of phospholipids and nitrogen-containing biomolecules. DNA and RNA metabolism. Protein synthesis. Student presentations from the biochemical literature are given. Prerequisite: CHEM 461. (2) F 2015

CHEM 475. Methods in Physical Chemistry. A laboratory-oriented course to give experience in physical chemistry measurements. Experiments on molecular spectroscopy, crystal structure, laser spectroscopy, macromolecules, and kinetics will be included. Each experiment is accompanied by lectures on theoretical aspects of the topic. One lecture, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 371. (2, lin) S 2016

CHEM 485. Synthesis and Analysis. Laboratory course involving special techniques in the synthesis of organic and inorganic compounds and the spectroscopic methods of their characterization. Six hours laboratory. Alternate years. (2, lin) S 2016

CHEM 486. Advanced Topics in Chemistry. Special topics of current interest chosen from the areas of inorganic, organic, polymer, industrial, physical, biological, or analytical chemistry. Prerequisite will depend upon the subject. May be taught as a tutorial. (2)

CHEM 494. Capstone Course: Chemistry in Context. A discussion of the science in historical and philosophical perspective. Includes faith/science issues such as origins, ethics. Prerequisite: 24 hours of CHEM (2, lin) F 2015

CHEM 495. Independent Research. A research project carried out under the supervision of a chemistry department faculty member. Includes opportunities for collaborative programs with academic, government, and industrial institutions as approved by the department. Prerequisite: consent of instructor. (2 or 4)

CHEM 496. Internship. Practical experience and training at an academic, government, or industrial laboratory as approved by the department. Graded pass/fail. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing with Chemistry major. (1-4)

CHEM 499. Honors Thesis. An independent project requiring original laboratory research developed in a scholarly paper and culminating in an oral examination. Fulfills partial requirement for an honors chemistry degree. Requirements are available in the Chemistry Office or the department web site www.wheaton.edu/chemistry. (4)

Revision Date: June 1, 2015



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