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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 Becky Eggimann

Professors Daniel Burden, Mark Niemczyk, Timothy Wilkinson

Associate Professor Peter Walhout

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 36 hours in chemistry:

*       This includes 32 hours of CHEM 231, 232, 294, 336, 341, 342, 355; either 455 or 457; 371 and 494. (Two hours of CHEM 294 are required, preferably taken each semester sophomore year.)

*       Two elective courses (at least four additional hours) of advanced chemistry are required from the following courses: CHEM 372, 475, 461, 463, 485, and either 455 or 457 (i.e. the one not already taken above), and either 436 or 437. At least one of these elective courses must be a lab course, i.e. CHEM 475, 455, 457, 463, 485.

*       Required supporting courses are 16 hours of: MATH 231, 232 and PHYS 231 and 232.


Biochemistry concentration requirements differ from the basic major as follows: CHEM 461, 462 and 463 are required, and the 4 hours of advanced electives are dropped, for a total of 40 hours in chemistry. MATH 231 and either PHYS 221/222 or PHYS 231/232 are 12 hours of required supporting courses.

American Chemical Society certified major requirements include the 32 hour core of the Basic major plus CHEM 372, 436, 475, 461, 463; either 455 or 457 (whichever has not yet been taken); and either 485 or 495. Total = 48 hours. Required supporting courses are 16 hours consisting of MATH 231, 232 and PHYS 231, 232.

American Chemical Society certified major with a concentration in biochemistry requirements include the 32 hour core of the Basic major plus CHEM 461, 462, 463; either 455 or 457 (whichever has not yet been taken); either 485 or 495; and 4 hours chosen from the following: either CHEM 372 and 475; or BIOL 356, 362, or 364. Total = 48 hours. Required supporting courses are 16 hours consisting of MATH 231, 232 and PHYS 231, 232.

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 231, 232, 336, 341, 342, 355, 371, 494.

*       Required supporting courses (24 hours) consist of: MATH 231, PHYS 221, 222 (or PHYS 231, 232); BIOL 461; SCI 321, SCI 325, and one of the following: ENVR 221, ASTR 305, or GEOL 211.

*       Total = 52 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 231, 232, 241 or 341, and 355. 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 212. Everyday Chemistry. The course covers basic concepts of chemistry as encountered in our everyday lives - food & metabolic energy, drugs & medicines, soaps & detergents, polymers - and allows students to explore the process of scientific investigation using familiar products and materials. Includes evaluation of scientific claims (e.g., recognizing pseudoscience in commercial chemical products) and the development of a scientific argument based on experimental evidence. The laboratory includes the preparation and analysis of common chemical materials. Three hours lecture, two hours laboratory. SP

CHEM 231. General Chemistry I. Stoichiometry, introduction to reaction types, gases, thermochemistry, atomic and molecular structures, bonding, condensed phases. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: high school algebra.

CHEM 232. General Chemistry II. Solutions, kinetics, chemical equilibrium, acid/base chemistry, free energy, electrochemistry, inorganic chemistry, radiochemistry, introduction to organic. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 231.

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 232 or consent of the instructor.

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 321. Pseudoscience and Faith. This course will explore scientific issues and practice by examining several notable examples of pseudoscience, which is the attempt to justify a claim about the world with dubious data and misguided scientific arguments created and analyzed outside the mainstream of traditional scientific communities. In-depth case studies related to Christian faith will include the Bible Code, the Shroud of Turin, among others. The normal practice of science will be studied through scholarly writings as well as scientific autobiographies. SIP

CHEM 336. Inorganic Chemistry. Atomic structure (nuclear and electronic), molecular orbital theory, molecular symmetry, bonding models, solid state, acid-base theory, coordination compounds, organometallic chemistry. Three lectures, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 342.

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 232.

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)

CHEM 371. Physical Chemistry I. A study of the laws of classical thermodynamics and their application to physical and chemical systems, followed by an introduction to kinetics, kinetic theory, and reaction dynamics. Prerequisites: MATH 231 and either PHYS 222, 229 or 232.

CHEM 372. Physical Chemistry II. An introduction to quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics. Includes atomic theory, bonding theory, and computational chemistry. Prerequisite: CHEM 371 (2, lin)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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. Prerequisites: CHEM 342 or 241.

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)

CHEM 463. Biochemistry Analysis. Laboratory course introducing common biochemistry techniques for experimentation, such as biological sample preparation and handling, preparing biological buffers, protein quantification, activity assays, enzyme kinetics analysis, gel electrophoresis, western blotting, expression and purification of proteins, and biomolecular separations. Each experiment is accompanied by lectures on the theoretical aspects of the topic and requires use of the biochemical literature. One lecture, three hours laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 342; Pre or corequisite: CHEM 461. CHEM 355 recommended. (2, lin)

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)

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)

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. Chemistry in Context. A discussion of chemistry in historical, philosophical, and theological perspective. Includes vocation issues. Prerequisite: CHEM major with senior standing. (2)

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, 2017



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