Professors: Charles H. Clapp, George S. Shields (Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences), Robert A. Stockland Jr., Timothy G. Strein (Chair), Eric S. Tillman, Brian W. Williams

Associate Professors: Dee Ann Casteel, Karen J. Castle, Molly M. McGuire, David S. Rovnyak, James S. Swan

Assistant Professors: William D. Kerber, Michael R. Krout (visiting), Steven P. Romberger (visiting), Thomas L. Selby, Jill Williamson (visiting)

Chemistry is the science that seeks to understand the structure and composition of matter and the changes that it undergoes. The atomic/molecular perspective of chemistry provides fundamental insight into the macroscopic world of materials and organisms. Chemists apply this insight in many ways, such as the synthesis of new substances with useful technological or therapeutic properties and the discovery of new analytical methods that can be used in medicine and environmental science. Coursework in chemistry seeks to acquaint students with fundamental chemical principles, teach students to apply these principles broadly and effectively, and enable students to evaluate critically the impact of chemistry on society.

In addition to providing a working knowledge of chemical principles, a major in chemistry offers experience in critical thinking, data analysis and experimental design. Chemistry graduates pursue a variety of careers in which these skills are important. Many work as chemists in chemical or pharmaceutical companies or in government labs. Others apply their chemical skills to careers in medicine, law, business, chemical or pharmaceutical sales, biotechnology, pharmacology, toxicology or environmental science. Many chemistry graduates pursue careers in education at the secondary, college or university level.

The department emphasizes the importance of research experience. The opportunity to engage in an original research investigation, in collaboration with a faculty member, is a distinctive feature of this program.

The chemistry major may be pursued under either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree programs. Students interested in biochemistry should consider either the Bachelor of Science in chemistry curriculum with biochemistry and biology electives or the Bachelor of Science program in cell biology/biochemistry offered jointly by the chemistry and biology departments.

A Bachelor of Arts major consists of eight course credits in chemistry numbered 211 or above, five of which are required: CHEM 211, CHEM 212, CHEM 221 (or CHEM 222, by permission), CHEM 231, and CHEM 340 or CHEM 341. In addition, one semester of calculus (MATH 201) and one semester of physics (PHYS 211) are required. MATH 202 and PHYS 212 are strongly recommended.

A Bachelor of Science major consists of 10 course credits in chemistry numbered 211 or above, eight of which are required: CHEM 211, CHEM 212, CHEM 221 (or CHEM 222, by permission), CHEM 231, CHEM 322, CHEM 332, CHEM 341, and CHEM 342. The sequence of chemistry courses indicated below is strongly recommended; exceptions to this sequence are rare, and each must be negotiated with the student's adviser on the merits of the particular case.

The chemistry major under the Bachelor of Science program also requires three courses in mathematics (MATH 201, 202, and 211), three courses in physics (PHYS 211, 212, and 235), and one science elective.

The recommended sequence for the Bachelor of Science major is as follows:

First Year

First Semester: CHEM 211; MATH 201
Second Semester: CHEM 212; MATH 202

Sophomore Year

First Semester: CHEM 221; MATH 211; PHYS 211
Second Semester: CHEM 231; PHYS 212

Junior Year

First Semester: CHEM 341; science elective
Second Semester: CHEM 322; CHEM 342; PHYS 235

Senior Year

First Semester: CHEM 332; Elective in chemistry
Second Semester: Elective in chemistry

During the junior year ELEC 105 in either semester may be substituted for PHYS 235. The science elective may be selected from the following list of courses and can be taken at any time once the prerequisites for the selected course are satisfied: BIOL 205; CHEG 450; CSCI 202; CSCI 203; GEOL 305; MATH 212; PHYS 317, PHYS 310, PHYS 332, or PHYS 333 or other courses with department approval. Electives in chemistry during the senior year may be chosen from any of the 300-level undergraduate courses in chemistry or CHEM 403. No more than two credits of research, CHEM 375-376 or CHEM 403, may be applied toward the minimum 10-course major.

Advanced placement credit accepted by the University will count as a credit toward graduation, but will not replace the number of chemistry courses above 211 that are required for a major in chemistry.

Transfer students who are given at least 1.5 transfer credits toward graduation based on two semesters of general chemistry taken prior to transfer will be given an adjustment such that those two courses will replace the specific requirement for CHEM 221 and will count as one of the chemistry courses required for the chemistry degree.

Bachelor of Science graduates will not automatically achieve the American Chemical Society's certification. To fulfill these requirements, Bachelor of Science chemistry students should take the equivalent of at least two additional laboratory or research courses, and biochemistry CHEM 351.

Of the 11 electives to be taken during the four undergraduate years, an additional mathematics course is desirable. Since science is an international enterprise, chemistry majors are encouraged to take a foreign language.

Students interested in coordinating graduate with undergraduate work should consult the department chair before the end of the sophomore year. The department offers a combined B.S./M.S. program for students who desire both more research and more advanced chemistry courses than are obtainable under the Bachelor of Science program. The B.S./M.S. program normally is elected in the sophomore year and is completed in the summer following the senior year.

Two minors are available in the department of chemistry:

The minor in chemistry requires six chemistry course credits. Only one of the course credits may be CHEM 160, CHEM 201, CHEM 202, CHEM 221, CHEM 222 or AP chemistry credit, toward a minor. The other five course credits must be numbered 211 or above and may include a maximum of one course credit of CHEM 375, CHEM 376, or CHEM 403.

The chemistry (biochemistry) minor requires six chemistry courses numbered 211 or above, including CHEM 351 and CHEM 352 and may include a maximum of one course credit of CHEM 375, CHEM 376, or CHEM 403.

Satisfying the disciplinary depth component of the College Core Curriculum:

Culminating Experience. Chemistry majors (B.S. and B.A.) will meet the Culminating Experience requirement in one of the following ways.

  • Carry out a research or independent study project in the chemical sciences and take CHEM 371, a 0.25-credit research seminar in the senior year. Each student enrolled in the research seminar will give a formal presentation on the research or independent study project that s/he has undertaken. The research or independent study component can be any one of the following: (i) at least one credit of undergraduate research (CHEM 375 or 376), (ii) A summer research project carried out either at Bucknell or elsewhere (research projects carried out elsewhere must have prior approval by the department), or (iii) an independent study project that involves some form of scholarly work in the chemical sciences other than a laboratory research project.
  • Take, during the senior year, one of the 0.5-credit special topics seminar courses (CHEM 385 or 386) that the department offers. These seminars apply principles that students have learned in their core chemistry courses to topics of current interest, and require each student to give a formal presentation.

Writing within the major. All chemistry majors are required to take either CHEM 340 (Biological Physical Chemistry) or CHEM 341 (Physical Chemistry I) which offer instruction in scientific writing and require students to write formal lab reports. The writing requirement can also be satisfied with CHEM 322, CHEM 332, or CHEM 342.

Formal Presentation Experience. Each of the ways in which B.A. and B.S. chemistry majors can satisfy the Culminating Experience requirement will require formal presentation(s) under the guidance of the research mentor or seminar course instructor.

Information Literacy. Any 0.5 or 1.0 credit chemistry course at the 300 level will satisfy this requirement.



Introduction to Chemistry (I; 3, 3)

A terminal elementary course covering in-depth selected topics, which may vary from year to year. Satisfies laboratory science requirement for Bachelor of Arts students not majoring in science or engineering. Not open to students who have taken CHEM 160. Prerequisite: seniors by permission only.


Introduction to Environmental Chemistry (II; 3, 3)

One semester terminal course in chemistry. Basic chemical concepts as they relate to chemical behavior, toxicity, and effects in the environment. Case studies are used to illustrate concepts. Satisfies laboratory science requirement for Bachelor of Arts students not majoring in science or engineering. Laboratory will emphasize techniques used for environmental analysis. Not open to students who have taken CHEM 201, CHEM 202 or CHEM 211. Seniors by permission only.


202. General Chemistry (I and II; 3, 3)

Fundamental principles in inorganic chemistry. Atomic structure, bonding, equilibrium, kinetics, etc. Laboratory experiments are both qualitative and quantitative. CHEM 201 is a prerequisite for CHEM 202. Credit not normally given for both CHEM 201 and CHEM 221 nor is credit normally given for CHEM 202 and CHEM 221 or CHEM 231.


Organic Chemistry I (I; 4, 4)

First-year, first-semester course for students majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, and biology. Bonding and structure in organic compounds, resonance, organic acid/base reactions, basic nomenclature, conformational analysis, stereochemistry, properties and reactions of functional groups. Prerequisite: high school chemistry or equivalent.


Organic Chemistry II (II; 4, 4)

A continuation of CHEM 211 with focus on properties and reactions of functional groups, synthesis, and spectroscopic analysis. Prerequisite: CHEM 211.


Inorganic Chemistry I (I; 2, 4)

Introduction to structures, bonding theories, and reactivity of inorganic systems. Introductory thermodynamics and kinetics. Emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning in workshops and laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 212 or permission of the instructor.


Accelerated General Chemistry: Inorganic (II; 3, 3)

Atomic structure and introductory quantum mechanics. Molecular structure and theories of bonding. Introductory thermodynamics and kinetics. Introduction to coordination chemistry. Laboratory: introduction to quantitative techniques. Prerequisite: chemical engineering students. All others by permission of the instructor.


Analytical Chemistry I (II; 3, 4)

Chemical equilibrium and modern analysis with an emphasis on acid-base systems, solubility, metal ion determinations, electroanalytical chemistry, spectrophotometry, and separation methods. Prerequisite: CHEM 221 or CHEM 222.


X-ray Crystallography (I or II) Half to full course.

Independent study. Symmetry (point, plane, and space groups), diffraction (reciprocal space, precession photographs, automated data collection) and structural solution (Patterson Maps, Electron Density Maps, Refinement). Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Synthetic Organic Chemistry (I or II; 3, 0)

Modern synthetic organic chemistry, with examples involving complex natural products. Application of organic mechanism, synthetic strategy, and advanced transformations to total synthesis. Prerequisite: CHEM 212.


Mechanistic Organic Chemistry (I or II; 3, 0)

Thermal and kinetic aspects of organic reactions are discussed along with the effect of substituents, solvents, and stereochemistry on reaction pathways. Qualitative molecular orbit theory of organic compounds is covered in depth. Weekly problem sessions are held. Prerequisites: CHEM 211 and CHEM 212.


Special Topics in Organic Chemistry (I or II; R; 4, 0)

Available by independent study. Prerequisites: CHEM 212 and permission of the instructor.


Inorganic Chemistry II (II; 3, 4)

Survey course in modern inorganic chemistry covering transition metal, coordination, organometallic, and bioinorganic chemistry. Laboratory will consist of synthetic and physical measurements as well as the manipulation of air-sensitive materials. Prerequisite: CHEM 231.


Special Topics in Inorganic Chemistry (I or II; R; 4, 0)

Topics vary. Available by independent study. Prerequisite: CHEM 221.


Analytical Chemistry II (I; 3, 4)

Theory and practice of techniques of instrumental analysis including spectrophotometry, fluorescence, mass spectrometry, atomic absorption, chromatography, capillary electrophoresis, and dynamic electrochemistry. Prerequisite: CHEM 231.


Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry (I or II; 4, 0)

Available by independent study. Prerequisites: CHEM 231 and permission of the instructor.


Biological Physical Chemistry (II; 3, 4)

Introduction to physical chemistry for life science students, with emphasis on thermodynamics, hydrodynamics and spectroscopy. Not open to B.S. chemistry majors. Prerequisites: CHEM 231, MATH 201, and PHYS 211. MATH 202 and PHYS 212 are recommended.


Physical Chemistry I (I; 3, 4)

Introductory physical chemistry with emphasis on thermodynamics, kinetics, and electrochemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM 231, MATH 211, and PHYS 212. Not open to engineering majors.


Physical Chemistry II (II; 3, 4)

Introductory physical chemistry with emphasis on quantum mechanics, structure and bonding, molecular spectroscopy and statistical mechanics. The customized laboratory experience will emphasize applications of spectroscopy and computational methods. Prerequisite: CHEM 341.


Physical Chemistry for Engineers (I; 3, 1)

Introductory physical chemistry for engineers with emphasis on thermodynamics, chemical kinetics and electrochemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM 231, MATH 211, PHYS 211. Only open to engineering majors.


Special Topics in Physical Chemistry (I or II; 4, 0)

Available by independent study. Prerequisites: CHEM 231 and permission of the instructor.


Biochemistry I (I; 4, 0)

Introduction to biological chemistry with emphasis on the structure and function of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids, kinetics and mechanisms of enzymes, bioenergetics, and metabolism. Prerequisites: CHEM 212 and either CHEM 231 or CHEM 202.


Biochemistry II (II; 4, 0)

Advanced topics in protein structure and function, protein folding, enzyme mechanisms, electron transport and free-energy coupling mechanisms, biosynthesis, metabolic regulation, and supramolecular assemblies. Prerequisite: CHEM 351 or permission of the instructor.


Special Topics in Biochemistry (I or II; 3, 1)

Structure/function relationships and dynamics of biomolecules. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.


Biochemical Methods (II; 2, 0)

A course in laboratory techniques including cell fractionation, protein, and nucleic acid analysis. Spectrophotometry, chromatography, centrifugation, electrophoresis, and mass spectrometry are emphasized. Prerequisites: BIOL 205 and CHEM 351 and permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as BIOL 340.


Advanced Environmental Chemistry (I; 4, 0)

Chemistry of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. Natural processes and anthropogenic effects will be discussed. Prerequisite: CHEM 231 or permission of the instructor.


Senior Seminar (I and II; R; 1, 0) Quarter Course.

Formal oral presentations on current research will be given by students, faculty and visiting scientists. Prerequisite: participation in an approved research project or independent study for seniors or second term juniors only.


376. Undergraduate Research (I and II; R; 0, 6-24) Half to two courses.

Original investigations in analytical, biological, organic, physical, environmental, or inorganic chemistry.


386. Seminar (I and II; R; 2, 0) Half course.


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