Undergraduate Study - Chemistry Major

The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology offers a broad and comprehensive program of study, which leads to immediate employment as a chemist or admission to graduate/professional schools for further education. The Major includes a core curriculum and five options. The options permit students to select an area of concentration that reflects their particular interests and career goals. The Department also offers an honors program for eligible students. Requirements for the various options are described on the following pages; requirements for participation in the chemistry honors programs are described in the section on Honors and Awards.

Who Can Major in Chemistry?

The major in Chemistry is available to students in all four liberal arts colleges (Rutgers, Douglass, Livingston, University) and also at Cook College. The Department makes an effort to give most chemistry courses normally taken during the first three years at both Douglass/Cook and Busch/Livingston campuses. All courses required for the major are offered both during the day and in the evening.

Entry Requirements

Students wishing to declare a major or minor in chemistry must have successfully completed one semester of a general chemistry course for science majors (01:160:159, 161, 163, or the equivalent) with a grade of “C” or better. A score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement test or appropriate transfer credit from another institution is also acceptable. Petitions for exceptions may be addressed to the chemistry Undergraduate Executive Officer.

Declaring Your Major

A student who wants to declare a major in chemistry can do so by:

  1. filling out the major declaration form at the office of his/her college dean
  2. bringing a copy of that form and a current transcript to the Undergraduate secretary in Room 150 at Wright-Rieman Laboratories.

Degree Offered

The major in chemistry leads to a B.A. degree in all the undergraduate colleges in New Brunswick.

ACS Accreditation

The American Chemical Society, the major professional organization of chemists in the United States with more than 150,000 members, accredits certain degree programs that meet its requirements. Several of the options for the Rutgers chemistry major (options B, C and D; next section) are certified by the ACS. ACS certified degrees are regarded favorably by some employers. The new biochemistry requirement for ACS certification begins with the class of 2005.

Minimum Graduation Requirements, Options, and Suggested Course Schedule for the Chemistry Major

Students majoring in chemistry must select one from among several Options. The Core Option (Option A) has the minimum required set of courses for the Chemistry Major. The courses for the Core Option and a suggested course schedule are listed below. Other options are described at the end of this page. As with all SAS majors, with the permission of the department, students may design their own programs. 

For all options, a minimum grade-point average of 2.0 in all chemistry courses is required for graduation.

Core Courses and Typical Schedule
Fall Spring
Chem 161 or 163 General Chemistry I (4.0 cr) Chem 162 or 164 General Chemistry II (4.0 cr)
Chem 171 Introduction to Experimentation (1.0 cr) Chem 171 alternate semester
Math 151 Calculus I (4.0 cr) Math 152 Calculus II (4.0 cr)
Fall Spring
Chem 307 or 315 Organic Chemistry I (4.0 cr) Chem 308 or 316 Organic Chemistry II (4.0 cr)
Chem 251 Analytical Chemistry
(3.0 cr)
Chem 309 Organic Chemistry Lab I (2.5 cr)
Phys 203 General Physics (3.0 cr) Phys 204 General Physics (3.0 cr)
Phys 205 General Physics Lab
(1.0 cr)
Phys 206 General Physics Lab
(1.0 cr)
Math 251 Multivariable Calculus
(4.0 cr)
Math 250 Linear Algebra (3.0 cr)
Fall Spring
Chem 323 or 341 Physical Chemistry I (3.0 cr) or 327 (4.0 cr) Chem 324 or 342 Physical Chemistry II (3.0 cr) or 328 (4.0 cr)
Chem 310 Organic Chemistry Lab II (2.5 cr) Chem 329 Experimental Physical Chemistry (2.5 cr)
Chem 348 Instrumental Analysis
(3.0 cr)
or Chem 344 (3.0 cr)
(see below)
Chem 361 Chemical Bonding
(1.5 cr)
Chem 371 Inorganic Chemistry
(3.0 cr)
Fall Spring
Chem 491 Seminar (1.0 cr) Chem 492 Seminar (1.0 cr)

Course Notes

Chemistry Majors are strongly recommended to take the Chemistry 163 - 164 and Chem 315 - 316 course sequences.
Chemistry Majors are also recommended to take the Chem. 309 Organic Chemistry Laboratory.
Chem. 309 is offered in Spring only; Chem 310 is offered only in the Fall.
Chem. 323 and 341 have Math 251 as a pre-requisite, not as a co-requisite.
Chem. 348 has Chem. 251 as a pre-requisite. Chem. 348 is offered in the Fall only; Chem 251 is offered both Fall and Spring.
Chem. 361 and 371 may be taken later than indicated above, if desired. Both courses are offered Fall and Spring. Chem. 371 has Chem. 361 and Chem 308 or 316 as pre-requisites.
Chem 341-342 is recommended as the physical chemistry course sequence for students oriented toward the biological sciences, and for students taking the Chemical Biology option (see below).
Chem. 344 (Introduction to Molecular Biophysics Research) is offered only in the Spring and is by invitation only.  Chem. 344 may be substituted for Chem. 348.

Options for a Major in Chemistry

A. Core Option

  1. core courses (shown above)
  2. immediate employment as chemist  - does not lead to certification by ACS
  3. graduate / medical school

B. General ACS Option

  1. core courses, at least 4 credits of senior-level research, a biochemistry course [01:694:407 Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (3) or 11:115:403 General Biochemistry (3)] and one advanced course in chemistry. An advanced course is a chemistry or chemistry-related course which is not part of the core, yet has a major part of the core curriculum as a pre-requisite, including physical chemistry in many cases. It will typically have a 400 number assigned to it in the Undergraduate Catalog.
  2. ACS certification
  3. immediate employment as chemist
  4. graduate / medical school

C. Chemical Biology Option

  1. core courses, at least 4 credits of senior-level research, a biochemistry course [01:694:407 Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (3) or 11:115:403 General Biochemistry (3) or 01:160:437 Biophysical Chemistry I], the [01:160:341-342 Physical Chemistry of Biological Systems I and II (3,3)] option for core physical chemistry requirement(*), and one additional course from the following list(*):
    1. [01:160:437-438 Biophysical Chemistry I or II (3,3)](*)
    2. [01:160:418 Bioorganic Mechanisms (3) or 11:115:412 Protein & Enzyme Chemistry (3)]
    3. [01:160:341-342 Physical Chemistry of Biological Systems I and II (3,3)] or [11:115:410 Physical Biochemistry (3)]
    4. 01:160:476 Bioinorganic Chemistry (3)
    5. [01:694:408 Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (3) or 11:115:404 General Biochemistry (3)]
    6. 30:715:450 Drugs: Structure and Function (3)
    7. 30:715:451 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry (3)
  2. ACS certification
  3. immediate employment as chemist in an area related to biological chemistry
  4. graduate / medical school

(*) A recommended track for the Chemical Biology option is for students to take the course sequence [01:160:341-342 Physical Chemistry of Biological Systems I and II (3,3)] to satisfy their core physical chemistry requirement, and the 2-course sequence [01:160:437-438 Biophysical Chemistry I and/or II (3,3)] to satisfy their biochemistry and elective requirements.

D. Environmental Option

  1. core courses, at least 4 credits of senior-level research, and two of the following courses:
    1. 01:160:415 Theory and Interpretation of Organic Spectra (3)
    2. 01:160:439 Physical Chemistry of the Environment (3)
    3. 01:160:451 Analytical Spectroscopy (3)
    4. 01:460:401 Introduction to Geochemistry (4)
    5. 01:460:417 Environmental Geochemistry (3)
    6. 11:375:422 Air sampling and Analysis (3) 
    7. 11:375:444 Water Chemistry (3)
    8. 11:628:472 Chemical Oceanography (4)
  2. ACS certification if biochemistry is taken as an additional course
  3. immediate employment as chemist in an area related to environmental chemistry
  4. graduate school

E. Business / Law Option

  1. Substitute for two core courses (Math 250, Chem 310) three business/law related courses, one of which must be chosen from the following three courses:
    1. 33:010:273 Introduction to Financial Accounting (3)
    2. 01:355:302 Scientific and Technical Writing (3)
    3. 01:830:373 Organizational and Personnel Psychology (3)
  2. The remaining courses must be chosen in consultation with the Undergraduate Executive Officer and should be in the areas of accounting, communication, economics, finance, management or marketing.  These courses should be at the 200 level or above.
  3. non-laboratory employment in industry or government
  4. graduate school in business/law - does not lead to certification by ACS

F. Chemical Physics Option

  1. In the Core Courses, make the following changes:
    1. For (01:750:203-204) substitute either  [(01:750:123-124, 227-228) or (01:750:271-272-273)]
    2. For (01:750:205-206) substitute either [(01:750:229-230) or (01:750:275-276)]
    3. For (01:160:310) and (01:160:348) substitute   [(01:640:252) Elementary Differential Equations and (01:750:381) Mechanics and (01:750:385) Electromagnetism]
    4. In addition, choose two advanced courses from the following:
      1. [01:160:421 Atomic and Molecular Structure (3) or 01:750:361 Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics (3)]
      2. 01:160:425 Thermodynamics I (3)
      3. 01:160:434 Kinetics (3)
      4. 01:750:406 Introductory Solid State Physics (3)
      5. 01:750:417 Intermediate Quantum Mechanics (3)
    5. Two terms of senior-level research of at least 3 credits each  may be used as a substitute for one advanced course
  2. graduate school
  3. does not lead to certification by ACS

    Notes: Students entering this option after taking Physics 203-204 and Physics 205-206 should normally take 01:750:323 Advanced General Physics before enrolling in either 01:750:381 Mechanics or 01:750:385 Electromagnetism. A physics adviser should be consulted if there is uncertainty about the proper preparation for any physics course in this option.