Student in chem class

Chemistry Major/Minor

The chemistry major serves those students who wish to build an educational background for a variety of interesting careers. 

A Saint Mary's chemistry graduate is ready for immediate employment either as a chemical technician or as a chemist in government, industry, or academia. Chemistry offers excellent preparation for professional schools including medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary science, or for graduate work in chemistry. An advanced degree can also lead to doing fundamental research in academia, industry, or government, or professional work in management, law, sales, marketing, consulting, or purchasing. A chemistry career is usually limited only by one’s own vision.

Career Options

Agricultural and food scientist; chemist; materials scientist; elementary, middle, or high school teacher; environmental scientist; forensic scientist; materials engineer; occupational health and safety specialist; pharmacist; scientific writer; artist

High School Preparation

Biology; Calculus; Chemistry; Computer Science; Physics

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in chemistry will oftentimes pursue a minor in biology or physics

Chemistry Minor

Chemistry minors will explore a variety of topics ranging from the chemical basis for life to environmental issues caused by chemicals. The chemistry minor is often an attractive option for biology majors because they already satisfy many of the requirements of the minor for their biology major.

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C321 Organic Chemistry I (3 cr.)

Organized by chemical functional groups and reaction mechanisms, this course presents both classical and modern theories of organic chemistry while rigorously exploring chemical structure reactivity relationships. The fundamentals of nomenclature, physical properties, chemical structure, stereochemistry, organic-reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, purification, and compound characterization are emphasized. Biological, medical, and familiar real-world examples are discussed in the context of organic chemistry.

C322 Organic Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

A continuation of C321/C323, this course builds upon the fundamentals presented in C321/C323. It is organized by functional groups and reaction mechanisms, while integrating this knowledge into chemical synthesis. Additional topics include aromaticity, NMR and IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, carbonyl chemistry, synthetic strategy, and advanced C–C bond forming reactions.

C323 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory complements the lecture segment of the course by demonstrating and utilizing the concepts learned in the classroom to acquire, isolate, and characterize desired organic reaction products. In this laboratory, students become familiar with the equipment, glassware, techniques, and expertise required to implement the chemistry proposed on paper, to optimize it, and to communicate it to the chemical community. A practical context for the developed chemical intuition is provided.

C331 Physical Chemistry I with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course involves chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, and their applications. The following thermodynamic topics are considered: properties of gases, kinetic molecular theory, the laws of thermodynamics, thermochemistry, and chemical equilibrium. The following kinetic topics are considered: chemical reaction rates, determination of rate laws, reaction mechanisms, and theories of reaction rates.

C341 Quantitative Chemical Analysis with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course introduces the student to the methods of quantitative analysis. Topics include: measurement uncertainty, statistical analysis of data, aqueous solution equilibria, titrimetry, electrochemistry, molecular spectroscopy (UV-visible and fluorescence), and chromatography.

C443 Chemistry Seminar (1 cr.)

Chemistry seminar provides chemistry majors experience with reading, discussing, and presenting articles from the current chemical literature. The seminar is a requirement for chemistry and biochemistry majors. It is intended to familiarize the students with the current chemical literature and with accepted writing styles in chemistry. It must be taken for credit during the student's junior year and before C445C447 Chemistry Research courses, since participating in the seminar may spark research ideas. Chemistry majors are encouraged to sit in on this course every semester to fall semester.

C445 Chemistry Research: Planning (1 cr.)

This is the initial course of the three required research courses for chemistry and biochemistry majors. A faculty research advisor is chosen after consultation with and/or presentations by the relevant faculty. After the necessary literature search, a research proposal concerning a current chemical problem is developed and is written, revised, submitted and defended.

C446 Chemistry Research: Experience (1 cr.)

This is the second course of the three required research courses for chemistry and biochemistry majors. The independent laboratory and/or computational research proposed in C445 is performed under the direction and guidance of the faculty research advisor. Off-campus research experiences, such as a summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), may serve to satisfy the course.

C447 Chemistry Research: Thesis (1 cr.)

This is the third course of the three required research courses for chemistry and biochemistry majors. The independent computational and/or laboratory work is completed, if necessary. The thesis is written, with time for a writing revision cycle. A formal presentation of the research results is given at an undergraduate research symposium or its equivalent.

M148 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 1) (4 cr.)

This course, followed by M149, provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M148 include: solving equations, functions, classes of functions (polynomial, rational, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic), right triangle trigonometry, angle measure, limits and continuity, derivatives, rules for derivatives. Credit is not granted for this course and M151 or courses equivalent to college algebra and college trigonometry.

M149 Calculus I with Precalculus (part 2) (4 cr.)

This course completes the two-semester sequence that begins with M148, and together with M148 provides a two-semester sequence that covers the material of M151 along with built-in coverage of precalculus topics. Topics in M149 include: trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions, rules for derivatives, applications of derivatives, and definite and indefinite integrals. Credit is not granted for this course and M151.

M151 Calculus I (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the differential and integral calculus. Topics include: the concepts of function, limit, continuity, derivative, definite and indefinite integrals, and an introduction to transcendental functions. Credit is not granted for this course and M148 and M149.

M152 Calculus II (4 cr.)

This course is a continuation of M151. Some of the topics of M151 are revisited at a higher mathematical level. Topics include: applications of the definite integral, techniques of integration, improper integrals, introduction to differential equations, numerical methods for integration and approximation, curves in the plane given parametrically, polar coordinates, and vectors in 2-space and 3-space.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

P211 Introductory Physics II (3 cr.)

This course is the second half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of waves, physical and geometrical optics, and electricity and magnetism.

P212 Introductory Physics II Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

B. All of the following:

C332 Physical Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course involves an introduction to quantum mechanics and statistical thermodynamics. The following quantum topics are considered: quantum theory and applications to simple systems of particles, approximation methods for complex systems of particles and spectroscopic verification of quantum results. The following statistical mechanics topics are considered: the Boltzmann distribution, statistics of large populations, the partition function and thermodynamic functions from statistical mechanics results.

C451 Inorganic Chemistry with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course investigates atomic structure, periodic properties, symmetry and group theory, molecular orbital theory, chemical bonding, coordination compounds, ligand field theory, reaction kinetics and mechanisms. Special topics include materials chemistry with an emphasis on solid state structures and theory, and bioinorganic chemistry focusing on the impact of metal ions in biological processes. Topics such as main group chemistry, coordination chemistry, organometallic chemistry, materials chemistry, and more are included.

C. Either two additional

  • Either two additional 400-level chemistry electives or M251 Calculus III and one additional 400-level chemistry elective (a total of 6–8 credits).

A. All of the following:

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C321 Organic Chemistry I (3 cr.)

Organized by chemical functional groups and reaction mechanisms, this course presents both classical and modern theories of organic chemistry while rigorously exploring chemical structure reactivity relationships. The fundamentals of nomenclature, physical properties, chemical structure, stereochemistry, organic-reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, purification, and compound characterization are emphasized. Biological, medical, and familiar real-world examples are discussed in the context of organic chemistry.

C322 Organic Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

A continuation of C321/C323, this course builds upon the fundamentals presented in C321/C323. It is organized by functional groups and reaction mechanisms, while integrating this knowledge into chemical synthesis. Additional topics include aromaticity, NMR and IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, carbonyl chemistry, synthetic strategy, and advanced C–C bond forming reactions.

C323 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory complements the lecture segment of the course by demonstrating and utilizing the concepts learned in the classroom to acquire, isolate, and characterize desired organic reaction products. In this laboratory, students become familiar with the equipment, glassware, techniques, and expertise required to implement the chemistry proposed on paper, to optimize it, and to communicate it to the chemical community. A practical context for the developed chemical intuition is provided.

M151 Calculus I (4 cr.)

This course provides an introduction to the differential and integral calculus. Topics include: the concepts of function, limit, continuity, derivative, definite and indefinite integrals, and an introduction to transcendental functions. Credit is not granted for this course and M148 and M149.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

B. One additional course from the following list:

C331 Physical Chemistry I with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course involves chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, and their applications. The following thermodynamic topics are considered: properties of gases, kinetic molecular theory, the laws of thermodynamics, thermochemistry, and chemical equilibrium. The following kinetic topics are considered: chemical reaction rates, determination of rate laws, reaction mechanisms, and theories of reaction rates.

C332 Physical Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course involves an introduction to quantum mechanics and statistical thermodynamics. The following quantum topics are considered: quantum theory and applications to simple systems of particles, approximation methods for complex systems of particles and spectroscopic verification of quantum results. The following statistical mechanics topics are considered: the Boltzmann distribution, statistics of large populations, the partition function and thermodynamic functions from statistical mechanics results.

C341 Quantitative Chemical Analysis with Laboratory (4 cr.)

This course introduces the student to the methods of quantitative analysis. Topics include: measurement uncertainty, statistical analysis of data, aqueous solution equilibria, titrimetry, electrochemistry, molecular spectroscopy (UV-visible and fluorescence), and chromatography.