The curriculum in chemistry prepares students for graduate study in chemistry and related fields and for admission to schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. It prepares students to teach in secondary schools or to work in chemical and industrial laboratories and in related fields of business and industry. The department also offers required and elective courses in chemistry to students in other programs of study.

The Department of Chemistry offers five areas of concentration for completing the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry: chemical science, professional chemist, professional chemist with honors, biochemistry and chemical modeling. With proper selection of electives, the degree satisfies admission requirements to most schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

The chemical science concentration is tailored for the pre-professional study of the health sciences and other interdisciplinary areas where an emphasis on chemistry is sought. This concentration for the bachelor's degree in chemistry permits students to select more courses from other disciplines. With fewer requirements in mathematics, physics and chemistry, this concentration is one option for students planning to study medicine or dentistry.

Learning outcomes

  • Structure: Students will demonstrate understanding of the relationship between molecular structure and function.
  • Descriptive chemistry: Students will be conversant with common chemical phenomena both symbolically and sensorially.
  • Measurement and numeracy: Students will perform calculations needed to describe and model common chemical phenomena.
  • Communication: Students will develop written and oral communication skills needed to explain chemical phenomena to novices and experts.
  • Literacy: Students will search, read and assess scientific literature.
  • Laboratory skills: Students will develop and practice laboratory bench and instrumentation skills.
  • Information processing: Students will interpret tables, graphs, drawings and models.
  • Critical thinking: Students will practice critical thinking and problem solving.
 

Special requirements

Students must complete 37 credits in chemistry and 16 to 18 credits of collateral requirements.

A minimum grade of C is required in each prerequisite course:

CHEM   100Introductory Chemistry (if required through placement qualifiers)3
CHEM   101General Chemistry3
CHEM   102General Chemistry3
CHEM   301Organic Chemistry3
CHEM   302Organic Chemistry3

Degree requirements Chemistry, Bachelor of Science (B.S.) with a concentration in chemical science

General Education requirements

University Core Education Curriculum (minimum 21 credits)
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IFocused Inquiry I3
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry IIFocused Inquiry II3
UNIV   200Inquiry and the Craft of Argument3
Approved humanities/fine arts3
Approved natural/physical sciences3-4
Approved quantitative literacy3-4
Approved social/behavioral sciences3-4
Total Hours21-24
Additional College of Humanities and Sciences requirements (11-23 credits)
HUMS   202Choices in a Consumer Society1
Approved H&S diverse and global communities3
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior (fulfills University Core social/behavioral sciences)
Approved H&S literature and civilization (fulfills University Core humanities/fine arts)
Approved H&S science and technology (fulfills University Core natural/physical sciences)
Approved H&S General Education electives6-8
Experiential fine arts 11-3
Foreign language through the 102 level (by course or placement)0-8
Total Hours11-23
1

Course offered by the School of the Arts

Collateral requirements

MATH   200
MATH   201
Calculus with Analytic Geometry
and Calculus with Analytic Geometry
8
Select one of the following:8-10
General Physics
and General Physics
University Physics I
and University Physics II
STAT   210Basic Practice of Statistics (fulfills quantitative literacy))3
or STAT   212 Concepts of Statistics
Total Hours16-18

Major requirements

Chemistry core
CHEM   101
CHEZ   101
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
4
CHEM   102
CHEZ   102
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
4
CHEM   301
CHEZ   301
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
5
CHEM   302
CHEZ   302
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
5
CHEM   303
CHEZ   303
Physical Chemistry
and Physical Chemistry Laboratory I
5
CHEM   304Physical Chemistry3
CHEM   309
CHEZ   309
Quantitative Analysis
and Quantitative Analysis Laboratory
4
CHEM   320Inorganic Chemistry I3
CHEM   398Professional Practices and Perspectives Seminar1
Chemistry elective
Select at least one of the approved electives below (three credits minimum) or any 500-level CHEM class for which prerequisites have been met.3
Total Hours37

Open electives

Select 19-35 open elective units19-35

Total minimum requirement 120 credits

Chemistry electives

CHEM/CLSE 306Industrial Applications of Inorganic Chemistry3
CHEM/MEDC 310Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design3
CHEM   401Applications of Instrumental Techniques in Organic and Forensic Chemistry4
CHEM   403Biochemistry I3
CHEM   404Biochemistry II3
CHEM   406
CHEZ   406
Inorganic Chemistry II
and Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
5
CHEM   409
CHEZ   409
Instrumental Analysis
and Instrumental Analysis Laboratory
5
CHEM   492Independent Study1-4
CHEM   493Chemistry Internship1-3
CHEM   510Atomic and Molecular Structure3
CHEZ   304Physical Chemistry Laboratory II2
 

What follows is a sample plan that meets the prescribed requirements within a four-year course of study at VCU. Please contact your adviser before beginning course work toward a degree.

Freshman year
Fall semesterHours
CHEM   101
CHEZ   101
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
4
MATH   200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 4
UNIV   111 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry I Focused Inquiry I 3
Approved H&S diverse and global communities 3
 Term Hours: 14
Spring semester
CHEM   102
CHEZ   102
General Chemistry
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
4
HUMS   202 Choices in a Consumer Society 1
MATH   201 Calculus with Analytic Geometry 4
UNIV   112 Play VideoPlay course video for Focused Inquiry II Focused Inquiry II 3
Approved H&S human, social and political behavior 3
 Term Hours: 15
Sophomore year
Fall semester
CHEM   301
CHEZ   301
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
5
PHYS   201
General Physics
or University Physics I
4-5
UNIV   200 Inquiry and the Craft of Argument 3
Approved H&S literature and civilization 3
 Term Hours: 15-16
Spring semester
CHEM   302
CHEZ   302
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
5
CHEM   309
CHEZ   309
Quantitative Analysis
and Quantitative Analysis Laboratory
4
PHYS   202
General Physics
or University Physics II
4-5
Approved H&S science and technology 3
 Term Hours: 16-17
Junior year
Fall semester
CHEM   303 Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM   320 Inorganic Chemistry I 3
STAT   210 Basic Practice of Statistics 3
Approved H&S general education elective 3
Open electives 3-6
 Term Hours: 15-18
Spring semester
CHEM   304 Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM   398 Professional Practices and Perspectives Seminar 1
CHEZ   303 Physical Chemistry Laboratory I 2
Approved H&S general education elective 3
Experiential fine arts 1-3
Foreign language (101 level) 4
Open elective 3
 Term Hours: 17-19
Senior year
Fall semester
Chemistry elective 3
Foreign language (102 level) 4
Open electives (upper-level if needed) 8
 Term Hours: 15
Spring semester
Open electives (upper-level if needed) 13-15
 Term Hours: 13-15
 Total Hours: 120-129
 

A minimum grade of C is required in each prerequisite course:

CHEM   100Introductory Chemistry (if required through placement qualifiers)3
CHEM   101General Chemistry3
CHEM   102General Chemistry3
CHEM   301Organic Chemistry3
CHEM   302Organic Chemistry3
CHEM   309Quantitative Analysis3

In chemistry laboratories each student is charged for breakage incurred. Approved safety glasses are required. Failure to check out of laboratory, upon withdrawal or for other reasons, will incur a charge, billed from the Student Accounting Department.

Chemistry

CHEM   100. Introductory Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 1 problem session hour. 3 credits. Prerequisite: students must be eligible to take MATH   131 or higher. A course in the elementary principles of chemistry for individuals who do not meet the criteria for enrollment in CHEM   101; required for all students without a high school chemistry background who need to take CHEM   101-102. These credits may not be used to satisfy any chemistry course requirements in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

CHEM   101. General Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 3 lecture and 1 recitation hour. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: CHEM   100 with a grade of C or higher, or high school chemistry and a satisfactory combination of Math SAT score and high school GPA. Pre- or corequisite: MATH   151. Prerequisite for CHEM   102: CHEM   101 with a grade of C or higher. Fundamental principles and theories of chemistry, including qualitative analysis.

CHEM   102. General Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 3 lecture and 1 recitation hour. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: CHEM   100 with a grade of C or higher, or high school chemistry and a satisfactory combination of Math SAT score and high school GPA. Pre- or corequisite: MATH   151. Prerequisite for CHEM   102: CHEM   101 with a grade of C or higher. Fundamental principles and theories of chemistry, including qualitative analysis.

CHEM   110. Chemistry and Society. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. The basic principles of chemistry are presented through the use of decision-making activities related to real-world societal issues. Not applicable for credit toward the B.S. in Chemistry.

CHEM   112. Chemistry in the News. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. The basic principles of chemistry are used to interpret newspaper and magazine articles of current interest relating to chemistry in manufacturing, the global environment and medicine. Not applicable for credit toward the B.S. in Chemistry.

CHEM   301. Organic Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 3 lecture hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: CHEM   102 with a minimum grade of C. Prerequisite for CHEM   302: CHEM   301 with a minimum grade of C. A comprehensive survey of aliphatic and aromatic compounds with emphasis on their structure, properties, reactions, reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry.

CHEM   302. Organic Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Continuous courses; 3 lecture hours. 3-3 credits. Prerequisite: CHEM   102 with a minimum grade of C. Prerequisite for CHEM   302: CHEM   301 with a minimum grade of C. A comprehensive survey of aliphatic and aromatic compounds with emphasis on their structure, properties, reactions, reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry.

CHEM   303. Physical Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   309 or CLSE   201 with minimum grades of C, and PHYS   202 or PHYS   208, and MATH   201 or MATH   301 or MATH   307. Ideal and nonideal gases, thermodynamics, free energy and chemical equilibrium.

CHEM   304. Physical Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   303 with a minimum grade of C. Kinetics, solution thermodynamics, heterogeneous equilibria, electrochemistry and introductory biophysical chemistry.

CHEM   305. Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   301-302 and CHEM   309 with minimum grades of C; and MATH   200. Concepts and principles of physical chemistry as related to the life sciences, forensic science and the B.S in science programs. Major topics include thermodynamics of proteins and nucleic acids, enzyme kinetics and spectroscopic techniques useful in biophysical research such as circular dichroism, nuclear magnetic resonance and magnetic resonance imaging.

CHEM   306. Industrial Applications of Inorganic Chemistry. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   302 and CHEZ   302. Chemical engineering students: EGRC 201 and EGRC 205. A study and analysis of the most important industrial applications of inorganic chemistry, with emphasis on structure/properties correlation, materials and energy balance, availability and logistics of starting materials, economic impact and environmental effects. Crosslisted as: CLSE   306.

CHEM   309. Quantitative Analysis. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 with a minimum grade of C, and MATH   151. Theory and practice of gravimetric, volumetric and instrumental analysis techniques and treatment of multiple equilibria in aqueous solutions.

CHEM   310. Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CHEM   302. This course is designed to expose undergraduate chemistry, biology and pre-medicine majors to the history, theory and practice of medicinal chemistry. The course will emphasize a combination of fundamentals and applications of drug design. In particular, the molecular aspects of drug action will be discussed. Special emphasis will also be placed on the methods used by medicinal chemists to design new drugs. Crosslisted as: MEDC   310.

CHEM   320. Inorganic Chemistry I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   101-102 with minimum grades of C. A systematic, unified study of the structures, properties, reactions and practical applications of inorganic compounds.

CHEM   350. Guided Inquiry in Chemistry. 1.5 Hour.

Semester course; 1.5 lecture hours. 1.5 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   101-102 with minimum grades of B. Student facilitators lead recitation sections using guided inquiry, group-based activities. Introduces students to the principles of guided inquiry, active learning and collaborative learning in chemistry through practical, hands-on class work, discussions, readings and a final project.

CHEM   351. Chemistry Preceptorship. 1.5 Hour.

Semester course; 1.5 lecture hours. 1.5 credits. Course may be repeated once for a total of 3 credits. Prerequisites: completion of relevant course with minimum grade of C, completion of CHEM   350 with a grade of B and permission of course instructor and departmental chair. Student facilitators lead recitation sections or laboratories in chemistry courses. Responsibilities vary and may include, but are not limited to, attending all classes, holding weekly review sessions or office hours and/or routine grading. A weekly reflection journal and final project are required.

CHEM   391. Topics in Chemistry. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 4 credits per semester; maximum total of 6 credits for all chemistry topics courses may be applied to the major. Prerequisites: CHEM   101-102 and CHEZ   101, 102. A study of a selected topic in chemistry. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

CHEM   392. Directed Study. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum total of 8 credits; only 3 credits are applicable to the chemistry major. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 and CHEZ   101 and 102. The independent investigation of chemical problems through readings and experimentation under the supervision of a research adviser. Written interim and final reports are required.

CHEM   398. Professional Practices and Perspectives Seminar. 1 Hour.

Seminar course; 1 lecture hour. 1 credit. Prerequisites: completion of 18 credits in chemistry. Seminar course for students considering careers in chemistry-related fields covering topics such as scientific professionalism and ethics, and using chemical literature.

CHEM   401. Applications of Instrumental Techniques in Organic and Forensic Chemistry. 4 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture and 3 laboratory hours. 4 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   302 and CHEZ   302. Theory and laboratory practice of instrumental and chemical methods applied to the analysis of organic compounds with emphasis on applications in forensic chemistry.

CHEM   403. Biochemistry I. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   302 with a minimum grade of C. A presentation of structural biochemistry, enzymology, biophysical techniques, bioenergetics and an introduction to intermediary metabolism.

CHEM   404. Biochemistry II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisite: CHEM   403 with a minimum grade of C. A presentation of metabolism and its regulation as integrated catoblism and anoblism of molecules that are essential to life.

CHEM   406. Inorganic Chemistry II. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   304 and 320. An advanced study of inorganic chemistry, including inorganic spectroscopy, organometallic compounds and catalysis, and bioinorganic systems.

CHEM   409. Instrumental Analysis. 3 Hours.

Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   303 and 309, and CHEZ   309. Theory and practice of modern spectrophotometric, electroanalytical and chromatographic and nuclear magnetic resonance methods.

CHEM   491. Topics in Chemistry. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 4 credits per semester; maximum total of 6 credits for all chemistry topics courses may be applied to the major. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 and CHEZ   101 and 102. A study of a selected topic in chemistry. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester and prerequisites.

CHEM   492. Independent Study. 1-4 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. 1-4 credits. May be repeated for a maximum total of 8 credits; only 3 credits are applicable to the chemistry major. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 and CHEZ   101 and 102. The independent investigation of chemical problems through readings and experimentation under the supervision of a research adviser. Written interim and final reports required.

CHEM   493. Chemistry Internship. 1-3 Hours.

Semester course; variable hours. Variable credit. Maximum of 3 credits; 1 credit will be given for each 150 hours (approximately one month) of part-time or full-time chemical work experience. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 and CHEZ   101 and 102. Acquisition of chemistry laboratory experience through involvement in a professional chemistry setting. Written progress and final reports will be required.

CHEM   498. Honors Thesis. 1 Hour.

Semester course; 1 credit. Prerequisites: completion of 29 credits in chemistry, including CHEM   398 and at least six credits of CHEM   492. Students submit to the Department of Chemistry a thesis based on their independent study research. Students also present their results to the department as a research seminar.

Chemistry labs

CHEZ   101. General Chemistry Laboratory I. 1 Hour.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 1 credit. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   101. Experimental work correlated with CHEM   101 with selected forensic science applications. Each student is charged for breakage incurred. Approved safety glasses are required. Failure to check out of laboratory upon withdrawal or for other reasons will incur a charge billed from the Student Accounting Department.

CHEZ   102. General Chemistry Laboratory II. 1 Hour.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 2 laboratory hours. 1 credit. Prerequisites: CHEM   101 and CHEZ   101 with minimum grades of C. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   102. Experimental work includes qualitative analysis with selected forensic science applications. Each student is charged for breakage incurred. Approved safety glasses are required. Failure to check out of laboratory upon withdrawal or for other reasons will incur a charge billed from the Student Accounting Department.

CHEZ   110. Chemistry and Society Laboratory. 1 Hour.

Semester course; 2 laboratory hours. 1 credit. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   110. Experimental work correlated with CHEM   110. Not applicable for credit toward the B.S. in Chemistry. Each student is charged for breakage incurred. Approved safety glasses are required. Failure to check out of laboratory upon withdrawal or for other reasons will incur a charge billed from the Student Accounting Department.

CHEZ   301. Organic Chemistry Laboratory I. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 4 laboratory hours. 2 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 and CHEZ   102 with minimum grades of C. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   301. Experimental work correlated with CHEM   301. Each student is charged for breakage incurred. Approved safety glasses are required. Failure to check out of laboratory upon withdrawal or for other reasons will incur a charge billed from the Student Accounting Department.

CHEZ   302. Organic Chemistry Laboratory II. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 4 laboratory hours. 2 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   301 and CHEZ   301 with minimum grades of C. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   302. Experimental work correlated with CHEM   302. Each student is charged for breakage incurred. Approved safety glasses are required. Failure to check out of laboratory upon withdrawal or for other reasons will incur a charge billed from the Student Accounting Department.

CHEZ   303. Physical Chemistry Laboratory I. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 4 laboratory hours. 2 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 and CHEZ   102. Pre- or corequisites: CHEM   303, 309 and CHEZ   309. This course covers experiments in calorimetry, molecular and thermodynamic properties of gases and liquids, surfaces, electrochemistry, equilibria, polymers, phase diagrams, and biophysical chemistry. Extensive report writing, laboratory notebook writing and statistical analysis of data are emphasized. A final project may be required.

CHEZ   304. Physical Chemistry Laboratory II. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 4 laboratory hours. 2 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   303, 309 and CHEZ   303, 309. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   304. This course covers experiments in absorption and emission spectroscopy, infrared and Raman spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, kinetics, photochemistry, biophysical chemistry and modeling. Report writing, laboratory notebook writing and statistical analysis of data are emphasized. A final project may be required.

CHEZ   309. Quantitative Analysis Laboratory. 1 Hour.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 3 laboratory hours. 1 credit. Prerequisites: CHEM   102 and CHEZ   102 with minimum grades of C. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   309. Laboratory associated with quantitative analysis. Includes practice in volumetric and instrumental laboratory techniques as applied to measurement sciences.

CHEZ   406. Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 1 lecture and 3 laboratory hours. 2 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   320 and CHEZ   102. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   406. Examination of inorganic nonmetal, transition metal and organometallic compounds using modern inorganic methods of synthesis and characterization. Each student is charged for breakage incurred. Approved safety glasses are required. Failure to check out of laboratory upon withdrawal or for other reasons will incur a charge billed from the Student Accounting Department.

CHEZ   409. Instrumental Analysis Laboratory. 2 Hours.

Semester course; 4 laboratory hours. 2 credits. Prerequisites: CHEM   302, 304 and 309 with minimum grades of C; CHEZ   303 and 309 with minimum grades of C. Pre- or corequisite: CHEM   409. Practice of electrochemical, spectroscopic and chromatographic methods of analysis.