Degree Essentials

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty

Associate Professor Kimberly M. Specht, Chair

Associate Professors Jordan L. Fantini, Michael M. Fuson, Peter Kuhlman, Sonya L. McKay, Joseph J. Reczek, Charles W. Sokolik, Kimberly Musa Specht; Assistant Professors Annabel M. Edwards, Jordan E. Katz, Rachel Mitton-Fry; Academic Administrative Assistant Cathy Romei

Departmental Guidelines and Goals

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has two primary goals, which in practice are tightly interrelated. First, we seek to promote a level of scientific literacy and chemical understanding among all students taking courses in the department that will contribute to the University's fundamental mission "to inspire and educate our students to become autonomous thinkers, discerning moral agents and active citizens of a democratic society." Second, we will provide a rigorous and comprehensive program in chemistry and biochemistry suitable for those students pursuing careers in science and technology. In its courses the department seeks to develop progressively skills in building qualitative and quantitative interpretation of chemical phenomena, in experimental analysis and design, and in written and oral communication of scientific ideas. Graduates of this program, grounded in a well-developed molecular world view, are expected to explain the behavior of chemical and biological systems based on physical models. The department is also deeply committed to sustaining a vigorous and diverse range of collaborative student-faculty research. A community of mutual support among students, faculty, and staff is a vital element in achieving our goals.

The Chemistry and Biochemistry curriculum provides courses which are designed to enable students as contributing professionals and engaged citizens to deal effectively with a world increasingly dominated by the ideas and methods of modern science. Majors are qualified for immediate employment in industry. However, many elect to attend graduate school in chemistry, biochemistry, or related areas, or enter schools of medicine, dentistry, or engineering. The department is approved by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society to offer a Certificate of Professional Training in Chemistry to students who satisfy certain requirements.

Requirements for Chemistry & Biochemistry Majors

The department offers three options for degrees in Chemistry & Biochemistry: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in Chemistry and in Biochemistry that provide a rigorous course of study in preparation for professional careers, graduate work in chemistry/biochemistry or related fields, or professional schools (medical, dental, pharmacology, veterinary); and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) program in Chemistry for students intending to pursue fields such as dentistry, medicine, secondary school teaching or other areas requiring a strong chemistry background. Earning a B.A. degree does not preclude a professional scientific career, although an additional year of undergraduate study may be required for admission to some graduate programs. The department also offers a minor in Chemistry.

Our program requires courses at the introductory (100), intermediate (200 and 300) and advanced (400) levels. We expect that majors will complete the required 300-level courses by the end of their junior year. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recommends strongly that students earn a C or better in each of the core courses before proceeding to 300-level courses. We strongly encourage all majors to have an advisor in the department.

Students pursuing any of the three majors are required to complete the following common courses plus the additional courses listed for each program:

  • two introductory courses in the principles of chemistry: Atoms and Molecules: Structure and Dynamics (131) and Organic Structure and Reactivity (132)

  • three required intermediate courses: Intermediate Organic Chemistry (251), Intermediate Biochemistry (258) and Intermediate Physical Chemistry (343)

  • the following four additional science courses: Introduction to the Science of Biology (BIOL 150), Calculus I and II (MATH 123 and 124) and General Physics I (PHYS 121)

All Chemistry and Biochemistry majors must also satisfactorily complete two zero-credit courses used for program assessment (Chemistry & Biochemistry Assessment I (CHEM 300) and Chemistry & Biochemistry Assessment II (CHEM 400)).

BA in Chemistry

The successful completion of the following 12 courses: A student may graduate with a B.A. degree in Chemistry on fulfillment of G.E. requirements and

  • the nine common courses listed above

  • one additional 300-level intermediate course

  • two additional 300- or 400-level CHEM courses

BS in Chemistry

A student may graduate with a B.S. degree in Chemistry on fulfillment of G.E. requirements and the successful completion of the following 16 courses:

  • the nine common courses listed above

  • Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry (317)

  • Intermediate Analytical Chemistry (331)

  • four additional 400-level CHEM courses

  • General Physics II (PHYS 122)

BS in Biochemistry

A student may graduate with a B.S. degree in Biochemistry on fulfillment of G.E. requirements and the successful completion of the following 17 courses:

  • the nine common courses listed above

  • Intermediate Analytical Chemistry (331)

  • five additional 300- and 400-level CHEM or BIOL courses: one of these must be a 300- or 400-level biology class, and one of these must be a 400-level chemistry/biochemistry class taken in the senior year*

  • Cell and Molecular Biology (BIOL 201)

  • General Physics II (PHYS 122)

*(All advanced courses in Biology have prerequisite courses that a student majoring in Biochemistry may not have completed. Students must either obtain the appropriate prerequisite courses or obtain the permission of the instructor before registering for these advanced Biology courses.)

The Minor in Chemistry

A student may graduate with a minor in chemistry on successful completion of the following 6 courses, taken at Denison:

  • two introductory courses in the principles of chemistry: Atoms and Molecules: Structure and Dynamics (131) and Organic Structure and Reactivity (132)

  • two required intermediate courses: Intermediate Organic Chemistry (251) and Intermediate Biochemistry (258)

  • two additional 300- or 400-level CHEM courses

For students pursuing the BS degree in either Chemistry or Biochemistry, two semesters of Senior Research (or a summer research experience at Denison followed by one semester of Senior Research in the same laboratory) may be counted as one of the 400-level electives.

The B.S. Chemistry major who takes two semesters of Senior Research as part of the degree requirements will earn a degree certified to the American Chemical Society. The B.S. Biochemistry major who takes CHEM 317, two semesters of Senior Research and three additional 400-level CHEM courses as part of the degree requirements will earn a degree certified to the American Chemical Society.

Additional Points of Interest

Majors are encouraged to participate in the various on-going research projects in the department. Additional research opportunities are available in the department during the summer and as part of the Oak Ridge Science Semester described at http://denison.edu/academics/oak-ridge.

Students interested in teaching should consult with faculty in the Department of Education. Although a teacher licensure program is not offered currently, students may take a course of study to explore the field of Education. Faculty and staff in the Department of Education assist students in creating individually designed plans for obtaining licensure through a range of programs after graduation. Students interested in in pursuing a B.A. degree in Chemistry before pursuing a teaching career are strongly encouraged to take all three 300-level Chemistry course options (as described below).

The Chemistry courses listed above must be taken at Denison with the following exception. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recognizes the valuable contribution that off-campus study can provide to a broad liberal arts education, and so one course in the major at the 300 level or higher may be taken at another institution, providing that prior approval is sought and received from the department. Students considering study off-campus are encouraged to discuss these plans with their academic advisor early in their Denison careers. The department understands that transfer students, students who adopt a chemistry or biochemistry major after the first year, and students who study off-campus all have unique needs; we encourage them to contact us so that we can work together to help them achieve their academic objectives.

Approved eye protection is required in all laboratory courses. The general policy regarding safety glasses is explained in detail on page 271.