A major in chemistry or biochemistry is suitable for students who wish to prepare for careers in the chemical profession or in the related fields of life, health, or earth sciences. Many graduates go on to post-graduate programs in biochemistry, chemistry, chemical physics, pharmacology, medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine. Recent chemistry and biochemistry students have also pursued careers in law, business, teaching, and other fields.
Two introductory chemistry courses, CHEM 101/101L and CHEM 111/111L, are available to first-year students in the fall semester – the course you select depends on your background in high school science and mathematics. The standard course is CHEM 101/101L, the first half of a two-semester General Chemistry sequence. An accelerated introductory course (CHEM 111/111L) is available for students who had extensive high school chemistry preparation (see below).
Introductory chemistry (CHEM 101/101L and 102/102L, or CHEM 111/111L) is crucial for students interested in the health sciences (medical, dental, veterinary schools) because it is not only required for admission to those graduate programs, but is also a prerequisite for both Organic Chemistry (CHEM 263/263L and 264/264L) and Molecules, Cells, and Genes (BIOL 182/182L). Students interested in biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, or chemistry should enroll in the appropriate introductory chemistry course during the fall semester of their first year at Colgate. Please note that CHEM 111/111L is not offered in the spring term. A single trailing section of CHEM 101/101L is planned for the spring, but students planning to take Organic Chemistry (CHEM 263/263L) in their sophomore year must complete CHEM 101/102 or CHEM 111 by the end of their first year.
CHEM 101 meets three times a week for lectures and also includes a required three-hour laboratory session (CHEM 101L) each week. A year of high-school chemistry (or its equivalent) is recommended for students taking CHEM 101/101L.
CHEM 111 is a one-semester general chemistry course (fall term only) for the well-prepared first-year student. CHEM 111 meets three times a week for lectures and also includes a three-hour laboratory session (CHEM 111L) each week. Admission to CHEM 111/111L is limited to students who meet one of the following criteria: AP Chemistry scores of 4 or 5, IB higher level Chemistry scores of 6 or 7, international A-level scores of B or A, or a 650 or higher on the SAT II Chemistry Exam.
Completion of either CHEM 111 or CHEM 101/102, and their required labs, fulfills the prerequisite requirements for further study in chemistry, including Organic Chemistry (CHEM 263).
Colgate course credit is awarded to students receiving a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry exam. Students receiving a score of 5 will be awarded credit for CHEM 101 and 102. Students receiving a score of 4 will be awarded credit for CHEM 101 and then may enroll in CHEM 102/102L in the spring term, or take CHEM 111/111L in the fall term. While a score of 5 on the AP exam can qualify a student for direct entrance into CHEM 263/263L, experience has shown that students with scores of 4 or 5 are best served by taking one AP credit (CHEM 101) and enrolling in CHEM 111/111L in the fall term of their first year. Students with AP scores of 3 or less should enroll in CHEM 101/101L. If you have questions about how to best use your AP course credits, please see the department chair (or any member of the department) during Orientation.
Students who wish to keep open the option of majoring in chemistry or biochemistry are strongly urged to take CHEM 101/101L or 111/111L and the appropriate mathematics course (MATH 161 or 162) during their first semester at Colgate.