Starting a major

  • Students should start in a fall chemistry course (Chem 121, Chem 125, CH/BI 125) according to their placement exam results. Students should not self-place.
  • To progress in the major, students starting in Chem 121 must take the Interim course, Chem 123 and students starting in CH/BI 125 must take the Interim course, CH/BI 126. These Interim courses exclude taking any other Interim course in the first year (such as might be found as part of a Conversation sequence, for example).
  • Students starting in Chem 121 or Chem 125 need Calculus I credit (AP, Math 119 or Math 120) before or concurrently with Chem 126 (spring term course).
  • Students starting in CH/BI 125 need Calculus I (AP, Math 119 or Math 120) before CH/BI 126 (Interim course).
  • Student placing into Chem 126 (via AP/IB/etc.) may start the major in spring term.

Are there courses students MUST/SHOULD/CAN take their First Year?

  • Must:  There is no single course that students must take their first year.  However, Chem 126 (or CH/BI 227) serves as a prerequisite for the remainder of the major.
  • Should:  Students should start the major by taking the fall course recommended by their placement result.  The fall course dictates a first-year sequence: Chem 121-123-126, Chem 125-126, or CH/BI 125-126-227.
  • Can: Students can start the major a full year late, but cannot start the major in the spring term, unless they have AP/IB/etc. credit for the first term.

Credit for previous coursework

  • Students with an AP score of 5, an IB HL score of 5-7, or a score of A on the Cambridge A-level exam may begin the Chemistry major with Chem 126 in the spring. If they desire, these students may register for just a laboratory section of Chem 125 (via drop-add slip) if there are seats available after fall registration; see the Chem. Chair or Assoc. Chair of Curriculum.
  • Credit for transfer of college-level courses is arranged via consultation with the Registrar and the Chemistry Assoc. Chair of Curriculum.


  • Students should follow their placement results found on the Student Information System (SIS).

Informational Events

  • Interested students should attend Week One Department Information Sessions.

Other Information/College Catalog Link/Website Link

Contacts & Department Location

Chemistry Department Office: Regents Hall of Natural Science (RNS) 336

To print or download, click on this link: Chemistry Information Sheet