Starting a major

  • Students should start in a fall chemistry course (Chem 121, Chem 122, 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, Chem 122, 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 122-126, 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.

Douglas J Beussman

Douglas J Beussman

Professor of Chemistry; Department Chair of Chemistry

Regents Hall (Natural Science) 436