Registration Advice

General advising notes:

For those seeking General Education Credit (non-science interests and non-science majors) please register for one of our courses designed for non-science majors (Chem 107 or Chem 124)

For those interested in biology, pre-med or considering a chemistry major please follow your placement into Chem 122 or Chem 125 (see below).

More information and the application process for the Integrated Chemistry/Biology sequence can be found here.  Please note that the Integrated Chemistry/Biology sequence requires a commitment during interim so it is not possible to do both Great Con and the Integrated Chemistry/Biology sequence.

Chemistry Placement:

The results of the placement exam and information on your high school background enable us to recommend the most appropriate beginning chemistry level for you.  Placements work as follows:


Placement notation                   Student registration

“Chem 122”                                   student should register for Chem 122 one of the corresponding lab                                                              sections and one of the discussion sections

“Chem 125”                                   student should register for Chem 125 and one of its lab sections

“Chem 125 or CH/BI 125”          student should register for Chem 125 and one of its lab sections                                                                    (CH/BI 125 has been preregistered through an application process.)

We expect students to follow our recommendation. Detailed analysis of our placement process has provided convincing evidence that students who follow their placement are more successful in terms of grades earned, satisfaction and continued success in science.

Your placement results are available to you and your advisor in the SIS system.  If you have serious reservations about your placement, or any other questions about the Chemistry program, seek the counsel of a chemistry faculty member.  Simply stop by or make an appointment.

Level I Chemistry Courses—Fall

The St. Olaf Chemistry Department offers two level I chemistry courses each fall: Chemistry 122 and Chemistry 125. Both of these fall term, level I courses are designed for students planning to take additional chemistry and or biology courses, and they also satisfy one of the college’s General Education science requirements: either Scientific Exploration and Discovery (SED) or Integrated Scientific Topics (IST); see the Class & Lab schedule for details.

More information for prospective chemistry majors can be found at this page of the department’s web site:

Chemistry 126 or CH/BI 227 both serve as prerequisites for all level II and III chemistry courses.  Please note that level II chemistry is required for most pre-professional programs (i.e. medical school)

There are several routes available to reach either Chem 126 or CH/BI 227

  • taking Chemistry 122 or 125 in the fall followed by Chemistry 126 in the spring
  • taking the integrated CH/BI sequence (fall and interim)
  • AP score of 5
  • IB HL score of 5-7, or a score of A on the Cambridge A-level exam.

Note that these courses are only offered in the term shown below: 

Fall:  Chem 122 or 125; CH/BI 125

Interim:  CH/BI 126

Spring:  Chem 126; CH/BI 227

Comparing Chem 122 and Chem 125:


Same textbook, topics and lab curriculum

Three class periods and one three-hour lab per week

Supplemental instruction (this is a student tutor assigned to each section of the course)


122 requires registration for a weekly discussion section for additional, structured practice time.

125 has more flexibility/options for laboratory registration while 122 intentionally links class and lab registration

Chemistry and Math:

Chem 126 and CH/BI 126 require at least Calculus I (Math 119 or Math 120).  CH/BI students must complete Math 119 or 120 or higher in the fall.  This may be done by enrolling in Math 119 or 120 or by placing into a math course higher than 120.  Chem 122 and Chem 125 students must complete Math 119 or 120 or higher by the end of spring term (provided they continue into Chem 126).  This may be done by enrolling in Math 119 or 120 (fall or spring) or by placing into a math course higher than 120.

No surprises:

Because chemistry is a quantitative, laboratory science there are materials that are required for our courses that go beyond other college courses.  In addition to your textbook, you will be required to purchase:

Safety goggles

Lab notebook

Lab manual

Calculator (TI-36X pro, TI-83 or TI-84, TI89)

Your professor will make the requirements for these items explicit and all will be available for purchase in the on-campus bookstore.