The Chemistry Major

Those considering a major in chemistry should consult with the Undergraduate Chairman as soon as possible, preferably in their first year, especially if you have advanced placement credits in science or mathematics courses from high school.  Please e-mail to make an appointment with the Undergraduate Chair.  After you have discussed your plans with the Undergraduate Chair and it's decided to move forward with declaring a Chemistry major, please make a request to apply.  To make a request, log-in to Path@Penn, select Path forms, then choose "Declare/Update Field of Study".  

Course Requirements for the Chemistry Major

Chemistry majors normally complete the following introductory sequences by the end of the sophomore year:

  • CHEM 1011 (100): Introduction to General Chemistry I, CHEM 1012 (101): General Chemistry I, or CHEM 1151 (115): Honors Chemistry I (115) (1 c.u.)
  • CHEM 1021: Introduction to General Chemistry II, CHEM 1022 (102): General Chemistry II, or CHEM 1161 (116): Honors Chemistry II (1 c.u.)
  • CHEM 1101, 1102 (053, 054) General Chemistry Laboratories (1 c.u.)
  • CHEM 2411, 2421 Organic Chemistry I & II with Laboratory (3 c.u.) (formerly CHEM 241, 242, 244, and 249)
  • MATH 1400, 1410 Calculus (formerly Math 104, 114) (2 c.u.)
  • PHYS 0150 (150) Physics (1.5 c.u.)

Completion of the major requires:

  • PHYS 0151 (151) Physics (1.5 c.u.) 
  • CHEM 2610 (261) Inorganic Chemistry (1 c.u.)
  • CHEM 2210, 2220, 2230 Physical Chemistry I/II and Laboratory (3 c.u.)
  • CHEM 2510 Biochemistry (1 c.u.)
  • CHEM 2460 Advanced Laboratory (1 c.u.)

Courses taken to fulfill the Major requirement cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis. A passing letter grade (any grade above an F, including a D) will count toward the Chemistry Major.

Honors majors add one advanced course (5000 level or above) and two units of independent study (CHEM 3999). These additional 3 c.u.'s are taken in the junior or senior year. A 3.0 average in Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics is required to receive the Honor's Degree. The Honors Major track satisfies the ACS certification requirements.  Note: Although the Chemistry Major only requires MATH 1400 and 1410, students wishing to pursue more advanced courses in Physical Chemistry, or other fields involving quantitative treatment of Chemistry, should consider taking additional Math courses such as MATH 2400, 2410, 3130, etc.

Independent Research Forms (CHEM 2999/3999) (PDF, 110 KB)