Undergraduate Degree Programs

Introduction

The Chemistry Major is designed for those who intend to pursue graduate study in chemistry, biochemistry, or a health-related discipline and those who wish to immediately enter a career in which broad scientific training is beneficial, like technology policy, business management, and law. Students may choose from four degree programs. Included here is information on degree programs and requirements.

Chemistry Major Degree Options

Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts degree is intended for students who want solid training in the chemical sciences and intend to study other subjects in which chemical training would be an asset, such as technology policy, economics, the environment, or medicine.

In addition to prerequisite courses and common degree requirements, the B.A. degree requires four additional course credits of advanced chemistry lecture or laboratory courses. At least one of the advanced courses must be a lecture course in the Chemistry Department, and at least one must be a chemistry laboratory course. CHEM 333 may count toward the advanced-course requirement, although not as the only lecture course

Bachelor of Science

The B.S. degree is intended to prepare students for graduate study while permitting extensive exploration of other disciplines.

In addition to the prerequisites and common degree requirements, the B.S. degree requires completion of a second term of physical chemistry (CHEM 333), one term of physical chemistry laboratory (CHEM 330L), and four additional course credits of advanced chemistry lecture or laboratory courses. At least one of the advanced courses must be a lecture course in the Chemistry Department, and at least one must be a Chemistry laboratory course.

Bachelor of Science, Intensive Major

The B.S. degree with an intensive major provides more focused preparation for a career in chemical research, and requires greater breadth in laboratory courses and electives.

In addition to the prerequisites and common degree requirements, the B.S. degree with an intensive major requires completion of a second term of introductory physics numbered 171 or higher, a second term of physical chemistry (CHEM 333), one term of physical chemistry laboratory (CHEM 330L), and five additional course credits of advanced chemistry lecture or laboratory courses. At least two of the advanced courses must be lecture course in the Chemistry Department, and at least one must be a Chemistry laboratory course.

Combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science

The combined B.S./M.S. is designed for students whose advanced preparation qualifies them for graduate-level work in their third and fourth years of college.

Exceptionally well-prepared students may complete a course of study leading to the simultaneous award of the B.S. and M.S. degrees after eight terms of enrollment. Formal application for admission to this program must be made no later than the last day of classes in the fifth term of enrollment. To be considered for admission, by the end of their fifth term, applicants must have achieved at least two-thirds A or A– grades in all of their course credits and all of the course credits directly relating to the major, including prerequisites. Two terms of CHEM 490 must be taken in the fifth and sixth terms with grades of A or A– to continue in the program.

The B.S./M.S. degree program requires completion of the intensive major requirements. The introductory physics requirement must be fulfilled with PHYS 200, 201 or 260, 261; a term course in physics numbered 400 or higher and approved by the director of undergraduate studies may be substituted for the introductory sequence. In addition, eight graduate courses in chemistry, four of which count toward the B.S., are required. Four terms of research are required, including two terms of research taken in CHEM 990. Students in the program must earn A grades in at least two of their graduate-level term courses (or one yearlong course) and have a B average in other graduate-level courses. B.S./M.S. candidates also are expected to continue their independent research in a summer internship between their junior and senior years.

Chemistry Major Roadmaps

Bachelor of Arts

Prerequisites for entering the major

  • CHEM 161 and 165 or CHEM 163 and 167; CHEM 134L and 136L
  • MATH 115, MATH 120, or ENAS 151
  • PHYS 170, 180, 200, or 260 or equivalents in advanced placement

Requirements - 10 credits

  • Two Semesters Organic Chemistry (with Labs) CHEM 174 or 220 and CHEM 175, 221, or 230. CHEM 222L and 223L
  • Physical Chemistry (CHEM 332 or 328)
  • Inorganic Chemistry CHEM 252
  • Four credits of advanced electives, at least 1 CHEM lecture and 1 credit of lab

Senior Requirements

CHEM 400

Substitutions

Up to 2 credits of relevant advanced science courses in other departments.

Bachelor of Science

Prerequisites for entering the major

CHEM 161 and 165 or CHEM 163 and 167; CHEM 134L and 136L
MATH 115, MATH 120, or ENAS 151
PHYS 170, 180, 200, or 260 or equivalents in advanced placement
Requirements - 13 credits

Two Semesters Organic Chemistry (with Labs) CHEM 174 or 220 and CHEM 175, 221, or 230. CHEM 222L and 223L
Two Physical Chemistry courses with 1 Lab (CHEM 332 or 328, 333; 330L)
Inorganic Chemistry CHEM 252
Four credits of advanced electives, at least 1 CHEM lecture and 1 credit of lab
Bachelor of Science, Intensive Major

Prerequisites for entering the major

CHEM 161 and 165 or CHEM 163 and 167; CHEM 134L and 136L
MATH 115, MATH 120, or ENAS 151
PHYS 170, 180, 200, or 260 or equivalents in advanced placement
Requirements - 15 credits

Two Semesters Organic Chemistry (with Labs) CHEM 174 or 220 and CHEM 175, 221, or 230. CHEM 222L and 223L
Two Physical Chemistry courses with 1 Lab (CHEM 332 or 328, 333; 330L)
Inorganic Chemistry CHEM 252
PHYS 171, 181, 201, or 261
Five credits of advanced electives, at least 2 CHEM lecture and 1 credit of lab
Senior Requirements

CHEM 490 (two semesters)
Substitutions

Up to two relevant advanced science courses in other departments for advanced chem electives
Senior Requirements

CHEM 490 (two semesters) or CHEM 400 + 1 additional credit of advanced courses
Substitutions

Up to two relevant advanced science courses in other departments for advanced chem electives

Combined Bachelor of Science/Master of Science

Prerequisites for entering the major

CHEM 161 and 165 or CHEM 163 and 167; CHEM 134L and 136L
MATH 115, MATH 120, or ENAS 151
PHYS 170, 180, 200, or 260 or equivalents in advanced placement
Requirements - Intensive + 4 credits from graduate courses

Application by end of 5th term
CHEM 490 during 5th/6th term
Research between junior and senior year
Advanced credits include eight graduate courses (4 credits applied to the B.S.)
Senior Requirements

Four research semesters
No substitutions are allowed.

Visual of Degree Roadmap

The requirements for the different degree programs explained above are also summarized in the Chemistry Degree Roadmaps Table.

Chemistry Placement

This orientation video for first-year students provides information about the chemistry placement and introductory chemistry courses.

Who to contact for advice: Office of the Chemistry Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

Introductory courses

1. General Chemistry Courses

The majority of first-year students begin with a two-semester General Chemistry sequence consisting of:

  • either General Chemistry I (CHEM 161, fall) and General Chemistry II (CHEM 165, spring)
  • or Advanced University Chemistry I (CHEM 163, fall) and Advanced Unviersity Chemistry II (CHEM 167, spring).

Students enrolled in CHEM 161 and 165 may be taking chemistry for the first time, perhaps took high school chemistry, or may have taken AP Chemistry but not fully mastered the subject at that level. Students enrolled in CHEM 163 and 167 will have more recently completed a year or two of high school chemistry, and have a strong math and physics background.

Each two semester sequence fulfills the prerequisite for General Chemistry in the chemistry major and other science based majors, such as biology or chemical engineering. Both sequences also fulfil pre-medical requirements.

Typically, a student who starts in CHEM 163 will subsequently complete CHEM 167, while a student who starts in CHEM 161 will subsequently complete CHEM 165. Departmental permission is required to switch between the sequences at the start of the spring term. Only students placed into CHEM 163 are permitted to take this course, while any student can enroll in CHEM 161. Nevertheless, the Chemistry Department does not recommend that students with a strong background in chemistry complete CHEM 161.

2. Higher-Level Courses

Students with a sufficiently strong background in chemistry may place out of General Chemistry and initiate their studies in Organic or Physical Chemistry courses after demonstrating proficiency on the department’s placement exam. Organic Chemistry for First-Year Students I and II, CHEM 174 and 175, are offered expressly for incoming students, with the vast majority of individuals starting in a higher-level course completing CHEM 174. Students can also complete the standard organic sequence for sophomores Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 220, fall) and Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 221, spring) or Physical Chemistry I (CHEM 332, fall) and Physical Chemistry II (CHEM 333, spring). First-year students who complete CHEM 174, the standard sophomore organic chemistry class, CHEM 220, or physical chemistry, CHEM 332, and earn a grade of B or above receive two acceleration credits for General Chemistry, which can be used to satisfy the General Chemistry prerequisite in the chemistry major and other science based majors, such as biology or chemical engineering. Accerlation credits can also be used to fulfil pre-medical requirements. To learn more about acceleration credits, visit Yale College’s Acceleration page.  

Placement Procedures for General Chemistry Courses

There is no summer online chemistry placement exam for General Chemistry courses (CHEM 161 or CHEM 163). Rather, the Chemistry Department reviews the first-year students’ preparedness before the beginning of the fall term, using test scores, admission records, and information supplied by students through the High School Math and Science Survey. The department then determines the appropriate course, either CHEM 161 or 163, for every entering student.

Incoming students should complete the survey as soon as possible during the summer before matriculation. They will be able to view their placement in early August at the Canvas “Course Placement 2021” site.

If a student initially placed in CHEM 161 wants to complete CHEM 163 they will be required to demonstrate their proficiency in an online placement exam. Any student in this situation should email the DUS after placement results have been issued but before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, August 13.

On-line Placement Exam for Higher-Level Courses

First-year students wishing to take Organic or Physical Chemistry CHEM 174, 220, or 332 are required to demonstrate their proficiency by completing an online placement exam. Typically, only individuals who have scored a five on the AP Chemistry exam, or equivalent, and have a strong background in math and physics will start their studies in a higher-level course. Nevertheless, any student can take the exam. Anyone uncertain about their preparation is encouraged to sit for the exam, as it provides the best measure of a student’s readiness to enter the wide variety of courses offered to first-years.

The exam is a closed-book, 55-minute timed, multiple-choice test, which students can take anytime between 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (ET) Thursday, July 1 or Friday, July 30. A standard, non-graphing calculator is allowed. Students are advised to review general chemistry beforehand.

Where to register: Canvas Enrollment

Where are the results posted: Canvas “Course Placement 2021” site in August.

Need placement advice? Email the DUS.

Departmental Permission for CHEM 163 & CHEM 174 

Enrollment in CHEM 163 or CHEM 174 through the Yale Online Course System requires departmental permission and is automatic after placement. It normally occurs around the third week of August. Students experiencing problems with enrolling in a class for which they believe they have permission should email the DUS.

Introductory Laboratory Courses

Chemistry lab courses are separate to chemistry lecture courses and do not need to be completed simultaneously. Nevertheless, there are pedagogical advantages to completing lecture and lab courses together. Regardless of whether a student is taking CHEM 161 & 165 or CHEM 163 & 167, there is only one sequence of General Chemistry lab. All students complete General Chemistry Laboratory I CHEM 134L and General Chemistry Laboratory II CHEM 136L, each counts as 0.5 credits towards Yale College graduation.

Similarly, there is only one sequence of Organic Chemistry lab. Regardless of whether a student is taking CHEM 174 and 175 or CHEM 220 and 221, all students complete Organic Chemistry Laboratory I CHEM 223L and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II CHEM 223L, each counts as 0.5 credits towards Yale College graduation. A first-year student who places into CHEM 174 also places out of the General Chemistry lab sequence and should start their laboratory studies by taking Organic Chemistry lab.

Students starting their studies in CHEM 332 are encouraged to contact the DUS to determine an appropriate lab class.

Preference Selection

The Preference Selection tool is an online system for students to rank their preferences for the timing of their discussion section for lecture courses and/or the time of their laboratory section for laboratory classes. Seats are distributed to students through a lottery and are placed directly on the student’s schedule.

Many chemistry courses and labs use Preference Selection. To see if a course uses Preference Selection, look at the course description in Yale Course Search (YCS). Information and links for Preference Selection sites are available directly in online course selection (OCS). Students can also view Preference Selection information, including open and close days and times, on the University Registrar’s Office Preference Selection page.

When a student adds any course with a discussion/lab section that has online sign-up, a window will open to inform them when the section sign-up will become available. If this course uses Preference Selection, the pop-up window will also include the dates it will start and end and a link to the Preference Selection site. Students can also access the site from the course description in YCS or OCS.

If the Preference Selection site is open when one adds the course to their schedule worksheet, they can click on the link and go directly into the site to rank their selections. Specific instructions for doing this are within the site itself.

The assigned discussion/lab section will be uploaded to the student’s worksheet, when the Preference Selection period ends. Once general discussion/lab section sign-up opens to all students, they can change to a different section, be waitlisted, or drop the course completely from their worksheet.