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Chemistry

Department Overview

303 Bagley

Chemistry is a branch of natural science that deals principally with the properties of molecules, the chemical reactions that occur between them, and the natural laws that describe molecular interactions. Chemistry is a central science, having strong interactions with biology, medicine, earth and environmental sciences, physics, and mathematics.

Undergraduate Program

Adviser
109 Bagley, Box 351700
(206) 616-9880, (206) 543-9343, (206) 685-8376
advisers@chem.washington.edu

The Department of Chemistry offers the following programs of study:

  • The Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in chemistry
  • The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in chemistry - ACS certified
  • The Bachelor of Science degree with a major in chemistry
  • A minor in chemistry

The Bachelor of Science degree is designed primarily for those who wish to pursue a career in chemistry or a career in which chemistry plays a central role.

The department offers two Bachelor of Science degrees. The Bachelor of Science with a major in chemistry (ACS certified) meets guidelines established by the American Chemical Society (ACS). It provides an extensive education in all branches of chemistry and also emphasizes laboratory training. The non-certified major does not emphasize laboratory work as strongly, offers more options among chemistry courses, and allows more flexibility in incorporating coursework outside of chemistry.

The Bachelor of Arts in chemistry fills the needs of students whose chosen career requires a strong background in chemistry with additional expertise in other disciplines.

Bachelor of Science

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165); CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239, CHEM 241, CHEM 242 (or CHEM 335, CHEM 336, CHEM 337, CHEM 346, CHEM 347); MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 (or MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136); PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 (or PHYS 114, PHYS 115, PHYS 116 plus one physics lab course). PHYS 121 sequence recommended.

Department Admission Requirements

Application to BA and BS degree programs in chemistry is competitive. Applicants are considered in the following groups: Direct Freshman Admission, Research/Honors, Early Admission, and Regular Admission. Completion of minimum requirements described below does not guarantee admission. All applicants have the right to petition and appeal the department's admission decision. Applications are considered twice each academic year and are due on the second Friday of October and the second Friday of April, with the exception of Direct Freshman Admission. The application and additional information is available at depts.washington.edu/chem/undergrad/.

Direct Freshman Admission
  1. Open to freshman students formally admitted to the UW
  2. Score of 5 on the AP chemistry examination
  3. Indication on the UW freshman application of chemistry as the student's first choice of major
  4. Successful direct-admission applicants generally have received a minimum 1400 on the SAT (math and verbal sections) or a minimum 30 on the ACT.
  5. Admission is for autumn quarter only.
Research/Honors
  1. Students with exceptional records can apply for consideration for admission via the Honors or Research track. Students seeking admission should submit an application that includes:
    1. Cover sheet (available on the Department of Chemistry website)
    2. Unofficial transcript
    3. Statement of purpose: May include a description of interest in chemistry, career goals, undergraduate research interests, degree interest (BA or BS), and any other information applicant believes is useful in evaluating the application.
    4. (Research Track only) Written letter or recommendation from research adviser.
  2. Honors Track. Students participating in the chemistry Honors sequence who have completed the following courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00: CHEM 145, CHEM 155 (10 credits); MATH 124 and MATH 125 (or MATH 134 and MATH 135) (10 credits).
  3. Research Track. Students who have performed at least 6 credits of undergraduate research (CHEM 199, CHEM 299, or higher) and who provide a strong recommendation from faculty research advisers. Biochemistry undergraduate research may be considered as well.
Early Admission
  1. Course requirements: CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165) (15 credits). PHYS 121, PHYS 122 (recommended) or PHYS 114, PHYS 115 (10 or 8 credits). MATH 124, MATH 125 (or MATH 134, MATH 135) (10 credits).
  2. Factors in the admission decision include academic performance as measured by GPA in courses required for application, difficulty of other courses completed, frequency of incompletes or withdrawal grades, number of repeated courses, relevant work and life experience, and record of honors.
  3. Successful applicants for the BS chemistry and BS chemistry-ACS certified programs typically have a cumulative GPA greater than 3.20 in courses listed above under course requirements. Successful applicants for the BA chemistry program typically have a cumulative GPA greater than 3.00 in courses listed above under course requirements.
Regular Admission
  1. Course requirements: CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165) (15 credits). CHEM 237, CHEM 238 (or CHEM 335, CHEM 336) (8 credits). PHYS 121, PHYS 122 (recommended) (or PHYS 114, PHYS 115) (10 or 8 credits). MATH 124, MATH 125 (or MATH 134, MATH 135) (10 credits).
  2. Factors in the admission decision include academic performance as measured by GPA in courses required for application, difficulty of other courses completed, frequency of incompletes or withdrawal grades, number of repeated courses, relevant work and life experience, and record of honors.
  3. Successful applicants for the BS chemistry and BS chemistry-ACS certified programs typically have a cumulative GPA greater than 2.50 in courses listed above under course requirements, with no individual grade lower than a 2.0. Successful applicants for the BA chemistry program typically have a cumulative GPA greater than 2.00 in courses listed above under course requirements, with no individual grade lower than 1.7.

Major Requirements

Chemistry (ACS-Certified)

95 credits as follows:

  1. Chemistry and Biochemistry Courses:
    1. General Chemistry: CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165)
    2. Organic Chemistry: CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239, CHEM 241, and CHEM 242 (or CHEM 335, CHEM 336, CHEM 337, CHEM 346 and CHEM 347)
    3. Inorganic Chemistry: CHEM 312, CHEM 317, and CHEM 416 (students completing CHEM 165 are exempt from CHEM 312)
    4. Analytical Chemistry: CHEM 321, CHEM 426
    5. Physical Chemistry: CHEM 455, CHEM 456, CHEM 457, CHEM 461
    6. Biochemistry: BIOC 405 (students should contact adviser regarding alternative prerequisites for BIOC 405)
    7. Advanced Chemistry: 5 credits of numerically graded CHEM or BIOC 400-level courses (not previously listed) and one more course with laboratory (currently CHEM 428, CHEM 462, CHEM 463, and CHEM 465)
    8. Strongly recommended, research credits in CHEM 399 and CHEM 499.
  2. Mathematics: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 and two additional math courses above 300 (recommended MATH 307 and MATH 308, or AMATH 351 and AMATH 352); (alternative math requirement: MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136)
  3. Physics: PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 (or PHYS 114, PHYS 115, PHYS 116 plus one physics lab course). PHYS 121 sequence recommended.
  4. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each chemistry course; minimum 2.50 GPA for courses used to satisfy the major degree requirements; minimum overall cumulative 2.50 GPA and minimum 185 credits required for graduation.

Chemistry

92 credits as follows:

  1. Chemistry and Related Courses:
    1. General Chemistry: CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, and CHEM 312 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165, and CHEM 416)
    2. Organic Chemistry: CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239, and CHEM 241 (or CHEM 335, CHEM 336, CHEM 337, and CHEM 346)
    3. Physical Chemistry: CHEM 455, CHEM 456, CHEM 457
    4. Advanced Chemistry Labs: Two of the following three: CHEM 317, CHEM 321, or CHEM 461
    5. Additional Labs: 5 additional lab credits chosen from the following: CHEM 242, CHEM 317, CHEM 321, CHEM 347, CHEM 426, CHEM 428, CHEM 461, CHEM 462, CHEM 463, CHEM 465, and BIOC 426
    6. Science Electives: 11 credits chosen from CHEM 242, CHEM 317, CHEM 321, CHEM 347, any 400-level numerically graded chemistry or biochemistry courses, or MATH 307 (or AMATH 351). Students with a chemistry GPA of 3.30 or higher may apply up to 6 credits of approved research (CHEM 399 or CHEM 499) toward satisfying this requirement. CHEM 498 may not be used to satisfy this requirement.
  2. Mathematics: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 and one course above 300 (recommended: MATH 308 or AMATH 352); alternative MATH requirement: MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136.
  3. Physics: PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 (or PHYS 114, PHYS 115, PHYS 116 plus one physics lab course). PHYS 121 sequence recommended.
  4. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.0 grade in each chemistry course; minimum 2.50 GPA required for all chemistry, mathematics, and physics courses used to satisfy major requirements; minimum overall cumulative 2.50 GPA and minimum 182 credits required for graduation.
  5. For graduation, a minimum of 182 credits is required with an overall 2.50 cumulative GPA.

Bachelor of Arts

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165) CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239, CHEM 241, CHEM 242 (or CHEM 335, CHEM 336, CHEM 337, CHEM 346, CHEM 347); MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 (or MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136); PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 (or PHYS 114, PHYS 115, PHYS 116 plus one physics lab course). PHYS 121 sequence recommended.

Department Admission Requirements

Same as for Bachelor of Science, shown above

Major Requirements

79-82 credits as follows:

  1. Chemistry Courses:
    1. General Chemistry: : CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, CHEM 312 (or CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165)
    2. Organic Chemistry: CHEM 237, CHEM 238, CHEM 239, CHEM 241, CHEM 242 (or CHEM 335, CHEM 336, CHEM 337, CHEM 346, CHEM 347)
    3. Analytical Chemistry: CHEM 321
    4. Advanced Chemistry Lab: Either CHEM 317 or CHEM 461
    5. Advanced Chemistry: 11 credits of numerically graded CHEM 400-level courses to include either CHEM 455, CHEM 456, CHEM 457 series, or CHEM 452, CHEM 453 series
  2. Mathematics: MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 (or MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136)
  3. Physics: One year of physics including at least 1 credit of laboratory (PHYS 114, PHYS 115, and PHYS 116 and at least one of PHYS 117, PHYS 118, or PHYS 119; or PHYS 121, PHYS 122, and PHYS 123; PHYS 121 sequence recommended).
  4. Grade Requirements: Minimum 2.00 GPA in chemistry courses counted toward major; minimum 1.7 grade in all required chemistry courses
Continuation Policy

All students must make satisfactory academic progress in the major. Failure to do so results in probation, which can lead to dismissal from the major. For the complete continuation policy, contact the departmental adviser or refer to the department website.

Minor

Minor Requirements: 35-44 credits as follows:

  1. One of the following three sequences:
    1. CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162, and one of CHEM 223, CHEM 237, or CHEM 335
    2. CHEM 144, CHEM 154, CHEM 164, and one of CHEM 223, CHEM 237, or CHEM 335
    3. CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165, and one of CHEM 223, CHEM 237, or CHEM 335
  2. MATH 124 (or Q SCI 291 and Q SCI 292)
  3. PHYS 114 or PHYS 121
  4. Three of the following four groups:
    1. CHEM 312 (or CHEM 165)
    2. CHEM 321
    3. One of CHEM 452, CHEM 455, or CHEM 456
    4. One of CHEM 224, CHEM 238, CHEM 336
  5. Minimum 2.00 GPA for the minor; minimum 1.7 grade in each course presented for the minor.
  6. A minimum of 15 credits taken for the minor must be completed in residence at the University of Washington.

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: At the conclusion of their studies, graduating chemistry majors should have a general knowledge of the basic areas of chemistry with a working knowledge of at least one area: be proficient in basic laboratory skills; have the ability to carry out strategies for solving scientific problems; have an understanding of the principles and applications of modern instrumentation, computation, experimental design, and data analysis; have had the opportunity to gain experience with a research project; have the ability to communicate scientific information clearly and precisely; have the ability to read, understand, and use scientific literature; have an awareness of the broader implications of chemical processes; have had the opportunity to work as part of a team to solve scientific problems; and have had an introduction to opportunities in, and requirements for, the careers available to chemistry majors.
    Teaching high school chemistry, environmental or patent law practice, or working in the chemical industry in sales or management positions are career choices for which the BA in chemistry is generally useful.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities:
    • Departmental facilities include a spectroscopic and analytical instrumentation laboratory (NMR, GC-MS, X-Ray, IR), Chemistry Library, Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC), Center for Process and Analytical Chemistry (CPAC), Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research (MDITR), Center for Nanotechnology, and extensive computing capabilities.
    • The department's local area network (LAN) is extended through a fiber optic cable to the university-wide network that is connected to Internet, HEPNET, SPAN, and other national and international computer networks.
    • The Chemistry Study Center offers assistance to students in 100-level chemistry courses and has 40 Pentium computers available to undergraduates taking chemistry courses.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors requirements in the major). See adviser for requirements.
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: No formal internship program. Students are encouraged to pursue national and regional internships. See advisers for information.
  • Department Scholarships: Resident tuition scholarships and book prizes are awarded annually by the Department of Chemistry to eligible chemistry and biochemistry majors. Applications are available during the month of March for the following academic year. See department advisers for more information.
  • Student Organizations/Associations:
    • Alpha Chi Sigma: the UW affiliate of the national chemistry-related science organization for chemistry and biochemistry majors
    • Phi Lambda Upsilon: the UW affiliate of the national chemistry honorary society
    • The Free Radicals: a general undergraduate club for chemistry and biochemistry majors

Of Special Note:

  • The BS degree in chemistry requires a minimum of 182 credits to graduate.
  • The BS degree in chemistry, ACS-Certified option, requires a minimum of 185 credits to graduate.
  • The BA degree in chemistry requires a minimum of 180 credits to graduate.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to participate in undergraduate research.
  • The maximum number of credits that may be earned combining CHEM 199 and CHEM 299 is 12; the maximum number of credits that may be earned combining CHEM 399 and CHEM 499 is 24.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
109D Bagley, Box 351700
(206) 543-4787
graduate@chem.washington.edu

The Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs are designed to lead to positions of leadership and independent investigation in research institutes, industrial laboratories, and government agencies, and as teachers, researchers, or administrators in colleges and universities in chemistry or allied fields.

Students can pursue research in the following areas of chemistry: analytical, bioanalytical, bioinorganic, bioorganic, biophysical, environmental, inorganic, materials, medicinal, nuclear, organic, organometallic, physical, polymer, process analytical, and theoretical.

Thesis research for the Master of Science degree and dissertation research for the Doctor of Philosophy degree will constitute an original contribution of knowledge worthy of report in the scientific literature.

Refer to the Chemistry Department website for more detailed information regarding admission and graduation requirements.

Master of Science

The Department of Chemistry offers primarily the PhD degree. The Master of Science program is not open to master's-only students, except under specific conditions.

Graduation Requirements: With Thesis -- 36 approved credits with 18 in courses at the 500 level or above; 18 credits in courses at the 400 or 500 level taken for numerical grade with a 2.7 grade minimum in each graded course; 9 credits in thesis research. Without Thesis -- Same as with thesis, except that additional coursework may be substituted for the required research. Minimum GPA of 3.00 required.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate degree with major in chemistry or allied sciences
  2. Graduate Record Examination scores

Degree Requirements

90 credits, to include:

  1. Required coursework: 18-27 credits of coursework to support the student's individualized program of study, approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator, at the 400 or 500 level, with a 2.7 grade minimum in each graded course, and a minimum 3.00 GPA
  2. Seminars: Participation in departmental seminars
  3. Dissertation: minimum 27 credits of dissertation (CHEM 800) work
  4. Candidacy examinations covering area of specialization