There are two ways for a student to earn a B.A. degree through the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: (1) as a chemistry major, or (2) as a biochemistry major. An honors program is available to chemistry and biochemistry students and there is a program for American Chemical Society certification of graduating chemistry majors. Below you can find information about these degrees and special programs.
All majors are expected to schedule regular appointments with their academic advisor. For more information please look at the Undergraduate Advising page.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will not accept any grades below C- for the required CHEM courses. At most one D or D+ among all the required ancillary courses, i.e. in required math, physics, and biology courses, may be considered for acceptance. Students should however be warned that a C- is many times the required prerequisite for enrollment. Grades of D- or F are not acceptable under any circumstances to fulfill major or ancillary requirements. In addition, the College of Arts & Sciences requires at least 30 hours of C- or better in the major and requires an average GPA of 2.00 or higher in all classes attempted in the major department. Any student who earns below a C- in a required course is encouraged to repeat the course to learn the material better, even if the grade could be counted.
Students who do all their major courses at CU Boulder will more than meet the College requirements for the minimum total (30 credits) and upper division (18 credits) hours in the major.
The American Chemical Society maintains a certification program in which a student graduating with a specified minimum program is certified to the society upon graduation.
Chemistry and Biochemistry double majors automatically earn an ACS certified degree without additional coursework beyond the courses required for these two majors. To be certified, a student majoring in only Chemistry must satisfy requirements in addition to the minimum for graduation.
An American Chemical Society certified degree adds the following requirements to the chemistry major:
|CHEM 4021||Inorganic Lab||3|
|CHEM 4611 or CHEM 4700||Biochemistry||3|
|4000 level or above science or math elective||3|
The other course can be a 4000 or 5000 level course in chemistry or related fields: molecular biology, chemical engineering, computing science, geochemistry, mathematics, or physics. Independent Study (CHEM 4901) will count as an advanced course for this purpose if (a) it is preceded by at least one semester of physical chemistry, and (b) if the student prepares a well-written summery describing his or her work. The student should submit a copy of the summary to their undergraduate advisor.
The formality of A.C.S. certification is of most value to students intending to find jobs in chemical industry. This certification has less significance for students entering graduate studies in chemistry and the biological, biochemical, or health science fields. To meet the certification criteria, the ACS requires a more thorough background in undergraduate chemistry than that provided by the minimum requirements for the B.A. Chemistry degree at CU. Students should recognize that a thorough preparation in chemistry is of value to all students, whatever their future plans. Students at CU Boulder, have many options for advanced study beyond the minimum requirements.
The following will be allowed for advanced placement in chemistry. Score of 5: credit for general chemistry 1 with lab (CHEM 1113 and 1114 or). Students may register for general chemistry 2 with lab (CHEM 1133/1134). Students should consult a departmental advisor before registering for a second semester general chemistry course.
The following will be allowed for IB-higher in chemistry. Score of 7: credit for general chemistry 1 and 2 with lab (CHEM 1113/1114 and 1133/1134).; students may register for CHEM 3311/3321 or 3451/3371. Score of 6: credit for general chemistry 1 (CHEM 1113/1114); students may register for CHEM 1133/1134. Students should consult a departmental advisor before registering organic chemistry or for a second semester general chemistry course.
Students may transfer courses in chemistry that are equivalent to courses given at CU Boulder but carry fewer credit hours. They must take sufficient courses in chemistry so that the total credits for graduation is at least 30. An advisor should be consulted regarding this type of deficiency.
Transfer students should note that the College of Arts & Sciences requires at least 18 hours of upper-division credits in the major. Lower division courses at other institutions will transfer as lower division credit, even if the corresponding CU Boulder courses are upper division. For example, organic chemistry taken at a community college or as lower division at a four-year college will only carry lower division credit if it is accepted by the department to satisfy CHEM 3311, 3321, 3331, and 3341. A chemistry or biochemistry major with such transfer credit will need to take additional upper division chemistry courses to complete the required 18 hours in the major and 45 upper division hours.
Transfer students who plan to complete a B.A. degree in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department must complete at the Boulder campus a minimum of 12 credit hours of upper-division courses in chemistry covering at least 2 of the sub-disciplines in their major. The sub-disciplines for a chemistry major are organic, physical, inorganic, and analytical. The sub-disciplines for a biochemistry major are organic, physical, and biochemistry. Course work to satisfy this minimum requirement may NOT include CHEM 4901 and must be completed after matriculation into the College of Arts and Sciences.
Undergraduate majors in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department must plan their courses carefully since there are specific prerequisites for advanced courses that must be completed in an orderly sequence during the freshman through the junior years. In addition, the College of Arts & Science Core curriculum must be worked into the schedule. Suggestions for majors include: