Contacts | Program of Study | Summary of Requirements | Chemistry Placement Test | Advanced Placement Credit | Optional Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam | Joint Degree Program | Undergraduate Research and Honors | Grading | Laboratory Safety
Department Website: http://chemistry.uchicago.edu/kb
Program of Study
The Department of Chemistry, in conjunction with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) in the Division of the Biological Sciences, offers a BS degree in Biological Chemistry. The program is designed to prepare students to enter a variety of interdisciplinary fields in biochemical and biophysical sciences. Undergraduate research is strongly encouraged. By combining resources of both departments, students in this program are given the opportunity to study chemistry and physics of macromolecules, mechanisms of actions of enzymes and hormones, molecular and cellular biology, biotechnology, and other related fields.
Summary of Requirements
|CHEM 11100-11200||Comprehensive General Chemistry I-II †*‡||200|
|One of the following sequences:||200|
|Honors Calculus I-II †|
|Elementary Functions and Calculus I-II (MATH 15000s or higher is strongly recommended)|
|BIOS 20186||Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology **||100|
|BIOS 20187||Fundamentals of Genetics (or AP credit, if an AP 5 Fundamentals Sequence is completed) +**||100|
|One of the following: †*||100|
|Comprehensive General Chemistry III|
|Honors General Chemistry III|
|MATH 18300-18400-18500||Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences I-II-III §||300|
|CHEM 20100||Inorganic Chemistry I||100|
|PHYS 12100-12200-12300||General Physics I-II-III (or higher)||300|
|One of the following sequences:||300|
|Organic Chemistry I-II-III|
|Honors Organic Chemistry I-II-III|
|Introductory Quantum Mechanics|
|CHEM 26700||Experimental Physical Chemistry||100|
|One of the following:||100|
|Chemistry of Materials|
|Introduction to Chemical Biology|
|Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics|
|BIOS 20200||Introduction to Biochemistry||100|
|BIOS 21317||Topics in Biological Chemistry||100|
|One of the following:||100|
|Genome Informatics: How Cells Reorganize Genomes|
|Cell Biology II|
|Organization, Expression, and Transmission of Genome Information|
|Human Genetics and Evolution|
|Biophysics of Biomolecules|
|Protein Structure and Functions in Medicine|
|Simulation, Modeling, and Computation in Biophysics|
|Advanced Molecular Biology|
|Chromatin & Epigenetics|
|One approved 30000-level Biochemistry or Chemistry course ±||100|
Credit may be granted by examination.
See following sections on Chemistry Placement Test, Advanced Placement Credit, and Optional Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam. Note that no credit is given for IB chemistry.
CHEM 10100-CHEM 10200 Introductory General Chemistry I-II and CHEM 12100-CHEM 12200 Honors General Chemistry I-II also satisfy this requirement. Enrollment into a particular sequence is based on students' Chemistry Placement Test score.
Chemistry and Biological Chemistry majors can take these courses without the Biological Sciences prerequisites (BIOS 20153-20151), unless they pursue a double major in the Biological Sciences. They are expected to show competency in mathematical modeling of biological phenomena covered in BIOS 20151.
Students with a score of 5 on the AP Biology exam receive one credit. They are eligible to register for a three-quarter AP 5 Fundamentals Sequence. Upon completion of the sequence, students receive an additional AP credit, for a total of two, to meet the general education requirement. Students majoring in Biological Chemistry will count the AP 5 Fundamentals Sequence as three electives.
The sequence MATH 18300-18400-18500 Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences I-II-III is the recommended course of study for Chemistry majors. Students who switch into the major later in their studies may also substitute MATH 15300/16300, MATH 19620, MATH 20250, or STAT 24300 for MATH 18300. Students who wish to double major or minor in Mathematics may consider alternative substitutions. The three-quarter sequence MATH 20300-20400-20500 Analysis in Rn I-II-III or the honors variation of this sequence (MATH 20700-20800-20900 Honors Analysis in Rn I-II-III) may be substituted for MATH 18400-MATH 18500 Mathematical Methods in the Physical Sciences II-III; please note that MATH 20250 Abstract Linear Algebra or STAT 24300 Numerical Linear Algebra is a prerequisite for MATH 20400. MATH 18600 is recommended for Chemistry majors who plan to pursue advanced study in physical chemistry.
These courses must be chosen in consultation with the Director of Undergraduate Studies; their approval must be conveyed to the student's College adviser for proper documentation. These are graduate-level courses. In Chemistry, these include any course with a 30000-level designation. In Biology, the course must be at the graduate level, or have sufficient differentiation between undergraduate- and graduate-level work to qualify as a graduate-level course for courses which have both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled. In general, this course must have a significant molecular or chemical component.
Chemistry Placement Test
The Chemistry Placement Test, taken online in the summer via Canvas, is required for all first-year and transfer students intending to enroll in General, Honors, or Introductory Chemistry. Without a Chemistry Placement Test score, students will not be able to pre-register for Chemistry courses. After the Chemistry Placement Test is scored, the results will be visible in the Student Portal. The Mathematics Placement Test is also required for students' Chemistry placement. For more information on placement examinations, please consult the New Student Advising website.
Advanced Placement Credit
Students who earn a score of 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) Examination in Chemistry are still required to take the Chemistry Placement Test. Students with an AP score of 5 in Chemistry are given credit for CHEM 11100 Comprehensive General Chemistry I. Students who receive this credit through AP have two options:
- Take CHEM 11200 Comprehensive General Chemistry II or CHEM 12200 Honors General Chemistry II in the Winter Quarter. (Students considering CHEM 12200 are strongly encouraged to self-review material prior to starting the course.)
- Forfeit their AP credit and take CHEM 11100 Comprehensive General Chemistry I or CHEM 12100 Honors General Chemistry I in the Autumn Quarter.
Note that no credit is given for IB Chemistry, but students may pursue the Chemistry Advanced Placement option described below.
Optional Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam
First-year and transfer students with a strong Chemistry background (i.e., those who place into CHEM 12100 Honors General Chemistry I on the Chemistry Placement Test) will automatically be registered to take the Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam (CAPE). This exam is optional. The CAPE is offered online via Canvas only at the time of matriculation. All students will receive an email later in the summer outlining how to sit for the CAPE. Performing well on this exam and consulting with the Chemistry Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), may qualify a student to place out of General Chemistry and into more advanced courses such as CHEM 22000 Organic Chemistry I, CHEM 20100 Inorganic Chemistry I, or CHEM 26100 Introductory Quantum Mechanics.
If a student is approved to pursue this option, they may substitute quality grades earned in any three of the following courses for their required General Chemistry course credit:
- CHEM 23300 Introduction to Chemical Biology
- CHEM 26100-26200-26300 Quantum Mechanics; Thermodynamics; Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics
- CHEM 20100-20200 Inorganic Chemistry I-II
- CHEM 20300 Chemistry of Materials
- CHEM 26700 Experimental Physical Chemistry
- CHEM 22700 Advanced Organic/Inorganic Laboratory
- CHEM 26800 Quantum Molecular and Materials Modeling
This advanced placement track may fast-track well-prepared students who wish to advance their studies into the various sub-fields of Chemistry, students who wish to double major or minor in Chemistry, or non-Chemistry majors who wish to enroll in advanced courses that require General Chemistry as a prerequisite.
Joint Degree Program
Students who achieve advanced academic standing through their performance on placement examinations or accreditation examinations may consider the formulation of a four-year degree program that leads to the concurrent award of the Joint BS in Biological Chemistry and MS in Chemistry. For more information, consult Vera Dragisich at email@example.com or the Department of Chemistry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Undergraduate Research and Honors
Students majoring in Biological Chemistry are strongly encouraged to participate in research with a faculty member. Research can be either independent or taken for course credit. To participate in research coursework, a student is required to have the consent of a faculty sponsor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS), and to submit the College Reading/Research Course Form. For more information on research opportunities. the Honors Program in Biological Chemistry, and/or how to fill out the College Reading/Research Course Form, please visit the Department of Chemistry website.
Excellent students who pursue a substantive research project with a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry or the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology should plan to submit an honors thesis based on their work. Honors thesis work constitutes a sustained, and in many cases multi-year, project, with students typically beginning no later than their third year and continuing through the following summer and their fourth year. Students who wish to be considered for honors are expected to complete their arrangements with the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) before the end of their third year and to register for one quarter of CHEM 29900 Advanced Research in Chemistry or one year of CHEM 29600 Research in Chemistry during their third or fourth years.
To be eligible to receive honors, students in the BS degree program in Biological Chemistry must write a creditable honors paper describing their research. The paper must be submitted before the deadline established by the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) and must be approved by the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In addition, an oral presentation of the research is required. The research paper or project used to meet this requirement may not be used to meet the BA paper or project requirement in another major.
To earn a BS degree with honors in Biological Chemistry, students must also have an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Students majoring in Biological Chemistry must earn (1) a major GPA of 2.0 or higher and (2) a C- or higher in all courses required by the Biological Chemistry major, including those courses counting toward general education requirements in the mathematical, biological, and physical sciences. Nonmajors may take Chemistry courses on a P/F basis; only grades of C- or higher constitute passing work.
In chemistry labs, safety goggles must be worn at all times. Students who require prescriptive lenses may wear prescription glasses under goggles; contact lenses may not be worn. Exceptions for medical reasons must be obtained from the lab director.