Majors & Minors

Chemistry Major | Chemistry Minor

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the chemistry department count toward the general distribution requirement in mathematics and natural science except courses numbered CHEM 194, CHEM 294, CHEM 394, and CHEM 494 (topics), CHEM 300, CHEM 614, CHEM 624, and CHEM 634.

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and multiculturalism will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The chemistry department participates in the Honors Program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the chemistry department are available from the department office.

Topics Courses

CHEM 194, CHEM 294, CHEM 394, CHEM 494

Examination of a topic of general interest in chemistry, the topic to be announced in advance of registration. Recent titles have been Medicinal Chemistry, Chemical Physics, and Organometallic Chemistry. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. To be announced at registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.

Chemistry Major

Major Requirements

The major in chemistry consists of CHEM 111 and CHEM 112 (or CHEM 112 alone), or CHEM 115, CHEM 222, CHEM 211 and CHEM 212, CHEM 311 and CHEM 312, CHEM 411 and CHEM 300 (4 semesters); PHYS 226 and PHYS 227; MATH 137 and MATH 237.

The senior capstone requirement for chemistry majors is satisfied by participation in CHEM 300 (Chemistry Seminar), which includes oral presentations during the junior and/or senior year.

The Chemistry Department offers a curriculum which is approved by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society (ACS). A student earns an ACS-certified degree if he or she completes the chemistry major described above, takes CHEM 351, takes at least one additional advanced course in chemistry, and successfully completes the senior honors program in chemistry. In certain cases, an advanced course in mathematics or another science may be substituted for the advanced chemistry course. Students interested in the ACS- certified degree should talk with the department chair.

Students interested in secondary teaching should consult with Professor Ronald Brisbois and the Educational Studies Department.

Suggested Course Sequence for a Chemistry Major

Fall Semester Spring Semester
First Year CHEM 111 or CHEM 115 CHEM 112 or CHEM 222
  MATH 137 MATH 137* or MATH 237
Sophomore CHEM 211 CHEM 212
  MATH 237* CHEM 222*
  PHYS 226 PHYS 227
Junior CHEM 311 CHEM 312
  (CHEM 351) CHEM 300
  CHEM 300 (Advanced elective)
Senior CHEM 411 CHEM 300
  (CHEM 351*) (Advanced elective)
  CHEM 300  

*if not taken earlier

Courses in parentheses are not required for a major, but a selection of one to three advanced courses is highly recommended, especially for graduate study in chemistry. Note that MATH 237 - Multivariable Calculus should be taken before enrolling in CHEM 312. Enrollment in CHEM 222 is strongly encouraged during the first or second year. Depending upon their interests and career goals, chemistry majors often elect to supplement their required courses with courses in mathematics, physics, biology, geology, and/or economics. However, chemistry majors have also taken second majors or minors in a wide variety of disciplines, such as classics, theater and dance, and music.

The Chemistry Department supports Macalester’s emphasis on internationalism. Chemistry majors who wish to study abroad should consult with their advisor as early as possible. The junior-level courses in physical chemistry (CHEM 311 and CHEM 312) can be taken in either order, so that students studying abroad in the fall of their junior year can take CHEM 312 in the spring, followed by CHEM 311 in the fall of their senior year. In some study-abroad programs, suitable chemistry courses may be taken that fulfill requirements for the major, but these must be approved by the department in advance. During their term abroad, chemistry majors are excused from the CHEM 300 - Chemistry Seminar requirement.

Requirements for a Major in Chemistry with added emphasis in biochemistry

Students interested in biochemistry should consider majoring in chemistry with an added emphasis in biochemistry. Students choosing this option will have this noted on their transcripts as Chemistry Major with Added Emphasis in Biochemistry. To earn an emphasis in biochemistry, students must complete all of the requirements of the Macalester chemistry major plus CHEM 351 and CHEM 352. In addition, BIOL 260 and BIOL 265 must be taken. Advanced electives in chemistry or biology are encouraged. Students who complete the added emphasis in biochemistry also meet the requirements for ACS certification.

Chemistry Minor

Minor Requirements

The minor in chemistry consists of CHEM 112 or CHEM 115, CHEM 211, CHEM 212 and three additional chemistry courses, one of which must be CHEM 222 or CHEM 311 or CHEM 312. CHEM 111 can serve as one of these three additional chemistry courses, but Independent Projects (CHEM 614) and Internships (CHEM 624) cannot. In addition, chemistry minors must enroll in CHEM 300 - Chemistry Seminar for two semesters.