Location: Bowdoin / The College Catalogue / Courses / Chemistry

The College Catalogue

Chemistry – Overview

Dharni Vasudevan, Department Chair

Penny Westfall, Department Coordinator

Professors: Richard D. Broene, Jeffrey K. Nagle, Elizabeth A. Stemmler, Dharni Vasudevan (Environmental Studies)

Associate Professor: Danielle H. Dube (Biochemistry)

Assistant Professors: Soren N. Eustis, Benjamin C. Gorske (Biochemistry)

Lecturer: Michael P. Danahy

Visiting Faculty: Simbarashe Nkomo

Laboratory Instructors: Rene L. Bernier, Martha B. Black, Beverly G. DeCoster, Judith C. Foster, Colleen T. McKenna, Paulette M. Messier

Requirements for the Major in Chemistry

The chemistry major consists of a core curriculum and additional electives within a single area of concentration. The core curriculum requirements are Chemistry 1101 and 1102 {101 and 102} or Chemistry 1109 {109}, 2100 {210}, 2250 {225}, 2400 {240}; Mathematics 1700 {171} or higher; and Physics 1130 and 1140 {103 and 104}. (For students who place into Physics 1140 {104}, only one physics course is required.) Students are advised to begin their core curriculum as soon as possible. Depending on preparation and placement results, some students may begin with advanced courses.

Area of Concentration Requirements:

Chemical: Chemistry 2260 {226}, 2510 {251}, and 2520 {252}; and any two electives from the following: Chemistry 2320 {232} and chemistry courses at the advanced level (numbered 3000–3999 {300–399}). (Only one course numbered 4000–4051 {401–405} may count toward the major.)

Educational: Chemistry 2510 or 2520 {251 or 252}; Education 1020 or 1101 {20 or 101}, 2203 {203}, 3301 {301}, 3302 {303}; and two additional chemistry electives selected in consultation with the advisor.


1. Chemistry 2510 {251}.

2. Four electives that must include at least two molecular perspective courses from the following: Chemistry 2050 {205} (same as Earth and Oceanographic Science 2325 {206} and Environmental Studies 2205 {211}), 3040 (same as Environmental Studies 3903), 3050 {305} (same as Environmental Studies 3905 {305}), 3060 {306} (same as Environmental Studies 3906 {306}), 3100 {310}, 3400 {340}.

3. At least one environmental perspectives course from the following: Chemistry 1105 {105} (same as Biology 1158 {158} and Environmental Studies 2201 {201}), Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}), 2585 {282} (same as Environmental Studies 2282 {282}); Physics 2810 {257} (same as Earth and Oceanographic Science 2810 {257} and Environmental Studies 2253 {253}), 3810 {357} (same as Earth and Oceanographic Science 3050 {357} and Environmental Studies 3957 {357}); Biology 2325 {225} (same as Environmental Studies 2225 {225}), or 3394 {394} (same as Environmental Studies 3994 {394}).

At least one course from the concentration must be at the advanced level (numbered 3000–3999 {300–399}).

Geochemical: Chemistry 2050 {205} (same as Earth and Oceanographic Science 2325 {206}), 2510 {251}, and 3100 {310}; and at least two electives from the following: Earth and Oceanographic Science 2005 {200} (same as Environmental Studies 2221 {200}), 2165 {262}, 2585 {282} (same as Environmental Studies 2282 {282}), 3020 {302}, or 3115 {315}. At least one elective from the concentration must be at the advanced level (numbered 3000–3999 {300–399}).

Neurochemical: Biology 1102 or 1009 {102 or 109}, Chemistry 2260 {226}, 2320 {232}, and 2510 or 2520 {251 or 252}; and two electives from the following: Biology 2135 {213}, 2553 {253}, 2566 {266}; and one advanced neuroscience course (numbered 3000–3999 {300–399}).

Only one grade of D may be counted for the major or minor. This D must be offset by a grade of B or higher in another course also required for the major or minor. Generally, courses for the major or minor must be taken for regular letter grades (not Credit/D/Fail). Under special circumstances, however, a student may petition the department chair to allow one required chemistry course or one other course required for the major or minor (Mathematics 1600 or 1700 {161 or 171}, or Physics 1130 or 1140 {103 or 104}) to be taken with the Credit/D/Fail grading option.

The chemistry major can serve as preparation for many career paths after college, including the profession of chemistry, graduate studies in the sciences, medicine, secondary school teaching, and many fields in the business world. The department offers programs based on the interests and goals of the student; therefore, a prospective major should discuss his or her plans with the department as soon as possible. Regardless of career goals, students are encouraged to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills by participating in a collaborative student-faculty research project (Chemistry 2970–2979{291–299}, 4000–4051 {401–405}, or summer research).

The department also offers an American Chemical Society-certified major in chemistry. The requirements for certification are met by taking the courses required for the chemical pathway through the major along with: (1) one extra course at the 3000 (300) level with an acceptable lab component; or (2) an additional 3000 (300) level course and one semester of research-based independent study. Other pathways through the major can lead to ACS certification by supplementing those pathways with extra courses in chemistry; students interested in this certification program should consult with the department.

Independent Study

Students may engage in independent study at the intermediate (2970–2979 {291–299}) or advanced (4000–4051 {401–405}) level.

Interdisciplinary Majors

The department participates in interdisciplinary programs in biochemistry, chemical physics, and environmental studies.  

Requirements for the Minor in Chemistry

The minor consists of four chemistry courses at or above the intermediate level (numbered 2000–2969 {200–289}). Biochemistry majors may not minor in chemistry.

Online Catalogue content is current as of August 1, 2014. For most current course information, use the online course finder. Also see Addenda.