Getting Started

Whether you intend to major in chemistry or need to complete chemistry courses for another major or for pre-health requirements, we offer the following steps to get started with an appropriate first chemistry course. 

Complete the Placement Exam:

The Bowdoin chemistry department offers three options for introductory chemistry courses, which depend upon your level of preparation in high school. To help you determine the most appropriate starting chemistry course, we require that all students planning to take chemistry courses at Bowdoin take a placement exam. Even if you have AP credit, you will still need to take this exam. This will not affect your ability to receive AP credit, but will help us determine the best placement option.

What if you never took the placement exam and want to take a chemistry course? It’s not too late!  Simply find the placement exam on blackboard for your class year, complete the exam, and notify our academic coordinator that you have completed the exam.  You and the registrar will be notified about your placement within one or two days of reporting to us that you have completed the exam.