Off-Campus Study Guidelines

The chemistry department is committed to supporting majors who are considering an off-campus study experience during their time at Bowdoin.

We encourage all majors planning to take courses counting toward the chemistry major while studying away to consult with their chemistry department advisor and/or chair early in the process of selecting their study-away site and courses.  

First Steps

Meeting with Faculty

Due to the rigorous nature of the requirements for a chemistry major, students interested in studying away are required to speak with their advisor or the department chair. This meeting should take place in the students’ sophomore year, and the advisor will help the student plan out their classes before and during off-campus study.

Planning Courses

The chemistry major can require thirteen or more courses. In addition, some courses are offered in Fall only (e.g., CHEM 2100) or in Spring only (CHEM 2400); some courses have prerequisites from other departments (e.g., CHEM 2510 and 2520 require Math 1700 and Physics 1104); and some advanced electives are offered in alternate years (e.g., CHEM 3100). Therefore, a faculty advisor or department chair will help the student choose courses that will guarantee that they fulfill their major on campus.

Careful planning is particularly important for students considering advanced independent studies toward honors in chemistry during their senior year.

Students should consult with their prospective independent study advisors before studying away.

In addition, although it is recommended that students take all of the core courses while on campus, the Department is committed to working with students to find courses that are appropriate for the major off campus.  

Receiving Preapproval

Students need preapproval of courses that could count toward the major before they begin off-campus study. Students should obtain sufficient documentation (e.g., detailed syllabi for the lecture and laboratory) about the proposed courses well in advance of studying away. Students should then make course preapproval requests to the department chair; the chair will consult with chemistry faculty members teaching similar courses at Bowdoin to obtain a recommendation for preapproval.

After Study Away

Upon return from study away, students should meet with the chemistry department chair and confirm final approval for courses taken while off campus. For final approval, students should have copy of the final syllabus and other relevant course material.

Actual Bowdoin credit equivalents are determined by the registrar’s office.