Chemistry Major



Because the physical sciences in general, and chemistry in particular, are the starting point for a broad variety of careers, the department offers two tracks to the chemistry major, sharing a common disciplinary core.

  • The Specialist track is designed as preparation for doctoral study and comparable to a traditional bachelor of science.
  • The Generalist track encourages students to locate their subject-matter expertise in multiple contexts: within the sciences, within the current social matrix, and within the historical scope of human knowledge. 

The two tracks are not mutually exclusive. Students following either are encouraged to consider incorporating some of the spirit the other track into their educational program.

The Specialist Track (pre-doctoral)


  • A minimum of 32 credits in chemistry


  • Core courses in chemistry:
    • 150/160, General Chemistry
    • 202, Organic Chemistry I
    • 223, Analytical Chemistry
    • 231, Inorganic Chemistry
    • 308, Thermodynamics
  • Three elective courses
    • Two of these must be at the 300 level.
    • One must address biological or macromolecular science, such as Chem 208, 312, 316, 317 or 328.
    • Physics 205 can be counted as a chemistry elective.
  • Math 203, Calculus III


  • A visual trajectory through the chemistry major requirements
  • Additional recommendations for students considering graduate work
    • Phys 110 (Force, motion and energy) and 201 (Electromagnetism)
    • In-depth courses in at least four sub-disciplines
    • Math 211 (Linear algebra) or Phys 205 (Introduction to mathematical methods for scientists)
  • Additional requirements for ACS certification
    • Phys 110 (Force, motion and energy) and 201 (Electromagnetism)
    • A course in biological chemistry (e.g., Chem 312)
    • A course in polymer or material science (e.g., Chem 208, Chem 317 or Chem 328)
    • At least four in-depth courses (i.e., 300 level)
    • At least one semester of independent research (Chem 295 or 395)
    • A total of 400 laboratory hours at the 200 level and above, including up to 180 hours of independent research

The Generalist/State of Massachusetts Secondary Teaching Licensure Track


  • A minimum of 32 credits in chemistry
  • A year of calculus (Mathematics 101 and 202)
  • A semester of calculus-based physics (Physics 110)


  • Core courses in chemistry: 
    • 150/160, General Chemistry I 
    • 202 and 302, Organic Chemistry I and II 
    • 231, Inorganic Chemistry
    • 308, Chemical Thermodynamics 
  • Elective courses must include at least one from each of the following categories. Permission to use a course other than those listed here must be obtained from the department chair. 
    • Biochemistry: Chemistry 212, Chemistry of Biomolecules; Chemistry 311, Protein Biochemistry and Cellular Metabolism or Chemistry 314, Nucleic Acids Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; 
    • History and Philosophy of Science: Critical Social Thought 248, Science, Revolution, and Modernity.
    • Earth and Environment: Environmental Studies 100, 
    • Biology: 145, Introductory Biology I; or 200, Introductory Biology II: How Organisms Develop 


  • An individual oral presentation at the annual Senior Symposium for those submitting an honors thesis 
    • This requirement may be waived for a student enrolled in Education 331, Student Teaching during the second semester of her senior year.