Jun 25, 2024  
2020 - 2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020 - 2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, BS

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Required Credit Hours: 36 - 39

(including 30 - 33 core credit hours)

Major Computing Requirement:

Satisfied by successfully completing required word processing, data and graphical analysis, molecular drawing and modeling, and literature database searching assignments made throughout the core curriculum of the Chemistry major.

Major Writing Requirement:

Consists of writing a paper (of at least 2000 words) during the senior year. The paper is written in CHEM 490W or CHEM 496 for seniors enrolled for research credit, or can be written as part of any 400-level Chemistry course with a “W” designation in which the student is concurrently enrolled.

Core Requirements:

30 - 33 semester credits of core chemistry courses.

  • General Chemistry: CHEM (103 and 208) or 205, 103L, and 254 or 256
  • Organic Chemistry: CHEM 206, 206L, 207 or 209, and 253
  • Biochemistry: CHEM 314
  • Inorganic Chemistry: CHEM 312
  • Physical and Analytical Chemistry: CHEM 301, 302, 302L, 309 and 309L

These courses are taken in the following sequence:

Additional Requirements

CHEM 205 is recommended for entering students who have earned AP or IB credit for CHEM 103 and CHEM 103L. CHEM 205 replaces CHEM 103 and CHEM 208. Other well-prepared students lacking AP or IB credit can take CHEM 205 in place of CHEM 103 and CHEM 208 with instructor permission. These students must take the CHEM 103L laboratory.

In the second year, CHEM 209 and CHEM 256 are recommended for students intending to major in chemistry. CHEM 207 and CHEM 254 are recommended for all other science majors, but they also may be used to satisfy the requirements for a major in chemistry in place of CHEM 209 and CHEM 256, respectively.

Additional Information:

CHEM 100, CHEM 150, CHEM 190, CHEM 201, CHEM 217, CHEM 290, CHEM 341, CHEM 360, CHEM 390, CHEM 490, CHEM 460 or CHEM 495 - 496 may not be included in the minimum 36-39 credit hours for the major. No more than six semester credits in CHEM 490 or CHEM 495/496 may be applied toward a degree. Credits obtained for CHEM 190/CHEM 290/CHEM 390 cannot be used towards the 120 hour graduation credit minimum. Students may not obtain credit for both CHEM 205 and CHEM 208. In a typical program, majors will have completed CHEM 103, CHEM 206, CHEM 209 or CHEM 207, and CHEM 208, plus MATH 111, MATH 112, and MATH 212 or MATH 213, and PHYS 101 / PHYS 101L - PHYS 102 / PHYS 102L before enrolling in CHEM 301 in their junior year. (MATH 212 or MATH 213 is strongly recommended and can be taken concurrently with CHEM 301 if necessary). Credits from required pre-requisite courses in Mathematics and Physics are not applicable toward the minimum requirements for a major in Chemistry. The laboratory courses CHEM 103L, CHEM 206L, CHEM 253, CHEM 254 or CHEM 256, CHEM 309L and CHEM 302L should be taken concurrently with the appropriate lecture courses. CSCI 141 and MATH 211 are valuable courses and recommended in the general education of a chemist.

American Chemical Society Approval and Certified Degrees

The department curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS). An ACS approved degree in chemistry from William & Mary is awarded if a student’s academic program meets additional course criteria within the minimum 36 - 39 credit hours of course work previously described plus a minimum of 3 credits of independent research through CHEM 490  or 6 credits in CHEM 495 /CHEM 496  .  The department currently offers three concentrations leading to ACS certified degrees: chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical physics. The specific course requirements for each ACS concentration are summarized below.

ACS Certifications


  • The 36-39 credit major requirement described above.


One upper level biology course selected from:

Chemical Physics:

Research in Chemistry-Summer Fellowship Program

A summer program for chemistry majors affords the opportunity to learn research skills and to apply these skills to a current research problem. Each student in the summer program is guided by a faculty mentor. This program provides valuable preparation for either CHEM 495 - 496 Honors in Chemistry, or CHEM 490, Senior Research. Admission to the fellowship program is competitive. Stipends and the opportunity to apply for complimentary campus housing are provided. Opportunities for summer research are also possible for rising sophomores and juniors.

College (COLL) Courses and Advanced Placement Options

College (COLL) Courses

CHEM 100, CHEM 150, and CHEM 201 have been designed for non-science majors. CHEM 100 fulfills COLL 100 requirements, CHEM 150 fulfills COLL 150 requirements, and CHEM 201, CHEM 205 and CHEM 314 paired with 314C fulfill COLL 200 requirements in the NQR knowledge domain.  CHEM 417 and CHEM 490 when taken for a total of 3 credits, which can be taken in a single semester or spread out over two semesters, and paired with CHEM 490W will meet COLL 400 requirements.

Students majoring in a science and/or intending a career in health sciences should take CHEM 103 or CHEM 205 (see Advanced Placement section below) as their introductory chemistry course. Usually, the CHEM 103L laboratory course is taken along with CHEM 103.

Advanced Placement

Entering students who have been awarded credit for CHEM 103 based on AP score of 4/5 or IB score of 5/6/7, as well as other well-prepared students who are planning to major in chemistry, are encouraged to take CHEM 205 to satisfy their General Chemistry requirements.

Students entering with AP score of 5 or IB score of 6/7: The student is awarded 5 credits of General Chemistry (CHEM 103, CHEM 103L, and CHEM 254) and 3 chemistry elective credits (CHEM 2xx). Should this student elect not to take either CHEM 208 or CHEM 205, the CHEM 2xx elective credits will count as 3 credits for the Chemistry major or the minor. Should this student take CHEM 205, the chemistry elective credits (CHEM 2xx) will not count toward a Chemistry major or minor, but will still count toward general graduation requirements. For programs other than Chemistry, the CHEM 2xx credits will count as CHEM 208.

Students entering with AP score of 4 or IB score of 5: The student is awarded 4 credits of General Chemistry (CHEM 103 and CHEM 103L). To pursue a Chemistry major, this student must take either CHEM 205 or CHEM 208, and either CHEM 254 or CHEM 256 laboratory.

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