Advising & the Major

The Major

The chemistry major requires core courses in the five sub-disciplines of chemistry: analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic, and physical. Four advanced elective courses, three chemistry seminar courses, and an independent senior experience research project are also required for the major. The advanced elective courses in each of the core disciplines are offered to match the area you are most interested or will help prepare you for life after Lawrence.

Starting the Major 

The introductory courses (Chem 115 and 116) are taken first. Chem 115 requires no prerequisites. If you place into Chem 116 in the fall, consider taking either Chem 212 or Chem 320 in the spring. More information on introductory chemistry at Lawrence can be found here, and a handy flowchart for beginning the chemistry major can be found at the "Starting in Chemistry" tab at left.

If you have taken college-level chemistry with a lab, you may be able to place into intermediate chemistry courses. Please contact Stefan Debbert or Deanna Donohoue to discuss this option.

Placement Exam

If you have a strong high school chemistry background/AP credit/IB credit, consider taking the online placement exam to be placed into Chem 116. Information can be found here

Additional Introductory Requirements 

The major requires Calculus 1 and 2 (Math 140 and 150) which must be taken before the junior year. The major also requires Physics 1 and 2 (Phys 141 and 151). We suggest taking these courses before the junior year, or talking with Allison Fleshman about when best to take them to be prepared for Physical Chemistry (Chem 370 and 470).

Next Steps in major

The next courses are generally Analytical Chemistry (Chem 210), and Organic Chemistry (Chem 250). We also suggest taking Chemistry Seminar (Chem 380) fall of the second year. The remaining core courses can be taken in an order best suited for the student’s interests, junior and senior year schedule, and if a study abroad program is pursued. For more information, consult our "Next Steps in Chemistry" flowchart.

Chemistry Major Seminar Courses

Chemistry majors are encouraged to take Chem 380 fall term of their sophomore year. Chem 380 is the first of three courses in the Chemistry major's Senior Experience; the course introduces students to research opportunities, career planning, and campus support networks. Chem 480 (Chemical Literature) should be taken winter term junior year, and Chem 680 (Senior Experience) taken spring term of senior year. Biochemistry majors may also elect to do their Senior Experience through the Chemistry major.

Helpful Scheduling Information

The upper division courses can be taken in an order that is suited to the student’s interests for their independent research projects, career goals, and other course scheduling. Students are encouraged to discuss which track is best for them with the department member whose chemistry research interest most closely match their own: Stefan Debbert (organic), Deanna Donohoue (analytical), Allison Fleshman (physical), Kimberly Dickson (biochemistry) or Graham Sazama (inorganic).

Chemistry Preparation for Health Care Professionals

Medical, dental and pharmacy schools typically require two "inorganic" chemistry courses on applicants' transcripts. Students that proceed directly to Chem 116 by placement exam may consider fulfilling this requirement by taking Inorganic (320) or Analytical (210) Chemistry in addition to Chem 116. In some cases, a letter from our department chair explaining our introductory chemistry policy is sufficient. More information can be found on our Health Careers webpage.