Chemistry Overview & Goals

The Chemistry program focuses on providing students with a theoretical and quantitative background in the major fields of chemistry, including analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Students in the program engage in experimentation through foundational courses and independent research projects advised by faculty members. The availability and experience of the faculty, coupled with the facilities, instrumentation, and techniques for a capstone senior research project, prepare the department’s graduates for success in many different areas and fields.

Students are encouraged to apply for summer internships and/or field experience, and many chemistry majors take advantage of these opportunities. Graduates of the program acquire the flexible skills required to enter many different fields of research and service, including industrial chemistry, state and federal agencies, and chemical education.   Many graduates continue their education in medical, dental, veterinary, and pharmacy schools. Graduate school placement, often with full fellowships, is also typical for chemistry graduates.

Chemistry (Major, Minor)

Careers in Chemistry

Any Chemistry Discipline
Product Development
Process Development
Biotechnology (using living organisms or cell processes to make useful products)
Quality Assurance/Quality Control
Environmental Analyses

Agricultural Chemistry
Agricultural Production: crops and livestock
Agrichemicals Development: herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, etc.
Agrichemicals Testing
Environmental Testing

Analytical Chemistry
Qualitative Analysis
Quantitative Analysis
Instrumentation Design
Experimental Design
Separations (mass spectrometry, chromtography)

Food Science

Chemical Engineering
Bulk Chemicals (mass produced large quantities)
Fine Chemicals (custom-produced small quantities)
Consumer Products
Environmental Safety and Health
Fuels and Energy Conversion

Environmental Regulation
Environmental Remediation

Inorganic Chemistry
Environmental Remediation
Information Technology
Consumer Products

Materials Science
Semiconductors and Electronic Materials
Optical Materials

Organic Chemistry
Materials Science
Consumer Products
Food Science

Physical Chemistry
Materials Science
Chemical Biology
Nanoscale Science
Molecular Modeling
Quantum Computing

Polymer Chemistry
Synthetic Macromolecules
Biological Macromolecules
Consumer Products


Veterinary Medicine
Allied Health: Occupational Therapy / Physical Therapy
Medical Technology
Nuclear Medicine

Other Professional Opportunities
Technical Writing
Scientific Journalism
Scientific Illustration
Intellectual Property/Patent Law
Informational Specialists


Lisa M. Reilly
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Department of Physical and Computational Sciences
Ph.D., Oklahoma State University
B.S., Mercyhurst University

Scott M. Brothers
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Texas A&M University
B.S., Wheeling Jesuit University

Carolyn A. Kitchens
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., University Of Pittsburgh
B.S., Appalachian State University

Robert Paysen
Emeritus Professor of Chemistry


All students majoring in Chemistry are required to complete the following core courses: CHEM 101, 102, 211, 212, 320, 324, 385, 386, either 477 or 478, 490; PHYS 201, 202; MATH 201, 202.

Professional Chemistry Track: CHEM 285, 315 or 335, 326, 404; and one course from the following group PHYS 222, 241, 300 MATH 203, 341.

Forensic Chemistry Track: CHEM 108, 285, 351, 420, three courses from the group (255,315,335,345,355); and a course in law.

Biochemistry Track: CHEM 315 or 335, 351, 352,: BIOL 290 and either BIOL 341 or 343. Two additional courses from the following are recommended: BIOL 100, 251, 308, 338, 440, 442, CHEM 255, 285, MATH 281.

Chemistry Education Grades 9-12 Track: CHEM 315 or 335, 326, 351, 404; GENS 200; EDUC or GENS 480. Only Chemistry majors who have completed all courses in this track and the courses in the Professional Education Requirements described in the Education section of this Catalogue and on the department’s website or in the resource area in the College’s courseware solution will be recommended for certification to teach Chemistry in secondary school.

CHEM 101, 102, 211, 212; 6 credits from CHEM 315, 320, 324, 326, 335, 351, 352. (MATH 201 and 202 and CHEM 212 are prerequisites for CHEM 320.)

Course Descriptions

CHEM 100 Consumer Chemistry   4 credits
This course emphasizes an understanding of chemical concepts relevant to our everyday lives. At the end of this course, a student should be able to analyze and discuss magazine and newspaper articles dealing with subjects related to chemistry. The course is designed for non-science students. (Course is not open to students who have credit for CHEM 111 or higher or equivalent. This course may be taken for credit as GENS 100.)

CHEM 101 General Chemistry I   4 credits
Theoretical chemistry and descriptive inorganic chemistry are studied in this course. The laboratories provide students with experience in basic laboratory manipulations, problem solving, and testing of hypotheses. Lectures and laboratories meet for 6 hours per week. Prerequisite: Mathematics requirement- placement into MATH 105 or higher or concurrent enrollment in MATH 105, or equivalent transfer.

CHEM 102 General Chemistry II   4 credits
This course is a continuation of the lecture portion of CHEM 101 and includes the study of solubility and acid-base phenomena in aqueous systems with appropriate lab work. Lectures and labs meet for 6 hours per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 101; Mathematics requirement- placement into MATH 201, MATH 105 with a grade of C- or higher or concurrent enrollment in MATH 105, or equivalent transfer.

CHEM 108 Introduction to Forensic Science   4 credits
The application of chemical and physical methods to the analysis of evidence is the focus of this course. Common methods of evidentiary examination are included as experiential components. Team work on case studies and on the investigation of crime scenes is emphasized. The course meets for 6 hours each week. Prerequisite: High School Chemistry or Physics, or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 211 Organic Chemistry I   4 credits
This course is a survey of organic functional groups and the the fundamentals of organic chemistry. The laboratory includes basic laboratory techniques for separation, purification, reaction, and analysis. Prerequisites: CHEM 101 and 102 or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 212 Organic Chemistry II   4 credits
This course is a continuation of CHEM 211 and includes more in-depth study of mechanisms, organic synthesis, and analysis. Laboratory work consists largely of organic preparations and identification of unknown compounds. Prerequisite: CHEM 211 or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 255 Introduction to Pharmacology   3 credits
Pharmacological properties of some common types of organic compounds are studied along with various issues in medical ethics. The course is taught predominantly in a discussion/seminar format with occasional introductory lectures. Prerequisite: CHEM 212 or concurrent enrollment in CHEM 212.

CHEM 285 Data Analysis for Physical Science   3 credits
Data Analysis for Physical Science covers hypothesis testing, principal component analysis, multivariate calibrations, experimental design, and introduction to data mining methods such as support vector machines and neural networks. The focus of the course is on the application of the above topics to practical uses in the fields of the physical sciences through the use of common software packages.

CHEM 315 Advanced Methods of Analysis: Spectroscopy   2 credits
This course is a survey of spectroscopic theory and methods. Experiments employ UV-Vis, infra-red, nuclear magnetic, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and atomic absorption spectrophotometers. Forensic and enviromental problems are emphasized. Students participate in one lecture and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: CHEM 211 or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 320 Physical Chemistry I with Biological Applications   4 credits
This course is an introduction to the nature of thermodynamics and kinetics including equilibrium and rate transport processes. The focus is on applications of physical concepts to systems, especially those of biochemical and biological interest. Studies of chemical and phase equilibria are investigated thoroughly, and kinetic processes including Michaelis-Menton kinetics as well as transition state theory complete the course. (This course may be taken for credit as BIOL 320.) Prerequisites: CHEM 212 and MATH 202 or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 324 Analytical Chemistry   4 credits
The study of the principles of acid-base, oxidation-reduction, and solubility phenomena associated with solutions is emphasized. Classical and modern applications of principles to the analysis of unknowns are performed in the laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 211.

CHEM 326 Physical Chemistry II   4 credits
This course considers the thermal and energetic behavior of gases, the statistical principles governing the distribution of particles, the differing energy states of atoms and molecules, and the transitions within these states. Introductory quantum mechanical principles, centered around the Schrodinger equation, will be discussed. The course will conclude with a discussion of an advanced topic to be selected from thermodynamics, kinetics, or quantum mechanics. Prerequisites: CHEM 212, MATH 202.

CHEM 335 Advanced Methods of Analysis: Chromatography   2 credits
This course is a survey of chromatographic theory and methods. Experiments employ thin layer chromatography (TLC), gas chromatography (GC), gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as examples of the method. Forensic and enviromental problems are emphasized. Students participate in one lecture and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: CHEM 211 or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 345 Advanced Methods of Analysis: Microscopy   2 credits
This course concentrates on the theory and uses of light microscopy to determine identity and composition of organic, inorganic, and biological materials. Forensic and environmental problems are emphasized. Students participate in one lecture and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: CHEM 211.

CHEM 351 Molecular Biology and Biochemistry I   4 credits
This course is an introduction to the structural organization and chemical compositions of cells and to fundamental chemical processes carried on inside organelles. Included are enzymatic action, transport across biological membranes, and basic metabolic pathways as they relate to cell structure. The laboratory focuses on current techniques for the isolation and analysis of basic biomolecules and on some practical applications of enzymology. (This course may be taken for credit as BIOL 351.) Prerequisites: CHEM 211, 212.

CHEM 352 Molecular Biology and Biochemistry II   4 credits
This course is an introduction to biosynthesis of biomolecules, gene expression and control, and recombinant DNA technology. The laboratory focuses on current techniques for probing biochemical reactions and for isolating and engineering DNA. (This course may be taken for credit as BIOL 352.) Prerequisite: BIOL 351 or CHEM 351.

CHEM 355 Advanced Methods of Analysis: Biotechnology   2 credits
This course concentrates on the theory and use of electrophoresis and other techniques of biotechnology, including DNA fingerprinting, polymerase chain reaction, ELISA, and blood typing. Students participate in one lecture and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: CHEM 211.

CHEM 385 Writing for Chemistry I   1 credit
This course is the first of two which focus on written and oral communication in the styles common to the chemistry and biochemistry fields. Students read and report on current literature of interest, including that presented by invited speakers.

CHEM 386 Writing for Chemistry II   1 credit
This course provides further instruction for writing and presenting ideas and proposals in chemistry and biochemistry. Students prepare and present papers based on experimental data. A project proposal, including a budget, is prepared. Prerequisite: CHEM 385.

CHEM 404 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry   4 credits
The important phenomena of modern inorganic chemistry are systematically discussed. These include bonding and structure, kinetics, thermodynamics, acid-base theories, and physical methods. Transition metal and organometallic chemistry are examined along with the chemistry of selected representative elements. (Three lectures and three hours of laboratory per week.) Prerequisite or Corequisite: CHEM 326.

CHEM 414 Advanced Organic Chemistry   3 credits
Selected advanced topics in organic chemistry are studied. These include reaction mechanisms. Laboratory work is introduced when appropriate which stresses the use of instrumentation. Prerequisite: CHEM 212 or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 420 Professional Internship   1-3 credits
This course is a professionally supervised experience with off-campus scientists using modern research and/or analytical techniques. Settings vary from purely academic summer programs to private or public scientific institutions. A minimum of 160 hours in the experience is expected.

CHEM 430-434 Special Topics   2 credits each
These are courses devoted to the consideration of advanced topics and areas of special interests.
CHEM 430 Analytical Chemistry
CHEM 431 Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 432 Organic Chemistry
CHEM 433 Physical Chemistry
CHEM 434 Biochemistry

CHEM 477-478 Senior Seminar in Chemistry   1 credit each
The Senior Seminar in Chemistry is a review of current topics. Students participate in reading the chemical literature and presentation of appropriate work in oral and written forms.

CHEM 480 Methods and Materials in Teaching Physical and Life Sciences   3 credits
The course is a study of the aims and methods of teaching the physical and life sciences in the secondary schools. Special attention is given to teaching general laboratory procedures and techniques of teaching. Each of the departments in the physical and life sciences participates in this program. (This course may be taken for credit as EDUC 480. A 30 hour field placement is required.) Prerequisites: 16 credits in one of the physical or life sciences or permission of the instructor; EDUC 242; a passing score on PPST-PRAXIS I; admission to the teacher education program.

CHEM 487-488 Independent Study   2-4 credits

CHEM 490 Senior Project   2-4 credits
During the junior year, the chemistry major is introduced to the methods of employing chemical literature, selects a topic for advanced investigation, and makes a literature search of background material as a basis for an in-depth study in this area. Following this preliminary work, an investigation of a significant topic in chemistry is made by each senior under the direction of a faculty member in the department. This work culminates in a written and oral report at the end of the senior year.