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Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

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Chemistry Programs

The B.S. degree prepares students for graduate school and professional careers. The B.A. degree is for the student who wants to understand the fundamental principles of chemistry and to study a number of other fields. Both are based on a high school background that includes at least 1½ years of algebra and 1 year of geometry. High school courses in chemistry and physics are desirable but are not required. Many chemistry majors are preparing for medical school or for graduate study in chemistry and related fields. For graduate school, the common body of knowledge in the B.A. program is the minimum prerequisite. For premedical students, much of the knowledge will be important in their careers. Even more important, however, is the training in logical thinking, drawing conclusions from experimental observations, and digesting and understanding scientific information.

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First- and Second-Year Preparation

Because study in chemistry requires preparation in mathematics and physics as well as a structured series of courses in chemistry, students should begin meeting major requirements in the first year. Students planning to major in chemistry should consult a chemistry department major adviser during their first semester to develop a 4-year plan for degree completion. It is particularly important to take CHEM 184 (or CHEM 185) and CHEM 188 (or CHEM 189) in the first year and CHEM 624 (or CHEM 628) and CHEM 625 in the second year. For those seeking a B.S. degree it is also important to complete CHEM 626 (or CHEM 630) and CHEM 627 in the second year as well as their mathematics preparation (MATH 121, MATH 122, MATH 220 or MATH 320, and MATH 290) and physics preparation (PHSX 211 and PHSX 212) in the first 2 years.

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Requirements for the B.S. Degree

The significant differences between the B.S. and B.A. lie in the distribution requirements and the required subjects. This outline lists all required courses and some suggested electives. The program satisfies College requirements as well as certification standards of the American Chemical Society.

Chemistry Courses 50 hours
Mathematics, Physics, and Biochemistry 26-27 hours
Other Requirements 27-29 hours
  • *Additional language or skill (A course in French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, or EECS 138, CHEM 711, MATH 526, or MATH 320, or another language or skill course) (3-5)
  • English (ENGL 101 and ENGL 102) (6)
  • Western civilization (6)
  • Humanities (6)
  • Social sciences (6)

Additional credit hours of general electives are needed to meet the minimum total hours required for graduation. An overall average grade of C must be earned in all upper-level KU courses in chemistry.

*Native speakers must demonstrate ability to translate selected material into acceptable scientific English. Although a second language is no longer required for the B.S. degree, both the chemistry department and the ACS strongly recommend study of a second language.

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Environmental Chemistry Option

This option allows students to focus on environmental issues and to understand how chemistry may be applied to environmental problems. Students are prepared for graduate programs or employment. The curriculum substitutes four environmentally related courses for four courses in the standard B.S. program. The program satisfies College requirements as well as American Chemical Society standards.

Chemistry Courses 44 hours
Mathematics and Physics 23 hours
Environmental Chemistry Option Group I 6-8-hours

Choose 2 courses:

  • BIOL 100 Principles of Biology (3) or
    BIOL 150 Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology (4)
  • EVRN 148 Scientific Principles of Environmental Studies (3)
  • GEOG 304 Environmental Conservation (3)
  • GEOL 351 Environmental Geology (3)
  • BIOL 400 Fundamentals of Microbiology (3)
  • BIOL 414 Principles of Ecology (3)
  • BIOL 600 Introductory Biochemistry, Lectures (4)
  • ATMO 105 Introductory Meteorology (5)
Environmental Chemistry Option Group II 6-7 hours

Choose 2 courses:

  • BIOL 660 Lake Ecology (with or without BIOL 662 Aquatic Ecology Laboratory) (3-4)
  • CE 477 Introduction to Environmental Engineering and Science (3)
  • GEOL 552 Introduction to Hydrogeology (3)
  • ATMO 525 Air Pollution Meteorology (3)
  • EVRN 611 Water Quality, Land Use, and Watershed Ecosystems (3)
  • CHEM 698 Undergraduate Research Problems (3) (CHEM 698 is strongly recommended for all students in this option. To count toward this option, the research must have a clear environmental focus and may not be taken until completion of CHEM 516 and CHEM 517 and consultation with a chemistry major adviser.)

Note: All 4 courses chosen from Groups I and II may not be in the same department or division.

Other Requirements 26 hours
  • *Additional language or skill (A course in French, German, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, or EECS 138, CHEM 711, MATH 526, or MATH 320, or another language or skill course) (3-5)
  • English (ENGL 101 and ENGL 102) (6)
  • Western civilization (6)
  • Humanities (6)
  • Social sciences (6)

Additional credit hours of general electives are needed to meet the minimum total hours required for graduation. An overall average grade of C must be earned in all upper-level KU courses in chemistry.

*Native speakers must demonstrate ability to translate selected material into acceptable scientific English. Although a second language is no longer required for the B.S. degree, both the chemistry department and the ACS strongly recommend study of a second language.

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Biochemistry Option

Chemistry Courses 50 hours
Biology and Biochemistry Courses 12 hours
  • BIOL 150 Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology (or honors equivalent) (4)
  • BIOL 636 Biochemistry I (3)
  • BIOL 637 Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory (2)
  • BIOL 638 Biochemistry II (3)
Biology Option Group 3 hours

Choose one of the following:

  • BIOL 350 Principles of Genetics (3)
  • BIOL 400 Fundamentals of Microbiology (3)
  • BIOL 416 Cell Structure and Function (3)
Mathematics and Physics 23 hours
Other Requirements 21 hours
  • English (ENGL 101 and ENGL 102) (6)
  • Western civilization (6)
  • Humanities (3)
  • Social sciences (6)

Additional credit hours of general electives are needed to meet the minimum total hours required for graduation. An overall average grade of C must be earned in all upper-level KU courses in chemistry.

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Chemical Physics Option

This option allows students to focus on the theoretical basis of chemistry. Students are prepared for graduate programs or employment. The curriculum substitutes 4 physics or mathematics courses for 4 courses in the standard program.

Chemistry Courses 50 hours
Mathematics, Physics, and Biology 29-30 hours
Chemical Physics Option Group I 6-7 hours

Choose 2 courses:

Chemical Physics Option Group II 6 hours

Choose 2 courses:

  • PHSX 531 Electricity and Magnetism (3)
  • PHSX 621 Mechanics II (3)
  • MATH 646 Complex Variable and Applications (3)
  • MATH 647 Applied Partial Differential Equations (3)
  • CHEM 698 (or CHEM 699) Undergraduate Research (3)
    (To count toward the chemical physics option, the research must have a clear chemical physics focus.)
  • CHEM 750 Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy (3)
  • CHEM 752 Statistical Thermodynamics (3)
Other Requirements 21 hours
  • English (ENGL 101 and ENGL 102) (6)
  • Western civilization (6)
  • Humanities (3)
  • Social sciences (6)
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