All schools & programs > College of Liberal Arts and Sciences > Department of Chemistry >

Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

Visit their website » Print...

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.

Go to the top of the page top

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.

Go to the top of the page top

Requirements for the B.S. Degree

Written Communication - Core Skill and Critical Inquiry

  • Composition. Satisfied by ENGL 101, ACT English score of 27 or above or SAT English score of 600 or above, AP English Literature & Composition score of 3 or above, or equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed during initial term of admission at KU.
  • Critical Reading and Writing. Satisfied by ENGL 102, or ENGL 105 (Honors), AP English Literature & Composition score of 4 or above, or an equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed within the first academic year at KU.

Western Civilization - Exploration of One's Own and Diverse Cultures. Advising Alert: Requires sophomore-level standing. Courses at other universities may have the same title but may not meet this requirement.

  • Western Civilization I - Ancient, Medieval & Early Modern Periods of Western Civilization. Satisfied by HWC 204 or HWC 114 (Honors).
  • Western Civilization II - Modern Western Civilization. Satisfied by HWC 205 or HWC 115 (Honors).

Humanities - Understanding the Human Condition. Satisfied by completing 1 course in 1 of the following categories: historical studies (requirement code HT), literature and the arts (requirement code HL), and philosophy and religion (requirement code HR). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Understanding Society and Behavior. Satisfied by completing 2 courses at least 1 of the following categories: individual behavior (requirement code SI), culture and society (requirement code SC), or public affairs (requirement code SF). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.

Additional Language or Skill. Satisfied by 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.

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.

Chemistry Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge. Majors must complete courses as specified in each of the following areas. Majors are advised to take honors courses when eligible. These hours do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major.

Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills

Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 56 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 43 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Go to the top of the page top

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.

Majors choosing this option should select 2 electives (6 hours) from each of the following groups:

Environmental Chemistry Option Group I

  • 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)
  • ATMO 105 Introductory Meteorology (5)

Environmental Chemistry Option Group II

  • BIOL 660 Lake Ecology (with or without BIOL 662 Aquatic Ecology Laboratory) (3-5)
  • BIOL 661 Stream Ecology (with or w/out BIOL 662 Aquatic Ecology Laboratory) (3-5)
  • 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)

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

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 50 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 42 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Go to the top of the page top

Biochemistry Option

This option is available to students interested in the biological applications of chemistry. The curriculum is compatible with many pre-health-professions programs and prepares the student for graduate study or career opportunities.

Chemistry Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge

Majors must complete courses as specified in each of the following areas. Majors are advised to take honors courses when eligible. These hours do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major.

Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills

Majors must complete a course in each of the 5 following areas:

Biological Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills

Biological Chemistry Required Electives

Majors choosing this option should select 2electives (6 hours) from BIOL 350, BIOL 400, or BIOL 416.

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 30 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 12 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Go to the top of the page top

Chemical Physics Option

This option allows students to focus on the theoretical basis of chemistry. Students are prepared for graduate programs or employment.

Written Communication - Core Skill and Critical Inquiry.

  • Composition. Satisfied by ENGL 101, ACT English score of 27 or above or SAT English score of 600 or above, AP English Literature & Composition score of 3 or above, or equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed during initial term of admission at KU.
  • Critical Reading and Writing. Satisfied by ENGL 102, or ENGL 105 (Honors), AP English Literature & Composition score of 4 or above, or an equivalent transfer course. Requirement must be completed within the first academic year at KU.

Western Civilization - Exploration of One's Own and Diverse Cultures. Advising Alert: Requires sophomore-level standing. Courses at other universities may have the same title but may not meet this requirement.

  • Western Civilization I - Ancient, Medieval & Early Modern Periods of Western Civilization. Satisfied by HWC 204 or HWC 114 (Honors).
  • Western Civilization II - Modern Western Civilization. Satisfied by HWC 205 or HWC 115 (Honors).

Humanities - Understanding the Human Condition. Satisfied by completing 1 course in1 of the following categories: historical studies (requirement code HT), literature and the arts (requirement code HL), and philosophy and religion (requirement code HR). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.

Social and Behavioral Sciences - Understanding Society and Behavior. Satisfied by completing 2 courses at least 1 of the following categories: individual behavior (requirement code SI), culture and society (requirement code SC), or public affairs (requirement code SF). Approved courses may be searched for availability through the Kyou portal.

Chemistry Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge. Majors must complete courses as specified in each of the following areas. Majors are advised to take honors courses when eligible. These hours do not contribute to the minimum number of hours required for the major.

Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills. Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:

Chemical Physics Option Core Knowledge and Skills

Majors must complete 2 courses from each of the following groups:

Group I. Satisfied by

Group II. Satisfied by [number changes approved???]

  • PHSX 531 Electricity and Magnetism (3) N
  • PHSX 621 Mechanics II (3) N
  • MATH 646 Complex Variable and Applications (3) N
  • MATH 647 Applied Partial Differential Equations (3) N
  • CHEM 750 Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy (3)
  • CHEM 752 Statistical Thermodynamics (3)

Major Hours & Major GPA

While completing all required courses, majors must also meet each of the following hour and grade-point average minimum standards:

Major Hours
Satisfied by 62 hours of major courses.

Major Hours in Residence
Satisfied by a minimum of 33 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 51 hours from junior/senior courses (300+) in the major.

Major Junior/Senior Graduation GPA
Satisfied by a minimum of a 2.0 KU GPA in junior/senior courses (300+) in the major. GPA calculations include all junior/senior courses in the field of study including F’s and repeated courses. See the Semester/Cumulative GPA Calculator.

Go to the top of the page top

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.