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Chemistry

Basic Structure of the Department

  • Chemistry offers three majors, a modified major, and a minor. Chemistry also joins with the Physics and Engineering departments to offer a Materials Science Minor.
  • The “Plan A” Major is for students who may wish to do graduate work in chemistry or a closely allied science. It is also suitable for students wishing to apply to medical school.
  • The “Plan B” Major is less structured and is suitable for students planning to engage in chemically related careers such as medicine, environmental science, life science, industrial science, or professions for which the study of chemistry may prove desirable (law, teaching, business).
  • The Biophysical Chemistry Major is a relatively structured course of study for students interested in biological chemistry and chemical methods for studying life processes.
  • The modified major resembles the Plan B Major but includes study in a related discipline.
  • The Chemistry Minor provides basic knowledge of the field.
  • The Materials Science Minor is an interdisciplinary course of study incorporating courses in chemistry, physics and engineering.

Courses for the Student with Little or No Background Who Wants to Explore Chemistry

  • CHEM 5: General Chemistry I (offered fall and winter). Prerequisites: If a student has been placed into CHEM 2 (see below), successful completion of CHEM 2 is required before taking CHEM 5. MATH 3 (or MATH 1 and 2) is also a prerequisite for CHEM 5. If a first-year student has not placed out of MATH 3 they must delay CHEM 5 until the winter term. If a student was placed into the MATH 1-2 sequence, they will also be placed into CHEM 2, which they will need to successfully complete before taking CHEM 5. CHEM 5 is followed by CHEM 6 (General Chemistry II), which is taught in the spring and fall terms.
  • Chemistry 8-9: Chemical Principles and Biological Processes I & II (Identical to Biology 8-9, offered fall-winter).  An alternate sequence for general chemistry, this two-term course will cover principles and processes of general chemistry as applied to biochemistry and cell biology.  Upon completion of BOTH BIOL/CHEM 8 and 9, students will have fulfilled the prerequisites necessary for entry into CHEM 6 and any of the biology foundation level courses (BIOL 12 – 16).  Successful completion of only the first term (BIOL/CHEM 8) will result in a SCI distributive credit but will not fulfill any prerequisite requirements.  BIOL 8 and 9 are the same as CHEM 8 and 9.  For simplicity and for clarity with respect to medical/vet/dental school applications, upon completion of this two-term sequence the student transcript will show BIOL 8 and CHEM 9, regardless of how students elected these courses at the time of registration.
  • CHEM 2: Quantitative Reasoning in Chemistry (offered fall term). CHEM 2 is an invitation-only course focused on developing a strong quantitative basis for understanding chemical relationships, as well as developing the skills needed to solve chemistry problems. Much of the course will be devoted to the mathematical manipulations and functional relationships that are integral to chemical concepts and essential for success in subsequent chemistry courses. In-class experiments will introduce the analysis, interpretation and presentation of chemical data. Invitations to take CHEM 2 will be based on students’ pre-matriculation mathematics and science records. Students placed into CHEM 2 must successfully complete the course in order to move on to CHEM 5. CHEM 2 is supported by the Integrated Academic Support Program. (See http://www.dartmouth.edu/~acskills/tutors/ias.html).
  • CHEM 10: Honors First-Year General Chemistry (offered fall term). This is a course designed for the first-year student who comes from high school with a strong background in chemistry and math. Placement into CHEM 10 is determined by a placement test during Orientation. MATH 3 or the equivalent is a prerequisite. In one term, CHEM 10 covers selected general chemistry topics important for higher level chemistry courses. Students receive credit for both CHEM 5 and CHEM 10 upon satisfactory completion of CHEM 10.

For Students who are Contemplating a Chemistry Major

  • In the first two years (preferably before the student takes their off-term) a student should complete:
    • Two general chemistry courses, either CHEM 5-6 or CHEM 8-9-6 or CHEM 10. A potential major must begin general chemistry in the first year.
    • Two organic chemistry courses, either CHEM 51-52 or 57-58.
    • Two introductory physics courses, preferably PHYS 13-14 (Introductory Physics I-II). If scheduling 13-14 is difficult, the PHYS 3-4 sequence (General Physics I-II, a terminal physics track) can be taken but is a much less desirable option.
    • The math prerequisites, MATH 3 (Introduction to Calculus), and MATH 8 (Calculus of One and Several Variables). A student may place out of one or both of these.
  • For the Biophysical Chemistry Major, BIOL 12 (Cell Structure and Function) and 13 (Gene Expression and Inheritance) are also recommended.
  • For the Plan A Major, MATH 13 (Calculus of Vector Valued Functions) is also required.
  • A major must have completed the organic chemistry sequence (CHEM 51-52 or 57-58) by the end of their sophomore year. The 51-52 sequence can be taken either fall-winter, spring-summer, or fall-summer. (Thus the sequence can be finished during sophomore summer.) This requires early planning on the part of the student, in particular if the student wants to participate in an off-campus program.
  • The chemistry majors are all difficult to complete unless the student has junior fall as the off-term.

Please refer to Science Sequencing for possible schedules and other information.

For Students Contemplating a Pre-Health Curriculum

  • Refer to Information for Pre-Health.
  • Graduate schools in the health professions (including medical schools) generally require 2 terms of general chemistry (CHEM 5-6, 8-9-6, or 10) and 2 terms of organic chemistry (CHEM 51-52, or 57-58), in addition to courses in math, physics and biology. Many medical and veterinary schools also now recommend or even require biochemistry (CHEM 41 or BIOL 40).
  • For further information on course guidelines for pre-health students, see http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nss/nav/pages/advice/%2710%20Premed.html#REQUIRED%20COURSES
  • A student who plans to attend medical school immediately following graduation is advised to complete general chemistry in their first year, and to complete the organic chemistry sequence in their sophomore year. This is to allow students to take the MCATs by no later than early summer following their junior year, and apply during the summer before their senior year. Increasingly, students both from Dartmouth and other universities are applying to medical school after they graduate. This allows for more flexibility in scheduling courses, and the MCATs, and often strengthens applications.
  • Note: A student could take organic chemistry as a junior were on-campus in junior fall and winter,
  • Students without preparation in math or chemistry should begin with MATH 3 in the fall.
  • Students with credit for MATH 3 are strongly encouraged to enroll in CHEM 5 in the fall.
  • Students with advanced standing in chemistry should contact the Chemistry department.
  • Students should keep in mind that taking two science courses with labs in the same term may be challenging, and may want to discuss that option further with a pre-health advisor.

Current Enrollments, Class Size, and Distributives

The ORC

The Chemistry home page

Last Updated: 9/6/13