Degree Requirements

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.

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 advisor during their first semester to develop a 4-year plan for degree completion. It is particularly important to take CHEM 170 (or CHEM 130 or CHEM 190) and CHEM 175 (or CHEM 135 or CHEM 195) in the first year and CHEM 330 (or CHEM 380) and CHEM 331 in the second year. For those seeking a B.S. degree it is also important to complete CHEM 335 (or CHEM 385) and CHEM 336 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 & PHSX 216, and PHSX 212 & PHSX 236) in the first 2 years.

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 2 courses, preferably Principal Courses, from 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, preferably Principal Courses from 2 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:

Chemistry Required Elective

Satisfied by CHEM 698 (or CHEM 699) or 700-level course.

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 15 hours of KU resident credit in the major. 

Major Junior/Senior Hours
Satisfied by a minimum of 39.5 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.

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.

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 2 courses, preferably Principal Courses, from 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, preferably Principal Courses from 2 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:

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

Environmental Chemistry Option Group I

  • 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 600 Introductory Biochemistry, Lectures (4)
  • BIOL 414 Principles of Ecology (3)
  • ATMO 105 Introductory Meteorology (5)

Environmental Chemistry Option Group II

  • BIOL 661 Ecology of Rivers and Lakes (with or without 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 44 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 33.5 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.

Biological Chemistry 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.

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 2 courses, preferably Principal Courses, from 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, preferably Principal Courses from 2 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:

Chemistry Required Elective

Satisfied by CHEM 698 (or CHEM 699) or 700-level course.

Biological Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Satisfied by BIOL 150.
  • Biochemistry. Satisfied by BIOL 636 and BIOL 638.
  • Biochemistry Laboratory. Satisfied by BIOL 637

Biological Chemistry Required Electives

Majors choosing this option should select 1 elective (3 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 50 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 39.5 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.

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 2 courses, preferably Principal Courses, from 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, preferably Principal Courses from 2 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:

Chemistry Physics Core Knowledge and Skills

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

Group I. Satisfied by

Group II. Satisfied by

  • 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 698 Undergraduate Research Problems
  • 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 46 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 35.5 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.

Contact Info

Department of Chemistry

Malott Hall
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, Room 2010
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572
785-864-4670
http://www.chem.ku.edu/
Craig E. Lunte, Chair
785-864-4670

Department of Chemistry

Malott Hall
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, Room 2010
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572
785-864-4670
http://www.chem.ku.edu/
Robert G. Carlson, Associate Chair, Undergraduate Affairs
785-864-4670

Department of Chemistry

Malott Hall
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, Room 2010
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572
785-864-4670
http://www.chem.ku.edu/
Brian B. Laird, Associate Chair, Graduate Affairs
785-864-4670
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