chemistry is an interdisciplinary subject with roots in physics
and mathematics and with applications in biology, geology,
neuroscience, and a wide range of technology. The courses
for chemistry and biochemistry majors are designed to emphasize
the fundamental principles of the science and their application
to observed phenomena. These courses develop chemical reasoning
and experimental skills, reflect chemistry's interdisciplinary
nature, and prepare students for success in graduate or professional
is an experimental science. Graduate study in chemistry is
centered on the research thesis, and most chemists engage
in research themselves or make use of the results of research.
Physicians and others who use chemical material should have
some experience in research in order to evaluate the results
of research. Accordingly, opportunities are provided, and
students are strongly encouraged to gain research experience
through an in-term research project, summer research, a Winter
Term project, or a combination of these.
major in chemistry or biochemistry can lead to a variety of
careers besides chemical or biochemical research. Among these
are medicine, teaching, patent law, business, and interdisciplinary
sciences such as molecular biology, environmental science,
pharmacology, toxicology, materials science, geochemistry,
and chemical physics.
Approved. The Department of Chemistry is approved by the
American Chemical Society and certifies graduates who satisfy
the ACS guidelines in chemistry or in biochemistry. For certification,
chemistry majors must take, in addition to the minimum major
requirements: Chemistry 254, and a year of research with a
comprehensive written report. For certification, biochemistry
majors must take, in addition to the minimum major requirements:
a year of research with a comprehensive written report.
Placement. Students with good preparation in chemistry
should apply for admission to Chemistry 103, a one-semester
course that takes the place of Chemistry 101, 102. Entering
students who have scored 3 on the Chemistry Advanced Placement
examination of the Educational Testing Service can receive
4 hours of transfer credit (equivalent to 101) and can begin
college chemistry with 102 or 103. Students entering with
Chemistry AP scores of 4 or 5 can receive 8 hours of transfer
credit (equivalent to 101, 102), but must take Chemistry 109
if they plan to enroll later in core chemistry courses. First-year
students with 8 hours of credit normally take 109 in the fall
semester and Chemistry 205 either concurrently or in the spring
Course Sequence Suggestions. Chemistry 50, 65, 145, 151,
and 163 are courses of general interest which do not presume
any prior knowledge of chemistry and are aimed at nonscience
majors. Chemistry 50, 145, or 151 may serve as a bridge to
101 for students who have not had high-school chemistry. Most
students who major in a science and most premedical students
begin their study of college chemistry in the first year with
101, 102 (or 103), which is open also to other students who
want a thorough introduction to the subject.
potential majors are strongly advised to complete 101, 102
(or 103) and at least Mathematics 133 in the first year. Those
beginning with 205 should also take 109 in the first year.
Potential chemistry majors should take Physics 110, 111 (or
103, 104) in the sophomore year and should complete Mathematics
231 by the end of the sophomore year. Potential biochemistry
majors should take Biology 118/119 or 120 no later than the
sophomore year and should complete the mathematics and physics
requirements as early as possible.
majors should take careful note of prerequisites for later
courses. For example, physical chemistry depends upon prior
work over a two-year period in mathematics and physics as
well as a background in general chemistry. Majors who plan
to take advanced courses in chemistry or in other sciences,
including research courses, find their senior-year schedules
most manageable if they take physical chemistry in the junior
The Chemistry Department offers two majors, chemistry and
The minimum major in chemistry requires Chemistry 101, 102
(103 may replace 101, 102), 205, 211, 213, and 339. Nine hours
of advanced courses from the following list also are required,
including at least two hours from each of the two categories
and one advanced laboratory course (327 or 347); Category
I: 254, 325, 326, 327, 396, 405; Category II: 341, 343, 347,
349, 409. The major also requires Mathematics 231 and Physics
110, 111 (or 103, 104).
The minimum major in biochemistry requires Chemistry 101,
102 (103 may replace 101, 102), 205, 211, 213, 254, 339 (or
349), and 374; Biology 213/214; Mathematics 231; Physics 110,
111 (or 103, 104).
minimum major in chemistry or biochemistry will prepare students
for graduate study. However, the best preparation for competitive
graduate programs involves additional advanced courses and
laboratory work, related courses in other departments, and
research experience. The latter may be accomplished through
a summer research experience, a semester or two of research
(Chemistry 525, 526), or an on-campus or off-campus Winter
Term project. Some graduate departments of chemistry require
for the Ph.D. degree a reading knowledge of a foreign language.
Most departments allow a choice of German, French, or Russian,
but a few departments require German. German and French are
the most important foreign languages in biochemistry.
and biochemistry majors are encouraged to take additional
mathematics courses such as linear algebra, differential equations,
and statistics. Majors planning to pursue graduate studies
in biochemistry or molecular biology should consider upper-level
biology courses such as molecular genetics, immunology, and
microbiology. The specific courses chosen will depend in part
on the intended area of specialization.
semester the Chemistry Department sponsors a program of Wednesday
afternoon research talks by visiting chemists and biochemists.
Majors are expected to attend.
Majors in other departments or programs (but not chemistry
or biochemistry majors) may earn a minor in chemistry by completing
general chemistry (101 and 102, or 103) and three courses
from the following list: 205, 211, 213, 254 (or 325), 339,
349, 374. Two of the elective courses must be taken at Oberlin.
A formal chemistry minor may be helpful to non-chemistry majors
seeking entry-level jobs in chemical industry, secondary-school
teaching, or science journalism, as well as those students
who plan further education in technological aspects of law,
art, or other disciplines.
Students with outstanding records are invited to participate
in the Honors Program. Seniors in the program elect a minimum
of five hours of Chemistry 525, 526, or the equivalent (with
at least two hours in the first semester) and work year-long
(including Winter Term) on a research project. Honors students
write a thesis based on their research and take oral and written
examinations. Honors students are required to take Chemical
Information, Chemistry 396, prior to enrolling in Chemistry
Pre-medical students planning to major in chemistry or biochemistry
should arrange a conference with a pre-medical advisor in
chemistry (Mr. Fuchsman or Mr. Matlin) no later than their
fourth semester. See the pre-medical statement earlier in
Engineering. Students who are interested in a career in
chemical engineering should consider the Combined Liberal
Arts and Engineering Program. This five-year program is described
in this catalog under the heading Engineering. Mr. Ackermann
can provide advice on courses that lead to both the Combined
Program and a chemistry major.
of Credit. Prior approval is required for major course
work taken away from Oberlin. Without explicit approval from
the Chemistry Department, no major may earn more than half
of the hours required for the major while away from Oberlin.
Normally, transfer credit for chemistry courses numbered 300
and above will not count toward the requirements of chemistry
or biochemistry majors.
Term. Each of the chemistry faculty are willing to sponsor
Winter Term projects as indicated. Mr. Ackermann: Inorganic
synthesis. Readings in consumer chemistry or health claims
(e.g. vitamins C or E). Readings in areas of inorganic chemistry.
Research associated with ongoing laboratory projects. Mr.
Fuchsman: Laboratory projects in biochemistry. Off-campus
projects involving experience in health-care delivery, medical
research or biochemical research. Intermediate/advanced weaving
at the Loom Shed in Oberlin under the direction of Charles
Lermond. Mr. Matlin: Participation in on-going research
projects in the fields of organic photochemistry and bioorganic
chemistry. Readings in the history and philosophy of science.
Mr. Nee: Laboratory projects in introductory and advanced
organic chemistry. Consumer, food, and polymer chemistry.
Ms. Stoll: Ongoing research synthesizing magnetic monolayers
and hydrothermal synthesis. Mr. Thompson: Laboratory
and reading projects dealing with chemical analysis and forensic
science. Beginning chess. Veterinary internships.
Charge. Students are held responsible for apparatus issued
to them in laboratories. Each student has a breakage allowance
that covers normal breakage of common glassware and the like.
Breakage costs exceeding that allowance are charged at the
end of the semester.
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of General Interest
Chemistry 3 hours
course is intended for students without a high-school chemistry
background who want an introduction to chemistry. The course
is appropriate for students who plan to take CHEM 101 and
for students who intend no further study of chemistry. It
consists of lectures and demonstrations surveying the fundamental
ideas of chemistry. Not open to students who have credit
for CHEM 101 or equivalent. Enrollment Limit: 40.
2 CHEM-050-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Mr. Nee
145. Chemistry and Crime 3 hours
151. Chemistry and the Environment 3 hours
discussion of the natural and human origins of significant
chemical species in the environment and the ultimate fate
of these materials. Air and water quality will receive special
attention. Chemical concepts will be developed as needed.
Enrollment Limit: 40.
1 CHEM-151-01 TuTh 3:00-4:15 Ms. Stoll
163. Origins and Treatment of Cancer 2-3 hours
chemistry underlying cancer research and treatment, and
discussion of cancer-related scientific, social, political,
and ethical issues. Chemical principles will be developed
as needed. This course is designed for students who have
not studied college-level chemistry. Students who have completed
BIOL 213 must enroll for 2 credit hours and others for 3
credit hours. Enrollment Limit: 30. Offered in alternate
1 CHEM-163-01 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Mr. Fuchsman.
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and Reactivity 4 hours
chemical periodicity, bonding, molecular structure. Section
04 is taught in workshop mode,
emphasizing problem solving and peer discussion with less
time devoted to lecture than the other sections. Prerequisites:
High-school chemistry or CHEM 50 (or consent of instructors);
high-school mathematics up to, but not including, precalculus.
Students may register for any laboratory.
Chemical Principles 4 hours
thermodynamics, reaction rates and mechanisms, atomic
and molecular orbitals. Prerequisites: CHEM 101.
Students may register for any laboratory.
2 CHEM-102-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Ms. Stoll,
Staff Limit: 70
11:00-11:50 Ms. Stoll, Staff Limit: 70
103. Topics in General Chemistry 4 hours
students with good pre-college preparation. Reactions,
equilibrium, thermodynamics, reaction rates and mechanisms,
and bonding. Takes the place of CHEM 101, CHEM 102. Admission
by examination during the orientation period. Students
who have had chemistry in high school and who plan to
take both chemistry and calculus should take the examination.
Students who earned a score of 3 or higher on the Chemistry
Advanced Placement test automatically qualify for the
course. Interested students should write to the departmental
secretary early in the summer. Prerequisites: Concurrent
enrollment in or credit for MATH 133 or its equivalent.
Consent of instructor required.
1 CHEM-103-01 MWF 11:00-11:50 Mr. Ackermann
109. Introductory Thermodynamics 1 hour
portion of CHEM 103 (Fall) or CHEM 102 (Spring) covering
the principles of thermodynamics and intended only for
students who do not take CHEM 102 or CHEM 103, but plan
to take core courses other than CHEM 205. Students must
attend the lectures and pass an examination given at the
end of the unit, which is a four week, mid-semester session.
Notes: CR/NE grading. Consent of instructor
of Organic Chemistry 4 hours
one-semester introduction to the basic principles, theories,
and applications of the chemistry of carbon compounds. Representative
reactions, preparation, and properties of carbon compounds
will be covered. The laboratory will provide experience
with purification, physical and spectroscopic characterization,
and synthesis of organic substances. Prerequisites:
CHEM 102 or 103.
1 CHEM-205-01 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Mr. Nee Limit:
1:30-4:30 Mr. Matlin Limit: 25
1:30-4:30 Mr. Nee Limit: 25
211. Analytical Chemistry 4 hours
of chemical measurements with a focus on instrumental analysis,
including spectrophotometry, electrochemistry, and separations.
Laboratory develops quantitative skills and provides experience
with chemical instrumentation. Spreadsheets are used to
treat experimental data. Prerequisites: MATH 133;
CHEM 102 or CHEM 103. Students who have not taken CHEM 102
or CHEM 103 at Oberlin must have credit for CHEM 109.
1 CHEM-211-01 MWF 10:00-10:50 Mr. Thompson Limit:
1:30-4:30 Mr. Thompson Limit: 14
1:30-4:30 Mr. Thompson Limit: 14
213. Inorganic Chemistry 4 hours
of the principles and theories of inorganic chemistry. Topics
include atomic structure, structure and bonding in covalent
and ionic compounds, periodic properties, acid-base concepts,
coordination compounds, and selected descriptive chemistry
of the main group elements. Laboratory involves synthesis
and characterization of inorganic substances and activities
illustrating principles covered in the lecture. Prerequisites:
CHEM 102 or 103. Students who have not taken CHEM 102 or
CHEM 103 at Oberlin must have credit for CHEM 109.
2 CHEM-213-01 MWF 10:00-10:50 Mr. Ackermann Limit:
1:30-4:30 Mr. Ackermann Limit: 16
CHEM-213-03 Tu 1:30-4:30 Mr. Ackermann Limit:
339. Quantum Chemistry and Kinetics 4 hours
of chemical reactions, quantum theory of atomic and molecular
structure, and molecular spectroscopy. Prerequisites:
CHEM 102 or CHEM 103; PHYS 111 or PHYS 104 (may be taken
concurrently); MATH 231. Students who have not taken CHEM
102 or CHEM 103 at Oberlin must have credit for CHEM 109.
2 CHEM-339-01 MWF 11:00-11:50 Mr. Elrod
1:30-4:30 Mr. Elrod
Chemistry 4 hours
chemistry of the major classes of biological substances.
Emphases on structures and reaction mechanisms as they apply
to biological transformations. Includes the chemistry of
and coordination chemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM
2 CHEM-254-01 TuTh 11:00-12:15 Mr. Fuchsman Limit:
1:30-4:30 Mr. Fuchsman Limit: 30
1:30-4:30 Mr. Fuchsman Limit: 30
325. Organic Mechanism and Synthesis 3 hours
second course in organic chemistry will systematically
explore reactions of carbon-containing compounds and the
mechanistic pathways involved in these processes. Reactions
and topics that will be discussed include functional group
transformations, oxidations, reductions, cycloadditions,
stereospecific reactions and carbon-carbon bond formation.
Strategies will be presented for the design of multi-step
organic syntheses. Prerequisites: CHEM 205. Students
who have not taken CHEM 102 or CHEM 103 at Oberlin must
have credit for CHEM 109.
2 CHEM-325-01 TuTh 8:35-9:50 Mr. Nee
326. Organic Mechanism and Synthesis Laboratory 1
laboratory is intended to complement the Organic Mechanism
and Synthesis lecture course. Laboratory involves experiments
illustrating principles presented in the lecture course.
Pre- or Co-requisite: CHEM 325 or permission of
instructor. Notes: CR/NE grading. Enrollment
2 CHEM-326-01 F 1:30-4:30 Mr. Nee
Laboratory 2 hours
work involves the synthesis of organic and inorganic compounds
by a variety of techniques (e.g. photochemical, electrochemical,
inert atmosphere) and the use of spectroscopic methods
(e.g. Fourier-transform NMR, infrared, ultraviolet) for
their characterization. The lectures develop the theory
and unified application of spectroscopic analysis to solve
structural problems. Prerequisites: CHEM 205 and
CHEM 213. Enrollment Limit: 8.
1 CHEM-327-01 M 8:00-8:50 pm Ms. Stoll
396. Chemical Information 1 hour
chemical information with printed and electronic indexes
and reference materials. On-line searching of Chemical
Abstracts. Assessing the information obtained. Presenting
chemical information using equation-editing and chemical-structure
software. Junior majors are encouraged to enroll. Prerequisites:
CHEM 205; one other core chemistry course. Notes:
CR/NE grading. Enrollment Limit: 20.
1 CHEM-396-01 Th 8:00-9:15 p.m. Mr. Ackermann,
405. Topics in Organic Chemistry 2 hours
course will examine several areas of current research
activity in organic chemistry. The course readings will
be taken from the recent literature. Topics will include
asymmetric synthesis, combinatorial chemistry, molecular
recognition, biomimetic chemistry and reactive intermediates.
Classes will be equally divided between lecture and discussion/student
presentations. Prerequisites: CHEM 325. Corequisite:
2 CHEM-405-01 To be arranged Mr. Matlin
Analysis 2 hours
and practices of trace chemical analysis (nanoscale volumes
and concentrations) with a focus on biological and environmental
samples. Topics include flow cytometry, DNA analysis by
capillary electrophoresis, total analysis systems on a chip,
immunoassay field kits, and mass spectrometry. Lecture-discussion
format. Prerequisites: CHEM 211.
2 CHEM-341-01 TuTh 10:00-10:50 Mr. Thompson
343. Advanced Inorganic Chemistry 2 hours
that will be covered include an introduction to group theory
with applications to structure and bonding in inorganic
compounds and solids and to the electronic spectra of coordination
compounds; kinetics and mechanism of the reactions of coordination
complexes; organometallic chemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM
213 and 339.
2 CHEM-343-01 To be arranged Ms. Stoll
347. Advanced Analytical and Physical Chemistry Laboratory 2
using spectroscopic, electrochemical, and chromatographic
instrumentation. New techniques and experimental results
will be discussed during the lecture. Prerequisites:
CHEM 211; CHEM 339 (may be taken concurrently) or 349. Enrollment
2 CHEM-347-01 Tu 8:00-8:50 p.m. Mr. Thompson
1:30-4:30 Mr. Thompson
349. Chemical and Statistical Thermodynamics 3
introduction to statistical thermodynamics, and kinetic
theory. Application of mathematical methods and physical
principles to chemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM 102
or CHEM 103. Students who have not taken CHEM 102 or CHEM
103 at Oberlin must have credit for CHEM 109. PHYS 111 or
PHYS 104; MATH 231.
1 CHEM-349-01 MWF 9:00-9:50 Staff
409. Topics in Physical Chemistry 2 hours
covered include molecular orbital theory and computational
chemistry methods (use of computational engines and visualization
techniques). Prerequisites: CHEM 339 or consent.
2 CHEM-409-01 To be arranged Mr. Elrod
Other Advanced Courses
374. Biochemistry 4
examination of the chemical basis of enzyme catalysis, metabolism
and metabolic control, and aspects of molecular biology. General
principles, specific detailed examples, and phylogenetic comparisons.
Prerequisites: CHEM 254; BIOL 213, BIOL 214. Enrollment
1 CHEM-374-01 TuTh 8:35-9:50 Mr. Fuchsman
1:30-4:30 Mr. Fuchsman
526. Research 2-5 hours
for original investigation are assigned. Normally taken
in the senior year. Interested students are encouraged to
speak with faculty members about possible projects. Students
in the Honors program are required to enroll. Consent
of chair required.
1 CHEM-525-01 To be arranged Staff
2 CHEM-526-01 To be arranged Staff
995. Private Reading 1-3 hours
readings can be undertaken on a wide range of chemistry
topics. Advanced courses not offered in the current academic
year may be taken as a private reading and count towards
the advanced course requirement of a chemistry major. Please
consult with the chair about taking advanced courses as
a private reading. Private Readings sponsored by Mr. Ackermann,
Mr. Elrod, Mr. Fuchsman, Mr. Matlin, Mr. Nee, Ms. Stoll,
and Mr. Thompson. Consent of instructor required.
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