Chemistry

  • Maria Craig, Nadine Gergel-Hackett, Peter Ruiz-Haas, Karl Zachary

    Chemistry is available as a major (BA or BS) and minor.  Within the BS degree in chemistry, there is an optional emphasis in biochemistry, environmental chemistry, or materials chemistry.  Both independent and profoundly collaborative, chemistry is an essential science and a major or minor in the field prepares students for rewarding careers in industry, academia, and the public sector (government). Chemistry also provides an extremely strong background for those pursuing advanced work in medicine, business, and law.  Students receive personalized attention and real laboratory experience on meaningful research projects.

    This major requires a substantial portion of the coursework to be completed at the Staunton campus.

  • Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry

    31–32 semester hours in Chemistry and 12 s.h. in supporting courses
    CHEM 121
    CHEM 122
    CHEM 221
    CHEM 302
    CHEM 311
    CHEM 321 or 322
    CHEM 351
    CHEM 400
    CHEM 401
    Three additional semester hours in chemistry at the 300-level
    PHYS 201
    PHYS 202
    MATH 211

    Requirements for the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

    39 semester hours in Chemistry and 19 s.h. in supporting courses
    CHEM 121
    CHEM 122
    CHEM 221
    CHEM 222
    CHEM 302
    CHEM 311
    CHEM 321
    CHEM 322
    CHEM 351
    CHEM 400
    CHEM 401
    Three additional semester hours in chemistry at the 300-level
    PHYS 201
    PHYS 202
    MATH 211
    MATH 212
    Three additional semester hours in mathematics at the 200-level or above

    Requirements for Materials Chemistry Emphasis

    The requirements for the BS in Chemistry
    PHYS/CHEM 260
    PHYS/CHEM 360

    Requirements for Environmental Chemistry Emphasis

    35–36 semester hours in Chemistry and 19 s.h. in supporting courses
    CHEM 121
    CHEM 122
    CHEM 221
    CHEM 222
    CHEM 230
    CHEM 302
    CHEM 311
    CHEM 321 or CHEM 322
    CHEM 330
    CHEM 351
    CHEM 400
    CHEM 401
    Three additional semester hours in chemistry at the 300-level
    PHYS 201
    PHYS 202
    MATH 211
    MATH 212
    Three additional semester hours in mathematics at the 200-level or above

    Requirements for Biochemistry Emphasis

    36 semester hours in Chemistry and 31 s.h. in supporting courses
    CHEM 121
    CHEM 122
    CHEM 221
    CHEM 222
    CHEM 302
    CHEM 311
    CHEM 321 or CHEM 322
    CHEM 324
    CHEM 325
    CHEM 351
    CHEM 400
    CHEM 401
    BIOL 111
    BIOL 222
    BIOL 224
    PHYS 201
    PHYS 202
    MATH 211
    MATH 212
    Three additional semester hours in mathematics at the 200-level or above

    Senior Requirement: Successful completion of CHEM 400 and CHEM 401, which includes an oral defense of a written thesis on an original research project.

    Requirements for the Minor in Chemistry

    22 semester hours
    CHEM 121
    CHEM 122
    CHEM 221
    CHEM 311
    Six additional semester hours at the 200-level or above

    Minor in Environmental Policy Analysis
    Please see Environmental Policy Analysis

  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    Courses throughout the physical science curriculum discuss the relevance of scientific principles to public policy and social issues. Students lend their growing expertise to projects that examine exposure to lead and other heavy metals as well as the quality of local water. Students are encouraged, particularly through the local chapter of the American Chemical Society Student Affiliates, to engage local schools and organizations such as the Girl Scouts in hands-on experience with science and tutoring.

  • 100 Exploring the Physical World (3 s.h.) (N)
    For course description, see PHYS/CHEM 100 in the Physics listing.

    101 Forensic Chemistry (3 s.h.) (N)
    This course, intended for non-science majors, will examine selected topics in forensic science. Most of the analysis needed in forensic examinations requires the use of chemical analysis and we will learn about the tools and theories that are used in solving crimes. Topics may include toxicology, fingerprint analysis, fiber identification, blood typing and analysis, drug identification, and DNA profiling.

    120 Nutrition for Health, Fitness and Sport (3 s.h.) (N)
    The study of nutrients and their effect on health, development, and performance. Topics include metabolism of nutrients, the relationship between energy intake and expenditure, metabolic disorders, nutrition and disease and supplements. Students will be able to evaluate their own energy intake and assess its effectiveness with their daily energy expenditure. Cross listed as BIOL 120.

    121 General Chemistry I (4 s.h.) (N)
    The first of a two-course survey of the principles of chemistry appropriate for science majors. Topics include stoichiometry, the main classes of reactions, atomic and molecular structure, thermochemistry, and phase behavior. The associated lab elaborates on the material discussed in class and introduces laboratory techniques including the use of modern instrumentation. Algebra and high school chemistry are strongly recommended as background.

    122 General Chemistry II (4 s.h.)
    A continuation of General Chemistry I. Topics include ionic equilibria, chemical thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, electrochemistry, materials chemistry, the chemistry of main group elements and an introduction to biochemistry. The associated lab elaborates on the material discussed in class and introduces laboratory techniques and the use of modern chemical instrumentation. *Prerequisite: CHEM 121.

    151 Chemistry in the Kitchen (3 s.h.) (N)
    An introduction to the physical sciences using phenomena observed in the kitchen. Students will be introduced to the use of models and systematic observation to understand heat transfer, the origin of flavors, common chemical reactions, and so on.

    157 Wilderness, Scientific Advance and American Culture (3 s.h.) (T)
    This course explores how a uniquely American culture emerged as its diverse components responded to the twin challenges of a sparsely populated wilderness and rapid scientific progress. Unique to the course is a set of experiences designed to deepen students’ understanding that the central task of science is to understand nature and the central task of technology is to cope with it. These experiences also sharpen the contrast between contemporary American life with its technological accoutrements and life without them. Cross-listed as CHEM/PHYS 157.

    221 Organic Chemistry I (4 s.h.)
    A survey of organic chemistry, using the functional group approach, emphasizing the properties, stereochemistry, preparative methods, and reaction mechanisms of the following principal classes of organic compounds: alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alkyl halides, alcohols, ethers, and epoxides. In the associated lab, students develop competence in organic synthetic work, product purification, and analysis of their products using modern spectroscopic instrumentation. *Prerequisite: CHEM 122.

    222 Organic Chemistry II (4 s.h.) (R)
    This course continues the survey of organic chemistry started in CHEM 221 using a similar approach, and covering alkenes, alkynes, radicals, and aromatic and carbonyl compounds. Mass spectrometry, and IR and NMR spectroscopy, are covered in detail.  The lecture and associated lab cover a broad spectrum of modern methods of organic synthesis and characterization. Student work is individualized and the design and execution of experiments is stressed. The course exposes the students to a wide variety of laboratory techniques and develops their judgment in choosing experimental methods. *Prerequisite: CHEM 221.

    230 Environmental Chemistry I (3 s.h.)
    An introduction to the study of the environment and modern environmental problems in terms of chemical structures and reactions. Chemical principles of equilibrium, kinetics, and thermodynamics are used to help understand our changing environment. Topics include toxicological chemistry, aquatic chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, and green chemistry. *Prerequisite: CHEM 122. Alternate years.

    260 Introduction to Materials Science (3 s.h.) (R)
    Materials science encompasses the structure and composition, synthesis and processing, performance, and properties of materials. The focus of this course is a holistic introduction to the study of materials from the combined viewpoints of physics and chemistry. This is a survey course investigating topics including crystalline structure, band theory, defects, and electronic, optical, and thermal properties of materials. Cross listed as PHYS 260. *Prerequisites: PHYS 202 and CHEM 221.

    270 Undergraduate Research (1–3 s.h.)
    Students do original research in accordance with ability and background under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Students are expected to devote 4 hours per week to the project for every credit hour. A written report will be submitted to the department each semester of enrollment. Cannot be used to meet elective course requirements for a major or minor in chemistry. May be repeated for credit. Total research credit to be used toward an undergraduate degree not to exceed 6 hours. *Prerequisites: CHEM 122, consent of instructor and submission of a research contract to the department.

    302 Inorganic Chemistry (3 s.h.)
    Students will acquire an understanding of inorganic structures and reactions: the periodic properties of elements; molecular and crystal geometry; symmetry relationships; bonding theories; chemistry of selected representative and transition metal elements; contemporary applications in materials and bioinorganic chemistry. *Prerequisite: CHEM 221, which may be taken concurrently. Alternate years.

    311 Analytical Chemistry (4 s.h.) (W)
    Principles, techniques, and instruments used in quantitative chemical analysis. Principles of chemical equilibria, spectrophotometry, electrochemistry, and chromatography. Applications to gravimetric, titrimetric, spectrophotometric, chromatographic, and electrochemical analyses. *Prerequisite: CHEM 122.

    321 Physical Chemistry I: Phenomenological and Statistical Thermodynamics (4 s.h.)
    Physical chemistry is the branch of chemistry that establishes and develops the theoretical foundations of chemistry. This course begins with an essentially macroscopic perspective then describes the approach used to connect molecular properties to macroscopic phenomena. The associated laboratory gives student experience with physical measurements in chemistry including vacuum techniques, calorimetry, spectroscopic methods, and electrical measurements. CHEM 321 and CHEM 322 may be taken in either order. Cross listed as CHEM/PHYS 321. *Prerequisites: CHEM 122, MATH 212, PHYS 202. Alternate years.

    322 Physical Chemistry II: Quantum Chemistry, Spectroscopy, and Kinetics (3 s.h.)
    Atomic and molecular structure, spectroscopy, and chemical kinetics. CHEM 321 and CHEM 322 may be taken in either order. *Prerequisites: CHEM 122, MATH 212, and PHYS 202. Alternate years.

    324 Biochemistry I (3 s.h.)
    Studies of the major classes of biomolecules — proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids — provide a structural and functional basis for the understanding of metabolism, energy production, and transfer of genetic information. Recommended background: BIOL 224 and CHEM 222. *Prerequisite: CHEM 221 and BIOL 222 or permission of instructor. Alternate years.

    325 Biochemistry II (4 s.h.)
    A continuation of the topics introduced in CHEM 324. The associated lab introduces students to techniques of protein purification, enzyme assays, and kinetics. Recommended background: BIOL 224 and CHEM 222. *Prerequisites: CHEM 324 or permission of instructor. Alternate years.

    330 Environmental Chemistry II (3 s.h.)
    An advanced study of environmental chemistry. Topics include chemical fate and transport, atmospheric photochemistry, and geochemistry. *Prerequisite: CHEM 230. Alternate years.

    351 Advanced Lab (2 s.h.)
    An integrated, problem-oriented introduction to contemporary instrumental methods in chemistry, the treatment of data, the use of the chemical literature, and presentation of results. *Prerequisites: CHEM 221 and concurrent enrollment in a 300-level chemistry lecture course.

    360 Advanced Topics in Materials Science (3 s.h.)
    This course offers a more rigorous examination of the core topics of Introduction to Materials Science. The theoretical basis for mechanical, thermal, magnetic, and optical properties of materials is examined. In addition, microstructures, composites, and nanostructures are examined. Cross listed as PHYS 360. *Prerequisites: PHYS 260, CHEM 321.

    370 Undergraduate Research (1–3 s.h.)
    Students do original research in accordance with ability and background under the guidance of a member of the faculty. Students are expected to devote 4 hours per week to the project for every credit hour. A written report will be submitted to the department each semester of enrollment. Cannot be used to meet elective course requirements for a major or minor in chemistry. May be repeated for credit. Total research credit to be used toward an undergraduate degree not to exceed 6 hours. *Prerequisites: CHEM 121, 122, 221, 222, concurrent enrollment in 350, consent of instructor and submission of a research contract to the department.

    399 Special Topics in Chemistry (1–3 s.h.)
    Students study topics in chemistry at a level beyond the discussion in regularly offered courses. Potential subjects include: molecular modeling, supramolecular and nanochemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, group theory, and statistical mechanics. *Prerequisites: CHEM 221, 351, junior standing. Course offered as needed.

    400, 401 Senior Research (2 s.h. each) (O, M: both 400 and 401)
    Seminar and independent research leading to the completion of a thesis required of majors in the senior year. The student, under supervision of staff members, experiences research as it is carried out in practical situations and presents findings orally and in writing. Satisfactory completion of the research project and the oral defense of the thesis fulfill the senior requirement for chemistry majors.