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Undergraduate Chemistry

400-level Chemistry Courses and Descriptions

Advanced Courses for Various Concentrations

There are no formal options offered with the chemistry degree. You should choose your elective courses to best suit your chemical interests. Below are some courses recommended for different interest areas. 


Chemical Literature

Course Semester Offered Description
CHEM 400 Chemical Literature Fall and Spring

Chemistry has a very rich literature and understanding how to use the literature can be beneficial to students, researchers, and authors. The goal of this course is to provide practical skills for using the chemical literature. Some of the areas covered include searching for journal articles and conference papers, patents, spectral and properties data, and searching using chemical structures and reactions. We also cover reference management software and the ACS citation style, as well as the basics of scientific publishing, such as peer review, predatory publishing, and ethical authorship.


Analytical Chemistry

Course Semester Offered Description
CHEM 402 Chemistry in the Environment Fall This lecture course provides an introduction to atmospheric chemistry. Topics covered include climate change, air pollution, and the ozone hole. Thermodynamics, kinetics, and organic chemistry are applied to understand these environmental systems. Students tend to like the application of chemistry to learn about environmental problems facing our world.
CHEM 423W Chemical Spectroscopy Spring Instruments are at the core of every measurement and observation we make. Is it on? Is the instrument functioning...correctly? Is the data publishable or even trustworthy? Results (and therefore, the interpretations) are only as good as the data collection and processing methods employed by the user. In this course we will explore the math, physics, and chemistry underlying instrument theory, design, and optimization.
CHEM 425W Chromatography and Electrochemistry Fall LC and LC-MS are the go-to analytical instruments for sample characterization in industry and a majority of applications in academia. Modern chemistry emerged from its alchemical roots upon the invention of the battery; today, electrochemical research is paving the way for a more energy efficient future. The course delves into the theory and application of both chromatography and electrochemistry via project-based work.
CHEM 468  

In this class, we will describe how to implement and analyze cutting-edge spectroscopy experiments in biological, materials, and solution-phase environments. Students will learn to how to build and use microscopes capable of resolving single molecules and achieving spatial resolution that exceeds the optical diffraction limit. Direct connections to current problems in biophysical chemistry and materials science will be made.


Biological Chemistry

Course Semester Offered Description
CHEM 476 Biological Chemistry Fall Biochemistry for Chemists! Focus is on applying chemistry concepts to biological molecules. Good capstone course - synergize your knowledge from organic, physical and analytical chemistry to solve biological problems.


Inorganic & Materials Chemistry

Course Semester Offered Description
CHEM 412 Transition Metal Chemistry Fall  
CHEM 497 Polymer Chemistry (future CHEM 480)   This course will be an introduction to the chemistry and properties of polymers. Topics will include in-depth focus on polymerization mechanisms and kinetics (radical, anionic, cationic; ring opening polymerization, coordination polymerization; copolymerization), methods for polymer characterization, structure-property relationships in polymers (especially how the chemical structure affects mechanical and thermal properties), and overview of key chemical processing methods for polymers. Some special topics will also be included, such as conducting polymers for electronics, polymers for biomedical applications, the chemistry/processing of photoresists for photolithography and multiphoton lithography, and 3D printing.


Organic & Synthetic Chemistry

Course Semester Offered Description
CHEM 430 Structural Analysis of Organic Compounds Fall This lecture course explores the background and interpretation of spectroscopic and spectrometric data.  Topics covered include UV/Vis, IR, Mass Spec, 1D-NMR, 2D-NMR, and Multinuclear NMR.  Students often describe this class like a “puzzle”, as all of the provided pieces of data must fit together to solve an unknown organic structure!
CHEM 431W Organic and Inorganic Preparations Fall  
CHEM 432 Organic Reaction Mechanisms Fall and Spring  
CHEM 433 Industrial Medicinal Chemistry Spring This course is designed to build upon synthetic organic chemistry lab skills in the context of medicinal chemistry, specifically drug development. Students will learn how the pharmaceutical industry approaches the design, synthesis, and testing of drug targets. This knowledge will be applied as students propose and design novel drug targets. The syntheses of these drug targets will be carried out and optimized. The targets will be tested via the appropriate studies and assays to study the targets, properties and bioactivities. Students will have regular interactions with an industrial medicinal chemist to report on their work progress. An electronic notebook will allow for collaborative work and remote feedback from the industrial chemist. The semester culminates with a tour to a pharmaceutical company where students present their semester work in a poster session to scientists at the company.


Physical & Theoretical Chemistry

Course Semester Offered Description
CHEM 408 Computational Chemistry Fall  
CHEM 448 Surface Chemistry Fall Surface chemistry is important in myriad applications ranging from industrial catalysts to consumer products and biology. This course emphasizes basic principles of surface chemistry, emphasizing structure and properties of interfaces from a largely physical chemical viewpoint.
CHEM 459W Advanced Physical Chemistry Lab Spring  
CHEM 464 Chemical Kinetics & Dynamics Spring This lecture course introduces the basics of how one can predict the rates of chemical reactions and transport properties. The topics covered include collision theory, transition state theory, cage effect, and the kinetics of surface reactions and photo-physical processes. This course offers excellent opportunities to learn physical chemists’ analytical approaches to describing lab-scale observations of chemical changes at a microscopic level.
CHEM 466 Molecular Thermodynamics Spring Introduction to physical chemistry with a primary emphasis on the statistical and molecular interpretation of thermodynamics. This focus enables the student to consider macroscopic properties based on the constituent molecular properties. Examples with proteins and other biomolecules, as well as polymers and various solutions, appear throughout the course.