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Undergraduate Chemistry

Academic planning

Chemistry Major

Explore our Academic Planning page to see how you can earn a chemistry degree that is certified by the American Chemical Society!  The Penn State Chemistry Department is approved by the American Chemical Society to confer ACS-certified degrees to chemistry majors who meet certain requirements beyond those required by the major. Courses in biological chemistry and chemical literature must be included among a student’s 400-level chemistry electives, and two additional credits of laboratory work, typically chemical research, are required.

Do you have questions about the Chemistry major?  Find and make an appointment with a Chemistry Academic Adviser!


Entrance to Major

In order to be eligible for entrance to the Chemistry major, a student must have:

  • Attained at least a 2.00 cumulative grade-point average
  • Completed and earned both a grade of C or better and a combined grade point average of at least 2.50 in each of the following courses: CHEM 110, CHEM 111, CHEM 112, CHEM 113, CHEM 210, MATH 140, and MATH 141. Note: If courses are repeated, only the higher grade will be used in this calculation.


Grade Related Graduation Requirements

  • A grade of C or better in all Chemistry courses, including 400-level electives
  • An overall GPA of 2.0 or higher


Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, a minimum of 125 credits is required:

  • General Education:  45 credits
  • Requirements for the Major:  94 credits

Please visit the Penn State Undergraduate Bulletin for the latest up-to-date Chemistry degree requirements.


With a large variety of courses available, you can explore different areas of chemistry and specialize your degree.  

The course series listed for each concentration in the Recommended Academic Plans are some of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. Students have the ability, in consultation with their adviser, to create their own path towards a chemistry degree!  The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. These plans should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report).

Two female students working in a lab

Recommended Academic Plans


Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.




Transfer Students

Transfer students enrich the campus culture at University Park. Learn how you can join the Penn State chemistry community! 


Chemistry Minor

Enhance your bachelor's degree by adding a chemistry minor. Earning a minor enables you to gain specialized knowledge that complements your major, pursue a personal interest, or explore a different field of study. Learn what a chemistry minor can do for you and view the requirements below and on the University Undergraduate Bulletin!

Chemistry Minor Requirements

Course Credits
CHEM 110 (GN) - Chemical Principles I 3
CHEM 111 (GN) - Experimental Chemistry I 1
CHEM 112 (GN) - Chemical Principles II 3
CHEM 113 (GN) - Experimental Chemistry II 1
CHEM 210 - Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 212 - Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 213W - Laboratory in Organic Chemistry 2
Course Credits
CHEM 227 - Analytical Chemistry (formerly labeled CHEM 221 at some locations) 4

NOTE: One of the following 3 options may be substituted for CHEM 227.

CHEM 221 - Quantitative Analysis 4
CHEM 450 and CHEM 452 6
CHEM 452 and CHEM 466 6

Only courses NOT used above and not required by your major as Prescribed courses are allowed to be used as electives.

Course Credits
CHEM 402 - Chemistry in the Environment 3
CHEM 406 - Nuclear and Radiochemistry 3
CHEM 408 - Computational Chemistry 3
CHEM 412 - Transition Metal Chemistry 3
CHEM 423W - Chemical Spectroscopy 4
*CHEM 425W - Chromatography and Electrochemistry 3
CHEM 430 - Structural Analysis of Organic Compounds 3
CHEM 431W - Organic and Inorganic Preparations 3
CHEM 432 - Organic Reaction Mechanisms 3
CHEM 448 - Surface Chemistry 3
CHEM 450 - Physical Chemistry - Thermodynamics 3
CHEM 452 - Physical Chemistry - Quantum Chemistry 3
CHEM 457 - Experimental Physical Chemistry  2
CHEM 459W - Advanced and Experimental Physical Chemistry 4
CHEM 464 - Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics 3
CHEM 466 - Molecular Thermodynamics (if not used in above category) 3
CHEM 476 - Biological Chemistry 3
CHEM 497 - Special Topics (by permission) 3

*For Forensic Science Majors, CHEM 425W and CHEM/FRNSC 427W cannot be used as Chemistry minor electives


International Opportunities

Studying abroad offers chemistry majors unique opportunities to network with international scientists and exchange ideas, all while experiencing a new culture!

Penn State’s Education Abroad Office offers almost 200 different study abroad options for Penn State students, including opportunities to take chemistry courses abroad, study a language, take general education courses, experience a new culture, or visit a particular country or culture.

International Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs, summer program options, and embedded courses are also available to chemistry majors. 

A complete list of all study abroad programs and embedded courses can be found from Global Penn State, and more science-specific information about international opportunities can be found on the Office of Science Engagement website. Talk to your advisor for more information about how you want to fit an international experience into your chemistry major.