Why study chemistry?

Because understanding the atomic and molecular nature of matter informs us about ourselves and our universe, and creating and finding applications for new and modified forms of matter helps to conserve and enhance our world.

Undergraduate Admission

Admission to KU

All students applying for admission must send high school and college transcripts to the Office of Admissions. Unless they are college transfer students with at least 24 hours of credit, prospective students must send ACT or SAT scores to the Office of Admissions. Prospective first-year students should be aware that KU has qualified admission requirements that all new first-year students must meet to be admitted. Consult the Office of Admissions for application deadlines and specific admission requirements.

Visit the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for information about international admissions.

Students considering transferring to KU may see how their college-level course work will transfer on the Office of Admissions website.

Admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Admission to the College is a different process from admission to a major field. Some CLAS departments have admission requirements. See individual department/program sections for departmental admission 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 201,  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 125, 126, 127 and CHEM 250) and physics preparation (PHSX 211 & PHSX 216, and PHSX 212 & PHSX 236) in the first 2 years.

Requirements for the B.S. Degree

General Education Requirements

All students must complete the KU Core.

Chemistry Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge (27)
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.
Calculus I. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus I
Calculus I, Honors
Calculus II. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus II
Calculus II, Honors
Calculus III. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus III
Calculus III, Honors
CHEM 250Mathematical Methods for the Chemical Sciences3
General Physics I. Satisfied by one of the following:5
General Physics I
   and General Physics I Laboratory
General Physics I Honors
General Physics II. Satisfied by one of the following:4
General Physics II
   and General Physics II Laboratory
General Physics II Honors
Biochemistry. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Introductory Biochemistry, Lectures
Biochemistry I
Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills (50)
Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences I. Satisfied by one of the following:5
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences I
General Chemistry I
Foundations of Chemistry I, Honors
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences II. Satisfied by one of the following:5
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences II
General Chemistry II
Foundations of Chemistry II, Honors
Seminar I. Satisfied by:
CHEM 180Seminar I0.5
Organic Chemistry I (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 330Organic Chemistry I3
or CHEM 380 Organic Chemistry I, Honors
CHEM 331Organic Chemistry I Laboratory2
Organic Chemistry II (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 335Organic Chemistry II3
or CHEM 385 Organic Chemistry II, Honors
CHEM 336Organic Chemistry II Laboratory2
Physical Chemistry I (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 530
  & CHEM 531
Physical Chemistry I
   and Physical Chemistry I Laboratory
5
Physical Chemistry II (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 535
  & CHEM 536
Physical Chemistry II
   and Physical Chemistry II Laboratory
6
Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences. Satisfied by:
CHEM 201Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences1
Analytical Chemistry (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 620
  & CHEM 621
Analytical Chemistry
   and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
5
Instrumental Methods of Analysis (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 635
  & CHEM 636
Instrumental Methods of Analysis
   and Instrumental Methods of Analysis Laboratory
4
Systematic Inorganic Chemistry. Satisfied by:
CHEM 660Systematic Inorganic Chemistry3
Advanced Inorganic Laboratory. Satisfied by:
CHEM 661Advanced Inorganic Laboratory2
Seminar II. Satisfied by:
CHEM 695Seminar II0.5
Chemistry Required Elective3
Satisfied by one of the following:
Undergraduate Research Problems
Undergraduate Honors Research
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.

 

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.

General Education Requirements

All students must complete the KU Core.

Chemistry Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge (24)
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.
Calculus I. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus I
Calculus I, Honors
Calculus II. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus II
Calculus II, Honors
Calculus III. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus III
Calculus III, Honors
CHEM 250Mathematical Methods for the Chemical Sciences3
General Physics I. Satisfied by one of the following:5
General Physics I
   and General Physics I Laboratory
General Physics I Honors
General Physics II. Satisfied by one of the following:4
General Physics II
   and General Physics II Laboratory
General Physics II Honors
Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills (50)
Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences I. Satisfied by one of the following:5
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences I
General Chemistry I
Foundations of Chemistry I, Honors
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences II. Satisfied by one of the following:5
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences II
General Chemistry II
Foundations of Chemistry II, Honors
Seminar I. Satisfied by:
CHEM 180Seminar I0.5
Organic Chemistry I (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 330Organic Chemistry I3
or CHEM 380 Organic Chemistry I, Honors
CHEM 331Organic Chemistry I Laboratory2
Organic Chemistry II (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 335Organic Chemistry II3
or CHEM 385 Organic Chemistry II, Honors
CHEM 336Organic Chemistry II Laboratory2
Physical Chemistry I (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 530
  & CHEM 531
Physical Chemistry I
   and Physical Chemistry I Laboratory
5
Physical Chemistry II (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 535
  & CHEM 536
Physical Chemistry II
   and Physical Chemistry II Laboratory
6
Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences. Satisfied by:
CHEM 201Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences1
Analytical Chemistry (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 620
  & CHEM 621
Analytical Chemistry
   and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
5
Instrumental Methods of Analysis (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 635
  & CHEM 636
Instrumental Methods of Analysis
   and Instrumental Methods of Analysis Laboratory
4
Systematic Inorganic Chemistry. Satisfied by:
CHEM 660Systematic Inorganic Chemistry3
Advanced Inorganic Laboratory. Satisfied by:
CHEM 661Advanced Inorganic Laboratory2
Seminar II. Satisfied by:
CHEM 695Seminar II0.5
Chemistry Required Elective
Satisfied by one of the following:3
Undergraduate Research Problems
Undergraduate Honors Research
700-level course
Biological Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills (15)
Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology. Satisfied by:
BIOL 150Principles of Molecular and Cellular Biology4
Biochemistry. Satisfied by:6
Biochemistry I
Biochemistry II
Biochemistry Laboratory. Satisfied by:
BIOL 637Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory2
Biological Chemistry Required Electives
Majors choosing this option should select 1 elective (3 hours) from the following:3
Principles of Genetics
Fundamentals of Microbiology
Cell Structure and Function

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.

General Education Requirements

All students must complete the KU Core.

Chemistry Prerequisite or Co-requisite Knowledge (29)
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.
Calculus I. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus I
Calculus I, Honors
Calculus II. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus II
Calculus II, Honors
Calculus III. Satisfied by one of the following:4
Calculus III
Calculus III, Honors
Differential Equations. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Applied Differential Equations
Elementary Differential Equations
Elementary Linear Algebra. Satisfied by:
MATH 290Elementary Linear Algebra2
General Physics I. Satisfied by one of the following:5
General Physics I
   and General Physics I Laboratory
General Physics I Honors
General Physics II. Satisfied by one of the following:4
General Physics II
   and General Physics II Laboratory
General Physics II Honors
Biochemistry. Satisfied by one of the following:3
Introductory Biochemistry, Lectures
Biochemistry I
Chemistry Core Knowledge and Skills (47)
Majors must complete courses as indicated in the following areas:
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences I. Satisfied by one of the following:5
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences I
General Chemistry I
Foundations of Chemistry I, Honors
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences II. Satisfied by one of the following:5
Chemistry for the Chemical Sciences II
General Chemistry II
Foundations of Chemistry II, Honors
Seminar I. Satisfied by:
CHEM 180Seminar I0.5
Organic Chemistry I (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 330Organic Chemistry I3
or CHEM 380 Organic Chemistry I, Honors
CHEM 331Organic Chemistry I Laboratory2
Organic Chemistry II (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 335Organic Chemistry II3
or CHEM 385 Organic Chemistry II, Honors
CHEM 336Organic Chemistry II Laboratory2
Physical Chemistry I (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 530
  & CHEM 531
Physical Chemistry I
   and Physical Chemistry I Laboratory
5
Physical Chemistry II (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 535
  & CHEM 536
Physical Chemistry II
   and Physical Chemistry II Laboratory
6
Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences. Satisfied by:
CHEM 201Laboratory Safety in the Chemical Sciences1
Analytical Chemistry (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by:
CHEM 620
  & CHEM 621
Analytical Chemistry
   and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
5
Instrumental Methods of Analysis (Lecture and Lab). Satisfied by
CHEM 635
  & CHEM 636
Instrumental Methods of Analysis
   and Instrumental Methods of Analysis Laboratory
4
Systematic Inorganic Chemistry. Satisfied by:
CHEM 660Systematic Inorganic Chemistry3
Advanced Inorganic Laboratory. Satisfied by:
CHEM 661Advanced Inorganic Laboratory2
Seminar II. Satisfied by:
CHEM 695Seminar II0.5
Chemical Physics Core Knowledge and Skills (6)6
Majors must complete 2 courses from each of the following groups:
Group I
General Physics III
   and Intermediate Physics Laboratory I (PHSX 313 and PHSX 316 should be taken concurrently)
Mathematical Physics
Mechanics I
Numerical and Computational Methods in Physics
Physics of Fluids
Optics
Concepts in Solids
Group II
Electricity and Magnetism
Mechanics II
Complex Variable and Applications
Applied Partial Differential Equations
Undergraduate Research Problems
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

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 47 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 36.5 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.

Departmental Honors

Undergraduates may apply for admission to the departmental honors program after completion of an analytical, organic, and physical chemistry course but no sooner than the beginning of the junior year. Highly motivated and superior B.A. and B.S. students are admitted to the honors program. Honors in chemistry are awarded to students who have been admitted to the program and who have completed the following requirements with superior performance, including an overall KU GPA 3.25 and a major GPA of 3.5.

  1. At least 2 semesters of CHEM 699 (4-8 hours total) resulting in a written thesis.
  2. Evaluation and approval of the thesis by a faculty advisory committee.
  3. Oral presentation of the thesis results at a special departmental seminar or other approved forum.

For an application form and further information, consult the department office.