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Chemistry Courses and Classes Overview

Chemistry courses are often core requirements for undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the sciences. Keep reading for more information about chemistry classes.

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Essential Information

Chemistry courses are offered at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Many bachelor's degree programs require students to take at least one introductory chemistry class and lab regardless of their major. Students interested in distance learning can consider taking online chemistry classes to save time and money on prerequisite courses.

Science majors, especially those pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry or Biology, take more advanced chemistry classes, like biochemistry or physical chemistry and are required to conduct lab experiments and to communicate results of lab work effectively.

Here is a list of concepts and terminology commonly explored in chemistry courses:

  • Atomic structure
  • Reactivity
  • Bonding
  • Spectroscopy
  • Solubility
  • Quantum theory
  • Entropy
  • Oxidation-reduction reactions
  • Bioassay techniques
  • Acid-base equilibria

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemical Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymer Chemistry

List of Courses

Introductory Chemistry Courses

College students may take a general chemistry class as part of their general education requirement, although chemistry majors with advanced high school coursework in the subject may be able to waive the basic-level class requirement. This course introduces students to working in a lab, using tools to conduct experiments, taking measurements, recording data and writing lab reports. Students learn how to conduct both quantitative and qualitative analyses, and use different types of software to record and analyze data. A general overview is given of topics like chromatography, chemical reactions, calorimetry and specific formulas, such as the Lewis formulas. This course includes hours both in the classroom and in the lab.

Inorganic Chemistry Courses

Inorganic chemistry is a required course for most science majors. Inorganic chemistry classes look at non-carbon-based compounds, their electron structures and their properties. Students learn how to examine inorganic compounds through different types of spectroscopy. Specific course topics might include Huckel theory, Tanabe-Sugano diagrams, coordinate analysis, the Van Vleck equation and electronic, vibrational and raman spectroscopy.

Organic Chemistry Courses

Chemistry majors must also take a class in organic chemistry, which covers the structure and chemical reaction of molecules built around a carbon base. Class lectures include substitution reactions, elimination reactions, bonding, alkenes, alkynes, radicals and stereochemistry. Examples of organic compounds covered by the course include the carbonyl group and aromatic compounds.

Biochemistry Courses

Biochemistry is a required course for chemistry majors that is usually taken after organic and inorganic chemistry. Biochemistry classes explore the chemical reactions that take place at the atomic, molecular and cellular levels in living organisms. Students learn about the structures and reactions of elements, including oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen, that form the molecules that are the building blocks of all living things. Other topics include enzymes and their role in creating DNA, as well as the chemistry of amino acids, alcohols, ketones and more. Students must pass exams and conduct experiments in the lab in a biochemistry class.

Physical Chemistry Courses

Physical chemistry is an advanced chemistry course that requires previous knowledge of chemistry, physics and math. Physical chemistry courses look at topics like gases and their movements, different states of matter like liquids and solids, atomic structure and quantum mechanics. This class may be offered over two or three semesters at beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Physical chemistry is required for chemistry majors, physics majors and pre-professional science majors.

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