Scheduling Beginning Chemistry Courses

Students interested in studying chemistry should consider their interests, abilities, academic goals, and long-range plans. Chemistry Course Syllabi at University Park are online.

Guide to Preparation for CHEM 110

Success in CHEM 110 depends on a student’s chemistry experience and algebra proficiency. Therefore, placement into introductory chemistry courses is based on a student’s prior background in chemistry and results of the mathematics placement test as indicated by his/her ALEKS score. Based on this the following guide has been developed by the Department of Chemistry.

Advising recommendations may include remediation in algebra (MATH 21 and/or MATH 22), introductory chemistry (CHEM 101), chemical principles (CHEM 110), CHEM 110 with a supplemental chemistry problem-solving course (CHEM 108), or the option of advanced placement testing.

What courses might you take?
ALEKS score No high school chemistry course General high school chemistry -or- chemistry more than two years ago Honors or AP chemistry
60 or less CHEM 101 MATH 22, then CHEM 110
and CHEM 108
MATH 22, then CHEM 110
61 or more CHEM 101 CHEM 110 CHEM 110

Note that students who enroll in CHEM 110 may be asked to take a brief test at the start of the course in order to determine if the addition of CHEM 108, Problem Solving in Chemistry (1 credit), would be appropriate.

Advanced Placement

Students who receive an AP score of 4 on the chemistry exam may request credit for CHEM 110 and 111, and those who receive an AP score of 5 may request credit for the series CHEM 110, 111, 112, and 113. (Credit by Examination for these courses is also available for a fee upon request. For information, contact the Chemistry Undergraduate Office, 210 Whitmore.)

(GN) Chemistry Courses That Do Not Require Background in Chemistry

CHEM 1 (GN) Molecular Science (3) is a course designed for students who seek an appreciation of chemistry and how it applies to everyday life. It is largely descriptive in nature and is not a foundation for further study in chemistry or for science-based majors. Previous study and placement testing are not necessary. Students who have received credit for CHEM 3, 101, or 110 may not schedule this course.

CHEM 3 (GN) Molecular Science (3) adds a lab component to the CHEM 1 experience. Students who have received credit for CHEM 1, 101, or 110 may not schedule this course.

CHEM 101 (GN) Introductory Chemistry (2-3) Selected principles and applications of chemistry. Prior study of chemistry is not assumed. Students may take only one course for General Education credit from CHEM 101 or CHEM 110. Prerequisite: MATH 21 or satisfactory performance on the MATH placement examination, i.e. placement beyond the level of MATH 21. 

CHEM 106 (GN) Introductory and General Chemistry (5) Introductory chemistry and chemical principles for students who are required to take additional chemistry. Prerequisite: MATH 22 or satisfactory performance on the math placement test (placement beyond the level of MATH 22).

CHEM 233 (GH; GN) (ENGL 233) Chemistry and Literature (3) Exploration of key concepts of chemistry, the reciprocal influence of chemistry and literature throughout history, and the relationship of science to society, culture, and values.

Using Chemistry for  General Education Natural Science (GN)

To receive General Education natural science (GN) credit, the following courses require that a student complete both the lecture and companion laboratory course: CHEM 106 or CHEM 110  and CHEM 111; CHEM 112 and CHEM 113. However, many colleges are willing to consider exceptions. Students should be referred to college or campus academic advising centers for policies.

Chemistry Lab Fees

A fee is charged for the following lab experiences: CHEM 111, 113, 203, 213, and 227.

Chemistry Assistance

Many sources of assistance are available for students in chemistry courses. Individual course websites often provide detailed information on how to assess students' readiness for a given course and strategies for success. At University Park, the Chemistry Resource Room in 211 Whitmore is staffed with teaching assistants and tutors. Information on private tutoring is also available in 210 Whitmore. Penn State Learning often conducts study group sessions for some lower-level chemistry.


Reviewed: June 2015
Last Update: November 2013

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