The foundation of the chemistry major begins in the Introductory Chemistry sequence, which follows a distinctively successful method that we call the "Spiral/Case Study" approach. The first semester (Chem 115) is spent discussing all major topics in chemistry from a qualitative point of view. In second semester (Chem 116), we "spiral back" to each topic, covering them again more rigorously and quantitatively.

The topics are introduced in the context of eight different Case Studies that include, among other topics, lasers, blood, and marine chemistry. Our intention is that both majors and non-majors alike will find that a deep understanding of chemistry is relevant and essential to understanding the world around us. We have published our innovative approach in the Journal of Chemical Education (Read the original article).

These are two tracks that one can follow to obtain a B.A. in Chemistry, the Chemistry Track or the Biochemistry Track. They differ generally in that the Biochemistry Track includes biochemistry and two biology or biology-related courses, and fewer requirements in physics, physical chemistry, and advanced chemistry laboratory. The Chemistry Track is more appropriate for students who wish to pursue careers in chemistry or wish to continue their education in graduate school (including graduate school in biochemistry). The Biochemistry Track is appropriate for students interested in pursuing advanced schooling in health professions or in careers more biology-related.

Students may also pursue a B.A. that is Certified to ACS (American Chemical Society). Please contact us for further information about ACS Certification or read about certification on the ACS website.

Students completing the chemistry major have a strong and broad background for immediate employment, professional school, or graduate work in chemistry or a wide range of allied fields. Our alumni have worked not only in chemistry, but in medicine, veterinary science, materials science, chemical engineering, biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genetics, teaching, patent law, and winemaking.

Advanced Placement in Chemistry

AP and IB Credit

Students who score a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement Chemistry exam receive credit for Introductory Chemistry I (CHEM 115).

Students who score a 5, 6, or 7 on the International Baccalaureate Chemistry exam receive credit for Introductory Chemistry I (CHEM 115). Students who score a 6 or 7 on the exam also receive an additional non-major general credit identified as CHEM 100.

See the Willamette University Online Catalog section “Transfer Credit / Advanced Standing” (make link) for additional information about using AP and IB scores.

Testing Out of Introductory Chemistry I (CHEM 115)

New students may take a Chemistry Placement exam during Opening Days at Willamette University. The exam is a representative final exam from Introductory Chemistry I (CHEM 115). Students who score 70% or higher satisfy the CHEM 115 prerequisite needed for other courses such as Introductory Chemistry II (CHEM 116). Students do not receive any college credit for passing the Chemistry Placement exam.

Willamette University

Department of Chemistry

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6013 voice
503-375-5425 fax

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