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Advice for Freshmen

There are three chemistry courses that can be taken during the freshman year, all of which combine lecture and laboratory work. The course a student elects will depend on his or her background in chemistry. Chemistry 108/109, General Chemistry, is open to all students regardless of their background in chemistry.  This course covers the fundamental ideas of chemistry and begins to build an understanding of the physical world from the perspective of atomic theory.

Chemistry 125, Chemical Principles, is designed to cover the important aspects of general chemistry in one semester and is appropriate for students who have previously studied chemistry.  The material covered in Chemistry 125 includes chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, and general chemical physics, emphasizing the fundamental aspects of and connections between equilibria, electrochemistry, thermodynamics, and kinetics.

Freshmen wishing to take Organic Chemistry, Chemistry 244/245, may do so after consulting with the department’s advanced placement advisor and successfully completing a placement exam administered by the department at the beginning of the fall semester. Note that a 4 or 5 on the chemistry AP exam does not guarantee placement directly into Organic Chemistry.

In addition to the above lecture/laboratory courses, freshmen may work on an original research project under the direction of a member of the department by electing Chemistry 198, Freshmen Independent Research.

More information on the chemistry curriculum may be found in the Vassar College Catalogue.