Chemistry (CHE)

Academic Catalog 2010–2011

  • Brian O’Brien, Chairperson
  • Scott Bur
  • Jeffrey Dahlseid
  • Jessica Imholte
  • Jeffrey Jeremiason
  • Brenda Kelly (On leave, 2010–2011)
  • Stephen Miller (Visiting, 2010–2011)
  • Amanda Nienow
  • Brandy Russell
  • Allan Splittgerber
  • Dwight Stoll
  • Mary Morton Strey
  • Todd Swanson
  • Carolyn Wanamaker
  • Keith Wiitala (Visiting, 2010–2011)

The Chemistry Department curriculum is designed to function as an integral part of the liberal arts program of the College. The courses taken in normal sequence bring the student from general principles through advanced theories to the practical applications of research and industry. Science and non-science majors thus begin together and proceed to a level appropriate for their chosen program.

A major in Chemistry is commonly pursued by students preparing for graduate study in chemistry, positions in industrial or government laboratories, teaching, or study in one of the health sciences.


A major consists of eight lecture and/or laboratory courses chosen to cover the major areas of chemistry. Seven courses—CHE-107, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-255, CHE-258, CHE-270, and CHE-371—are required for all Chemistry majors. The final course must be selected from CHE-360, CHE-372, CHE-375, CHE-380, or CHE-385. In addition, all majors must register for CHE-399, Chemistry Seminar, for four semesters, and must complete at least one Chemistry course in the senior year. This major provides sufficient depth of achievement in chemistry to satisfy admission requirements for all the professional schools in the health-related areas.

Professional Chemistry Track:

In preparation for graduate study in chemistry or employment as a chemist, a broader and more advanced program of study consists of: (1) the courses CHE-107, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-255, CHE-258, CHE-270, CHE-371, CHE-372, CHE-375, CHE-380, CHE-385, CHE-291 or CHE-391, and CHE-344; (2) CHE-399, Chemistry Seminar, for four semesters; and (3) a score at or above the 40th percentile (nationally) on the Graduate Records Examination Advanced Test in Chemistry, taken during the winter or spring of the senior year.

A student completing these requirements will be recognized and certified by the department as having met the educational standards for the preparation of professional chemists established by the American Chemical Society. Except by special permission, the department requires that all Level III courses (numbered 300 or higher) be taken at Gustavus.

Chemistry Teaching Major:

This major is only for students who have been admitted into the Minnesota licensure program to teach all areas of science in grades 5–8 and chemistry in grades 9–12. It requires the core science and education courses for secondary education and also the requirements for the Chemistry major. In addition to the Chemistry major courses, the following core science courses are also required: BIO-101, BIO-102, GEG-108, GEO-111, PHY-102, PHY-121, PHY-122, PHY-171, PHY-172, and EDU-248. Please see the Education Department section of this bulletin for a listing of the Education courses required.

Cognate Requirements: All Chemistry majors must complete two semesters of calculus and two semesters of either classical physics with lab or general physics with calculus, including lab. The professional track requires an additional semester of mathematics (MCS-221 or MCS-222). Statistics and differential equations are also recommended for the professional track.


A minor consists of five courses giving exposure to four major fields of chemistry, chosen with the help of a departmental adviser. CHE-107, CHE-141, CHE-270, and CHE-371 are required. The fifth course can be either CHE-255 or CHE-258.

102Chemistry in Context(1 course) This course addresses the chemistry behind a range of environmental and other societal-technical issues. Among the topics are drinking water, the ozone layer, global warming, fuel cells, acid rain, green chemistry, and pharmaceuticals. The chemical principles in the course are developed on a need-to-know basis. In addition to the text, readings will be taken from a range of sources, and policy and ethical contexts will be explored. The course is designed to require no previous chemistry or science background. A laboratory is included where principles are put into action. NASP, Spring semester.

107Principles of Chemistry(1 course) The fundamental concepts of chemistry, including the atom; periodicity; stoichiometry; properties of gases, liquids, and solutions; acids and bases; chemical energetics; and bonding. Laboratory work is coordinated with lecture and is intended to illustrate principles and develop experimental skills. Four lectures and one 3-hour laboratory weekly. Prerequisite: High school chemistry. Exceptionally well prepared students may by examination by-pass CHE-107. NASP, Fall semester.

141, 251Organic Chemistry I, II(1 course, 1 course) The composition, structure, and behavior of carbon compounds. Laboratory work emphasizes laboratory techniques, synthesis of organic compounds, characterization of synthetic and naturally occurring organic compounds, and elucidation of reaction mechanisms. Prerequisite: CHE-107. CHE-141 offered Spring semester. CHE-251 offered Fall semester.

246Environmental Chemistry(1 course) This course is an introduction to the field of environmental chemistry. Topics covered include the chemistry of global warming, stratospheric ozone depletion, smog formation, chemical reactions in natural waters, biofuel chemistry, and pollutant fate and transport. In addition, the course will examine current energy sources, alternative energy, and related environmental impacts. Prerequisite: CHE-107, Spring semester.

255Biochemistry(1 course) The goal of this course is to develop a solid background in the fundamental principles and practices of biochemistry and an appreciation for the breadth of the discipline. The course covers the structures and functions of biological macromolecules and their assemblies, including proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Particular emphasis is placed upon proteins involved in gas transport, enzyme catalysis, and kinetics. In addition, attention is devoted to bioenergetics, and the central pathway of energy metabolism. The mechanisms of chemical change and biological regulation will be featured throughout the course. The laboratory component focuses on techniques important in the study of protein enzymes and their activities, properties, and kinetics. Prerequisite: CHE-251. Fall and Spring semesters.

258Inorganic Chemistry I(1 course) An introduction to the chemistry of the elements. Topics treated include electronic structure, properties of solids, general chemistry of the main group elements, coordination chemistry of the transition elements, and bio-inorganic chemistry. Prerequisite: CHE-141. It is also recommended that CHE-251 be completed prior to CHE-258. Spring semester.

270Quantitative Analysis(1 course) Principles of quantitative analysis and a detailed study of acid-base, redox, metal ion complex equilibria, theory of separations, spectrophotometry, and liquid chromatography. Laboratory experience in gravimetry, titrimetry, separations, and simple instrumentation. Prerequisites: CHE-141 and MCS-121. Spring semester.

344Special Topics in Chemistry(.25 or .5 course) Lectures and discussion on advanced topics (plus laboratory work where appropriate). Spring semester. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: departmental approval.

360Proteins(1 course) This course is focused upon various aspects of protein molecules. Topics include the synthesis, modification, degradation, cellular localization, and interactions of proteins. The goal of the course is to broaden and deepen knowledge and understanding of biochemistry and molecular biology, develop independent and critical thinking skills, and develop the fundamental problem-solving approaches of the discipline. Particular emphasis is placed upon achieving proficiency in reading and evaluating the primary literature and clearly communicating scientific ideas through discussion, presentation, recording, and proposing of ideas. The laboratory is run in an investigative, project-based mode, allowing the opportunity to address an original research question. Prerequisite: CHE-255. Spring semester.

268, 368Career Exploration, Internship(Course value to be determined) Off-campus employment experience related to the student’s major. Normally will not be applied toward a major. See description of the Internship Program. Prerequisite: junior or senior status. Offered Fall and Spring semesters and Summer.

371Kinetics and Thermodynamics(1 course) Topics include the gas laws and kinetic theory of gases, elements of classical and statistical thermodynamics, thermochemistry, chemical and phase equilibria, solutions and colligative properties, and chemical kinetics. Prerequisites: CHE-141, MCS-122, and either general or classical physics. CHE-270 is recommended. Fall semester.

372Quantum Chemistry And Dynamics(1 course) Topics treated include elementary quantum mechanics, spectroscopy, bonding theory, atomic and molecular structure, and chemical reaction dynamics. An emphasis will be placed on the quantum mechanical foundations of molecular modeling and of molecular spectroscopy. Prerequisites: CHE-371 and all cognate requirements. WRITD, Spring semester.

375Organic Chemistry III(1 course) A study of physical and mechanistic organic chemistry. Kinetics, linear free energy relationships, stereochemistry, and orbital symmetry will be applied to the elucidation of organic reaction mechanisms. Prerequisites: CHE-251, and CHE-371, which may be taken concurrently. Fall semester.

380Instrumental Methods(1 course) A study of the design and function of modern chemical instrumentation with applications to real systems. Electrochemical and spectrophometric methods of analysis and chromatographic separations are examined in detail. Prerequisites: CHE-270, CHE-371, and MCS-122. WRITD, Fall semester.

385Inorganic Chemistry II(1 course) Topics include bonding theory, acid-base chemistry, transition metal chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, and materials chemistry. A major emphasis of the class is the symmetry and group theory approach to molecular orbital theory, donor-acceptor theories, the electronic spectra, magnetic properties, and reaction mechanisms of coordination compounds, organometallic compounds, and catalysis. Prerequisites: CHE-258, CHE-371 and MCS-122. CHE-372 and MCS-221 are recommended. WRITD, Spring semester.

291, 391Independent Study(Course value to be determined) Investigation of a problem by combined library and laboratory work. Prerequisite: departmental approval. May be repeated for credit. Fall and Spring semesters and January Interim.

399Chemistry Seminar(0 course) Papers and discussions on chemical problems and research and on topics of current interest. Required each semester of junior and senior Chemistry majors. Fall and Spring semesters.