Chemistry (CHE)Academic Catalog: 2019–2020

  • Amanda Nienow, Co-Chairperson
  • Dwight Stoll, Co-Chairperson
  • Aron Anderson
  • Scott Bur
  • Jeffrey Dahlseid
  • Heather Haemig
  • Ian Hill (Visiting, 2019–2020)
  • Jessica Imholte
  • Jeff Jeremiason
  • Brian O’Brien
  • James Parejko (Visiting, 2019–2020)
  • Brandy Russell (On leave, Fall 2019)
  • Anna Volkert (Visiting, 2019–2020)

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.

Sequential courses and courses with prerequisites require that prior courses have been completed with a grade of C or better (with the exception of CHE-107 or CHE-106/108, which must be graded C- or better).


A major consists of eight lecture and/or laboratory courses chosen to cover the major sub-disciplines of chemistry. Successful completion of seven lecture and laboratory courses—CHE-107 or CHE-108, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-255, CHE-258, CHE-246 or CHE-270, and CHE-371—is required for all Chemistry majors. The successful completion of one additional lecture or lecture/lab course must also be achieved in CHE-372, CHE-375, CHE-380, or CHE-385. CHE-360 can also serve as the upper level elective if not also used toward the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major. 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. No courses graded below a C (with the exception of CHE-107, or CHE-106/108, which must be graded at a C- or better) shall count toward the Chemistry major, including cognate requirements.

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 or CHE-108, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-255, CHE-258, CHE-246 or 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 fall semester or January of the senior year. No courses graded below a C (with the exception of CHE-107, or CHE-106/108 which must be graded at a C- or better) shall count toward the professional-track Chemistry major, including cognate requirements.

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. The 9-12 license requires the core science and education courses for secondary education and also the requirements for the Chemistry major, including cognates. The addition of seven courses: BIO-101, GEG-125, GEO-111, PHY-100 (or PHY-120/122 and PHY-170/172), PHY-102, EDU-248 and EDU-396 will add the 5-8 middle level science license to the 9-12 Chemistry license. (Note: PHY-100 is an IEX course and is offered every other January in place of the two sequences of physics courses.)

Please see the Education Department section of this bulletin or the department website ( for a listing of the Education courses required.

Cognate Requirements:

All Chemistry majors must complete two semesters of Calculus and PHY-121, 122, 171, and 172 (i.e., calculus-based General Physics I and II, with associated labs, geared toward physical science majors); or PHY-205, 206, 215, and 216 (i.e., The Mechanical Universe and The Electromagnetic Universe, with associated labs). 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 advisor. CHE-107 or CHE-108, CHE-141, CHE-270 or CHE-246, and CHE-371 are required. The fifth course can be either CHE-255 or CHE-258. No courses graded below a C (with the exception of CHE-107, or CHE-106/108, which must be graded at a C- or better) shall count toward the Chemistry minor.

Chemistry Courses

102 Chemistry in Context (1 course) This course addresses the chemistry behind a range of issues of interest to society. Subject matter will be connected to a broader theme, such as environmental chemistry or food chemistry. The chemical principles in the course are developed on a need-to-know basis. 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.

106 Introduction to Chemical Principles (1 course) This course addresses major theories of atomic structure, molecular structure, bonding, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, reaction thermodynamics, intermolecular forces, phases & properties of matter, solutions, chemical equilibrium, acids & bases, spectroscopy and reaction kinetics. Students will learn and use qualitative and quantitative problem-solving methods used by chemists to explain the natural world. Laboratory experiments will provide opportunities for hands-on-learning. Three lectures weekly. One 2-hour discussion and one 3-hour laboratory in alternate weeks. NASP, Fall semester.

107 Principles 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 three-hour laboratory weekly. Prerequisite: High school chemistry. Exceptionally well-prepared students may by examination by-pass CHE-107. NASP, Fall semester.

108 Chemical Thermodynamics and Equilibrium (1 course) This course addresses the principles of chemical thermodynamics, kinetics, and equilibrium. Students will learn to solve complex chemical problems using experimental and theoretical data. In the laboratory, students will design experiments to explore and test the material learned in class. Successful completion of CHE-106 and CHE-108 is equivalent to completion of CHE-107. Prerequisite: CHE-106, IEX, January Interim.

141, 251 Organic 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 or CHE-106/108. CHE-141 offered Spring semester. CHE-251 offered Fall semester.

246 Environmental 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 or CHE-106/108. Spring semester.

255 Biochemistry (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.

258 Inorganic 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.

270 Quantitative 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. MCS-142 is recommended. Spring semester.

344 Special 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.

360 Proteins (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. WRITD, Fall or Spring semester.

268, 368 Career 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.

371 Physical Chemistry I (1 Course) This course is an introduction to fundamental topics in physical chemistry, including quantum theory, electronic structure, thermodynamics, and chemical kinetics. Prerequisites: CHE-141, MCS-121, PHY-171/172 or PHY-215/216. CHE-270 or CHE-246 and MCS-142 are recommended. Fall semester.

372 Physical Chemistry II (1 course) This course examines advanced topics in physical chemistry, including spectroscopy, approximation methods, computational chemistry, group theory, statistical mechanics, and chemical mechanisms. Prerequisites: CHE-371, MCS-122, and all cognate requirements. MCS-142 is recommended. WRITD, Spring semester.

375 Organic 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. WRITD, Fall semester.

380 Instrumental Methods (1 course) A study of the design and function of modern chemical instrumentation with applications to real systems. Sample preparation, mass spectrometric and spectrophotometric methods of analysis, chromatographic separations, and principles of instrument control and data acquisition are examined in detail. Laboratory experiments involve pre-determined experiments using the most commonly used analytical instruments, as well as planning and execution of a student-designed project involving multiple pieces of instrumentation. Prerequisites: CHE-270, CHE-371, and MCS-122. MCS-142 is recommended. WRITD, Fall semester.

385 Inorganic 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, 391 Independent 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.

399 Chemistry Seminar (0 course) Presentations and discussions on chemistry research, careers in chemistry and career planning. Four semesters are required for Chemistry and BMB majors. Fall and Spring semesters.