Major Requirements

A Major in Chemistry


The major consists of:

• CHEM 105/CHEM 105P and CHEM 205; or BISC/CHEM 116 and CHEM 205; or CHEM 120;

• CHEM 211 and CHEM 212;

• CHEM 330;

• three from among: CHEM 223, 335, 341, 361;

• one additional non-research/thesis chemistry course at the 300 level not including CHEM 320 or CHEM 331;

• MATH 215 (strongly recommended) or MATH 205; and PHYS 106 or PHYS 108.

• completion of the chemistry major research requirement, including the presentation and paper submission (see additional information below)


Students planning to go to graduate school in chemistry should choose PHYS 108, MATH 215, and CHEM 335.   Students planning to study physical chemistry in graduate school should consider taking CHEM 335 in their junior year and PHYS 320 in their senior year.

The required mathematics and physics courses (PHYS 108, but not PHYS 106) may also be counted toward a major or a minor in those departments. Early completion of the mathematics and physics requirements is strongly encouraged.

Normally no more than three courses of chemistry taken at another institution may be counted towards the major.  Any student who plans to take chemistry beyond CHEM 205 or CHEM 120 should consult one or more members of the Chemistry Department faculty.

Students interested in the interdepartmental major in biological chemistry are referred to the section of the catalog where that major is described. They should also consult with Professor Donald Elmore, Director of the Biochemistry Program. Students interested in an interdepartmental major in chemical physics should click here to visit the Chemical Physics Program webpage for more information.


Research Requirement for the Chemistry Major

The chemistry major requires one semester or summer of research. The research requirement for the chemistry major can be fulfilled in the following ways. Paid research experiences or internships can count for this requirement.

1. Research at Wellesley: On-campus research projects can be supervised by a member of the Wellesley College Chemistry Department or other Wellesley faculty performing research that considers systems on the molecular level or builds in some manner upon coursework in the major. This on-campus research could involve one of the following: 
a. Independent Study in Chemistry, equivalent of 1.0 units total of CHEM 250, CHEM 250H, CHEM 350 or CHEM 350H.  
b. Thesis in Chemistry, CHEM 355/CHEM 365 or CHEM 360/CHEM 370. Off-campus theses require active involvement by a Wellesley faculty member throughout the research period.
c. Participation in the Wellesley Summer Research Program.
d. Other research equivalent to at least 10 hours per week for one semester, including experiences such as the Sophomore Early Research Program.

2. Research off-campus: A student may participate in an approved off-campus research program during the academic year (at least 10 hours per week minimum for one semester) or an approved summer research program (normally eight weeks minimum length). Students electing to use an off-campus research experience to fulfill the research requirement must have the research project approved by a faculty member in the Chemistry Department. Off-campus research may be performed at an academic institution, a government lab or in the private sector.

In all cases, in order to fulfill the research requirement for the major the student must complete a paper of at least 8-10 pages on the research and give an approved presentation on campus. The paper must contain substantial literature references, demonstrating a familiarity with searching the chemical literature. A copy of the paper must be submitted to the chair of the Chemistry Department.