Nobel Laureate Glenn Seaborg said, “Middle Ages man could not ignore the church, nor Renaissance man ignore the arts, nor could Eighteenth Century man ignore political thought. Likewise, modern man cannot ignore science.” Advances in chemistry have contributed to the extension of our knowledge of God’s creation — both his physical universe and we his people. A liberal arts major in chemistry will not only expand your mind, but also provide you with a broad spectrum of career opportunities. During the past decade, nearly one-half of Northwestern’s chemistry majors have attended graduate or professional schools in chemistry, biochemistry or medicine, while the remainder have pursued careers in business, industry or education. Chemistry has two principal goals: to determine and understand the properties of matter and its transformations (pure chemistry) and to develop processes to transform matter for useful purposes (applied chemistry). Northwestern’s chemistry curriculum will provide you with a rigorous and comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of modern chemistry.

Chemistry department homepage

Major requirements

Chemistry elective 4
CHE 211 - Quantitative Analysis
The theory and practice of volumetric and gravimetric analysis, including the use of oxidation-reduction reactions and spectrophotometry.Prerequisite: CHE112 or CHE102 and permission of instructor.(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
CHE 321 - Organic Chemistry
The study of carbon compounds and their functional groups, including nomenclature, synthesis, reactions, structures, mechanisms and spectroscopic analysis.Prerequisites: CHE102 or 112 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
CHE 322 - Organic Chemistry
A continuation of the study of carbon compounds and their functional groups, including nomenclature, synthesis, reactions, structures, mechanisms and spectroscopic analysis.Prerequisite: CHE321.(4 credits)
CHE 433WIx - Introductory Physical Chemistry
Choose one sequence: 8
CHE 101 - College Chemistry
No course description available.
CHE 102 - College Chemistry
An introductory course in organic and biological chemistry. The content is especially suited to meet the needs of students whose programs require only one year of chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE101.(4 credits)
CHE 111 - General Chemistry *
An introductory course in chemistry that emphasizes physical and inorganic concepts, problems and calculations. Topics include chemical reactions, stoichiometry, properties of gases, thermochemistry, theories of atomic structure, and chemical bonding. The general chemistry sequence (Chemistry 111 and Chemistry 112) is recommended for students with good math / science preparations who intend to proceed to advanced courses in chemistry, the biological sciences or engineering. Prerequisites: high school chemistry and ACT math score of at least 24 (SAT 570 or above). (4 credits)
CHE 112 - General Chemistry
A continuation of Chemistry 111. Topics covered include kinetics, thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, acid-base chemistry and nuclear chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE111 or consent of the instructor.(4 credits)

Cognate requirements

MAT 112QR - Calculus I
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Quantitative Reasoning) This course is a study of functions, limits, derivatives and integrals with a strong emphasis on both theory and applications. Note: Meets four times per week. Prerequisites: C- or higher in MAT109, or an ACT math score of at least 24 (SAT 570 or above), or permission of mathematics department chair.
MAT 211 - Calculus II
A study of transcendental functions, techniques of integration, improper integration, sequences, series, polar coordinates and conic sections.Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT112 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
PHY 211 - Classical Physics I
No course description available.
PHY 212 - Classical Physics II
A continuation of Classical Physics I. Topics will include simple harmonic oscillation, mechanical and electromagnetic waves, and electromagnetism.Prerequisite: successful completion of PHY211 with a grade of C- or better.(4 credits)

Total credits required: 44


*Recommended option

For those students intending to pursue professional careers in chemistry, the following courses are strongly recommended:

CHE 315 - Instrumental Analysis
A study of the theory and operation of common laboratory instruments. Topics include: infrared, visible and ultraviolet spectroscopy; atomic absorption and emission spectroscopy; nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; mass spectrometry; gas and liquid chromatography; electrochemical methods.Prerequisite: CHE211.(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
CHE 326x - Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism
A fundamental course surveying biomolecules, catabolism, bioenergetics and biosynthesis. Prerequisites: CHE321 and 322. (4 credits)
CHE 436x - Intermediate Physical Chemistry
An intermediate course in chemical thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, and chemical kinetics.Prerequisite: CHE433x.(4 credits; alternate years, consult department)
CSC 151 - Office Application Programming
This course focuses on the customization and programmability of commonly used business applications. The main topics covered will include writing macros, controlling spreadsheets, databases and other business applications using scripts and short programs, and customizing applications to fit specific business needs. Prerequisite: CSC102 or permission of instructor. (2 credits)
CSC 171QR - Computer Science I
(4 credits) (NWCore option under Quantitative Reasoning) This is the first in a two-semester sequence of courses that introduces students to fundamental aspects of the field of computing; focusing on problem-solving, software design concepts and their realization as computer programs. Topics include procedural abstraction, control structures, iteration, data types and their representation. An introduction to a high-level language, for the purpose of gaining mastery of these principles, will be provided in lectures and hands-on laboratory experiences. Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT090, an ACT math score of 20 or above (SAT 510 or above), or a passing score on the MAT090 placement exam.
MAT 212 - Calculus III
A study of the cylindrical and spherical coordinate systems, vectors in two dimensions and three dimensions, vector valued functions, functions of several variables, multiple integration, and vector calculus.Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT211 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
MAT 312 - Differential Equations
A study of the elementary theory, methods of solution, and applications of differential equations, which may include topics such as first order ordinary differential equations, linear equations with constant coefficients, series solutions, variation of parameters, Laplace Transforms, linear systems, partial differential equations, and Fourier Series.Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT211 or permission of department chair.(3 credits)