Jul 14, 2024  
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019 
Rensselaer Catalog 2018-2019 [Archived Catalog]


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments

The B.S. in Chemistry curriculum is designed to meet the recommendations of the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training. At the same time, it provides ample opportunity for students to select electives that permit them to specialize in particular fields, to explore areas of potential interest, or to take unusual combinations of courses that will suit nontypical career goals. The program emphasizes hands-on laboratory experience and provides extensive opportunities to participate in research. Besides allowing students to prepare for careers that demand a good background in science and mathematics, the curriculum also offers a sound basis for careers in fields such as law, the health professions, management, and technical communication.

For students transferring from other universities, two-year colleges, or from other curricula at Rensselaer, previous chemistry courses will be evaluated on an individual basis. Normally, these courses will count toward the Rensselaer program. The content of laboratory courses can be adjusted to allow for prior experience. The department makes every attempt to accommodate transfer students whose backgrounds do not permit them to follow the normal course sequence.

Two tracks to the B.S. in Chemistry are available. The “Chemistry” track shown here provides training in a broad range of Chemistry to provide maximum flexibility for research or industrial careers. The “Chemical Biology” track is for students interested in the application of Chemistry to Biological problems or to careers in the medical field.

First Year


  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4


  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

Second Year

Third Year

The Arch Summer Semester*

For students who have applied for and been granted an exception, The Arch Summer Semester courses would be taken during the spring semester. For listing of the exception process go to: http://info.rpi.edu/arch/students/#ExceptionProcess.

  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4

Fall* OR Spring

*If following the B.S. in Chemistry curriculum, students must select the Fall term as their “on-campus” semester.

  • HASS Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Elective Credit Hours: 6

Fourth Year


  • HASS Credit Hours: 4
  • Electives Credit Hours: 8


  • Experimental Chemistry IV Credit Hours 3
  • Electives Credit Hours: 10

Additional Information

All named courses are required. Students may elect when MATH 2400 and the Biology course are taken. Other courses can be taken out of sequence if prerequisites and scheduling permit.

The number of credit hours required for graduation is 128. All electives (28 credit hours) are completely free. Students should select electives in consultation with the adviser to give a balanced program. Some HASS courses can be deferred until the senior year to allow for earlier electives. Students planning to pursue graduate studies in Chemistry are recommended to take at least 12 credits in Chemistry courses beyond those required. Research experience such as through CHEM 2950 or URP activities is particularly valuable. Students considering medical school should include one semester of General Psychology and one semester of Sociology among their HASS or elective courses.


Combinations of electives that can provide appropriate depth in specific areas such as environmental chemistry, medicinal chemistry, polymer chemistry, chemical engineering, management, pre-law, and others can be provided by the adviser. Students interested in medicine as a career should register with the pre-health committee and take the recommended courses before the senior year as preparation for the qualifying exams required for admission to medical school. In addition, two English courses and at least one semester of General Psychology and one semester of Sociology should be included among their HASS or elective courses.


  1. ENGR 1600 may be substituted for CHEM 1200 by students transferring into Chemistry.
  2. Either BIOL 1010 or BIOL 2120 (recommended) are required courses in the Chemistry program.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Schools & Departments