Degree Requirements

When pursuing a chemistry major, the undergraduate student must meet all general and breadth requirements of their own college, along with the specific requirements for the chemistry major outlined below. For the most up-to-date and officially approved degree requirements, please see the UW-Madison Guide.

Required Chemistry Courses

(37 credits)

A.  General Chemistry
CHEM 109 Advanced General Chemistry (5 credits)
OR CHEM 109H Advanced General Chemistry Honors (5 credits)
OR CHEM 1151 Chemical Principles I (5 credits) (Enrollment by invitation only.)
OR CHEM 104 (5 credits) (Chem 103 is a prerequisite.)
[CHEM 109, 109H, or 115 is recommended, but CHEM 103/104 also fulfils this requirement.]

B.  Analytical Chemistry2
CHEM 329 Fundamentals of Analytical Science (4 credits)
OR CHEM 116 Chemical Principles II (5 credits) (only open to students who took Chem 115)

C.  Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 311 Chemistry Across the Periodic Table (4 credits)

D.  Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry (3 credits)
CHEM 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory (2 credits)
CHEM 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry (3 credits)

E.  Physical Chemistry4
CHEM 561 Physical Chemistry I (3 credits) OR Chem 565 Biophysical Chemistry (4 credits)5
CHEM 562 Physical Chemistry II (3 credits)
CHEM 563 Physical Chemistry Laboratory I (1 credit)
CHEM 564 Physical Chemistry Laboratory II (1 credit)

F. Advanced Non-laboratory Coursework (5 credits)
Choose from any 500-600 level courses in chemistry or biochemistry that are not research courses. Options include CHEM 505 Industrial Chemistry (3 cr), CHEM 511 Inorganic Chemistry (3 cr), CHEM 524 Chemical Instrumentation (3 cr; only 2 cr count for advanced non-lab work), CHEM 547 Advanced Organic Chemistry (3 cr), BIOCHEM 501 Introduction to Biochemistry (3 cr), and BIOCHEM 507 & 508 General Biochemistry I & II (3 cr each). Additional courses that count include CHEM 421 Polymeric Materials, CBE 440 Chemical Engineering Materials, CBE 540 Polymer Science & Technology, and CBE 547 Introduction to Colloid and Interface Science. The extra credits associated with CHEM 116 and CHEM 565 also count towards the 5 credits.

G. Additional Laboratory Work (3 credits)
Choose from the following lab coucrses: CHEM 346 Intermediate Organic Laboratory (1-2 cr; fall only), CHEM 524 Chemical Instrumentation (3 cr; only 1 cr counts for lab work; spring only), CHEM 681/682 Senioir Honors Thesis, CHEM 691/692 Senior Thesis, or Chem 699 Directed Study. Biochemistry research courses (681/682, 691/692, and 699), BMOLCHEM 504 Human Biochemistry Lab6 (3 cr; only 2 cr count for lab work; spring & summer only), and CBE 599 are also accepted.

For a complete list of courses that can count towards the additional course work and the additional laboratory work requirements, see the Electives for Chemistry Majors handout (pdf).

 1 Enrollment in CHEM 115 Chemical Principles I and CHEM 116 Chemical Principles II is by invitation only. Entering first-year students are screened on the basis of high school record and placement scores, and additional information is sent to those who might be eligible.
 2 Students are strongly encouraged to take either CHEM 329 or CHEM 116 (if invited) to fulfill the Analytical Chemistry requirement. However, CHEM 327 may be substituted for this requirement.
 3 CHEM 343 must be taken first, followed by CHEM 345. CHEM 344 may be taken concurrently with or after CHEM 345.
 4 It is recommended that Chem 563 Physical Chemistry Laboratory I (1 credit) be taken concurrently with Chem 562 and that Chem 564 Physical Chemistry Laboratory II (1 credit) be taken after completion of Chem 562. Especially strong students needing to complete physical chemistry in two semesters may take Chem 563 concurrently with Chem 561 (or 565) and Chem 564 concurrently with Chem 562.
 5 CBE 310 Chemical Process Thermodynamics or MS&E 330 Thermodynamics of Materials may be substituted for this requirement. These options are only recommended for students who are also majoring CBE or MS&E.
 6 BMOLCHEM 504 is not recommended for students who are also majoring in Biochemistry, because it overlaps significantly with required biochemistry course work.

Math and Physics Requirements

MATH 221 Calculus I (5 credits) and MATH 222 Calculus II (4 credits) are required. MATH 234 Calculus Functions of Several Variables (4 credits) and MATH 320 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (3 credits) are highly recommended.

A year of calculus-based physics: Physics 207-208 General Physics I & II (5 credits each) are recommended. Physics 201-202 General Physics I & II (5 credits each; intended for engineering students) are also accepted. The physics courses include a three-hour laboratory.

College Requirements

Students in the College of Letters & Science (L&S) must fulfill either the Bachelor or Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) L&S degree requirements. Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) or the College of Engineering can add chemistry as an additional major. These students do not need to satisfy the L&S breadth requirements; rather they need to satisfy the breadth requirements specific to their college. View the CALS degree requirements or the College of Engineering degree requirements in the UW-Madison Guide for more details. Information on the chemistry major can also be found on the UW-Madison Guide.

ACS Certified Bachelors Degree

Students graduating with the chemistry major already meet most of the requirements for ACS certification. You can obtain the certification by electing specific courses that satisfy both the requirements of the chemistry major and the ACS guidelines. Learn more about obtaining an ACS certified degree.