These are some common questions that new students and prospective majors have about the study of chemistry at Carleton.
How can I get connected to the Chemistry Department in my first two years, other than through course work?
There are several ways to do this:
- Sign up to receive notice of our online newsletter, the Weekly Beaker. Or you can always ask our Administrative Assistant to sign you up.
- You are welcome to attend our Friday department seminars, which are usually from 3:30–4:30 pm. Speakers and details are always announced in the Weekly Beaker and detailed on our events calendar.
- Most weeks the faculty and chemistry majors eat lunch together either at Periodic Table in the LDC or at Journal Club.
- You may want to consider working for the Chemistry Department. New first-term Carleton students can work in our stockroom. Once you have taken a Chemistry course, you may want to grade exams or be a lab TA for that course. Talk to a chemistry faculty member about your interests in student work.
If I am thinking about majoring in Chemistry, what other courses should I take in my first two years at Carleton?
You need to take calculus through Mathematics 120 or 211 and physics courses. For Physics, you must take two 3-credit courses or one 6-credit course from PHYS 131 to 165.
These mathematics and physics courses are prerequisites for our 300-level courses normally taken by juniors: Chemistry 343 and 344 and Chemistry 301 and 302.
I took the AP Calculus BC exam and received a score that placed me into MATH 211. Do I need to take MATH 211 to satisfy the math requirement for a chemistry major?
That is one option. The AP Calculus BC exam does not cover the multivariable calculus that is needed for 300-level physical chemistry courses. If a student wants to receive Carleton credit for the AP Calculus BC exam on their transcript and complete their mathematics requirement for a chemistry major, they must take MATH 211. However, if a student only wants to complete their math requirement for a chemistry major, they can take MATH 120 (which covers multivariable calculus), foregoing having the AP Calculus BC credit placed on their Carleton transcript.
When do I have to decide to major in Chemistry?
All students will declare a major in spring term of their sophomore year. This gives you plenty of time to explore courses in many departments. Typically, most of our majors have taken an introductory course (Chemistry 123 or 128) plus Chemistry 224, 233, and 234 in addition to calculus through Mathematics 120 or 211 and a term of physics by the time they declare a major.
It is possible to declare a chemistry major after having taken only introductory chemistry (Chemistry 123 or 128). In this case, many of the courses majors take in their junior year simply shift to senior year. This can work with careful planning, however, your course selections in your junior and senior year will not be flexible in comparison to students who had more chemistry courses completed by the end of their sophomore year.
Can I major in Chemistry and do off-campus studies?
Yes. Many chemistry majors do this, and we highly encourage it. With proper planning it is possible to study off-campus for a term and still successfully complete a chemistry major. Talk with your academic adviser or a chemistry faculty member about how to plan for off-campus study. You should start your planning as early as possible.
I took Chemistry courses in another country or at another college. How do I request advanced placement in the chemistry curriculum?
Students with previous college-level chemistry experience or other types of advanced placement exam scores from other countries may be eligible to be placed into more advanced chemistry courses.
Transfer students or other students with prematriculation chemistry credit should fill out the following form to begin the process of requesting advanced placement in the chemistry curriculum.
Note that the form below is NOT required for students who are exempt from CHEM 123/128 because of their score of 4 or 5 on the Chemistry AP or 5, 6, or 7 on the Chemistry IB Higher Level Exam. Credit and placement into 200-level courses will be awarded automatically for students who report these AP or IB scores to Carleton.
This form is normally to be used by either:
– International students who feel that their chemistry education before Carleton includes equivalent material to CHEM 123 or CHEM 128,
– Incoming first-year or transfer students who took a full year of General Chemistry at a college or university who feel that their course includes equivalent material to CHEM 123/128 and CHEM 224 and/or CHEM 233 and/or CHEM 234. (Note, CHEM 123/128 exemption is normally granted by submission of a College/University transcript containing a one-semester General Chemistry course taken with a passing grade.)
The request being made here is only for exemption from a course. If this exemption is granted, you will not get additional credits beyond any that you were awarded upon starting at Carleton.
REQUEST FOR EXEMPTION FROM CHEMISTRY COURSES AT CARLETON COLLEGE
Use this form to request an exemption from a chemistry course.
If you have additional questions please contact the Chemistry Department Chair.
Should I worry if I don’t get into a Chemistry course fall term of my first year?
No. Often, it is not possible to get into Chemistry 123 or 128 in your first fall term at Carleton. You should be able to get into one of these courses in winter or spring term. If you don’t get into a chemistry course fall term, you can focus on taking a language course, a Mathematics course, a Physics course, or some other courses that interest you. During New Student Days, there will be support for making these decisions, in addition to the pre-registration you did over the summer.
I took AP or IB Chemistry in high school. How do I decide which Chemistry course to take first?
Students with previous college-level chemistry experience or appropriate advanced placement exam scores are eligible to receive Carleton credit in chemistry and to be placed into more advanced chemistry courses.
Students who have taken the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB AP) or Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB HL) advanced placement exams will be awarded Carleton credit and placement as follows:
CEEB AP Score of 4 or 5. 6 credits in chemistry granted. Placement is awarded into Chemistry 224 Principles of Chemistry II (recommended) or Chemistry 233 Organic I (discouraged in first year).
IB HL Score of 5, 6, or 7. 6 credits in chemistry granted. Placement is awarded into Chemistry 224 Principles of Chemistry II (recommended) or Chemistry 233 Organic I (discouraged in first year).
Students who have taken the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB AP) or Higher Level International Baccalaureate (IB HL) advanced placement exams will be awarded placement as follows:
CEEB AP Score of 3. Placement is awarded into Chemistry 123 Principles of Chemistry I or Chemistry 128 Principles of Environmental Chemistry.
IB HL Score of 4. Placement is awarded into Chemistry 123 Principles of Chemistry I or Chemistry 128 Principles of Environmental Chemistry.
Note: If you are unsure about your advanced placement in chemistry, contact the Chemistry Department Chair. You do not have to accept advanced placement credit if you would prefer to start your study of college chemistry at Chemistry 123 or 128.
I did not take AP or IB chemistry in high school. How do I decide which Chemistry course to take first?
When choosing your first chemistry course, you should first decide if you want to eventually study chemistry at a more advanced level. Students who want to study chemistry to fulfill a science laboratory curricular exploration requirement can opt for Chemistry 113. Students who want to become a science major or prepare for medical school should start at either Chemistry 122 (for students with little or no high school chemistry experience), or 123 or 128 (for students with more chemistry experience but no AP or IB credit). Chemistry 123 and 128 also fulfill the science laboratory curricular exploration requirement.
If you had chemistry experience in high school and did not take the AP or IB exam, you must take the self-administered Chemistry Placement Evaluation. This will enable you to decide whether to start at Chemistry 122 or at Chemistry 123 or 128. Do not take this test “cold,” because you might not do well on some problems that you would quickly grasp with a little review. Feel free to use a textbook when taking the exam and work some practice problems so that the exam truly reflects your knowledge in the topics being evaluated.
Students with no high school chemistry experience and/or students with Chemistry Placement Evaluation scores less than 6 should take Chemistry 122. Chemistry 122, An Introduction to Chemistry, is designed to prepare students for further study in chemistry at Carleton. Chemistry 122 is normally offered only once per year (often in the fall), so students who want to take this course are strongly encouraged to enroll at the first possible opportunity.
The next course in the sequence that enables students to continue at a more advanced level in chemistry is either Chemistry 123, Principles of Chemistry, or Chemistry 128, Principles of Environmental Chemistry (not offer every year). Although taught from slightly different perspectives, all sections of Chemistry 123 and Chemistry 128 will cover the fundamental topics that are necessary for further work in chemistry, biology, geology, or medicine.
A section of Chemistry 123 with problem solving is also periodically offered, often in the winter term. This smaller section will have additional class meetings for problem solving and review. Chemistry 123 with problem solving is appropriate for students who would like to have more scheduled time to work with a faculty member on developing their scientific reasoning skills and understanding of the foundations of chemistry.