Professors: KAPLAN*, LOVETT, L. PARK, PEACOCK-LÓPEZ, RICHARDSON, THOMAN*. Associate Professor: T. SMITH*. Assistant Professors: BINGEMANN, GEHRING**, GOH, HASANAYN. Visiting Professor: RICHARD. Professor Emeritus: R. CHANG, MARKGRAF. Senior Lecturer: A. SKINNER. Lecturer: MACINTIRE, TRURAN.


Through a variety of individual courses and sequential programs, the department provides an opportunity for students to explore the nature and significance of chemistry, an area of important achievement in our quest for knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. The student of chemistry is able to become aware of the special viewpoint of chemists, the general nature of chemical investigation, some of its important results, how these results are expressed, and something of their significance within the fields of science and in the area of human endeavor as a whole. The Chemistry major provides excellent preparation for graduate study in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, environmental science, materials science, medicine, and the medical sciences.

A major in chemistry can be achieved in several ways, preferably beginning in the student's first year at Williams, but also beginning in the sophomore year. Building on a foundation in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry, a student elects additional advanced courses to complete a major that is consistent with his or her background in other sciences, interests, and goals. A student's program might emphasize biochemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, or inorganic chemistry, with additional courses available in analytical chemistry, environmental science, and materials science. Students considering a major in chemistry should consult with a member of the department as early as possible in order to plan a program which best suits their interests and abilities and which makes full use of their previous preparation.

All students begin their study in the department with either Chemistry 151, 153, or 155. Placement at the introductory level is based upon performance on the departmental placement test results and consultation with the chair; results of the College Board Advanced Placement Test or the International Baccalaureate Exam are also taken into account. The first year is completed with Chemistry 156. In the second year at the introductory level, students take Chemistry 251 (or 255) and Chemistry 256 (those students who complete 155 are exempted from 256). Completion of a Chemistry major requires either nine semester chemistry courses or eight semester chemistry courses plus two approved courses from among the following: Biology 101; Computer Science 134; Mathematics 103, 104, 105, 106; Physics 131, 141; or any courses in these departments for which the approved courses are prerequisites. Starting at the 300 level, at least three of the courses taken must have a laboratory component, and at least one must be selected from Chemistry 361, 366, 364, or 367. (The specific course elected, in consultation with the chair or major advisor, will depend on the student's future plans.) In addition, the department has a number of "Independent Research Courses" which, while they do not count toward completion of the major, provide a unique opportunity to pursue an independent research project under the direction of a faculty member.

Required Courses

First Year:
Fall: 151,153 or 155 Introductory Chemistry
Spring: 156 Organic Chemistry: Introductory Level

Second Year:
Fall: 251 (or 255) Organic Chemistry: Intermediate Level
Spring: 256 Foundations of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry

Elective Courses

319 Integrative Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics Lab

321 Biochemistry I-Structure and Function of Biological Molecules

322 Biochemistry II-Metabolism

324 Enzyme Kinetics and Reaction Mechanisms

332 Materials Science: The Chemistry and Physics of Materials

335 Inorganic/Organometallic Chemistry

336 Materials Chemistry

341 Toxicology and Cancer

342 Synthetic Organic Chemistry

344 Physical Organic Chemistry

361 Physical Chemistry: Structure and Dynamics

364 Instrumental Methods of Analysis

366 Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics

367 Biophysical Chemistry

368T Quantum Chemistry and Molecular Spectroscopy

Independent Research Courses

393-W31-394 Junior Research and Thesis

397, 398 Independent Study, for Juniors

493-W31-494 Senior Research and Thesis

497, 498 Independent Study, for Seniors

For the purpose of assisting students in selecting a program consistent with their interests and possible continuation of their studies at the graduate level, the following groupings of electives and faculty advisors are suggested. However, a case can be made for selecting courses from the different groups.

Biochemistry: Chemistry 321, Chemistry 322, Chemistry 324, Chemistry 341, Chemistry 364, Chemistry 367. Students interested in biochemistry should consult with Professors Gehring, Kaplan, or Lovett.

Organic Chemistry: Chemistry 341, Chemistry 342, Chemistry 344, Chemistry 364, Chemistry 361, Chemistry 366. Students interested in organic chemistry should consult with Professors Goh, Richardson, or Smith.

Physical and Inorganic Chemistry: Chemistry 332, Chemistry 335, Chemistry 361, Chemistry 364, Chemistry 366, Chemistry 368T. Students interested in physical chemistry should consult with Professors Bingemann, Peacock-López, or Thoman. Students interested in inorganic chemistry should consult with Professors Hasanayn or Park. Students interested in materials science should consult with Professors Goh or Park.

While any accepted route through the major would permit a student to proceed to graduate study in chemistry, four electives should be considered a minimum, and at least a semester of research is strongly recommended.

The department is accredited by the American Chemical Society (A.C.S.), a professional body of academic, industrial, and research chemists. The A.C.S. suggests the following courses for someone considering graduate study or work in chemistry or a related area: 151 (153 or 155), 156, 251 (255), 256, 335, 361, 364, 366, 493-494; and at least two courses from 321, 322, 342, 344, 368T, BIMO 401. Students completing these courses are designated Certified A.C.S. Majors.


Students interested in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology should consult with the general statement under the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program (BIMO) in the Courses of Instruction. Students interested in completing the BIMO program are also encouraged to complete the biochemistry courses within the chemistry major by taking 321, 322, 324, and 367 in addition to the first and second year required courses.


Students interested in Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics should consult the general statement under Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Proteomics in the Courses of Instruction. Students interested in these areas are also encouraged to complete the biochemistry courses within the chemistry major by taking 319, 321, 322, 324 and 367 in addition to the first and second year required courses.


Students interested in Materials Science are encouraged to elect courses from the Materials Science program offered jointly with the Physics Department, and should consult that listing.


The degree with honors in Chemistry provides students with an opportunity to undertake an independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member, and to report on the nature of the work in two short oral presentations and in a written thesis.

Chemistry majors who are candidates for the degree with honors take the following in addition to a major outlined above:

Chemistry 493-W31-494 Senior Research and Thesis

The principal considerations in admitting a student to a program of independent research are mastery of fundamental materials and skills, ability to pursue independent study successfully, and demonstrated student interest and motivation. In addition, to enroll in these courses leading to a degree with honors, a student must have at least a B- average in all chemistry courses or the permission of the chair. At the end of the first semester of the senior year, the department reviews the student's progress and determines whether the student is a candidate for a degree with honors. The designation of a degree with honors in Chemistry or a degree with highest honors in Chemistry is based primarily on a departmental evaluation of the accomplishments in these courses and on the quality of the thesis. Completion of the research project in a satisfactory manner and preparation of a well-written thesis usually results in a degree with honors. In cases where a student has demonstrated unusual commitment and initiative resulting in an outstanding thesis based on original results, combined with a strong record in all of his or her chemistry courses, the department may elect to award a degree with highest honors in Chemistry.


Students from other institutions wishing to register for courses in chemistry involving college-level prerequisites should do so in person with a member of the Chemistry Department. Registration should take place by appointment during the spring semester prior to the academic year in which courses are to be taken. Students are requested to have with them transcripts of the relevant previous college work.


Students with principal interests outside of the sciences may extend a secondary school foundation in chemistry by electing a basic two-semester introductory course of a general nature or they may elect semester courses designed for non-majors. All courses in chemistry satisfy the divisional distribution requirement.


Students who wish to complete a chemistry major (or chemistry requirements for pre-medical study) as well as to study abroad during their junior year are encouraged to begin taking chemistry in their first semester at Williams, and should consult with members of the department as early as possible.