Chemistry

Chemistry is the central science and an important component of a liberal arts education. The program emphasizes a molecular view of matter and reactions, a view that combines the intrigue of theories and the power of practical applications. Our own bodies, the clothes we wear, the medicines we take, the food we eat, and the fuel we pump into our vehicles – all are various combinations of incredibly tiny particles called molecules, which are themselves composed of atoms. The knowledge of substances and chemical reactions is essential to the practice of the other physical and health sciences. Our program teaches the fundamentals of general chemistry, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry with a consideration of the other sciences and applications to societal issues and everyday life. In addition, our students develop critical-thinking skills and problem-solving skills, both desirable attributes for graduates.

Chemistry is an experimental science, and laboratory work is a key component to many of the courses in our program. Students are trained to propose hypotheses, test them qualitatively and quantitatively by experiments, and form conclusions. In addition to learning the classical laboratory techniques, our students also obtain hands-on experience in operating a variety of modern chemical instrumentation, including the gas chromatograph and the nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. Students are also encouraged to participate in research projects within the department.

The chemistry program prepares students for graduate study in chemistry and for acceptance into graduate programs at medical, veterinary, pharmacy, physical therapy, or law schools. The program also prepares graduates for direct entry into several chemistry-related careers. Graduates of our chemistry program have excelled in graduate and professional schools and in their careers.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a major in chemistry will be able to:

  1. Apply the principles of chemistry to their everyday lives and profession of choice;
  2. Solve problems and critically evaluate information with respect to chemistry issues;
  3. Design scientific experiments, interpret experimental results, and draw reasonable conclusions from these results;
  4. Effectively communicate scientific ideas and the results of scientific inquiry;
  5. Properly use chemical instrumentation to conduct chemical inquiries in composition, structure, and reactivity.

Major in Chemistry

A minimum of 37 semester hours in chemistry is required, including:
CHM 101: General Chemistry I
CHM 102: General Chemistry II
CHM 251: Organic Chemistry I
CHM 252: Organic Chemistry II
CHM 336: Instrumental Analysis
CHM 338: Chemical Equilibrium & Analysis
CHM 401: Chemical Thermodynamics
CHM 452: Biochemistry I

In addition:
IDS 243: Scientific Writing and Analysis
MAT 175: Calculus I
MAT 176: Calculus II
PHS 201: General Physics I
PHS 202: General Physics II

All electives must be 200-level and higher chemistry courses. Internship credits do not count toward the 37 chemistry semester hours required in the major.

Major in Science Broadfield Education Chemistry

This major serves those who desire to teach the several sciences necessary in American schools. In addition to the science courses listed below, students must complete the professional education program for secondary teaching as described in the “Education” section of the catalog.

The following courses are required:
Chemistry: A minimum of 20 semester hours in chemistry courses is required, including:
CHM 101: General Chemistry I
CHM 102: General Chemistry II
CHM 251: Organic Chemistry I

Choose two of the following:
CHM 252: Organic Chemistry II
CHM 336: Instrumental Analysis
CHM 338: Chemical Equilibrium & Analysis
CHM 340: Environmental Chemistry
CHM 401: Chemical Thermodynamics

Mathematics:
MAT 175: Calculus I
MAT 176: Calculus II
MAT 210: Probability and Statistics

Biology:
BIO 120: Principles of Biology
BIO 203: Genetics
BIO 306: Evolution

Physics:
PHS 201: General Physics I
PHS 202: General Physics II
PHS 225: Modern Physics

Geology:
GEO 101: Fundamentals of Geology
GEO 104: Fundamentals of Geology Laboratory

Environmental Science:
ESC 105: Environmental Science

Also required:
IDS 422: Methods and Materials: Teaching Natural Science in the Secondary School

Minor in Chemistry

A minimum of 24 semester hours in chemistry is required, including:
CHM 101: General Chemistry I
CHM 102: General Chemistry II
CHM 251: Organic Chemistry I

Choose one of the following:
CHM 336: Instrumental Analysis
CHM 338: Chemical Equilibrium & Analysis

All electives must be 200-level and higher chemistry courses. Internship credits do not count toward the 24 chemistry semester hours required in the minor.

BIO 120 - Principles of Biology
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 4
An introductory survey course that covers cell structure and metabolism, patterns of inheritance, molecular genetics, evolutionary mechanisms, and diversity. The weekly laboratory sessions teach basic laboratory skills, experimental design, application of statistics, and communication of results via laboratory reports. This course is appropriate for both major and non-majors. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory period per week.
BIO 203 - Genetics
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 4
The course provides a detailed overview of the mechanisms of heredity. Topics include Mendelian, quantitative, and molecular genetics. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: BIO 120 and CHM 101
Corequesite: IDS 243
BIO 306 - Evolution
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 3
A broad but detailed discussion of the genetic, ontogenetic, and morphologic changes inherent in populations. Topics include population genetics, molecular evolution, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, speciation, phylogenetics, and coevolution. Three hours of lecture per week.
Prerequisite: BIO 120
CHM 100 - Chemistry of Everyday Life
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 4
An introductory course for students interested in learning about the major role that chemistry plays in our modern society and in our daily lives. Emphasis will be on how chemical principles relate to topics such as diet and nutrition, food additives, pharmaceutical compounds, household chemicals, natural and synthetic fibers, pesticides, batteries, and alternative energy sources. This course is a lab science elective for non-science majors but does not count as credit toward a chemistry major or minor. A previous background in science or college-level mathematics is not required for enrollment. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory session per week.
CHM 101 - General Chemistry I
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 4
This course introduces students to the science of chemistry. The concepts of atoms, molecules, bonding, and energy successfully explain the properties of matter and how reactions happen. Goals of this course include introducing students to representative materials and reactions, to important models and theories of the science, and to the symbols and language of chemists. The laboratory will involve observations of elements, compounds and their reactions (including synthesis), and quantitative measurements of properties or amounts of matter. Three hours of lecture, one two-hour laboratory session, and one hour of recitation per week.
Prerequisite: MAT 100 or higher mathematics course or placement into MAT 110 or higher mathematics course
CHM 102 - General Chemistry II
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 4
This course will further develop the principles presented in CHM 101 with emphasis on the following core concepts: chemical kinetics, chemical equilibria, solution and acidbase chemistry, thermodynamics of reactions, and electrochemistry. Examples used in this course will point to the various branches of chemical studies (organic, physical, biological, inorganic, analytical, geological, materials, and nuclear). The knowledge and skills gained over the two semesters will be applied to the analysis of a contemporary topic or issue in chemistry. The laboratory experiments are designed to explore chemical principles and to expose students to more advanced chemical instrumentation in the department. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 101 with a grade of C- or higher
CHM 105 - Chemical Magic
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 1-2
This course will involve the student in chemistry demonstrations and chemistry magic shows to the community and to students in the CHM 101 lectures. Students will not only learn the “secrets” behind visually spectacular reactions, but they will also learn aspects of chemical preparation, presentation of chemistry to the general public, safe handling of chemicals, and proper clean-up after the show. Much of this course is dedicated to selecting, testing, and developing chemical demonstrations in the laboratory. Students taking this course for two semester hours will be required to participate in off-campus chemical magic shows. One one-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 102 with a grade of C- or higher
CHM 123 - Introduction to Chemistry Research I
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 1
This course is a laboratory-based introduction to the common techniques of research in the chemical sciences. Students will learn about safety, chemical hygiene, laboratory organization, solution and sample preparation, storage and labeling of chemical bottles, separation and purification methods, use of equipment, and about keeping records in a notebook. In addition, an introduction to the use of handbooks, databases, and common software including structure-drawing programs will be presented. The student will also begin selecting a research project with a chosen faculty member of the chemistry department. One two-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 101 with a grade of C- or higher, and students must apply for acceptance to the course
CHM 220 - Fundamental Organic Chemistry
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 4
This course is a one-semester introduction to carbon-containing compounds, including their structure, bonding, properties, and reactivity. The different functional groups are introduced, including the key reactions and mechanisms of these groups. This course is designed to serve as a prerequisite for biochemistry. Four lecture hours per week. This course will not count as an elective toward the chemistry major or minor.
Prerequisite: CHM 102 with a grade of C- or higher
CHM 223 - Introduction to Chemistry Research II
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 2
This course will further develop laboratory, experimental, instrumental, and computational techniques from Introduction to Research I. The use and capabilities of selected instruments in the department will be explored according to the interests and projects of the students. Students will begin working on research with close supervision by a faculty mentor. In addition, students will participate in a weekly discussion to learn how to read, analyze, and present articles from scientific journals. One one-hour lecture/discussion and one two-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 123
CHM 224 - Introduction to Chemistry Research III
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 2
This course is designed to prepare students for independent research, so that less immediate supervision by their faculty mentor is required. They will continue working on research with supervision by a faculty mentor. Students in this course will also learn about research proposals and funding agencies. They will use their background and planning from Introduction to Research I and II to develop and present their proposal of a research project, in consultation with their individual faculty mentor. Students will formally present preliminary results of their research to faculty and students in a seminar or poster presentation. In addition, students in this course will be expected to mentor students in Introduction to Research I. One one-hour lecture and one two-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 223
CHM 251 - Organic Chemistry I
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 4
This course is an introduction to the chemistry of carbon-containing compounds, concentrating on the structures, properties, and reactions of some of the important families of organic compounds. Considerable emphasis is placed on reaction mechanisms and stereochemistry. The laboratory experiments introduce techniques for the isolation and preparation of compounds. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 102 with a grade of C- or higher
CHM 252 - Organic Chemistry II
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 4
This course, a continuation of CHM 251, concentrates on the chemistry of additional important families of organic compounds, emphasizing reaction mechanisms, synthesis, stereochemistry, and spectroscopy. The laboratory experiments include the synthesis and analysis of compounds with biological and industrial importance and qualitative analysis.
Prerequisite: CHM 251 with a grade of C- or higher. CHM 220 will not be accepted as a prerequisite for this course.
CHM 260 - History of Chemistry: Chemical Connections
Semester: Fall; Even years
Semester hours: 3
Considering history as a web of related events, rather than as a series of unrelated timelines, allows interesting connections between seemingly unrelated historical events. This course looks at how seemingly unrelated events in history are connected to various chemical discoveries, and also how these chemical discoveries led to unforeseen future results. Although chemistry will be the recurring thread throughout the connections made in the course, the discussions of chemical concepts and discoveries will be at a level easily understandable by students with just a basic background in chemistry and science. This course is a non-laboratrory science elective for non-science majors and does not count toward a chemistry major or minor.
CHM 299 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
CHM 336 - Instrumental Analysis
Semester: Fall; Even years
Semester hours: 4
This course introduces students to the theory and practice of using advanced chemical instruments available in the department, including UV-visible spectrophotometers, atomic absorption (AA) spectrometer, infrared (FTIR) spectrometer, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer, gas chromatograph (GC), liquid chromatograph (LC), ion-selective electrodes (ISE), and cyclic voltammetry (CV). Basic theory of each instrument and interpretation of the output will be presented. Students will also learn sample preparation and loading for each instrument, as well as have the opportunity to explore the effects of changing operating conditions. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 252 with a grade of C- or higher. CHM 220 will not be accepted as a prerequisite for this course.
CHM 338 - Chemical Equilibrium & Analysis
Semester: Spring; Odd years
Semester hours: 4
The classical methods of chemical analysis of samples rely on stoichiometry and various classes of chemical reactions introduced in CHM 101 and CHM 102. In particular, the concept of chemical equilibrium and Le Châtelier’s principle will be further explored in this course as it is central to chemical analyses, both classical and instrumental. The lectures will also include chemical calculations, statistical testing, and error analysis of experimental data. The principles of precipitation, acid-base neutralization, complex-formation, and redox reactions presented in the lecture will be applied in the laboratory to titrimetric, gravimetric, and potentiometric analyses of samples in the laboratory. The laboratory will also emphasize methods to enable accurate and precise determinations of composition. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 102 with a grade of C- or higher
CHM 340 - Environmental Chemistry
Semester: Spring; Odd years
Semester hours: 4
An upper-level science elective for science students interested in seeing the fascinating role that chemistry plays in many current challenges to our environment (air, water, and soil) and to our energy needs. The chemistry of natural processes will be discussed, along with causes of, and potential solutions to, various environmental problems. The laboratory portion of this course includes analytical techniques, separations, chemical synthesis, and modeling. Three hours of lecture plus one three-hour laboratory session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 252 with a grade of C- or higher; completion or concurrent enrollment in CHM 338 is advised. CHM 220 will not be accepted as a prerequisite for this course.
CHM 401 - Chemical Thermodynamics
Semester: Fall; Odd years
Semester hours: 4
The relationship between heat and work (thermodynamics) is enormously powerful for predicting the behavior of material systems in chemistry and biology. Students will explore the properties of matter (gases, solids, liquids, solutions, and mixtures) using classical thermodynamics enriched with the molecular insight from chemistry. State functions such as enthalpy, entropy, and Gibbs free energy will be explored and used for predicting the spontaneous direction of physical transformations and chemical reactions. Students will also explore a complementary view of chemistry from kinetics, or the rate at which changes happen. The use of rate laws to discern the mechanism of reactions will be explained, as well as the importance of catalysis to life and industry. Laboratory experiments will emphasize the measurement of physical properties of materials, as well as experimental design and development toward this purpose. Three lectures and one three-hour lab session per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 252 with a grade of C- or higher. CHM 220 will not be accepted as a prerequisite for this course.
Corequesite: PHS 201
CHM 402 - Quantum Chemistry
Semester: Spring; Even years
Semester hours: 4
The experimental behavior of tiny, nanoscopic objects like electrons and atoms are best explained by quantum theory developed in the early 20th century. This course will give the historical overview and an introduction to applying quantum theory to simple systems like a particle confined in a box. The use of wave functions, operators, and Schrödinger’s equation will be explained. Students will explore systems like electrons in conjugated bonds, the harmonic oscillator, the hydrogen atom, multi-electron atoms, and molecules. Since spectroscopy probes the quantized energy levels in chemical species, the basics of modern molecular spectroscopy will also be discussed and will be the focus of laboratory experiments. There will also be exercises in computational modeling of molecules. Three lectures per week and one three-hour lab per week.
Prerequisite: CHM 401 and PHS 201, both with a grade of C- or higher; previous or concurrent enrollment in PHS 202 is advised
CHM 432 - Introduction to the Pharmaceutical Sciences
Semester: Spring; Odd years
Semester hours: 3
Understanding how drugs cause biochemical and physiological effects stems from an analysis of the structure of drugs and the interactions that occur at their target sites. Chemical properties such as ionization, solubility, partition coefficients, and diffusion coefficients provide a basis for understanding how drugs get from the point of administration to their targets. The chemistry of drug distribution, metabolism, elimination, and the mechanism of action of specific classes of drugs will be discussed, along with toxicology (the potential adverse effects of drugs), drug discovery, and the FDA approval process.
Prerequisite: CHM 220 or CHM 252 with a grade of C- or higher
CHM 443 - Organic Spectroscopic Analysis
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
This course covers the characterization and structure elucidation of organic compounds by spectral methods including mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
Prerequisite: CHM 252 with a grade of C- or higher. CHM 220 will not be accepted as a prerequisite for this course.
CHM 450 - Internship
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-12
A maximum of three semester hours can be counted toward the major in chemistry. This course is a guided work experience in an already established place of business. The student must arrange the internship in agreement with a chemistry advisor and the Office of Career Services. The internship should relate to the student's major or minor area of study. Contract is required.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
CHM 452 - Biochemistry I
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 5
Biochemistry focuses on the study of the molecules and chemical reactions of life, bringing together principles learned in biology and chemistry. After an introduction to the chemistry and structure of carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins, discussions of enzyme structure and kinetics set the stage for a detailed exploration of metabolism and its regulation. The laboratory component of this course involves a semester-long integrated project that requires independent student work. This project incorporates many different types of instrumentation, including low pressure chromatography, electrophoresis, UV-visible spectroscopy, electrochemistry, and ultrafiltration. Three lecture hours plus one laboratory lecture hour per week. Significant time working independently in the laboratory is required.
Prerequisite: CHM 220 or CHM 252 with a grade of C- or higher. BIO 111 is strongly recommended. Junior or senior standing is required.
CHM 460 - Biochemistry II
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 3
An introduction to the chemistry and structure of nucleotides and nucleic acids is followed by a detailed study of DNA replication and repair, RNA transcription and processing, protein synthesis, and the regulation of these processes. Bioethics, an important and interesting topic, is covered as an extension to the scientific content. This course covers topics in more depth and with a different emphasis than genetics.
Prerequisite: CHM 220 or CHM 252 and BIO/CHM 452 or BIO 203
CHM 490 - Seminar
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 1-3
This course is a discussion of a specialized area in chemistry. The subject matter and requirements of the course will vary semester to semester and by instructor. Students should see the instructor of that semester's seminar for information about the course description and the prerequisites. Students may take this course up to three times for credit; a maximum of three credit hours can count toward the major or minor.
CHM 499 - Independent Study
Semester: On Demand
Semester hours: 1-3
This course allows a superior student to devise and pursue independent study in an area agreed upon in consultation with, and supervised by, a faculty member. Students should be either a major or minor and have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or greater.
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing
ESC 105 - Environmental Science: Sustainable Communities
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 4
An introductory course designed for students entering the environmental sciences and studies program and for other students who would like to take an ecology lab course. Topics address the central concepts of ecology, including the physical environment in which life exists. Students will explore the properties and processes of populations and communities, ecosystem dynamics, biogeography and biodiversity, as well as issues in conservation and restoration ecology. In the laboratory, students will apply these concepts to ecological studies in the natural environment and learn how to present their results in a scientific report. Three hours of lecture and one two-hour laboratory session per week.
GEO 101 - Fundamentals of Geology
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 3
This course provides an introduction to the science of earth materials, earth systems, and earth history, including the study of minerals, rocks, volcanoes, earthquakes, rock deformation and metamorphism, weathering, and erosion within the modern paradigm of plate tectonics. Special emphasis is placed on interpreting the geologic landscape and history of the Rocky Mountains through an understanding of Earth processes. Three hours of lecture and one recommended two-hour laboratory per week, plus field trips. This course fulfills a natural lab science core curriculum requirement if taken concurrently with GEO 104.
GEO 104 - Fundamentals of Geology Laboratory
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 1
Focus on description of the earth materials and earth systems within the framework of plate tectonic theory. Introduction to identification of minerals, rocks, geologic maps, and structures.
Corequesite: GEO 101
IDS 243 - Scientific Writing and Analysis
Semester: Fall and Spring
Semester hours: 2
Students will write clear and concise scientific papers and reports. Writing assignments will focus on grammatical requirements for formal scientific writing; abstracts; outlines and organization including paper, paragraph, and sentence structure; paraphrasing and citation usage; and methods of data presentation. A portion of the course will be devoted to data analysis, drafting of tables, and preparation of graphs. IDS 243 is required for biology and chemistry majors and minors.
Prerequisite: ENG 120 and declared major or minor in a natural science or permission of instructor
IDS 422 - Methods And Materials: Teaching Natural Science In The Secondary School
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 2
This course emphasizes the teaching of biology or chemistry at the secondary 5-12 level. Methods of teaching these subjects, including incorporation of active hands-on experiences, reviewing texts for content appropriate to various grade levels, and the use of technology in the classroom, constitute major parts of the course. Particular attention will be paid to thinking, reading, listening, writing, and speaking instruction. Teaching diverse and at-risk student populations will also be discussed. This course is the capstone course for the biology or chemistry education major.
Corequesite: EDC 420
MAT 175 - Calculus I
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 5
This course is a study of the functions of one real variable and includes a brief review of circular functions. The ideas of limit, continuity, and differentiation are explained and applied to physical problems. Topics include the use of approximations and problem solving. The use of graphing calculators is required.
Prerequisite: satisfactory score on a placement exam or MAT 110
MAT 176 - Calculus II
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 5
Continuing the study of the functions of one real variable, the idea of integration is applied to physical problems. This course is an introduction to sequences and series. The use of graphing calculators is required.
Prerequisite: MAT 175
MAT 210 - Probability and Statistics
Semester: Fall, Spring, and Summer
Semester hours: 3
This course provides a non-calculus-based study of discrete probability theory and its statistical applications. Distribution theory and its applications in hypothesis testing and setting confidence intervals are discussed.
Prerequisite: MAT 100 or satisfactory score on a placement exam
PHS 201 - General Physics I
Semester: Fall
Semester hours: 4
This course is a calculus-based introduction to the laws and phenomena of classical physics, including force and motion, energy and momentum, their conservation laws, and their oscillations. This sequence is required for chemistry majors and engineering students and is recommended for mathematics, biology, and geology students. Three lecture periods and one two-hour laboratory per week.
Corequesite: MAT 175
PHS 202 - General Physics II
Semester: Spring
Semester hours: 4
This course is a calculus-based introduction to the laws and phenomena of classical physics, including mechanics, waves, light, electricity, and magnetism. This sequence is required for chemistry majors and engineering students and is recommended for mathematics, biology, and geology students. Three lecture periods and one two-hour laboratory per week.
Prerequisite: PHS 201
Corequesite: MAT 176
PHS 225 - Modern Physics
Semester: Fall; Odd years
Semester hours: 3
This course covers selected concepts from early 20th century physics. Topics covered include special relativity, photoelectric effect, Compton scattering, and the wave nature of particles.
Prerequisite: PHS 202 or permission from the instructor