Catalog 2013-2014



Chemistry involves the study of matter at the atomic and molecular level. Concepts and tools of chemistry are used to study the composition, structure, reactivity and energy changes of materials in the world around us. At PLU, students will find a chemistry program that supports their interests, whether in the chemistry of natural products, the environment, biological systems, polymers, or inorganic compounds, and that supports their educational goals, whether toward graduate study, the medical and health professions, biotechnology, education, business, or as a complement to other studies in the natural sciences, humanities, or social sciences. For good reason, chemistry is often called "the central science."

The Chemistry Department's courses, curriculum, faculty, and facilities are approved by the American Chemical Society.

Student have hands-on use of sophisticated instrumentation in coursework and research with faculty, including 500 MHZ Fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance (FTNMR) spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP AES), spectrofluorometry, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy, laser light scattering instrumentation, gas chromatography with mass selective detection (GCMS), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with ion trap mass selective detection (LCMS), and Linux workstations for molecular modeling and computational chemistry.

Faculty research projects involve undergraduate participation.

  • Consultation with chemistry faculty member required.
  • Declare major early and preferably by completion of CHEM 331.
  • Transfer students must consult with a department advisor no later than the start of the junior year.
  • A minimum grade of C- in all courses required by the major; overall chemistry GPA of 2.00 or higher.
  • A minimum grade of C in courses required by the minor.
  • Departmental Honors requires a 3.50 overall GPA in the major; and other qualifications as described below.
  • A grade of C- or higher is required for all prerequisite courses. Students may enroll in courses that have prerequisites only if they have completed the prerequisite course(s) with a grade of C- or higher. This grade requirement applies to prerequisite courses offered by the Chemistry Department and to supporting courses offered by other departments.
Major in Chemistry
47 semester hours in Foundation courses, plus CHEM 342
Foundation Courses (47 semester hours)
  • Chemistry Courses
    29 semester hours
    • CHEM 115, 116, 320, 331, 332, 333, 334 (or 336), 341, 343, 499A, 499B
  • Additional Courses
    18 semester hours
    • MATH 151, 152
    • PHYS 153, 154, 163, 164
  • CHEM 342
Major in Chemistry

47 semester hours in Foundation courses and selection of emphasis area with subsequent requirements
Foundation Courses
47 semester hours
  • Chemistry Courses
    29 semester hours
    • CHEM 115, 116, 320, 331, 332, 333, 334 (or 336), 341, 343, 499A, 499B
  • Additional Courses
    18 semester hours
    • MATH 151, 152
    • PHYS 153, 154, 163, 164
General Emphasis
14 semester hours beyond the Foundation courses (see listing above)
  • CHEM 342, 344
  • CHEM 405 or 450 or 456; CHEM 410, 420

The General Emphasis can lead to American Chemical Society Certification if the following courses are included: CHEM 403, 450 and either CHEM 405, 440 or 456.

Biochemistry Emphasis
29 semester hours beyond the Foundation courses (see listing above)

B.S. in Chemistry with Biochemistry Emphasis is often done as a double major with Biology

  • American Chemical Society Certification for Biochemistry requires CHEM 342 and 450.
  • CHEM 403, 405, 410, 420
  • BIOL 225, 226
  • 4 semester hours from: CHEM 342 or BIOL 330, 342, 358, 442, 445, 448, or 453
Chemical-Physics Emphasis
26 semester hours beyond the Foundation courses (see listing above)
  • CHEM 342, 344
  • MATH 253
  • PHYS 331, 332, 336, 356

First Year: Fall Semester
  • CHEM 115
  • Freshman Inquiry or Writing Seminar (and/or BIOL 225 for students interested in B.S. in Chemistry, Biochemistry Emphasis)
  • MATH 151
  • PHED 100 or other activity course
  • A General Education Program Element course
First Year: Spring Semester
  • CHEM 116
  • Freshman Inquiry or Writing Seminar and/or BIOL 226
  • MATH 152
  • PHED 100 or other activity course
Second Year: Fall Semester
  • CHEM 331,333
  • PHYS 153, 163
  • Two additional courses
Second Year: Spring Semester
  • CHEM 332, 334 (or 336), 320, 410
  • PHYS 154, 164
Third Year: Fall Semester
  • CHEM 341, 343, 403
  • General Education Program course(s)
  • Elective
Third Year: Spring Semester
  • CHEM 342, 344
  • For B.S. in Chemistry with Biochemistry Emphasis, BIOL 330, 342, 358, 442, 445, 448, 453 may be substituted for CHEM 342 and 344.
  • CHEM 405 (for Biochemistry Emphasis)
  • CHEM 410 (if not taken in the second year)
  • General Education Program course(s)
  • Elective
Fourth Year: Fall Semester
  • CHEM 499A
  • Alternate Year Advanced CHEM Elective (for ACS Certification and/or B.S.)
  • Electives
Fourth Year: Spring Semester
  • CHEM 420, 499B
  • Electives
Alternate Year: Advanced Courses

In the third or fourth year and if pre- or co-requisite requirements are met, B.S. students enroll in CHEM 450 (required for all ACS Certification options) or 456 (or 405 in Spring Term after 403).

Refer to the Division of Natural Sciences section of this catalog for other beginning curriculum options. Students interested in the Bachelor of Science with Biochemistry Emphasis should start biology in the fall of the first or second year. Physics should be started in either the first or the second year, so as to prepare students for upper-division chemistry courses.

Departmental Honors

In recognition of outstanding work the designation of Departmental Honors may be granted to Bachelor of Science graduates by vote of the faculty of the chemistry department, based on the student’s performance in the following areas:

  • Course Work: A minimum 3.50 grade point average in all chemistry courses.

  • Written Work: At time of declaration of the chemistry major, all copies of outstanding work (e.g., laboratory, seminar and research projects) need to be maintained by the student for later faculty evaluation for departmental honors.

  • Oral Communication: Students must evidence ability to communicate effectively as indicated by the sum of their participation in class discussion, seminars, help session leadership, and teaching assistantship work.

  • Independent chemistry-related activities: Positive considerations include the extent and quality of extracurricular work done in background reading, independent study, and research; assisting in laboratory preparation, teaching, or advising; any other chemistry- related employment, on campus or elsewhere; and participation in campus and professional chemistry-related organizations.
The departmental honors designation will appear on the transcript of a student graduating with a chemistry major.

Students interested in pursuing studies in chemical engineering should see the course outline in the Engineering Dual-Degree section of this catalog. The department chair should be consulted for assignment of a program advisor.

22 semester hours
  • CHEM 115, 116
  • CHEM 320, 331, 332, 333, 334 (or 336) completed with grades of C or higher.

Prerequisite and co-requisite requirements are strictly enforced.


Students interested in a high school chemistry teaching endorsement should plan to complete a B.A. or B.S. in Chemistry. The degree program is developed through the chemistry department in conjunction with the Department of Education. Go to the Department of Education section of this catalog for further information.


Fall Semester: 104, 115, 331, 333, 341, 343, 403, 499A
Spring Semester:
105, 116, 320, 332, 334, 336, 343, 344, 405, 410, 420, 499B
Alternate Years: 440, 450, 456