Advising Questions Related to Majors, Minors, and Scheduling

The Chemistry Department chair and faculty are eager to help you chart your course for a chemistry major or minor.  We offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in chemistry.  The B.S. degree can be certified by the American Chemical Society (ACS) if certain course requirements are met.  The B.S. degree can also be earned with emphases in Biochemistry or Chemical Physics.  Please let us know if we can help you (

Here are links to some frequently needed information about advising.

I scored a 3 or higher on the AP Chemistry exam. Is that the equivalent of CHEM 115?

  • Students are eligible to receive CHEM 100TR credit for a score of 3-5 on the AP Chemistry Exam.
  • Students scoring a 5 on the exam may petition the CHEM Department Chair to obtain credit for CHEM 115.  One important consideration will be the depth of their laboratory experience in AP Chemistry, so petitioning students will need to submit a copy of their AP Chemistry lab notebook to the Chemistry Department Chair for review.
  • We recommend that all students who intend to major in Chemistry, Biology or other STEM fields for which CHEM 115 is required, take the course regardless of their AP score to better ensure their success in upper division coursework that builds on the content in this course.

How do I declare a Major or Minor in Chemistry?

To declare a chemistry major or minor:

The process of declaring a major or minor takes place through a meeting of the student with the department chair, at which time the chair submits the major or minor declaration online for the student.  Prior to declaring the major, a student will likely have discussed curricular options and pathways with the chair or with other chemistry faculty, though advising of this sort can also occur in the same meeting when the major is declared.  To prepare for declaring a major:

  • Make an appointment with the Chair of the Chemistry Department to discuss the overall plan for your degree, and declare the major.
  • The chair will complete the online major declaration process with you at the advising meeting and ask to take your photo for our majors and minors photo board.

With that, we welcome you aboard as a new major!

PLU's My Academic Pathway Web Pages and 4-Year Advising Guides

PLU’s My Academic Pathway web pages provide tentative two-year course cycles and other academic advising information for programs at PLU.

Chemistry 2-Year Course Cycle (2022)

4-Year Advising Guides:

Chemistry, BA

Chemistry – Biochemistry, BS

Chemistry – Chemical Physics, BS

Chemistry – General Chemistry, BS

Is there a blank multi-year worksheet I could use to plan my course schedule?

Yes!  Here’s a link to a handy multi-year planning worksheet created by Academic Advising.

Where is university catalog information about BS. and BA. degree tracks, course descriptions, and a generalized schedule?

This link goes to PLU catalog information describing the chemistry B.A. and B.S. degree tracks and typical scheduling.   There is also a link on that page to catalog course descriptions.

How do I Apply For Departmental Honors?

Annual Deadline – April 1st (or the following Monday if April 1st falls on a weekend).

In recognition of outstanding work, the designation with Departmental Honors, as described in the Chemistry section of the PLU Catalog, may be granted to Bachelor of Science (B.S.) graduates by vote of the faculty of the Chemistry Department, based on the student’s performance in these areas:

1. Course work: The grade point average in chemistry courses up to the semester prior to graduation must be at least 3.50.

2. Written work: From the time a student declares a major in chemistry, the student should keep copies of selected outstanding work (e.g., laboratory, seminar, and research reports) for later summary evaluation.

3. 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.

4.  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 a graduating chemistry major’s transcript.

Download the Application for Honors in Chemistry

How does the Chemistry Capstone (Chem 499A and Chem 499B) work?

The Chemistry Capstone course is presented as a linked sequence of CHEM 499A (fall term, 1 credit) and CHEM 499B (spring term, 1 credit).  The courses meet for  one period per week in their respective semesters.

Bachelors of Science (BS) students present a capstone paper and a seminar about their laboratory research.  Bachelors of Arts (BA) students present a capstone paper and seminar about a literature research topic.   Each capstone student arranges for a faculty member to be their mentor.

Capstone capstone seminars are presented during afternoons of the Chemistry Capstone Celebration Week in late April or early May each year.

The Organic Special Projects Laboratory (CHEM 336)

The Organic Special Projects Laboratory (CHEM 336) is a by-application-only alternative to the regular Organic II Laboratory course (CHEM 334).   The course involves Individual projects emphasizing current professional-level methods of synthesis and property determination of organic compounds.   CHEM 336 is offered only in the spring semester.   Applications are accepted from students during the fall semester approximately at the time of registration for spring classes.   The instructor of record for the upcoming offering of CHEM 336 will coordinate the application process.   All CHEM 332 students should co-register for CHEM 334, and if accepted into CHEM 336 their lab registrations will be changed by the instructor.  Chemistry majors intending a career in chemistry are prioritized highly for acceptance into CHEM 336.

For students who take organic chemistry during the summer, the following procedures apply.

1. If a student is taking CHEM 332/334 in the summer AND they are a declared chemistry major, they have the option to delay their Organic II lab coursework until the next Spring term. As such, they would be eligible to apply for CHEM 336 Organic Special Projects Lab.
2. For summer students, the competitive application process will include students who take CHEM 331/333 in the fall. The criteria for acceptance into CHEM 336 include declared chemistry major status, GPA in chemistry and supporting coursework, and PLU/post-graduate academic or professional goals.
3. If a student applies to CHEM 336 in the fall but is not admitted to 336 for the upcoming spring term, the student must enroll in that spring’s offering of CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry Lab II.

Which courses are offered only in alternating years?

The following courses are offered only in alternating years.

  • Chem 440 Advanced Organic Chemistry (2 credits, no lab)
  • Chem 450 Inorganic Chemistry (3 credits including a lab)
    This is a required course if a student desires ACS Certification.
  • Chem 456 Polymers and Biopolymers (3 credits including a lab)

Chem 440 has typically been offered in J-Term.  Chem 450 and Chem 456 have typically been offered in the alternate year during fall semester. Depending on staffing, the possibility of offering one or more of these courses in a J-Term or spring semester instead of the fall exists (but still in alternate years).

In addition to other specific requirements for ACS Certification, a student must take Chem 450 and one other advanced course (405, 440, or 456).

Consult the Chemistry Department Chair or the PLU online course schedule for information about the upcoming rotation of these courses.

How do I change advisors?

To change advisors, you need to fill out a change of advisor form. You must receive the signature of your new advisor in order to change your advisor. Return the completed form to the Academic Advising Office, Mortvedt Library.

Calculus-based physics is required for a chemistry major. What if I took algebra-based physics instead of calculus-based physics and now wish to major in chemistry?

If you have already completed algebra-based physics instead of calculus-based physics and plan to major in chemistry at PLU, you should meet with the Chemistry Department Chair ( to discuss your options and to create an academic plan.

One option that the chair may approve is to accept the previously-taken algebra-based physics courses if the student also completes MATH 253 (Multivariate Calculus).