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Chemistry

Student-Faculty Collaborative Research

Overview   |   Meet an Earlhamite   |   Our Faculty   |   Plan of Study   |   Courses  

 

Chemistry students at Earlham are challenged by our core courses, part of a curriculum approved and certified by the American Chemical Society.

Earlham offers the opportunity to take exciting new chemistry courses, such as Forensics and Biophysical Chemistry.

You will work on laboratory projects alongside our faculty, using state-of-the-art instrumentation, in a newly renovated LEED-certified building named after Earlham Chemistry alum and Nobel Laureate Wendell Stanley.

You will gain analytical, critical thinking and writing skills required to succeed in whatever career you choose.

More from the Chemistry Department:

Highlights

Our students participate in at least one immersive research experience either on or off-campus.

You will have access to paid internships at organizations such as Belden, the Richmond Sanitary District, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Recent graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs at universities such as Harvard, Duke, Purdue, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Utah. Several of them were awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.

Meet An Earlhamite
Lori Watson
Inorganic Supporter

Associate Professor of Chemistry Lori Watson is a national leader in an effort to help inorganic chemistry professors include the latest developments in the field in their teaching.

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Justin Vadas
Science Scholar

Justin Vadas gained a rare combination of scientific skills and experience at Earlham. A double major in chemistry and physics, he earned the Outstanding Student Award for his work during a summer research experience at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

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Shane Hogle
An NSF Fellowship to Study Undersea Life

With a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, Shane Hogle '10 is studying plankton, a classification of undersea life that encompasses jellyfish, phytoplankton, amoebas, and microscopic protists.

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Our Faculty

Patrick Barber
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Corinne Deibel
Professor of Chemistry

Mike Deibel
Professor of Chemistry; Co-Director of the Center for Global Health and the Integrated Program in Health Sciences

Paul Ogren
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Courtney Scerbak
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry

Kalani Seu
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Mark Stocksdale
Professor of Chemistry

Tian Tian
Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Lori Watson
Associate Professor of Chemistry; Associate Academic Dean

Kate Waters
Chemistry Laboratory Manager & Chemical Hygiene Officer

Emily Pavlovic
Lab Instructor

Terry Shipley
Administrative Assistant
Plan of Study

Recommended Course Sequence for Chemistry Majors

First Year

Fall Semester

  • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry

Spring Semester

  • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
  • MATH 180 Calculus A

Second Year

Fall Semester

  • CHEM 321 Organic Chemistry II
  • PHYS 120 General Physics I or PHYS 125 Analytical Physics I

Spring Semester

  • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis
  • PHYS 230 Gneral Physics II or PHYS 235 Analytical Physics II

Third Year

Fall Semester

  • CHEM 341 Thermodynamics and Kinetics
  • *CHEM 431 Advanced Analytical Chemistry

Spring Semester

Electives (1 or 2):

  • CHEM 351 Biochemistry
  • CHEM 421 Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 441 Quantum Chemistry

Fourth Year

Fall Semester

  • CHEM 361 Inorganic Chemistry
  • *CHEM 431 Advanced Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 488 Senior Capstone

Spring Semester

Electives (1 or 2):

  • CHEM 421 Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • CHEM 441 Quantum Chemistry

* * CHEM431 is offered in alternate years. The best time to schedule an off-campus experience is in the spring of the 3rd year or the fall of the 4th year.

General Education Requirements

The Department offers five courses that fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning component of the Analytical Reasoning Requirement. Those courses are: CHEM 105, 111, 221, 321 and 331.

Students who successfully complete these courses will have accomplished many of the General Education learning goals, in particular:

    • Generate, interpret, and evaluate quantitative information.
    • First-hand experience with both theoretical analysis and the collection of empirical data.

The Major

      • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry
      • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
      • CHEM 321 Organic Chemistry II
      • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis
      • CHEM 341 Thermodynamics and Kinetics
      • CHEM 361 Inorganic Chemistry
      • CHEM 480 Seminar
      • CHEM 484 Ford-Knight Research or
        CHEM 486 Student Research
      • CHEM 488 Senior Capstone Experience

Two of the following courses (totaling at least 7 credits):

      • CHEM 351 Biochemistry
      • CHEM 371 Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
      • CHEM 421 Advanced Organic Chemistry
      • CHEM 431 Advanced Analytical Chemistry
      • CHEM 441 Quantum Chemistry
      • CHEM 482 Special Topics

AND:

      • MATH 180 Calculus A
      • Either PHYS 125 and 235 Analytical Physics I and II (recommended);
        OR PHYS 120 and 230 General Physics I and II
      • Comprehensive Examinations
      • An independent research project is also required. This may be accomplished through an independent study in Chemistry, a summer research experience on or off campus, an approved Ford/Knight Research Project, or a semester off-campus program such as the Oak Ridge program. Careful early planning with your adviser should be done to determine the best option for the research experience.

The Minor

      • CHEM 111 Principles of Chemistry
      • CHEM 221 Organic Chemistry I
      • CHEM 321 Organic Chemistry II
      • CHEM 331 Equilibrium and Analysis

Two courses from the following electives for a total of 24 semester hours in Chemistry:

    • CHEM 341 Thermodynamics and Kinetics
    • CHEM 351 Biochemistry
    • CHEM 361 Inorganic Chemistry
    • CHEM 371 Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology
    • CHEM 421 Advanced Organic Chemistry
    • CHEM 431 Advanced Analytical Chemistry
    • CHEM 441 Quantum Chemistry
    • CHEM 482 Special Topics
Courses

* Key

Courses that fulfill
General Education Requirements:

  • (A-AR) = Analytical - Abstract Reasoning
  • (A-QR) = Analytical - Quantitative
  • (D-D) = Diversity - Domestic
  • (D-I) = Diversity - International
  • (D-L) = Diversity - Language
  • (ES) = Earlham Seminar
  • (IE) = Immersive Experience
  • (RCH) = Research
  • (W) = Wellness
  • (WI) = Writing Intensive
  • (AY) = Offered in Alternative Year

CHEM 105 INTRODUCTION TO FORENSIC SCIENCE (4 credits)
A lab course designed for non-science students. Crime investigations will be used to introduce students to the procedures of the scientific method to understand the nature of physical evidence and its role in the legal system. Topics covered in the course will include legal and ethical issues in forensic science and evaluation of crime scenes, as well as the analysis of physical evidence such as fingerprinting, hair and fiber analysis, inks and papers, arson accelerant, forensic toxicology and drug analysis, bullet and cartridge analysis, forensic serology and DNA analysis. (A-QR)

*CHEM 111 PRINCIPLES OF CHEMISTRY (4 credits)
Designed as the entry course for the major. Core principles and interesting applications of chemistry combine to provide a conceptual understanding of chemistry for professional and everyday life. Principles of atomic and molecular structure, molecular energetics and classes of chemical reactions reviewed. Aspects of gas behavior, basic photochemistry and acid-base chemistry are applied to the study of environmental chemistry issues such as stratospheric ozone, the global greenhouse effect, acid rain and photochemical smog. Lab work includes the synthesis of compounds, the study of aqueous ions, titrations, and basic IR, visible and UV spectrophotometry. Learning outcomes include a strong understanding of core chemistry concepts and skills. (A-QR)

*CHEM 150 EARLHAM SEMINAR (4 credits)
Offered for first-year students. Topics vary. (ES)

*CHEM 221 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I (4 credits)
Introductory course designed for chemistry and biology majors as well as pre-health professionals. Focuses on basic structural and reactivity aspects in organic chemistry and their relationship to pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals and biological systems. Topics include stereochemistry, substitution, elimination and addition reactions. Weekly three-hour laboratory provides hands-on experience with modern organic methods and techniques. Learning outcomes include a working knowledge of basic organic chemistry concepts.  Additionally, students will learn to take a ‘first principles’ approach to organic chemistry by using what they already know to derive more complex concepts and ideas. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CHEM 111 or consent of the instructor. (A-QR)

CHEM 251 INTRODUCTION TO NUTRITION SCIENCE (3 credits)
This course will serve as an introduction to the science of human nutrition and the relationship of food and nutrients to health and disease. Topics covered will include the macro- and micronutrients, digestion of food, and current recommendations for nutrient intake. Also discussed will be current scientific literature on the role of nutrition in selected disease processes and the use of foods as medicines. Prerequisites: CHEM 111. Also listed as BIOL 251.

*CHEM 321 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II (4 credits)
A continuation of the sequence in organic chemistry. Focuses on more advanced structural aspects and reactivities in organic chemistry and their relationship to pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemical and biological systems. Topics include alcohol, carbonyl, amine and aromatic reactions, spectroscopy, drug design and synthetic methodology. Weekly three-hour laboratory introduces several additional modern synthesis, chromatography and spectroscopic (FT-IR, FT-NMR and GCMS) methods. A significant portion of the lab includes a student-designed synthesis and/or natural product isolation research project. Learning outcomes include a working knowledge of more complex organic chemistry concepts. Additionally, students will learn to take a ‘first principles’ approach to organic chemistry by using what they already know from Organic Chemistry I to derive more complex concepts and ideas. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CHEM 221 or consent of the instructor.(A-QR, RCH)

*CHEM 331 EQUILIBRIUM AND ANALYSIS (5 credits)
Designed for chemistry majors, minors and pre-health professionals. Problem-based learning course designed to provide a working knowledge of the principles and practices of analytical chemistry. Covers two major themes: (1) the systematic treatment of chemical equilibrium in ionic systems, including acid-base, solubility, redox, and (2) methods of quantitative chemical analysis, which includes the theory and practice of volumetric analysis and modern instrumental methods of analysis (spectroscopy and chromatography techniques). Through both lecture and laboratory instruction, students will develop a theoretical foundation for a variety of methods of analytical chemistry as well as a proficiency in chemical laboratory techniques, and the ability to apply these to practical and current problems in research. The laboratory culminates in a three-week laboratory group project and a poster presentation. Learning outcomes include a strong quantitative understanding of chemical processes and instrumentation. This includes the ability to design, conduct, analyze, critically evaluate the results of, and present an analytical chemistry research project. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in CHEM 111 or consent of the instructor. (A-QR, RCH)

CHEM 341 THERMODYNAMICS AND KINETICS (4 credits)
In the first two-thirds of the course, learning goals include taking the concepts of enthalpy, entropy and free energy and developing them as a basis for understanding the nature of chemical stability. In the last third of the course, learning goals include applying tools of rate measurement and analysis to understand chemical reactivity. Laboratory work learning goals include the application of calorimetric, potentiometric and spectrophotometric methods to study of thermodynamic and kinetic problems. Several applications utilizing computer-interfaced measurements are included. Learning outcomes include demonstrating a strong understanding of thermodynamics and kinetics concepts. This includes, but is not limited to, a quantitative understanding of the basic laws of thermodynamics. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 331, MATH 180 and either PHYS 220 or 225.

CHEM 351 BIOCHEMISTRY (4 credits)
Intended for students majoring in chemistry, biology or the health professions. Explores the role of chemistry in life processes. Topics and learning goals include, but are not limited to: detailed understanding of protein structure, enzyme mechanisms and kinetics, and cancer mechanisms. Laboratory work learning goals include, but are not limited to: buffer making, protein purification techniques, kinetic measurement methods, and FTIR spectroscopy. Learning outcomes include a working knowledge of biochemistry and the ability to think critically about and solve biochemistry related problems as a team. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 321 and 331 or consent of the instructor.

CHEM 361 INORGANIC CHEMISTRY (4 credits)
Students will conduct a systematic examination of the chemical elements and their compounds, with an emphasis on periodicity of properties. Learning goals include, but are not limited to, examining bonding theories, group theory and reaction mechanisms. Particular emphasis on the coordination compounds and organometallic compounds of transition metals. Other topics and learning goals include bioinorganic chemistry and solid-state chemistry. Labs explore synthesis and characterization of inorganic compounds. Learning outcomes include the successful understanding of the indicated goals. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 321 and 331 or consent of the instructor. (WI)

CHEM 371 ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY AND TOXICOLOGY (4 credits)
A study of natural and unnatural chemical substances in the environment with particular emphasis on the problem of chemical pollution and its health consequences. Includes air pollution, global warming, water quality, heavy metals, pesticide residues and other organic compounds. Principles of chemical equilibrium and reaction mechanisms emphasized.  Learning goals include applying chemical principles and critical thinking to understanding and addressing complex environmental problems, and utilization of modern information sources and modeling software to these problems. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 221 and 331 or consent of the instructor. (RCH) (AY)

CHEM 421 ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEMISTRY (3 credits)
A look at advanced concepts of organic chemistry through the use of rotating central topics in different years. Topics include spectroscopy, agricultural and pharmaceutical chemicals, or natural product syntheses. Students discover how organic chemistry is intimately involved in a variety of other fields, including biology and medicine. Learning outcomes include a working knowledge of advanced spectroscopy methods of structure elucidation and identification. Students will also learn several of the most current and modern advanced synthesis methods. Goals also include critical reading and evaluation of current primary literature in organic synthesis. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 321.

CHEM 431 ADVANCED ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY (4 credits)
The goal of this course is a systematic study of modern instrumental methods of chemical analysis with emphasis on the principles of operation of the instruments and their use for the analysis of real substances. Topics and learning goals include, but are not limited to, atomic and molecular spectroscopy, gas and liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry. Laboratory skills and learning goals include extensive hands-on experience with major analytical instrumentation: UV-Vis absorption, AAS, ICP-AES, GC and HPLC as well as important instrumentation construction skills such as data acquisition and control, electronics and the use of the machine shop. Emphasizes study of complex mixtures and the special problems of trace-level analysis. Learning outcomes include the successful understanding of the indicated goals. Prerequisites: Grade of C or better in CHEM 331. Also recommended: PHYS 230 or 235. (RCH) (AY)

CHEM 441 QUANTUM CHEMISTRY (3 credits)
Topics and learning goals include, but are not limited to, the study of the quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics as applied to chemical systems. In quantum mechanics, a range of problems is studied, from the simple particle-in-a-box case to the hydrogen atom, pi-electron systems, and time-dependent systems. With statistical mechanics, the molecular view of matter is linked to the energetics of chemical equilibrium systems. Learning outcomes include the successful understanding of the indicated goals. Prerequisites: CHEM 341, MATH 180 and PHYS 225. (RCH)

CHEM 480 SEMINAR (2 credits)
A study of recent research topics in chemistry based on primary sources. Each student to make at least one oral report. Topics and learning goals include, but are not limited to, the study of professional ethics, preparation of a portfolio for future education or employment, and preparation for comprehensive exams. Learning outcomes include preparing majors for work or graduate school in chemistry or a related field.  Students also review their chemistry knowledge in preparation for comprehensive exams and they learn to communicate their research experiences both in writing and orally.

CHEM 481 INTERNSHIPS, FIELD STUDIES AND OTHER FIELD EXPERIENCES (1-3 credits)

CHEM 482 SPECIAL TOPICS (3 credits)
Selected topics determined by the instructor for upper-level study.

CHEM 483 TEACHING ASSISTANTS (0-1 credit)

CHEM 484 FORD/KNIGHT RESEARCH (1-3 credits)
Collaborative research with faculty funded by the Ford/Knight Program. (IE)

CHEM 485 INDEPENDENT STUDY (1-3 credits)
A literature investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty supervisor. Culminates in a comprehensive report prepared in the style of a thesis or a scientific paper.

CHEM 486 STUDENT RESEARCH (1-3 credits)
A laboratory investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in consultation with a faculty supervisor. Culminates in a comprehensive report prepared in the style of a thesis or a scientific paper. (IE)

CHEM 488 SENIOR CAPSTONE EXPERIENCE (0 credit)
Majors must successfully complete comprehensive examinations in the Spring Semester of the Senior year.