BSc in Chemistry

male and female chemistry students at work

Chemistry is the science that deals with the composition, structure and behaviour of the atoms and molecules which make up all forms of matter. Its central role in science is emphasised by the fact that Chemistry merges with Biology at one extreme and with Physics at the other.

A basic knowledge of Chemistry is essential in order to appreciate and understand the material world in which we live. It also provides a means of making the world a better place. Chemistry has an important role to play in solving the world's major problems in energy, food supply, health and the environment. Modern society relies on chemists for everything from medicine to materials.

Chemistry is also a popular choice for students pursuing double majors and double degrees. Common combinations include Chemistry and Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chemistry and Law and Biochemistry and Law.

We frequently host international experts as Erskine Fellows, offering unique learning opportunities for students of Chemistry.

At 100 level there are two core courses, CHEM 111 and CHEM 112, which are intended for students with a solid background in Year 13 Chemistry. CHEM 114 is intended for for students with fewer than 14 credits in NCEA level 3 Chemistry and will lead into the core courses.

Let's Talk Chemistry is a is an introduction to the basic concepts, vocabulary and language of Chemistry. It is written for all students who need or wish to study Chemistry for its own sake or need it as the basis of another discipline (Biological Science, Medicine, Physics, Engineering) at first-year University level.

It will also provide reinforcement for those who have a basic background and can be a useful resource for teachers.

1. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter one

2. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter two

3. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter three

4. Let's talk chemistry chapter four

5. Let's talk chemistry chapter five

6. Let's talk chemistry chapter six

7. Let's talk chemistry chapter seven

8. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter eight

9. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter nine

10. Let's talk chemistry chapter ten

11. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter eleven

12. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter twelve

13. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter thirteen

14. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter fourteen

15. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter fifteen

16. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter sixteen

Let's Talk Chemistry index of terms

Let's Talk Chemistry answers to exercises

Chemistry is an important component in many other fields of study including Agriculture, Biochemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Consumer and Applied Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Science, Forensic Science, Forestry, Horticulture, Human Nutrition, Law, Optometry, Pharmacy, Nuclear Chemistry, Veterinary Science and many others.

At UC, degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Engineering and Forestry also include 100-level courses in Chemistry.

The core courses for a degree in Chemistry are CHEM 111, CHEM 112, CHEM 211, CHEM 212, CHEM 251, CHEM 242, CHEM 281, or BCHM 281CHEM 381 or CHEM 382.

At 300 level students choose courses that focus on a particular pathway within Chemistry. You can also focus on Biology with Medicinal Chemistry or BSc in Biochemistry, or a Physics-oriented Chemistry degree with Materials Science and Nanotechnology.

Chemistry study pathways

Organic Chemistry provides an understanding of the molecular basis of life. It is a good choice for students who aspire to jobs in medicinal science, biochemistry, biotechnology, agricultural science, environmental science, nanotechnology, forensic science or teaching.

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended 

Complementary 

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM 212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology

And either:

Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health

Complementary 

Year 3

Required 

At least 15 points from other CHEM 300 level courses. 

Medicinal Chemistry is the basis of pharmaceutical discovery and development. It provides a solid background for careers in pharmaceutical research, drug development, health, forensic science, biotechnology and proteomics.  It is also an important avenue to postgraduate study and research.

Year 1

Required 

  • BIOL 111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry
  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (this is an alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended 

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM 212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology

And either:

Recommended 

  • BCHM 253 Cell Biology 
  • BCHM 222 Biochemistry 
  • BCHM 202 Foundations in Molecular Biology (equiv BIOL 231)
  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health

 

Year 3

Required 

Recommended 

  • BCHM 301 Biochemistry 3 (equiv BIOL 331)
  • CHEM 321 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry: From Structure to Function
  • BCHM 381 Biochemical Techniques (a lab course is required for those intending to study biochemsitry to 4th year or beyond) 
  • BIOL 333 Molecular Genetics
  • BIOL 313 Advanced Molecular and Industrial Microbiology

Inorganic compounds include materials, catalysts, metal alloys, geochemicals and biochemicals. Inorganic Chemistry provides a foundation for careers in environmental science, nanotechnology, industrial chemistry, geochemistry, materials science, teaching and biochemistry. It is also a large postgraduate research and study field. 

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended courses from other science subjects, such as MATH, STAT, PHYS, BIOL, GEOL e.g.

  • GEOL 111 Planet Earth: An Introduction to Geology
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics

 

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)

And either:

Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health

Complementary

Year 3

Required 

  • CHEM 321 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry: From Structure to Function
  • CHEM 381 Advanced Synthetic Techniques

At least 15 points from other CHEM 300 level courses. 

Analytical chemists identify the chemicals present in a compound or in the environment. Graduates find careers in many fields including environmental testing, health diagnostics, testing raw materials (such as food, steel or plastics) in manufacturing and teaching. There are a range of opportunities in postgraduate study and research.

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended courses from other science subjects, such as MATH, STAT, PHYS, BIOL, GEOL e.g.

  • GEOG 106 Global Environmental Change
  • PHYS 111  Introductory Physics for Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics

Complementary 

  • ENVR 101 Introduction to Environmental Science

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)

And either:

Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health

Complementary

Year 3

Required 

At least 15 points from other CHEM 300 level courses

Physical Chemistry covers the fundamental physical properties of chemicals and their reactions. Job opportunities include materials science, environmental science, atmospheric chemistry, nanotechnology, industrial chemistry, computation and teaching. It is also an important field for postgraduate study and research.

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

Recommended 

At least 60 points from other science-related subjects, particularly PHYS, MATH and or STAT

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM 212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology

And either:

Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health

Year 3

Required 

At least 15 points from other CHEM 300 level courses

Nanotechnology is the understanding of forces that control the behaviour of atoms, molecules and materials so they may be harnessed for use in devices. Nanotechnology is interdisciplinary and offers opportunities to work with engineers, physicists and biologists.

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

Recommended 

  • PHYS 101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves, Electromagnetism and Thermal Physics
  • PHYS 102 Engineering Physics B: Electromagnetism, Modern Physics and 'How Things Work'
  • MATH 102 Mathematics 1A
  • MATH 103 Mathematics 1B

Year 2

Required 

Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health
  • PHYS 203 Relativistic and Quantum Physics
  • PHYS 206 Electromagnetism and Materials

Year 3

Required 

At least 15 points from other CHEM 300 level courses

For advice on studying Chemistry

Anna Chapman

Student Advisor (Undergraduate)
Okeover 110
Internal Phone: 94117

Alison Downard

Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Rutherford 660
Internal Phone: 94228