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Undergraduate Program


Below are the department’s policies. For more information about the College’s policies see the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) website.


Declaring a Major or Minor in Chemistry

To declare a major or minor in chemistry, a member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee must approve the student's proposed program by signing an "Approval Form for Majors and Minors". These forms are available at the College Center for Advising Services, 312 Lattimore, and also online (

Prior to declaring a major or minor, you are strongly encouraged to meet with an adviser to discuss the exact requirements and your program of study.  It is helpful to bring a copy of your academic record from Access for reference when meeting in person.  We encourage students to declare their major by the end of the sophomore year.   Please contact the undergraduate studies coordinator or another member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee for more information.

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Double Major/ Double Degrees and Overlaps

Students wishing to pursue both a B.A. and a B.S. degree program, or two B.S. programs, within the College submit signed “Approval Forms for Majors and Minors” to the Center for Advising Services, along with a petition to the Administrative Committee seeking permission to pursue the double degree. All double degree students need to conform to the policies for “Double Majors.”  No two majors may overlap by more than three courses. (Some majors such as BET, EPD, HBS, HLP (Public Health) and IPA restrict the number of overlapping courses to two.) Allied field courses taken outside the department of the major that are part of the core program are subject to this overlap policy, as are foundational courses that are prerequisite requirements and from the department of the major. Non-departmental ancillary course requirements (such as chemistry for biology majors) are not subject to this restriction. Students submit the “Overlap Declaration Form for Majors and Minors” when they submit their second major form.   In addition, double degree students also need to know that the Administrative Committee will expect them to earn at least 136, rather than 128, credits in order to graduate and fulfill all graduation requirements of both degrees.

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Requesting Transfer Credit

Elective credit can usually be granted by the CCAS.

To request transfer credit for chemistry courses, students should provide the course description from either the course catalog or website (preferred) of the course they’d like transfer credit for, to the chemistry undergraduate studies coordinator or to the "Approval of Transfer Credit" member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee. The syllabus may also be requested.

Please see our general policies regarding general chemistry and organic chemistry transfer credit. If possible, students should obtain approval of transfer credit before taking a course elsewhere.

Students must also complete a Course Approval Form, which needs to include the course number and title of the other school's course, and indicate which corresponding course at the University of Rochester transfer credit is being sought for.

Course Approval Forms are available at the CCAS. Upon completion of the course(s), students need to request that the other school send an official transcript to the CCAS.

General Chemistry Transfer Credit (CHM 131, 132)

General chemistry courses at four year colleges or universities will be accepted for University of Rochester credit providing they are part of a two-semester sequence and also include a laboratory component (or a separate lab course).

Completion of the first course plus lab of a two-semester sequence will earn transfer credit for CHM 131, while completion of the second course plus lab will earn transfer credit for CHM 132, regardless of the material covered. If the course taken for transfer credit does not include an integral laboratory, and you have not taken a separate lab, then both a lecture course and a lab course must be completed to obtain transfer credit.

General chemistry courses at Monroe Community College that are on an MCC Approved List of courses will receive transfer credit. The department will consider general chemistry courses taken at other community colleges for transfer credit. A grade of B or better is required to receive transfer credit for courses taken at a community college.

Organic Chemistry Transfer Credit (CHM 203, 204, 207, 208)

Organic chemistry courses at four year colleges or universities will be accepted for credit provided they are part of a two-course sequence. Completion of the first course of a two-course sequence will earn transfer credit for CHM 203 and/or 207, while completion of the second course will earn transfer credit for CHM 204 and/or 208, regardless of the material covered. 

If the organic chemistry course has an integrated laboratory, UR credit will be awarded for both lecture and laboratory courses (for example CHM 203 and 207 or CHM 204 and 208). An exception to this occurs if the student has completed the organic laboratory course at Rochester; the student may then request transfer credit for only a lecture course (e.g., CHM 204) even if the course at another college includes both lecture and laboratory.

Organic chemistry courses at Monroe Community College that are on the MCC Approved List of courses will receive transfer credit. The department will consider organic chemistry courses taken at other community colleges for transfer credit. A grade of B or better is required to receive transfer credit for courses taken at a Community College.

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Repeating a Course

Use the following table to determine the options available for "repeating" a general chemistry course. Students may wish to consult the College rules on the CCAS repeating courses page.

Guidelines for Repeating Chemistry Courses
To repeat:You may take:
CHM 131CHM 131 (summer or fall semester)
CHM 132CHM 132 (summer or spring semester)
CHM 171CHM 203 (summer or fall semester)
CHM 172CHM 204 (summer or spring semester)
CHM 173CHM 207 (summer or fall semester)
CHM 203CHM 203 (summer or fall semester)
CHM 204CHM 204 (summer or spring semester)
CHM 207CHM 207 (summer or fall semester)
CHM 208CHM 208 (summer or spring semester or CHM 210/210W spring only)

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Upper-Level Writing Requirement

All chemistry majors are required to complete two upper-level writing courses ("W" courses). At least one of these courses must be a chemistry department course (CHM 210W, 231W, 232W, 234W, or 393W).  Students may use one writing course from another department for one of the two required writing courses.  Upper-level writing courses are signified with a "W" in the course number, and are searchable in the CDCS.

Two types of reports are required in each course: one report is written so that a well-educated non-scientist is able to understand the content; the second report is written as a formal scientific presentation with appropriate literature references. The reports will be reviewed and revisions required.

Policies regarding Upper-level writing requirements vary between departments.  For more information, please see:

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Advanced Placement (AP)

Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam are entitled to credit for CHM 131 and have several options available. Students may:

  1. Accept the AP credit and apply for admission to enroll in the chemistry “First-year Organic” course (CHM 171)
  2. Accept the AP credit and not take chemistry in the fall semester, with subsequent enrollment in CHM 132 in the spring semester, or
  3. Waive this credit and enroll in CHM 131 in the Fall. 

The department expects that some students will select each of these options, depending on their preparation in chemistry and their future interests.

For more information on AP credit, please see:, and

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Students who have completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) chemistry higher level (HL) exam with a score of 6 or better may be awarded credit for CHM 131 (General Chemistry I), and are eligible to enroll in CHM 171 (Freshmen Organic Chemistry/Fall semester), or CHM 132 (General Chemistry II/Spring semester). No credit is granted for standard level (SL) exams.

For more information on IB credit, please see:

A-Level Examinations  /  Cambridge

Students with an "A" grade on their A-level (Advanced) chemistry examination are eligible to receive credit for our CHM 131 General Chemistry I (4 credits). 


Students earning high marks on “A- level" (Advanced) examinations may request credit by consulting the appropriate department adviser.  The original University of Cambridge GCE transcript and a Statement of Results should both be provided to Academic Records in Lattimore 312.  The amount of credit awarded is determined by the department giving approval, normally on a Course Approval Form or in a memo to Advising Services.

“O-” level (Ordinary) courses-or Subsidiary examinations are not comparable to college courses and no credit can be awarded.  Students with questions should consult the Center for Education Abroad.

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