First-Year Information for Chemistry Students Starting Fall 2022

Open Advising Hours

Do you have questions about which chemistry course to take in your first year at Rochester? Come to office hours to have all your questions answered! (no appointment necessary)

Chemistry Advising Office Hours on Zoom:
12-1 pm, Monday through Thursday, August 8-11, 2022.
Join Zoom Meeting:,  Meeting ID: 960 7304 5726

Prof. Alison Frontier will host on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Prof. David McCamant will host on Monday and Thursday.

Academic Open House
There will also be an Academic Open House during the week of Orientation on Thursday, August 25th, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m, in the Feldman Ballroom in Douglass Commons.  We hope you will stop by and visit the Chemistry Department table for help with any chemistry questions or just to say hi.

Please Note:

Information for First-Year Chemistry Students

Other Chemistry Policies & Advising Links

University Links:


General Information for First-Year students Intending to Major In Chemistry

For intended Chemistry majors, a typical first semester program consists of:

  • CHEM 131 or CHEM 171, depending on the student’s interest and preparation;
  • MATH 161, with advice from the mathematics department;
  • a writing course as recommended by the College Writing Program;
  • and an elective.

CHEM 131, General Chemistry, and CHEM 171, First-Year Organic Chemistry, are both appropriate for students intending to major in Chemistry. 

Both the CHEM BA and BS chemistry degrees require only two courses in physics, Physics 121–122, or 113–114.

However, chemistry majors pursuing a BS degree are strongly encouraged to take the Physics 121–123 sequence and begin during the spring semester of the first year. All chemistry majors should continue with their mathematics sequence in the spring semester.

Students anticipating a major in chemistry are encouraged to meet with a faculty advisor from the department during their first-Year year in order to explore the individual student’s needs and tactics for preparation for a possible major in chemistry.

Other helpful links to plan a program of study:

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Chemistry Courses for First Year Students

Please note:

The chemistry department offers three courses for entering First-Year students in the Fall semester:

CHEM 131 Chemical Concepts, Systems, and Practices I         (5 cr)

Instructor CHM 131 Lectures & Workshops: Ben Hafensteiner
Instructor CHM 131 Lab Lectures & Labs : Courtney Stanford

This course serves as an introduction to the concepts of chemistry for science and engineering students and health professions students and as a science course for students of the humanities and social sciences. Properties of chemical systems are discussed from a macroscopic and molecular perspective, with examples developed from a theme of energy
and the environment. Topics include stoichiometry, atoms and molecules, properties of gases, thermochemistry, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, solubility equilibria, and oxidation-reduction reactions. These topics are discussed in the context of the following energy and environment-related issues: elemental resources of our planet, energy production and utilization, what makes a good fuel, and aqueous resources.

There are two sections to choose from, both are two 75-minute (T, R) lectures per week. In addition to lectures, there is a 75-minute workshop meeting each week. A 50-minute lab lecture and three-hour laboratory also meet in alternate weeks.

Prior to the start of the semester, students should register for:

  1. one of the CHEM 131 Lectures (5 cr) with Dr. Hafensteiner:
    CHEM 131-2 | TR | 1105-1220        or          CHEM 131-1 | TR | 12:30-1:45

  2. a CHEM 131 Workshop  (offered at various times)

  3. either CHEM 131 Lab Lecture A or  B with Dr. Stanford:
    Lab Lect. A: CHEM 131‐3 | M | 1300‐1350  or  Lab Lect. B: CHEM 131‐4 | M |1025-1115

  4. either a CHEM 131Laboratory A or B
    Students need to register for a Laboratory “A” if registered for Lab Lecture A, and a
    Laboratory “B” if registered for Lab Lecture B.  

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CHEM 137 Chemical Principles for Engineers      (4 cr)

Instructor CHM 137 Lecture & Workshops: Lewis Rothberg
Instructor CHM 137 Lab Lecture & Labs : Courtney Stanford

This course is a one-semester introduction to general chemistry specifically for engineering students requiring only one semester of chemistry.

The course will discuss the microscopic and macroscopic basis for chemical structure and reactivity and is designed to give engineering students a conceptual foundation in the principles of chemistry that are relevant to solving engineering problems. Important topics include the nature of chemical compounds; stoichiometry, properties of gases; the Periodic Table; electrons and atoms; chemical bonding and applications to materials; thermodynamics and energy; rates of chemical reactions; chemical equilibrium; electrochemistry.

There are two 75-minute |W| lectures per week. In addition to lectures, there is a 75-minute workshop meeting each week. A 50-minute lab lecture and 3-hour laboratory meet in alternate weeks.

Prior to the start of the semester, students should register for 3 components:

  1. the CHEM 137 Lecture (4 cr): CHEM 137-1 | TR | 1525-1640 | Rothberg)

  2. either CHEM 137 Lab Lecture A or B with Dr. Stanford:
    Lab Lect. A: CHEM 137‐3 | W | 1230‐1345,  or Lab Lect. B: CHEM 137-2 | W | 1525-1640 &

  3. either a CHEM 137Laboratory A or B (Laboratory “A” if in Lab Lecture A, Laboratory “B” if in Lab Lecture B). 

    (CHM 137 Workshops will be offered at various times, and students will sign up for a particular workshop section in the first week of classes.”)

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CHEM 171/173 and 172/210 First-Year Organic Chemistry.

Instructor CHM 171 Lecture & Workshops: Shauna Paradine
Instructor CHM 173 Lab Lecture & Labs: Brad Nilsson

These courses constitute a one-year exploration of the basic observations, concepts, and practice of organic chemistry, with a focus on the fundamental relationships among molecular structure and chemical reactivity. The exploration requires that students grapple with defining questions, evaluating evidence, weighing arguments, reflecting on
epistemological issues, constructing new experiments, etc. The study of organic chemistry is carefully integrated with a review of the key concepts from general chemistry.

CHEM 171 designed for first year students with good preparation in chemistry (e.g., two years of general chemistry and an Advanced Placement (AP) score 4 or 5 (or other acceptable equivalent credit for CHEM 131). This sequence fast tracks students to more advanced chemistry courses and the fulfillment of degree requirements in other disciplines.

Notes on First-Year Organic Chemistry (CHEM 171, 172, 173):

  • CHEM 171 (Fall) and 172 (Spring) are each four-credit courses that individually meet for three separate lectures and one two-hour workshop each week.
  • CHEM 171 (Fall) has a required companion lab, CHEM 173, that meets for one lab afternoon per week (1 credit).
  • CHEM 172 (Spring) has a required companion lab, CHEM 210W* (2 credits) or CHEM 208 (1 credit). 
      *Chemistry majors should take CHEM 210W.

Prior to the start of the Fall semester, students should register for 4 components:

  1. the main CHEM 171Lecture (4 cr): CHEM 171-1 | MWF | 11:50-12:40 | Paradine
  2. a CHEM 171 Workshop  (offered at various days/times)
  3. the CHEM 173 Lab Lecture: CHEM 173-1 | F | 1300-1500 | Nilsson
  4. one of the CHEM 173 Lab sections (offered Tues-Thurs)

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Fall 2022 course registration for incoming students will open on:

  • Wednesday, August 10 at 9 a.m. ET for transfer students
  • Thursday, August 11 at 9 a.m. ET for first-year students

After you've discussed your first-semester courses with your academic advisors(s), you'll start preparing to register for classes in UR Student, the University's student information system. Follow the steps outlined on the New Student Academic Guide to make sure you’re ready for your registration day.

Check out the University's Registration Day Resources website for more information, including how to Create a saved schedule, tutorials and links to other resources.   


  • For technical issues enrolling in a course, please follow these steps to troubleshoot.  If you still have technical issues, submit a ticket to the UR Student Technical Support Team.
    (Please note: In order to submit a ticket, you must be connected to the University's wireless network on campus or through VPN.)

  • If you are having trouble registering for a specific Chemistry Course because it is full or needs instructor permission, please contact the chemistry course instructor.  

  • General chemistry advising questions can be directied to

  • Note that you will have some time to add/drop courses if needed.  See the Academic Calendar for deadlines.


Advanced Placement (AP) Course Placement

Students who have received the following scores on an advanced high-school course are entitled to credit for CHEM 131:  AP exam score of 4 or 5; IB Higher-Level (HL) score of 6 or higher; Cambridge A-level score of A; CBSE score >90%; HSC score of A or higher. 

Students with official credit for CHEM 131 may choose one of the following options:

  1. Accept the AP credit for CHEM 131, and apply for admission to enroll in CHEM 171 First-Year Organic Chemistry
    (This option allows students to skip CHEM 132 in the Spring, take Organic Chemistry their first year with a smaller cohort, and fast tracks students to more advanced chemistry courses and the fulfillment of degree requirements in other disciplines.)

  2. Accept the AP credit for CHEM 131, and not take chemistry in the fall semester, with subsequent enrollment in CHEM 132 in the spring semester,

  3. Waive this AP credit and enroll in CHEM 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.

More information:

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Health Professions Information

For those interested in HEALTH PROFESSIONS:  Schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, and veterinary medicine have similar foundational prerequisites for admission. Because individual programs may vary, students should investigate the requirements of their programs or schools of interest and speak with a Health Professions Advisor:

Health Professions Advising
203 Lattimore Hall, River Campus
(585) 276-7315


Below are chemistry course options for students to consider in order to fulfill pre-requisite coursework for health professions graduate programs. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and it is always best to speak with an advisor to determine which options make the most sense for you. Please also refer to our Sample Schedules.


  • Two semesters of General (or Inorganic) Chemistry with labs: CHEM 131, CHEM 132, CHEM 137, CHEM 211.
  • Two semesters of Organic Chemistry w/labs: CHEM 171/173, CHEM 172/208 (or 210W), CHEM 203/207, CHEM 204/208 (or 210W).

More info:

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