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AP, A-Level, IB, CBSE, & HSC Credit for CHEM 131

Students may receive credit for CHEM 131/General Chemistry I with acceptable scores on their AP, A-level, IB, CBSE & HSC exams (see below), and have several options available. Students may:

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

Students earning acceptable grades on exams may request credit by consulting the appropriate department adviser.  Original transcript and a Statement of Results should both be provided to Academic Records in Lattimore 312. A "Course Approval Form" will need to be signed and submitted to Advising Services.


Advanced Placement (AP)

Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam may be awarded credit for CHEM 131 (General Chemistry I). 

For more information on AP credit, please see: www.rochester.edu/college/CCAS/handbook/AP.html, and https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/help.


A-Level Examinations/Cambridge

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

For more information on A-level exams please see: www.rochester.edu/college/CCAS/handbook/ALevels.html

“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 


CBSE & HSC Exams

  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)
    Students with an exam score of at least an A grade (90% or better) on their Chemistry CBSE chemistry examination are eligible to receive credit for CHEM 131 (General Chemistry I). 

  • Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC)
    Students with an exam score of at least an “A” grade (score of 4/"A" or 5/”A+) on their Chemistry HSC chemistry examination are eligible to receive credit for CHEM 131 (General Chemistry I). 

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 for CHEM 131 (General Chemistry I). 

No credit is granted for standard level (SL) exams.

For more information on IB credit, please see: www.rochester.edu/college/ccas/handbook/international-baccalaureate.html.            

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Requesting Transfer Credit

Elective credit can usually be granted by the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS).

Course Approval Forms for Chemistry courses can be handled via email.  If possible, students should obtain approval of transfer credit before taking a course elsewhere. 

To request equivalent 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 to transfer.  Please send to the chemistry undergraduate studies coordinator.  More information, including the syllabus may also be requested, but is not always necessary.  Please see our general policies regarding general chemistry and organic chemistry transfer credit.

Students will need to complete and submit a Course Approval Form, which will 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 online at: https://www.rochester.edu/college/ccas/assets/pdf/course-approval-form.pdf.


Approved courses from four year institutions require a “C” grade or better to transfer. Courses taken at Monroe Community College (MCC) that are on the MCC Approved List of courses are eligible for transfer credit with a "B" grade or better.  The Chemistry Department will consider general chemistry courses taken at other community colleges with a grade of "B" or better.  *Grades given by other schools do not transfer, and will not affect the GPA. 

*Please Note:  Transfer course grades do not transfer, and cannot replace grades earned at the University of Rochester.  If approved, equivalent course credit will show on your transcript, which can then be used towards a major or minor requirement. The original course taken and grade will also still show on your transcript and factor into your GPA.  The only way to replace a grade would be repeating the course here at the University of Rochester.  

  • General Chemistry Transfer Credit (CHEM 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 CHEM 131, while completion of the second course plus lab will earn transfer credit for CHEM 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.

  • Organic Chemistry Transfer Credit (CHEM 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 CHEM 203 and/or 207, while completion of the second course will earn transfer credit for CHEM 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 CHEM 203 and 207 or CHEM 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., CHEM 204) even if the course at another college includes both lecture and laboratory.

Further details regarding transferring credit can be found online at www.rochester.edu/college/CCAS/handbook/TransferCrdt.html.


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Declaring a Major or Minor in Chemistry

To declare a major or minor in chemistry, a member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee, must approve your proposed program by approving your online "Major/Minor Declaration Form".  The form needs to include a listing of all the courses you plan to successfully complete (including those already completed) in order to meet all degree requirements. 

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, but you can do this earlier if you prefer.  Advantages of being declared include being assigned a faculty advisor within our  department, receiving departmental audits to make sure you are on track, being included in departmental emails, and more.  Please contact the undergraduate studies coordinator or another member of the Undergraduate Studies Committee for more information.

Once approved, the courses you listed on your declaration form will be used to track and audit your major/minor.  Any changes to the courses you planned to use need to be approved and updated in the system.  This is done with a  "Major/Minor Revision Form" that your major advisor can complete at your request, or students can submit a hard copy revision form through the College Center for Advising Services (Located in Lattimore 312).

Please note that not all courses are guaranteed to run each semester/year, especially courses that are not required for any major or pre-requisites, including advanced 400-level courses.  If a course you listed on your form does not run, you will need to find an acceptable alternate course to take in it's place, and this will also need to be noted using the "Major/Minor Revision Form".

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.”  

Two courses with substantial overlap of content should not be included in a program.  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.) No two minors may overlap by more than two courses.

 There are some allied field courses and common introductory courses that will NOT count as overlaps. 

  • Courses that are exempt from the Overlap Rule:

    Biology: BIOL 110L, BIO 111L, BIOL 112L, BIOL 113L
    Chemistry: CHEM 131/CHEM 137 and CHEM 132
    Computer science: CSC 161, CSC 171, CSC 172
    Mathematics: MATH 141, MATH 142, MATH 143, MATH 150, MATH 161, MATH 162, MATH 163, MATH 164, MATH 165, MATH 171, MATH 172, MATH 173, MATH 174
    Physics: PHYS 113, PHYS 114, PHYS 121/121P, PHYS 122/122P, PHYS 123, PHYS 141, PHYS 142, PHYS 143
    Statistics: STAT 211, STAT 212, STAT 213, STAT 214, ECON 230, PSCI 200, DSCC 262

    Unless listed above, all courses are subject to the overlap rule (i.e., will count towards the maximum overlaps allowed between majors and minors).  See the UR CCAS Overlap Policies website for more information on the overlap rule.

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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First-Year Information for Chemistry Students

For options on chemistry courses for first-year students and more please visit: www.sas.rochester.edu/chm/undergraduate/first-year.html


Repeating a Course

Students planning on repeating a course should consult the College rules on the CCAS repeating course web page for more details, and are also required to complete the online Repeat Course Form.

Approval will not be granted if the course was taken for the first time and passed with a satisfactory grade (i.e., “C” or better). However, students who earn an unsatisfactory grade (i.e., C-, D+, D, D-, or E) in a course can repeat that course for a grade as long as they have the dean’s approval through CCAS.

The second grade, which is not necessarily the better grade, will be factored into the grade point average*. Credit can be earned only once. Credit for courses initially passed will be removed from the record when the “repeat” course is completed, even if the second grade is a failure. An “R” appears next to both listings of the course on the transcript. The earlier grade remains.

Please Note: The above policy applies to repeating a general chemistry course at the University of Rochester.  Grades given by other schools do not transfer and will not affect the GPA.  Transfer course grades cannot replace grades earned at the University of Rochester.  Please see Requesting Transfer Credit for more information.  

 Guidelines for Repeating Chemistry Courses

To repeat:You may take:
CHEM131CHEM 131 (summer or fall semester)
CHEM132CHEM 132 (summer or spring semester)
CHEM171CHEM 203 (summer or fall semester)
  • Note: Students cannot earn credit for both CHEM 171 and CHEM 203. CHEM 203 can replace a grade for CHEM 171. 
CHEM172CHEM 204 (summer or spring semester)
CHEM173CHEM 207 (summer or fall semester)
CHEM203CHEM 203 (summer or fall semester)
CHEM204CHEM 204 (summer or spring semester)
CHEM207CHEM 207 (summer or fall semester)
CHEM208CHEM 208 (summer or spring semester or CHEM 210/210W* spring only)
  • Note: A student can receive credit for both CHEM 208 and CHEM 210 if they choose to take both. A student can also elect to replace a grade in CHEM 208 with a grade earned in CHEM 210. Students cannot, however, use a grade in CHEM 208 to replace a grade in CHEM 210.


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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 (CHEM 210W, 231W, 232W, 234W, or 244W).  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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