Chemistry Department

Majors & Minors

This page is a general overview of the majors and minors. For more information, please consult the current college catalog, or contact the department.

The Chemistry Department offers a major or minor in chemistry and in biochemistry. Within each major, students may pursue either a standard or American Chemical Society (ACS)-certified degree.

Chemistry Major & Minor

Chemistry is the study of the physical world around us on a molecular and atomic level. It is the “central science” in that it bridges the foundational principles of physics with the large-scale structures and mechanisms of biological or geological processes. An understanding of chemical principles, appreciation of experimental methodology, and associated critical thinking skills are fundamental to a liberal education for all students, regardless of field of concentration. For those who intend to pursue scientific endeavors as a vocation, the Chemistry Department provides a rigorous and personal preparation for graduate studies, medical school, industrial employment, or teaching. 

Requirements for a major in chemistry include the following mandatory courses:

  • Chemistry 303: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 304: Organic Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 406: Inorganic Chemistry
  • Chemistry 415: Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry 452: Biochemistry
  • Chemistry 475: Junior Seminar
  • Chemistry 502: Physical Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 503: Physical Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 522: Instrumental Analysis
  • Chemistry 570: Senior Seminar
  • Chemistry 590: Chemical Research
  • Biology 202: Molecular Genetics & Cellular Function
  • Mathematics 220: Calculus II
  • Physics 201: University Physics I
  • Physics 202: University Physics II

Chemistry 570 and 590 require completion of a guided laboratory research project (completed no later than fall of the senior year) and a written report. All chemistry majors must also pass a standardized comprehensive chemistry examination prior to graduation.

A minor in chemistry consists of:

  • Chemistry 101: General Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 102: General Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 303: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 304: Organic Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 415: Analytical Chemistry

Chemistry Major, ACS-certified

Requirements for an ACS-certified degree include all of the courses required for the Chemistry major with the addition of one of the following four advanced courses:

  • Chemistry 403: Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • Chemistry 419: Analytical Separation Science
  • Chemistry 453: Advanced Biochemistry
  • Chemistry 504: Advanced Topics in Physical Chemistry

Students pursuing a ACS-certified degree are also required to do a more extensive research project culminating in a senior presentation and thesis, which requires completion of Chemistry 575.

Biochemistry Major & Minor

The chemistry of biomolecules is the essence of biochemistry: a study of the structure, function, and role in biology of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and lipids. The biochemistry curriculum at Hillsdale College seeks to provide students with a strong background in chemistry and the cellular/molecular branch of biology. This curriculum provides the foundation necessary to understand the important advances that have occurred at the interface of chemistry and biology.

The biochemistry major at Hillsdale is designed to prepare students for careers in biochemical and biotechnical research, graduate study in biochemistry, and for further education in professional schools of medicine, dentistry, and allied health fields. The courses for the major draw from both the Chemistry and Biology Departments. The required courses follow the recommendations of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Requirements for a major in biochemistry include the following mandatory courses:

  • Chemistry 303: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 304: Organic Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 415: Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry 452: Biochemistry
  • Chemistry 453: Advanced Biochemistry
  • Chemistry 475: Junior Seminar
  • Chemistry 501: Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences
  • Chemistry 570: Senior Seminar
  • Chemistry 590: Chemical Research

In addition, students must take at least two of the following courses:

  • Biology 302: Developmental Biology
  • Biology 306: Plant Physiology
  • Biology 309: Genetics
  • Biology 320: Advanced Cell Biology
  • Biology 360: Microbiology
  • Biology 430: Molecular Biology

Students must also complete the following cognates:

  • Biology 202: Molecular Genetics & Cellular Function
  • Mathematics 220: Calculus II
  • Physics 101: College Physics I
  • Physics 102: College Physics II

Chemistry 570 and 590 require completion of a guided laboratory research project (completed no later than fall of the senior year) and a written report. All biochemistry majors must also pass a standardized comprehensive biochemistry examination prior to graduation.

A minor in biochemistry consists of the following courses:

  • Chemistry 101: General Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 102: General Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 303: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chemistry 304: Organic Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 452: Biochemistry
  • Chemistry 453: Advanced Biochemistry

Biochemistry Major, ACS-certified

Requirements for an ACS-certified biochemistry degree include all of those for a Biochemistry major with the addition of Chemistry 406 and one of the following advanced courses:

  • Chemistry 403: Advanced Organic Chemistry
  • Chemistry 419: Analytical Separation Science
  • Chemistry 503: Physical Chemistry II
  • Chemistry 504: Advanced Topics in Physical Chemistry

In addition, students are required to do a more extensive research project culminating in a senior presentation and thesis, which requires completion of Chemistry 575. Students should confer with the department chair or biochemistry faculty to ensure that sufficient laboratory hours are completed for the ACS certification.