Acceptance to the Major
During your sophomore year, you will be asked to declare a major. You can apply for acceptance to the major on eLion here. Choose the Entrance to Major option under the help menu.
General Education Requirements
Prospective employers of Penn State students have consistently sought those graduates who have well-rounded educational experiences and abilities. Examples of recruiter comments include:"As consultants our people work in constantly changing work environments, different technology, and different business competencies. We value individuals who are flexible in their thinking and in how they approach problems ... I think a General Education program provides this sort of preparation."Penn State's approach to the general component of every degree program is unique among major universities. While courses that are part of the major degree program aim to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in their profession, a carefully chosen set of General Education courses can provide them with the insights and the flexibility to make well-reasoned future career choices. The inclusion of General Education studies in every degree program reflects a deep conviction by the Penn State faculty, as well as by leaders in all professions, that successful, satisfying lives require a wide range of skills and knowledge. These skills include the ability to reason logically and quantitatively and to communicate effectively; an understanding of the sciences that make sense of the natural environment; a familiarity with the cultural movements that have shaped societies and their values; and an appreciation for the enduring art that expresses, inspires, and continually challenges these values. General Education, in essence, augments and rounds out the specialized training students receive in their majors and aims to cultivate a knowledgeable, informed, literate human being.
Components of General Education
The typical Penn State academic program requires the completion of between 120 and 130 credits. The General Education requirements are common to all degree programs and compose about one-third of the course work (45 credits). The course selections are designed to provide students with a well-rounded academic experience within an integrated curriculum that allows for individual flexibility.
The components of the program are:
First-Year Seminars--help introduce students to the scholarly community of the University.
Skills courses--help develop quantitative and communication skills. [Writing/Speaking Courses (GWS), Quantification Courses (GQ)]
Knowledge Domains of the Arts, Humanities, and the Sciences--provide a broad overview of the world in which we live. [Health and Physical Activity (GHA), Natural Sciences (GN), Arts (GA), Humanities (GH), Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS)]
Writing Across the Curriculum--further enhance writing skills. (W)
Intercultural and International Competence--provide opportunities to increase understanding between cultures and widen international perspective. [United States Cultures (US) and International Cultures (IL)]
For the CHMBD major, the General Education courses and the number of required credits can be found on the checksheet. Those courses with GHA, GA, GH, GS suffixes may be chosen from the available courses offered. Courses with GWS, GQ, and GN are prescribed courses for the major. Below are a few helpful hints that may help you chose which general education courses may fit into your schedule best.
Arts (GA), Humanities (GH), and Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) -- University policy requires 6-credit hours from each of these categories; however, you may elect to develop a sequence of 9-credits in either the arts, humanities, or social sciences by substituting 3-credits from one of the other two areas. This substitution must be made in consultation with your academic advisor.
First-Year Seminars-- All first-year students are required to take a seminar course. Students interested in chemistry, chemical engineering and/or other related physical sciences should enroll in the chemistry/physics freshman seminar offered each fall.
Writing across the curriculum (W)-- University policy requires a 3-credit writing intensive course (W). CHMBD majors are required to take 413W (currently offered every other year during the fall semester) to fulfill this requirement. Students should be aware and plan their schedule accordingly to include 413W, which will be offered Fall 2008.
United States Cultures (US) and International Cultures (IL)-- Students must schedule at least two courses (3-credits each) to fulfill the United States Cultures (US) or Intercultural Cultures (IL) requirement. These do not have to be additional courses. It is suggested that you complete this requirement by taking a GHA, GA, GH, or GS course that also has a US or IL designation. If chosen properly, one course should fulfill both requirements. In addition, some courses fulfill both cultures requirements. Student can only get credit for one or the other.
Graduation Requirements in Chemistry--Flexibility is built into the major. There are eighteen technical electives as well as six free electives that students can use to tailor the major to their specific career choices. This flexibility allows students pursuing acceptance into medical school or other chemistry based careers to schedule the necessary courses. Minors in biology, mathematics, and physics are also offered and easily obtained using the elective credits available. In addition, you can choose from five options within the chemistry major depending on your strengths or career goals. Options in chemistry include biochemistry, business, computer science, education or a general track. Each option is tailored to meet the changing needs of students who choose careers in fields outside traditional careers in chemistry. For the B.S. degree in Chemistry, a minimum of 124 credits is required. Each student must earn at least a grade of C in each 300- and 400-level course in the major field and must have earned a minimum 2.00 grade-point average. In addition, you must meet all general education and prescribed courses as indicated on the check sheet. Students should be aware that some prescribed and additional courses require a “C” or “C average to meet degree requirements. The check sheet details the specific courses that require minimum grades. The official policies and requirements can be found online at http://www.psu.edu/bulletins/bluebook/major/chmbd.htm.
In addition to the General Education requirements mandated by Penn State, our chemistry major includes prescribed courses, additional courses, supporting and related courses, 400-level selections as well as free electives.
Prescribed Courses — Many of the core chemistry courses fall under the prescribed category. These courses are required and may require a grade of C to count towards graduation.
Additional Courses — This category includes advanced analytical laboratories, math selections and 400-level chemistry courses. Additional courses are required but may be selected from several possibilities. Use the course catalog to pick those courses that both interest you and will help you make progress towards graduation. In addition, certain courses may be more helpful than others. For example, taking MATH 231 before CHEM 450 (Physical Chemistry) is suggested but not required. Talk with your academic advisor if you are unsure which additional courses might be most appropriate for you. This category also includes required credits in either undergraduate research or a chemistry internship.
400–level Courses — There are 4-6 additional 400-level courses for you to choose from. Many of these courses have prerequisites and are often taught every other year. Talk with your academic advisor to plan which of these courses you should take during your junior/senior years. In addition, any 400-level chemistry courses you take over the required 6-credits will be counted under the Supporting and Related Courses category.
Supporting and Related Courses—There are many areas of chemistry that overlap with similar and related sciences. For example, obtaining a medical degree or graduate school in biochemistry will require a strong foundation in biology. If you chose to study theoretical chemistry, using computer systems software will be critical. The category of Supporting and Related Courses will help you achieve a well-rounded science education. Like the General Education requirements, there are a variety of courses you may choose from. A list is provided below, but it is not completely inclusive. If there is a new course or a technical course you feel you would like to include under this selection, please speak with your academic advisor or the program chair in chemistry.
BIOL 110 or higher
CMPSC any course
CMPEN any course
FR 001, 002, 003
GER 001, 002, 003
MATH 200-level or higher
MICRB 201 or202
PHYS 237 or any 400-level course
PL ET 206 or higher
SPAN 001, 002, 003
STAT 250 higher
Free Electives—The chemistry major has 6-credits that are solely your choice. Courses students often choose for these flexible credits are ROTC, credit received for varsity sports, optional recitation courses, i.e. CHEM 108, and any other courses that do not count in any other category.
Non-approved courses—There are some courses that are not appropriate for a chemistry major and will not count toward degree requirements. These courses include but are not limited to those listed below.
BI SC 001, 002, 003, 004
CAS 100, 126
CHEM 001, 003, 020, 021, 101, 202, 203
ENGL 004, 005
MATH 001, 002, 003, 004, 017, 018
PHYS 001, 150, 151, 250, 251
Please do not use the information contained here as a substitute for your academic advisor. The chemistry major and required courses are constantly changing. The only sure method to obtaining accurate information is to see your academic advisor at least once a semester or check the official university catalog.