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Chemistry student

“Chemistry is a substantial science by the measures of industry, economics, and politics. As an academic discipline, it underlies the vibrant growth of molecular biology, materials science, and medical technology. Although not the youngest of sciences, its frontiers continue to expand in remarkable ways. And although it shares boundaries with every other field of science, it has an autonomy, both methodologically and conceptually.”—Of Minds and Molecules: New Philosophical Perspectives on Chemistry, Nalini Bhushan and Stuart Rosenfeld, editors (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Are you thinking of taking Intro Chem (CHM 111) in the fall? Then please take our placement exam! More Info here.

Are you looking for student research opportunities in the department? Check the RESEARCH tab below.

You should feel free to contact your adviser or the department if you have any chemistry-related questions.

Be well,
The Chemistry Department


Chemistry Seminars and Lectures

Chemists and biochemists from around the country present their current research. Check out a list of our speakers and the schedule on our events calendar. The department of biological sciences and the biochemistry program also host seminars and lectures, many of them chemical in nature. Visit their web pages for details. 

Chemistry Lunchbags

During the academic year every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m., students and faculty get together for an informal presentation of their independent research projects. The schedule may be found on the events calendar.

Student Liaisons

Seniors: (Majors) Gladys Batista, Emily Kish, Avery Cook and Emily Swindell (Non-major)
Juniors: (Majors) Eleanor Fairbanks, Breanna Sprague, Nova Zhang and Varshini Anand (Non-major)

Chemistry Honors info and dates

At this link, please find the application instructions and important dates for 2023-24 CHM Honors.  This is for students graduating in May 2024.  If you intend to apply for Honors, be advised that the application deadlines are very early in the Fall semester. Get started asap!


  • Ability to “tell a good story” about chemistry
  • Read/write a scientific paper
  • Design experiments
  • Interpret data
  • Transfer knowledge between discrete course units
  • Authentic engagement with learning/exploration
  • Information literacy (chemistry-specific)
  • Thirty-four different desired areas of content mastery


The chemistry major offers a variety of possibilities. Basic requirements include the following courses (many of them have mandatory accompanying labs):

  • CHM 111/111L and CHM 224/224L (or CHM 118/118L) (General Chemistry)
  • CHM 222/222L (Organic I)
  • Three out of the following four courses: CHM 331 (Physical Chemistry I), CHM 332 (Physical Chemistry II), CHM 223/223L (Organic II) or CHM 363 (Advanced Inorganic)
  • Two out of the following three lab courses: CHM 326 (Synthesis & Structural Analysis), CHM 336 (Light & Chemistry) or CHM 346 (Environmental Analytical Chemistry)
  • Additional courses to bring the total number to 10. These can be selected from courses noted above, from other chemistry electives (at or above the 300 level), from independent research (up to one course only), or from BCH 252 (Biochemistry I), BCH 352 (Biochemistry II) PHY 327 (Quantum Mechanics), PHY 319 (Thermal Physics) or GEO 301 (Aqueous Geochemistry).

Special Issues

CHM 118 can be taken in lieu of CHM 111 and CHM 224. Consult a chemistry adviser before enrolling in CHM 118. The mathematics prerequisite for CHM 331 is MTH 112. It is recommended that students take PHY 117 and MTH 212 (or PHY 210) before CHM 331. Special Studies (CHM 400 and 400D) are offered S/U only.

The chemistry minor combines a sequential introduction to basic concepts in chemistry with additional experience practicing chemistry in a laboratory setting. You also get an opportunity to study a specific subfield of chemistry in greater depth.

You must complete five courses in chemistry, including the core introductory sequence: 111/111L, 222/222L and 224/224L (or 118/118L and 222/222L) and one additional course with a laboratory component (223/223L, 332, 326, 336 or 346).

The remaining courses may be chosen from CHM courses at the 300 level or BCH 252 or BCH 352.

Honors Director

Andrew Berke

430d Thesis: 8 credits, full-year course; offered each year

432d Thesis: 12 credits, full-year course; offered each year


Same as for the major, with the addition of a research project in the senior year culminating in a written thesis and an oral presentation. Faculty members will question honors students about their research.

To enter the honors program, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the major and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. Students may apply no earlier than the end of the second semester junior year and no later than the beginning of first semester senior year.

Visit the Class Deans' website to learn more about the honors program, deadlines and applying. Application forms and a project proposal must be submitted to the chemistry honors director for approval by the department.


The final honors designation (Highest Honors, High Honors, Honors, Pass or Fail) will be based upon evaluation of the written thesis (50%), oral presentation (20%) and the GPA in the major (30%).


See the deadlines for 2023-24 Honors theses.

If you have questions regarding the honors program or deadlines, please contact Andrew Berke.

To graduate from Smith with a certification from the American Chemical Society, you must satisfy the following five requirements:

  1. Complete CHM 111/111L and CHM 224/224L (or CHM 118/118L)
  2. Take courses in each of the five major areas of chemistry: analytical, biochemistry, inorganic, organic and physical. To satisfy this requirement you would take:
    • Analytical: two out of three from CHM 326, CHM 336 and CHM 346
    • Biochemistry: BCH 252
    • Inorganic: CHM 363
    • Organic: CHM 222/222L
    • Physical: CHM 332
  3. Include a minimum of at least 12 semester hours of in-depth coursework. This is satisfied by taking four courses from the following list: BCH 352, CHM 223/223L, CHM 321, CHM 328, CHM 331, CHM 338, CHM 369.
  4. Have a total of 400 hours of laboratory experience. This can be achieved at Smith in many ways. A typical example is taking the general chemistry course, the required organic course and the two lab courses required for the chemistry major, which totals 215 hours. Two other courses with labs within your program and a one-semester special studies will give you more than 400 lab hours.
  5. Math and physics requirements include MTH 111 and MTH 112 or MTH 114. You will also need PHY 117 and PHY 118 and the accompanying labs.

Possible Schedule for Certification

Note that many of the courses can be taken at different times than given here; this is one possible choice.

First Year Second Year 
CHM 111 (with lab) CHM 223 (with lab)
CHM 222 (with lab) CHM 224 (with lab)
MTH 111 CHM 326 (with lab)
MTH 112 PHY 117 (with lab)
  PHY 118 (with lab)
Third Year Fourth Year
CHM 331 CHM 400/430 (with lab)
CHM 363 CHM 332 (with lab)
CHM 336 (elective; with lab) CHM 430 (with lab)
CHM elective CHM elective
BCH 252  


Please check the course catalog for up-to-date information. Under Academic Programs select Chemistry.
You can also see the Five College course schedule.

The following example shows one possible major pathway fulfilling minimum requirements for a major.

First Year Second Year 
CHM 111 (required; with lab) CHM 224 (required; with lab)
CHM 222 (required; with lab) CHM 223 (optional; with lab)
  CHM 326 (elective; with lab)
Third Year Fourth Year
CHM 331 (optional) CHM 363 (optional)
CHM 332 (optional; with lab) Two CHM electives
CHM 346 (elective; with lab)  
CHM 336 (elective; with lab)  

There are many possibilities for a major. For various career objectives it may be useful to take additional courses. Please discuss this with your adviser. Here are some example majors for a student who:

Schedule for a Professional Chemist

Note that the courses in the junior and senior years can be taken in many different arrangements from that given here; this is one possible choice.

First Year Second Year 
CHM 111 (with lab) CHM 223 (with lab)
CHM 222 (with lab) CHM 224 (with lab)
  CHM 336 (with lab)
Third Year Fourth Year
CHM 331 CHM 346 (with lab)
CHM 363 CHM 332 (with lab)
CHM 338 CHM 430 (with lab)
CHM 326 (with lab) CHM 430 (with lab)

Schedule in Preparation for Medical School

Consult with an adviser about the many possibilities here. You can also consult prehealth advising.

First Year Second Year 
CHM 111 (with lab) CHM 223 (with lab)
CHM 222 (with lab) CHM 224 (with lab)
  CHM 326 (with lab)
  BCH 252
Third Year Fourth Year
CHM 331 CHM 336 (with lab)
CHM 363 CHM 430 (with lab)
BCH 352  

Environmental Chemistry

Some of the public policy courses in the environmental sciences minor might be of interest; talk with an adviser.

First Year Second Year 
CHM 111 (with lab) CHM 224 (with lab)
CHM 222 (with lab) CHM 336 (with lab)
Third Year Fourth Year
CHM 346 (with lab) CHM 331
CHM 332 (with lab) CHM 363
GEO 301 (with lab) CHM 430 (with lab)
  CHM 430 (with lab)

Sophomore Year Start

A chemistry program is relatively easy to start even after one year without chemistry.

Second Year  Third Year
CHM 111 (with lab) CHM 223 (with lab)
CHM 222 (with lab) CHM 224 (with lab)
  BCH 252
Fourth Year  
CHM 331  
CHM 332 (with lab)  
CHM 346 (with lab)  
CHM 336 (with lab)  
CHM 321  

Junior Year Away

Planning ahead is crucial to doing a junior year abroad.

First Year Second Year 
CHM 111 (with lab) CHM 223 (with lab)
CHM 222 (with lab) CHM 224 (with lab)
Third Year Fourth Year
Elective Abroad CHM 331
  CHM 363
  CHM 346 (with lab)
  CHM 326 (with lab)



Lâle Burk
Senior Lecturer Emerita in Chemistry

George Fleck
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry


Robert Linck
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

Thomas Hastings Lowry
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry


Faculty Mentoring Plan

Smith College and the chemistry department consider faculty mentoring at the core of faculty development. We have implemented a mentoring plan that outlines specific activities designed to facilitate mentoring.


Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty, as part of the STEM team at Smith, are undertaking a variety of research projects that are amenable to undergraduate participation. Undergraduate research can be done by students at all levels, as special studies, honors or summer research. It can also come in the form of shadowing or volunteering in a lab if you are not sure if research is for you, or if you have not had many chemistry classes yet.

If you are interested in doing research with us, you should start by reviewing the Faculty Research Interests section on this page and by attending any of the many faculty research talks presented during Chemistry lunch bags. Contact the faculty whose general research is of interest to find out about specific opportunities.

During the academic year, you will have to submit a Chemistry department application, in which you will be asked to describe your research interests and the labs you would be interested in working with (if any in particular).

All applications will be reviewed the semester prior to starting research and a research “match” will be suggested. While we would love to give all interested students a research opportunity, we only have so much space. So, if you don't get matched to a specific lab the first time, we invite and encourage you to submit another form the following semester!

Watch out for application deadlines (usually late November for the Spring semester and late April for the following Fall)

Summer research opportunities are organized separately via the SURF program and include funding. Consult the Summer Research Opportunities section in this page for specific details about this program.

For an overall description of STEM research at Smith you can explore this webpage.

Our Mission

At Smith, our mission is to promote a positive culture of safety. On the following link, you will find:

To see full details and practical safety information regarding regular research and instruction, please visit Smith's Research & Instruction Safety website.


The American Chemical Society advocates for the safe practice of chemistry. We follow their guidleines and recommendations. Visit their site to learn about a variety of resources and tools


To Help You In and Out of Class

  • Visit the Science Center Computing and Technical Services (CATS) supported software webpage to access a variety of scientific software.
  • Smith chemistry students have access to CHEMDRAW a chemical drawing tool that professionals use. To get your own copy of the tool, go to the CATS supported software webpage (link above) and follow their instructions.
  • WebMO is a web-based interface to computational chemistry packages. Instructions to use WebMO
  • The Jacobson Center will work with you to improve your writing and learning skills. The Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning will support students doing quantitative work across the curriculum. They offer chemistry tutoring, workshops and class study sessions outside the regular classroom.



Department of Chemistry
Ford Hall 255B
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063
Phone: 413-585-3806
Fax: 413-585-4534

Administrative Assistant: Amy Avard

Department Chair: Kevin Shea