Chemistry

SMU Chemistry Undergraduate Program

chemistry notes


Undergraduate Program in Chemistry at SMU

Chemistry is a central discipline in the understanding of natural phenomena and the creation of products useful to humanity. Chemists are at the forefront of exciting research in material design, biology, medicine, nanotechnology, and environmental technologies. Challenging problems reaching from basic research to societal needs and from terrorism defense to environmental protection can be addressed with an educational background in chemistry.

The Department of Chemistry at SMU prepares students to meet the increasing demand for a scientifically trained workforce. Expertise in chemistry remains in high demand in the job market. Students and faculty build strong interactions in the classrooms, research labs, and through co-authoring papers. The emphasis in all courses offered by the Department of Chemistry is a modern scientific approach to the solution of chemical problems including biochemistry and the health sciences. Accredited by the American Chemical Society, the Department of Chemistry at SMU supports the commitment of the University to undergraduate learning, while also maintaining a strong graduate and research program.  To support undergraduate chemistry majors, the department typically offers 15–20 scholarships annually from department endowed funds.  

The atmosphere of the Chemistry Department is an informal one where students have easy access to the faculty. All chemistry majors are encouraged to join a faculty research group and work in teams with faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Graduates from the Department of Chemistry are consistently accepted into leading graduate and professional schools in the nation. Those who choose employment after graduation have no difficulty finding positions, with a particular area of success being the local school districts.

Major in Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry offers two undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Chemistry.  In addition to chemistry courses, both degrees require students to take courses in mathematics and physics. The complete listing of courses offered by the Department of Chemistry is summarized below.

Bachelor of Science With a Major in Chemistry


The B.S. degree is a more rigorous degree that requires considerably more teaching laboratory hours and undergraduate research.  The B.S. degree is intended for students who desire a complete and well-rounded chemistry background for graduate work in chemistry or the medical field.  The B.S. degree is also well-suited for students desiring employment immediately after graduation.  The B.S degree requires a minimum of 44 hours in the department, including eight hours of physics and nine hours of calculus.  Three credit hours of undergraduate are also required, although most B.S. majors conduct research for more than this requirement. Degree requirements including a suggested four-year plan is summarized below. The B.S. degree is certified by the American Chemical Society for professional training in chemistry.

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Course requirements for a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry (certified by the American Chemical Society)

Chemistry (44 hours):
CHEM 1303, 1304 (or 1307H, 1308H or 1305, 1306); 1113, 1114 General Chemistry
CHEM 3371, 3372 (or 3373H, 3374H); 3117, 3118 (or 3119, 3120) Organic Chemistry
CHEM 3351 Quantitative Analysis
CHEM 5310 Biological Chemistry: Macromolecular Structure and Function
CHEM 5383, 5384 Physical Chemistry
CHEM 5486 Instrumental Analysis
CHEM 5185 Laboratory Methods in Physical Chemistry
CHEM 5188 Advanced Physical Chemistry Laboratory
CHEM 5392 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
CHEM 5192 Inorganic Synthesis
CHEM 4397 Undergraduate Research

Electives (choose at least 3 hours from the following):
CHEM 5306 Introduction to Computational Chemistry
CHEM 5308 Special Topics
CHEM 5311 Biological Chemistry: Metabolism
CHEM 5312 Physical Biochemistry

CHEM 5317 Introduction to Molecular Modeling and Computer Assisted Drug Design

CHEM 5321 Understanding Chemistry

CHEM 5322 Introduction to Nanotechnology
CHEM 5333 Polymer Chemistry
CHEM 5390 Environmental Chemistry
CHEM 5393 Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHEM 5396 Advanced Physical Chemistry
CHEM 5398 Medicinal Chemistry

Mathematics (9 or 12 hours):
MATH 1337, 1338, 2339 Calculus
MATH 2343 Differential Equations (recommended)

Physics (8 hours):
PHYS 1303, 1304 (or 1307, 1308), 1105, 1106 General Physics

Additional Optional Courses (recommended for students who plan to attend graduate school, but not required for the degree):
MATH 3315 Numerical Methods (students interested in physical chemistry might want to complete a minor in mathematics by taking MATH 2343, 3315, and 3353)

Suggested four-year plan for a B.S. in Chemistry

(University Curriculum courses are not included in this plan)

1st year, Fall

1st year, Spring

CHEM 1303 – General Chemistry I lecture

CHEM 1304 – General Chemistry II lecture

CHEM 1113 – General Chemistry I laboratory

CHEM 1114 – General Chemistry II laboratory

MATH 1337 – Calculus I

MATH 1338 – Calculus II

2nd year, Fall

2nd year, Spring

CHEM 3371 – Organic Chemistry I lecture

CHEM 3372 – Organic Chemistry II lecture

CHEM 3117 – Organic Chemistry I lab

CHEM 3118 – Organic Chemistry II lab

PHYS 1303 or 1307 – General Physics I lecture

PHYS 1304 or 1308 – General Physics II lecture

PHYS 1115 – Physics I laboratory

PHYS 1116 – Physics II laboratory

MATH 2339 – Calculus III

MATH 2343 – Differential Equations (recommended)

3rd year, Fall

3rd year, Spring

CHEM 5383 – Physical Chemistry I lecture

CHEM 5384 – Physical Chemistry II lecture

CHEM 3351 – Quantitative Analysis

CHEM 5185, 5188 – Physical Chemistry labs

4th year, Fall

4th year, Spring

CHEM 5392 – Advanced Inorganic Chemistry

CHEM 5486 – Instrumental Analysis

CHEM 5192 – Inorganic Synthesis laboratory

CHEM 53XX – Advanced chemistry elective

CHEM 5310 – Biochemistry lecture

*CHEM 4397, Undergraduate Research, is also a requirement but can be taken at any time

Departmental Distinction

A chemistry major pursuing a B.S. degree may elect to graduate with departmental distinction. The student must apply to the department for this designation during the junior year, after at least 22 hours of chemistry have been completed with a minimum GPA of 3.500 in those courses. The student will enroll in CHEM 4397 and undertake an independent research project under the supervision of a departmental faculty member. During the senior year, a senior thesis will be written and presented to the department. Upon completion of all degree requirements, approval of the departmental faculty at the completion of these requirements, and provided the student maintains a minimum 3.500 GPA in all chemistry courses, the student will graduate with departmental distinction in chemistry.



Bachelor of Arts With a Major in Chemistry


The B.A. degree is intended for students who desire a general training in chemistry that still provides adequate preparation for graduate work in chemistry or the medical field.  The B.A. degree is also suited for those students wishing to add a major in another field.  The B.A. degree requires a minimum of 26 credit hours in the department, in addition to eight hours of physics and six hours of calculus or statistics. This degree is not certified by the American Chemical Society. Degree requirements including a suggested four-year plan is summarized in

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Course requirements for a Bachelors of Arts in Chemistry

Chemistry (minimum of 26 hours):
CHEM 1303, 1304 (or 1307H, 1308H); 1113, 1114 General Chemistry
CHEM 3371, 3372 (or 3373H, 3374H); 3117, 3118 Organic Chemistry
CHEM 5383 Physical Chemistry

Electives: At least 7 hours from additional chemistry courses at the 3000 or 5000 level, with at least 3 hours at the 5000 level. It is recommended that one of these courses be CHEM 3351, but another course can be substituted with the permission of the Departmental Advisor.

CHEM 3351 Quantitative Analysis

CHEM 5110 Biochemistry Laboratory

CHEM 5185 Physical Chemistry Lab

CHEM 5306 Introduction to Computational Chemistry
CHEM 5310 Biochemistry I
CHEM 5311 Biochemistry II

CHEM 5312 Physical Biochemistry

CHEM 5317 Introduction to Molecular Modeling and Computer Assisted Drug Design

CHEM 5321 Understanding Chemistry

CHEM 5322 Introduction to Nanotechnology
CHEM 5333 Polymer Chemistry
CHEM 5384 Physical Chemistry II*
CHEM 5390 Environmental Chemistry

CHEM 5393 Advanced Organic Chemistry
CHEM 5398 Medicinal Chemistry
CHEM 5486 Instrumental Analysis
* Note that MATH 2339 and CHEM 5383 are prerequisites for this course.

Mathematics (minimum of 6 hours):
MATH 1337 Calculus I
One additional course in mathematics, such as MATH 1338, STAT 2301, or STAT 2331.

Physics (8 hours):
PHYS 1303, 1304 (or 1307, 1308), 1105, 1106 General Physics

Suggested four-year plan for a B.A. in Chemistry

(University Curriculum courses are not included in this plan)

1st year, Fall

1st year, Spring

CHEM 1303 – General Chemistry I lecture

CHEM 1304 – General Chemistry II lecture

CHEM 1113 – General Chemistry I laboratory

CHEM 1114 – General Chemistry II laboratory

MATH 1337 – Calculus I

MATH 1338 – Calculus II or

STAT 2331 – Intro to Statistical Methods

2nd year, Fall

2nd year, Spring

CHEM 3371 – Organic Chemistry I lecture

CHEM 3372 – Organic Chemistry II lecture

CHEM 3117 – Organic Chemistry I lab

CHEM 3118 – Organic Chemistry II lab

PHYS 1303 or 1307 – General Physics I lecture

PHYS 1304 or 1308 – General Physics II lecture

PHYS 1115 – Physics I laboratory

PHYS 1116 – Physics II laboratory

3rd year, Fall

3rd year, Spring

CHEM 5383 – Physical Chemistry I lecture

CHEM 33XX or 53XX – Advanced chemistry elective

4th year, Fall

4th year, Spring

CHEM 33XX or 53XX – Advanced chemistry elective

CHEM 51XX – Advanced chemistry laboratory

Minor in Chemistry

Students majoring in other departments may obtain a minor in chemistry by completing CHEM 1303, 1113 and CHEM 1304, 1114 plus three additional advanced three-  or  four-hour  courses  to  be  chosen  in  consultation  with  the  Chemistry Department adviser. Note that organic chemistry courses taken elsewhere generally do not count as advanced hours towards the minor.


The Courses (CHEM)

CHEM 1113 (1). GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB. One three-hour laboratory period each week. Prerequisite or Corequisite: CHEM 1303. Withdrawal from CHEM 1113 requires withdrawal from CHEM 1303.


CHEM 1114 (1). GENERAL CHEMISTRY LAB. One three-hour laboratory period each week.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 1113; Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 1304.


CHEM 1303 (3). GENERAL CHEMISTRY. Designed primarily for science majors, premed stu- dents, and engineering students. Offers an introduction to the fundamental principles and theo- ries of chemistry, including stoichiometry, the structure of matter, energy relationships involved in the transformation of matter, the dynamics of such transformations, and some descriptive chemistry of the important elements. It is a prerequisite to all advanced courses in the depart- ment. Withdrawal from CHEM 1303, 1304 requires withdrawal from corresponding labs.


CHEM 1304 (3). GENERAL CHEMISTRY. Primarily for science majors or premed or engineer- ing students. Introduces the fundamental principles and theories of chemistry, including stoichiometry, the structure of matter, energy relationships involved in the transformation of matter, the dynamics of such transformations, and some descriptive chemistry of the important elements. Prerequisite to all advanced courses in the department. Prerequisite: CHEM 1303 or equivalent. Withdrawal from CHEM 1303, 1304 requires withdrawal from corresponding labs.


CHEM 3117 (1). ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB. One three-hour laboratory period each week.

Pre or Corequisite: CHEM 3371.


CHEM 3118 (1). ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LAB. One three-hour laboratory period each week.

Pre or Corequisite: CHEM 3372. Prerequisite: CHEM 3117.


CHEM 3351 (3). QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS. A course involving the theory and practice of quantitative analytical chemistry techniques including gravimetric, volumetric, electrochemical, and spectroscopic analyses. Three hours of lecture and two four-hour laboratory periods per week for one-half term. Prerequisites: CHEM 1303, 1304, 1113, 1114.


CHEM 3371 (3). ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. Designed to satisfy the requirements of the chemistry major and health-related professions student. The first term deals primarily with aliphatic chemistry with special emphasis on stereochemistry. The second term emphasizes aromatic substances and the chemistry of biologically relevant molecules. Prerequisites: CHEM

1303, 1304, 1113, 1114.


CHEM 3372 (3). ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. For chemistry majors and students interested in health-related professions. Emphasizes spectroscopy and the chemistry of functional groups. Prerequisites: C- or higher in CHEM 3371, 3117. Corequisite: CHEM 3118.


CHEM 4000 (0). RESEARCH. For students who hold research fellowships but are not enrolled in any credit-hour courses. No tuition.


CHEM 4197 (1), 4198 (1), 4297 (2), 4298 (2), 4397 (3), 4398 (3). UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH. Prerequisites: Junior or senior classification and permission of the instructor. Prerequisite or corequisite: CHEM 4177.


CHEM 5108 (1). SPECIAL TOPICS IN CHEMISTRY. Special topics of current interest. Content varies from term to term.


CHEM 5110/BIOL 5110 (1). BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY. One three-hour laboratory period each week. Corequisite: CHEM 5310. If CHEM 5110 is counted toward a chemistry major or minor, it cannot be counted toward a biological sciences major or minor.


CHEM 5185/CHEM 5188 (1). LABORATORY METHODS IN PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY. Laboratory experiments with emphasis on thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, and physical biochemistry. One half-hour of lecture and five-hour laboratory period each week for five weeks. Prerequisite: CHEM 5381 or 5383.


CHEM 5188/CHEM 5185 (1). ADVANCED PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY. Laboratory experiments with emphasis on chemical kinetics and molecular spectroscopy. One half-hour of lecture and five-hour laboratory period each week for five weeks. Prerequisite: CHEM 5185. Corequisite: CHEM 5384 or permission of instructor.


CHEM 5192 (1). INORGANIC SYNTHESIS LABORATORY. This course introduces students to advanced techniques and methods used in the synthesis of inorganic compounds. Corequisite (or prerequisite): CHEM 5392.


CHEM 5306 (3). INTRODUCTION TO COMPUTATIONAL CHEMISTRY. Besides the normal lab experiments, modern chemists/biochemists perform experiments on the computer by calculating the outcome of chemical/biochemical reactions. The present course will provide an introduction into this new field in a hands-on fashion. Major quantum chemical packages will be used.


CHEM 5308 (3). SPECIAL TOPICS IN CHEMISTRY. Presentation of advanced special topics in chemistry that are at the forefront of current chemical interest. Content varies from term to term.


CHEM 5310/BIOL 5310 (3). BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY: MACROMOLECULAR STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION. Introduction to the structure and function of macromolecules of biological importance. Emphasis on nucleic acid and protein structure, enzyme kinetics, carbohydrate and lipid chemistry. Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 3371 and 3372. If CHEM

5310 is counted toward a chemistry major or minor, it cannot be counted toward a biological sciences major or minor.


CHEM 5311/BIOL 5311 (3). BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY: METABOLISM. Introduction to the pathways and regulatory events in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, and nucleotides. Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 3371 and 3372.


CHEM 5312/BIOL 5312 (3). PHYSICAL BIOCHEMISTRY. Physical chemistry of macro- molecules and biological membranes, with an emphasis on the thermodynamics of solutions. Prerequisites: MATH 1338; CHEM 3372, 5310. (CHEM 5381 or CHEM 5383 is recommended.)


CHEM 5317 (3). INTRODUCTION TO MOLECULAR MODELING AND COMPUTER ASSISTED DRUG DESIGN. The course presents a thorough and in-depth overview of methods and techniques in computer assisted drug design (CADD). It includes topics such as drug discovery and drug design, molecular recognition and docking, ligand-receptor interactions, pharmacophore searching, virtual screening, de novo design, molecular graphics, chemo- metrics, etc.


CHEM 5321 (3). UNDERSTANDING CHEMISTRY. The course focuses on a general under- standing of chemistry in terms of models and concepts that describe structure, stability, reactivity and other properties of molecules in a simple, yet very effective way.


CHEM 5322 (3). INTRODUCTION TO NANOTECHNOLOGY. Nanotechnology (NT) is expected to change our lives and society more than computer technology and electricity have done together. The course will provide an introduction to NT. Nano-materials and their applications will be discussed.


CHEM 5333 (3). INTRODUCTION TO POLYMER CHEMISTRY. This course provides basic information on the synthesis, physical properties, and solution properties of high molecular weight molecules. Plastics, manufacturing, and fabrication of polymers are discussed. Prerequisites: CHEM 3371 and 3372.


CHEM 5344 (3). PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY OF PROTEINS. Graduate-level course on the fundamental aspects of techniques used to interrogate the thermodynamics and kinetics of protein conformational changes, with emphasis on atomic resolution structural techniques. Prerequisites: CHEM 5383 and 5384, knowledge of basic biochemistry, and instructor approval.


CHEM 5381 (3). PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY. Introduction to chemical thermodynamics, kinetics, molecular structure, spectroscopy, and statistical mechanics. Designed for B.A. majors in chemistry. Prerequisites: CHEM 1304, 1114, PHYS 1106, 1304, MATH 1337.


CHEM 5383 (3). PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I. Gas laws; kinetic molecular theory; introduction to thermodynamics, with applications to phase transitions and chemical equilibrium; chemical kinetics. Prerequisites: PHYS 1106, 1304, 1114; MATH 2339 or permission of instructor.


CHEM 5384 (3). PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY II. Elements of quantum mechanics and its description of many – electron atoms, bonding, and spectroscopy; intermolecular forces; structure of solids; and transport properties of fluids. Prerequisite: CHEM 5383.


CHEM 5390 (3). ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY. An examination of the chemistry of Earth’s environment, and of environmental problems caused by anthropogenic activities. Topics include aquatic and soil chemistry, nuclear chemistry, alternative energy, CO2 neutral, bio- material and green technologies, atmospheric chemistry and global warming. Prerequisites: MATH 1338, PHYS 1303 and CHEM 1304, 1114. Recommended: PHYS 1304; and CHEM 5381, CHEM 5383, GEOL 6338.


CHEM 5392 (3). ADVANCED INORGANIC CHEMISTRY. Survey of the bonding, structure, and reactivity of inorganic compounds; coordination, organometallic, and main group element chemistry. Three hours of lecture each week. Recommended: CHEM 5384.


CHEM 5393 (3). ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEMISTRY. Three hours of lecture each week.

Prerequisites: CHEM 3372.


CHEM 5396 (3). ADVANCED PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY. Three hours of lecture each week.

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.


CHEM 5397 (3). BIOTRANSFORMATIONS AND BIOCATALYSIS. This course will cover the history, application and current trends of biotransformations and biocatalysis with the emphasis on how biocatalysts are developed and used in pharmaceutical research. Prerequi- sites: CHEM 3371 and CHEM 3372.


CHEM 5398 (3). MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY. This course will highlight the close relationships of organic chemistry and biochemistry with the field of medicine. The course will rely on the departmental computational laboratory to permit three-dimensional visualization of molecular interactions. Three hours of lecture each week. Prerequisites: CHEM 3371 and 3372.


CHEM 5486 (4). INSTRUMENTAL ANALYSIS. A course involving the theory, operation and application of instrumentation used in the modern chemical laboratory. Two hours of lecture and two three-hour laboratory periods each week. Prerequisite: CHEM 3351 or permission of instructor.