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Swarthmore College    
College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
  
 
  Dec 15, 2017
 
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Chemistry and Biochemistry


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Courses   


Faculty

KATHLEEN P. HOWARD, Professor
ROBERT S. PALEY, Professor
PAUL R. RABLEN, Professor3
THOMAS A. STEPHENSON, Professor4
CHRISTOPHER R. GRAVES, Associate Professor
STEPHEN T. MILLER, Associate Professor and Chair
LILIYA A. YATSUNYK, Associate Professor
DANIELA FERA, Assistant Professor
SILVIA L. PORELLO, Visiting Assistant Professor
KATHRYN R. RILEY, Visiting Assistant Professor and CFD Postdoctoral Fellow
KYLE C. WAGNER, Visiting Assistant Professor
VIRGINIA M. HECK, Senior Lecturer
MARIA G. NEWPORT, Lecturer
DONNA T. HALLEY, Senior Laboratory Instructor
CAROLINE A. BURKHARD, Laboratory Instructor
LORI P. SONNTAG, Laboratory Instructor
IAN MCGARVEY, Scientific Instrumentation Specialist
CATHERINE CINQUINA, Administrative Assistant


3 Absent on leave, 2017-2018.
4 Absent on administrative leave, 2017-2018.


The objective of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department is to offer effective training in the fundamental principles and basic techniques of the science and to provide interested students with the opportunity for advanced work in the main subdisciplines of modern chemistry.

The department offers a course major, honors major, course minor, and honors minor in chemistry. In addition, the department offers the following special majors: in collaboration with the Biology Department , a course major and an honors major in biochemistry; and in collaboration with the Physics and Astronomy Department , a course major and an honors major in chemical physics. We offer teacher certification in chemistry through a program approved by the state of Pennsylvania. For further information about the relevant set of requirements, please refer to the Educational Studies  section.

The Academic Program


Course Sequence Recommendations


Students planning a major in chemistry or biochemistry should complete Chemistry 010/010 HN and 022 during their first year at Swarthmore. During the sophomore year students can take 032 and 038 or 044 and 055 if the physics and mathematics requirements for physical chemistry have been completed. In addition, students planning a major in Biochemistry should complete Biology 001 in their first two years at Swarthmore.

In the last two years, chemistry and biochemistry majors have some flexibility about the sequencing of the remaining requirements for the major. However, students should note that completion of Chemistry 010/010 HN, 022 and one semester of a 40-level or 50-level course constitute a minimum set of prerequisites for enrollment in any Chemistry and Biochemistry Department 100-level seminar. In addition, individual seminars carry additional prerequisites so students should plan ahead accordingly.

Course Major in Chemistry


The course major in chemistry consists of eight required core courses, as well as their mathematics and physics prerequisites, plus a 100-level elective seminar. All majors must complete the senior comprehensive requirement, as described in a later section.

Requirements


CHEM 010/010 HN CHEM 022
CHEM 032 CHEM 038
CHEM 044 CHEM 055
CHEM 056 CHEM 057
One 100-level seminar

Ancillary Requirements (prerequisites for physical chemistry):


PHYS 003/003L and PHYS 004/004L (or 007, 008)
MATH 034 (or equivalent)

Acceptance Criteria


All applications are reviewed by the entire department. We consider grades in all college-level courses in chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics. Decisions will not normally be made until two chemistry courses are completed and significant progress has been made towards meeting the physics and mathematics prerequisite requirements for enrollment in physical chemistry. An element in a student's acceptance as a major is the considered judgment of the faculty, that includes the student's potential for satisfactory performance in advanced course work and their fulfillment of the comprehensive requirement.

Course Minor in Chemistry


Requirements


The course minor in chemistry has the following requirements:

  1. The minor consists of five chemistry credits, plus any prerequisites necessary. The chemistry credits must include 010/010 HN, 022, and 044 and two additional credits, at least one of which must be numbered 050 or higher. Chemistry 001 and research credits (094, 096, 180) may not be used to fulfill the requirements for the minor.
  2. At least four of the five credits must be earned at Swarthmore College.
  3. The minor will not be titled anything other than "chemistry." For example, there will be no minor in "organic chemistry" or "physical chemistry," etc.

Acceptance Criteria


Applications are reviewed by the entire department, and decisions are made on the basis of the considered judgment of the faculty, that includes the student's potential for satisfactory performance in advanced course work.

Honors Major in Chemistry


Requirements


An Honors preparation in Chemistry consists of three seminars - two in Chemistry (see item 1, below) and one in a minor - and a research thesis (see item 2, below). If, after following the procedures for applying for research in the department, an on-campus research mentor cannot be found, an Honors candidate should consult with the department's class adviser to explore alternate means of meeting the requirement.

  1. Honors chemistry majors must take at least two seminars (instead of only one required for the course major). These seminars (and their associated prerequisites) will serve as two of the honors preparations in the major.
  2. Honors chemistry majors are expected to write a senior research thesis under the supervision of an on-campus research mentor. The thesis represents the third honors preparation. Preparation for a Research Thesis within an Honors Program consists of enrollment in two credits of Chemistry 180 during the senior year. Except under extraordinary circumstances, students presenting a thesis for external examination will also spend the summer between their junior and senior years on campus initiating their research project.

The Honors Exams for Majors and Preparations


The fields offered by the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department for examination by external examiners as part of the Honors Program are the topics of the 100-level seminars. The department will offer at least two of these preparations (seminars) during each academic year.

All fields in chemistry (except the Research Thesis) will be examined in three hour written examinations prepared by External Examiners. The Honors Research Thesis will be examined orally by the External Examiner chosen in that field. Honors oral exams for other preparations will be conducted by individual Examiners as well.

Acceptance Criteria


Applications are reviewed by the entire department, and decisions are made on the basis of the considered judgment of the faculty, that includes the student's potential for satisfactory performance in advanced course work. To be admitted as a major in the Honors Program, a student must present a minimum of two courses in chemistry taken at Swarthmore College. In addition, the department looks for indications that the student will participate actively in seminars and can successfully work in an independent manner. To be eligible, no grade in the department may be below a B- and the GPA in chemistry courses should be 3.0 or higher. A student previously accepted into the Honors Program but not maintaining this GPA in chemistry courses might be, by department decision, asked to withdraw from the Honors Program.

Honors Minor in Chemistry


Requirements


The honors minor in chemistry parallels the course minor, except that the program for an honors minor must include a seminar. The seminar serves as the basis of the honors preparation.

The Honors Exam for Minors and Preparations


All of the fields available to majors are available for students wishing to minor in chemistry, with the exception of the Research Thesis. All minors must meet the same prerequisite requirements for seminars established by the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department majors.

Acceptance Criteria


Applications are reviewed by the entire department, and decisions are made on the basis of the considered judgment of the faculty, that includes the student's potential for satisfactory performance in advanced course work. To be admitted as a minor in the Honors Program in chemistry, a student must present a minimum of two courses in chemistry taken at Swarthmore College. In addition, the department looks for indications that the student will participate actively in seminars and can successfully work in an independent manner. To be eligible, no grade in the department may be below a B- and the GPA in chemistry courses should be 3.0 or higher. A student previously accepted into the Honors Program but not maintaining this GPA in chemistry courses might be, by department decision, asked to withdraw from the Honors Program.

Special Major in Biochemistry


The biochemistry major combines work in both the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and the Biology Department. The requirements for a biochemistry major include all the requirements for a chemistry major plus additional course work in biology.

Requirements


CHEM 010/010 HN CHEM 022
CHEM 032 CHEM 038
CHEM 044 CHEM 055
CHEM 056 CHEM 057
One biochemically related 100-level seminar in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Dept. (CHEM 106, 108, 110 or 112)

Biochemistry majors must also complete either (1) a sophomore-level Biology course (with lab) and a biochemically related advanced Biology seminar (with lab) or (2) two sophomore-level biology courses (with labs).

The sophomore level Biology classes for Biochemistry majors can be any Biology course numbered 010 through 039.  Please note the biology prerequisites for these courses and plan accordingly.

Biochemistry-related seminars offered in the Biology Department include: BIOL 110 (Human Genetics), BIOL 114 (Symbiotic Interactions), BIOL 115 (Plant Developmental Biology), BIOL 116 (Microbial Processes and Biotechnology), BIOL 123 (Learning and Memory), and BIOL 124 (Hormones and Behavior). Please note the biology prerequisites for these courses and plan accordingly.

Changes in Requirements for the Class of 2019

Biochemistry majors in the Class of 2019 are expected to take CHEM 048 during their junior year, barring extraordinary circumstances (consult with Departmental Class Advisor for exceptions). 2019 Majors are required to take either CHEM 055 or CHEM 056; both are not required. Finally, majors in this class may take CHEM 058 (to be offered Fall of 2018) in lieu of CHEM 057. For those opting to take CHEM 057, the pre-requisite of CHEM 056 will be waived for the spring 2018 offering of CHEM 057.

Changes in Requirements for the Classes of 2020 and 2021

CHEM 010/010 HN CHEM 022
CHEM 032 CHEM 038
CHEM 044 or 55 CHEM 048
CHEM 058  
One biochemically related 100-level seminar in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Dept. (CHEM 106, 108, 110 or 112, 118 or others with approval of Department)

Biochemistry majors must also complete either (1) a sophomore-level Biology course (with lab) and a biochemically related advanced Biology seminar (with lab) or (2) two sophomore-level biology courses (with labs).

The sophomore level Biology classes for Biochemistry majors can be any Biology course numbered 010 through 039.  Please note the biology prerequisites for these courses and plan accordingly.

Biochemistry-related seminars offered in the Biology Department include: BIOL 110 (Human Genetics), BIOL 114 (Symbiotic Interactions), BIOL 115 (Plant Developmental Biology), BIOL 116 (Microbial Processes and Biotechnology), BIOL 123 (Learning and Memory), and BIOL 124 (Hormones and Behavior). Please note the biology prerequisites for these courses and plan accordingly. 

Ancillary Requirements (prerequisites for physical chemistry):


PHYS 003/003L and PHYS 004/004L (or 007,008)
MATH 034 (or equivalent)

Acceptance Criteria


Acceptance criteria are the same as for chemistry majors.

Requirements for Honors Major in Biochemistry


The honors biochemistry major has the same set of requirements as the course biochemistry major, plus the requirement of four honors preparations in at least two departments must also be met, as follows:

  1. Topics in Bioinorganic Chemistry (CHEM 106) or Biochemistry (CHEM 108) or Biophysical Chemistry (CHEM 110), Supramolecular Chemistry (CHEM 112), or Special Topics in Biochemistry and Its Applications (CHEM 118).
  2. One biochemically oriented preparation from the Biology Department.
  3. A two-credit biochemically oriented Research Thesis carried out under the supervision of faculty from the Chemistry and/or Biology Departments.
  4. One additional preparation chosen from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department or from biochemically related preparations offered by either the biology or psychology departments.

Special Major in Chemical Physics


The chemical physics major combines course work in chemistry and physics at the introductory and intermediate levels, along with some advanced work in physical chemistry and physics, for a total of between 10 and 12 credits. Laboratory work at the advanced level in either chemistry or physics is required; math courses in linear algebra and multivariable calculus are prerequisites for this work.

Requirements


In preparation for a major in chemical physics, students must complete by the end of the sophomore year: (1) CHEM 010/010 HN and 022; (2) PHYS 005, 007, 008 (PHYS 003, 004 can substitute, but the 005, 007, 008 sequence is strongly recommended); (3) further work appropriate to the major in either CHEM (044, 055, 056, and/or 057) or PHYS (013/015 and 017/018); (4) MATH 034. A chemical physics major will ordinarily include both semesters of physical chemistry (CHEM 044 and 055). A student may satisfy the requirement for laboratory work at the advanced level by completing a research thesis (CHEM 096 or 180), but in the absence of a research thesis, the major must include CHEM 057 or PHYS 082 in order to satisfy the requirement.

Example of a special major in chemical physics: CHEM 022, 044, 055, 056, 057, 105; PHYS 007, 008, 013/015, 017/018 050, 111, 113.

Acceptance Criteria


Acceptance criteria are the same as for chemistry majors, except that the faculty of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and Physics and Astronomy  are both actively involved in the decision.

Requirements for Honors Major in Chemical Physics


The honors chemical physics major has the same set of requirements as the course chemical physics major, plus the requirement of four Honors Preparations in at least two departments must also be met, as follows:

  1. One preparation (seminar) chosen from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.
  2. One preparation (seminar) chosen from the Physics and Astronomy Department.
  3. A two-credit Research Thesis carried out under the supervision of faculty from the Chemistry and/or Physics Departments. If, after following the procedures for applying for research in the department, an on-campus research mentor cannot be found, an Honors candidate should consult with the department's class adviser to explore alternate means of meeting the requirement.
  4. One additional preparation chosen from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department or from the Physics and Astronomy Department.

Comprehensive Requirements


Chemistry


The senior comprehensive requirement consists of two components.

The first component revolves around the department's Colloquium Series. During the academic year, speakers from other institutions visit our campus and present colloquia about their research. Each speaker recommends a small amount of published background material, which students and faculty read in preparation for the visit. These materials also serve as the basis for a "preview session," during which a small group of students presents background and context for the speaker's research. All senior majors are required to (1) attend the preview sessions, (2) review the suggested readings, (3) participate as a presenter in at least one preview session during the year, and (4) attend the actual colloquium presentations. The department offers two routes for satisfying the second component of the comprehensive requirement:

  1. Completion of a two-credit research thesis. The thesis must be based on research carried out during the senior year and, in most cases, the preceding summer as well. Honors majors must choose this option.
  2. Senior majors who do not write a research thesis must take a series of short exams administered throughout the academic year. These exams are based on the presentations made by speakers in the department's Colloquium Series and the literature readings that the speakers suggest. The following regulations will govern the exams:
    1. The department will administer a minimum of 7 exams during each academic year.
    2. An exam will generally be administered during the week following a speaker's presentation.
    3. The exams will be designed such that prepared students should be able to answer the question(s) in 60 minutes or less.
    4. Satisfactory performance on any 4 of the exams constitutes completion of this component of the comprehensive requirement.

Finally, all students must attend at least one safety training session before the beginning of the senior year. These are offered one time per semester during the academic year and one time during the summer research session.

Biochemistry


The comprehensive requirement for biochemistry majors is the same as for chemistry majors.

Chemical Physics


The comprehensive requirement for chemical physics majors is the same as for chemistry majors. Occasionally, however, and on a case-by-case basis, the department is willing to negotiate a "hybrid" colloquium series for students completing a chemical physics special major. In consultation with both departments (chemistry and biochemistry and physics and astronomy), the student may draw up a list of colloquia pertinent to the special major and taken partly from the colloquium series of each department, and then participate in only these colloquia. However, in no event will the total number of talks for the year amount to fewer than the number of colloquia scheduled for the Chemistry and Biochemistry series.

Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate Credit


Students with a score of 5 on the Chemistry AP exam (taken their junior year in high school or later) or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Chemistry IB exam can place into Foundations of Chemical Principles - Honors (Chemistry 010 HN). Students can use the Chemistry Placement Exam to place into Chemistry 010 HN in the absence of an AP/IB score.

Transfer Credit


It is sometimes possible to receive Swarthmore credit for chemistry courses taken at other colleges and universities, provided that they were taken after the student matriculated at Swarthmore. If you wish to take a chemistry course on another campus and to receive Swarthmore credit for doing so, it is essential that you follow the proper procedure and that you plan in advance. It is also important to realize that not all courses will be eligible for credit. See the department website for details.

Off-Campus Study


The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department is eager to accommodate the study abroad aspirations of chemistry and biochemistry majors. However, substantial advance planning is required and interested students are encouraged to plan their Sophomore Plan carefully and consult with their academic adviser.

Research


The Chemistry and Biochemistry Department offers opportunities for students to engage in collaborative research with faculty members. Each fall semester, the department hosts a series of short presentations by faculty members, outlining the research projects available. This meeting, normally held in November, serves as the starting point for student participation in research during the following summer and/or academic year.

Academic Year Opportunities


The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers three ways for students to engage in supervised research for academic credit, during the academic year:

  1. CHEM 094 (research project). Students may enroll in this course for either a half credit or a full credit. A half credit implies a time commitment of 5-7 hours per week, while a full credit implies a time commitment of 10-15 hours per week.
  2. CHEM 096 (research thesis). A full year (two credits) of CHEM 096 corresponds to a research thesis for course majors.
  3. CHEM 180 (honors research thesis). A full year (two credits) of CHEM 180 corresponds to a research thesis for honors majors.

All students who enroll for at least one full credit of research during an academic year are required to participate in the department's Colloquium Series and present a poster sometime during the academic year.

Research Conducted in Other Departments


Students writing a research thesis as part of their plan to satisfy the comprehensive requirement in a chemistry, biochemistry, or chemical physics major (see above) sometimes elect to carry out their research with a faculty member in an allied department, such as biology, physics and astronomy, or engineering. In general, such students have two options for how to register for courses corresponding to the thesis:

Option 1: Use the appropriate chemistry courses (two credits of CHEM 096 for a course thesis, or two credits of CHEM 180 for an honors thesis).

Option 2: Use the course designations appropriate to the department in which the research is conducted. For research conducted with a biology faculty member, for instance, a student might enroll in one credit of BIOL 180 and one credit of BIOL 199 over the course of the senior year. The thesis must ultimately consist of at least two full credits.

American Chemical Society Certification


Certification by the American Chemical Society (ACS) requires a second seminar and a research thesis through a full year of CHEM 096 or 180 (in addition to the minimum chemistry major).

Seminars


Students should note that completion of CHEM 010/010 HN, 022, and one semester of a 40-level or 50-level course constitute a minimum set of prerequisites for enrollment in any Chemistry and Biochemistry Department seminar. In unusual circumstances, the department will consider whether completion of work of comparable sophistication in another department can substitute for the requirement that a 40-level or 50-level chemistry course be completed prior to enrollment in a seminar. Individual seminars carry additional prerequisites, as listed here.

Student Research


All students who enroll in one or more research courses during the academic year are required to participate in the department's colloquium series and present the results of their work at a poster session during the academic year.

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