Course Descriptions | St. Lawrence University Chemistry

Course Descriptions

CHEM103, 104. General Chemistry. (1.25 units each)

This course is an introduction to chemistry for science and non-science majors. Both courses use in-class experimentation, discussion, and lecture to ask and answer questions of general chemical interest, including applications in biology, physics, astronomy and geology. Students discuss experimental data using the logic and language of chemistry and are frequently asked to substantiate conclusions using both conceptual and quantitative reasoning. Topics include water and its unique properties, atomic structure and properties, molecular structure, types of chemical bonding and reactions, redox systems and electrochemistry, reaction equilibria, thermodynamics and kinetics. Three class periods plus one laboratory period per week; students may also participate in optional weekly peer-led team learning workshops. Prerequisites: secondary school algebra or enrollment in a college mathematics course. A grade of 1.75 or higher in 103 is required to fulfill the prerequisite for enrollment in 104. A grade of 2.0 or higher in 104 is required to fulfill the prerequisite for enrollment in 200-level courses. Required for the neuroscience major

CHEM205. Quantitative Analysis. (1.25 units)

An introductory course dealing with the chemical, physical and logical principles underlying modern quantitative chemical analysis. Among the broad topics treated are data evaluation, titrimetry, solution equilibria, chromatography and absorption spectroscopy. Lectures plus one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM104 (with a 2.0 grade or higher) or permission of instructor. Also offered as ENVS 205. Offered only in the spring semester. 

CHEM221, 222. Organic Chemistry. (1.25 units each)

An introductory course focusing on the chemistry of naturally occurring and synthetic carbon compounds; description and determination of structure with an emphasis on spectroscopic methods; reactivity and its theoretical basis; mechanism; and synthesis of organic compounds. The microscale laboratory emphasizes preparation, purification and identification of organic compounds, isolation of organic substances, mechanistic studies and separation techniques. Spectroscopic methods are applied to structure elucidation. Prerequisites: CHEM104 with a grade of 2.0 or higher. Acceptance into 222 requires a grade of 2.0 or higher in 221. CHEM 221 is required for the neuroscience major.  

CHEM303. Inorganic Chemistry.
Inorganic chemistry comprises the study of all elements of the periodic table and the trends that unite them. This course begins from a theoretical basis describing  chemical bonding and structure in the context of molecular orbital theory and hard/soft acid/base theory. These theories are applied to coordination complex synthesis and the applications of coordination, organometallic, and bioinorganic compounds. Applications of inorganic principles of rational design are explored in fields including medicine, renewable energy, geoscience, and catalysis. Prerequisite: CHEM 222.

CHEM306. Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology.

This course is designed for chemistry majors and students in environmental studies who have a strong background in chemistry. It explores the chemistry of air, water, and soil, as well as how anthropogenic activities affect the chemistry of Earth. In addition, this course will cover sustainability and green chemistry. Prerequisite: CHEM 221 or permission of instructor. Also offered as ENVS 306. Offered fall semester.

CHEM309. Biochemistry.

The course is organized around several themes: the relationship of structure to function in biomolecules, production of energy, regulation and control of metabolism. Topics covered to illustrate these themes include enzyme action and regulation, hemoglobin and the transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide, metabolism of carbohydrates for energy production, structure and function of biological membranes, and structure and function of molecules involved in transmission and expression of genetic information. Prerequisite: CHEM 222 with a grade of 2.0 or higher or permission of instructor. Counts toward the neuroscience major (cellular track). Also offered as BIOCH 309 and BIOL 309.  

CHEM324. Synthesis of Pharmaceutical Substances.

An advanced course in organic synthesis applied to the production of pharmaceuticals. Both strategic planning of synthetic routes and methodology for execution are focal points. Methods for carboncarbon bond formation, functional group interconversion and manipulation of oxidation state are emphasized, as are all relevant control and selectivity issues. Differences among discovery syntheses, pilot plant scale-up and commercial routes are discussed. Emphasis on the organic chemistry utilized to create these substances is supplemented by consideration of the molecular basis of their biological activities. Offered only in the spring semester.  

CHEM341. Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy.

A study of the curious consequences of quantization and the wave-particle duality of light and matter in chemical systems. Experimental evidence, usually collected from spectroscopic results, is used to understand the postulates of quantum chemistry and gain insight into the macroscopic properties of atoms and molecules. Topics include tunneling, molecular motions, quantum mechanical origins of orbitals and energy levels of the hydrogen atom, selection rules for spectroscopy and an introduction to computational methods. Prerequisites: CHEM 104, PHYS 104 or 152, MATH 136. Offered only in the fall semester.

CHEM342. Thermodynamics and Kinetics.

This course introduces the mathematical and theoretical bases for chemical equilibria and kinetics. The extrema principle will be used to predict the direction of chemical equilibria in a wide variety of chemical and biochemical reactions. This principle shows that reactions which maximize entropy and minimize enthalpy are spontaneous. We will study several ways to calculate familiar quantities like Gibbs energy, as well as new, more sophisticated quantities like partition functions to better understand molecular driving forces. In the last part of the course, we will study reaction kinetics to determine the timescales and possible reaction mechanisms of favorable reactions. Prerequisites: CHEM 104, PHYS 104 or 152, MATH 136. Offered only in the spring semester.

CHEM351. Advanced Organic Laboratory: Synthesis, Separation, Analysis. (0.5 unit)

Experimental emphasis on advanced laboratory techniques associated with organic synthesis, structure elucidation and study of reaction mechanism.  Examples include diastereo- and enantio-selective reactions, low temperature reactions, organometallic reagents, sample manipulation, multistep syntheses, natural product isolation and structure determination. Various chromatographic separation techniques are explored. Analysis by IR, GC GC-MS, multi nuclear one- and two-dimensional NMR and UV-VIS is integral to experiments. Classroom presentations on theory associated with reactions undertaken, separation science and spectroscopic analysis accompany and complement the laboratory work. This course is writing-intensive; special emphasis is placed on written and oral presentation of experimental results. Two lectures and two laboratories per week. Normally taken by first-semester juniors. Offered only in the fall semester for the first seven weeks. Prerequisite: Chemistry 222.  

CHEM353. Physical Chemistry Laboratory. (0.5 unit)

Laboratory experiments investigate questions in the fields of physical and biophysical chemistry. The lab has two central learning goals: develop your ability to design interesting and feasible research questions and learn how to use a variety of instruments. Spectroscopic methods such as ultraviolet-visible fluorescence, infrared, and Raman are used to study binding reactions, energy transfer between molecules, protein denaturing and characterization of unknowns. Discussion of primary literature is used to place experiments in the context of broader scientific knowledge, and to learn more about scientific writing. In writing assignments, data analysis and scientific reasoning are emphasized. This course is normally taken by second-semester juniors. Offered in the spring semester most but not all years. Prerequisites: CHEM 205 and 341 or 342.

CHEM354. Advanced Organic Chemistry Synthesis Laboratory. (0.5 unit)
Organic synthesis is the art and science of using simple molecular building-blocks to make complex, valuable molecules. In CHEM 221, 222, and 351, you have been exposed to standard organic reactions and techniques. In Advanced Organic Synthesis Lab, you will: (1) apply previous knowledge to multi-step synthesis; (2) develop the problem-solving skills needed for success in chemical research; and (3) learn some of the more technically challenging reactions and techniques that you would encounter in either an academic or industrial organic synthesis group. Prerequisite: CHEM 222. CHEM 351 is also strongly encouraged. Generally offered in the spring semester.

CHEM389, 390. Research for Juniors. (0.5 unit)

CHEM394. Research Methods in Biochemistry. (Chemistry majors must take this course for 0.5 unit or 1 unit)

This course focuses on introducing basic laboratory techniques and skills that are common in fields related to biochemistry. Attention is paid to both theory and application. Students keep a detailed laboratory notebook and write up an extended project in the style of a journal article. Prerequisites: CHEM 222 and any one of BIOL 231, 245, 246, 250, 391, or CHEM 205 or CHEM 309 (which can be taken as a co-requisite. Required for the biochemistry major and also carries credit toward the biology major/minor and the chemistry major/minor. Offered only in the spring semester. Also offered as BIOL 394 and BIOCH 394.

CHEM415. Advanced Biochemistry.

A variety of topics are covered in depth, depending on student interest. The course begins with an overview of metabolism and its hormonal regulation. Other topics may include protein synthesis and targeting, molecular immunology, sensory systems and neurotransmission, membrane transport, and photosynthesis. Through both written and oral presentation, students develop their abilities to use the scientific literature and communicate in science. Prerequisite: CHEM 309 or permission of instructor. Counts toward neuroscience major (cellular track. Also offered as BIOCH 415.

CHEM451. Advance Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory (0.5 unit)

Laboratory experiments emphasize the synthesis, characterization, and properties of inorganic compounds. The experiments include investigation of physical, thermodynamic and kinetic properties. Use of air-free synthesis techniques will include use of Schlenk lines and glove box. Products of inorganic synthesis will be characterized by a variety of techniques that include ultraviolet-visible, infgrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Advanced data analysis tools will be applied to experimental results. Written assignments develop rhetorical skills using chemical language, primary literature sources, and practical data processing. Prerequisite: CHEM 303 or permission of the instructor.

CHEM452. Instrumental Analysis. (0.5 unit)

An advanced course emphasizing instrumentation in methods of chemical analysis. Principal instrumental methods examined include absorption and emission spectrometry, electroanalytical methods and chromatographic and other separation methods. Some introduction to analog and digital signal processing principles and computer-assisted data acquisition and processing is presented. Two lectures and two laboratories per week. Generally offered only in the fall semester for second seven weeks. Prerequisites: CHEM 205, 342, and 351 or 352.

CHEM489, 490. SYE: Research for Seniors. (0.5 or 1 unit of academic credit)

Student research is at the heart of the chemistry curriculum and culminates in a year-long senior project carried out in close collaboration with a faculty mentor. In special cases, it is possible to complete the SYE in one semester with the approval of the advisor and the chair. Examples of recently completed senior projects can be found at the department’s Web page. For the senior project, students enroll each semester in Chemistry 489 or 490, for which they typically receive .5 unit of credit each. Students undertaking the American Chemical Society certified degree option must enroll in 489 or 490 and complete a project that involves original laboratory research.