Course Descriptions | St. Lawrence University Chemistry

Course Descriptions

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

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. 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. Prerequisites: secondary school algebra or enrollment in a college mathematics course.   Fulfills the natural science with lab distribution requirement.

CHEM205. Quantitative Analysis. (1.25 units)

An introductory course dealing with the chemical, physical and logical principles underlying quantitative chemical analysis. Among the broad topics treated are data evaluation, titrimetry, solution equilibria, potentiometry and absorption spectroscopy. Lectures plus one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 104 (with a 2.0 grade or higher) or permission of instructor. Also offered as Environmental Studies 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: Chemistry 104 with a grade of 2.0 or higher. Acceptance into 222 requires a grade of 2.0 or higher in 221. Chemistry 221 is required for the neuroscience major.  

CHEM303. Inorganic Chemistry. (1.00 unit)
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 sources and levels of chemical pollutants, the pathways along which they move through the environment, and the toxicological effect they have on humans and other living things. A laboratory program accompanies the lecture. Prerequisite: Chemistry 221 or permission of instructor. Also offered as Environmental Studies 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: Chemistry 222 or permission of instructor. Counts toward the neuroscience major (cellular track). Also offered as Biochemistry 309 and Biology 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 sometimes unexpected consequences of quantization and the wave-particle duality of light and matter in chemical systems that will uncover the foundations of quantum chemistry. Experimental evidence, usually collected from spectroscopic results, is used to support postulates and gain further 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, molecular orbitals, chemical bonding and related spectroscopic methods. Offered only in the fall semester. Prerequisites: Chemistry 104 Physics 104 or 152, Mathematics 136.  

CHEM342. Thermodynamics and Kinetics.

The foundations of chemical equilibria in thermodynamics are used to ask why some reactions are always favorable, some are only possible under particular conditions and others are impossible. We will study reaction kinetics to determine the timescales and possible reaction mechanisms of favorable reactions, and read and discuss journal articles relevant to thermodynamic and kinetic questions of current importance in biochemistry. Offered only in the spring semester. Prerequisites: Chemistry 104, Physics 104 or 152, Mathematics 136.  

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.  

CHEM352. Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory. (0.5 unit)

Laboratory experiments emphasize the synthesis, characterization, properties and reactions of inorganic compounds. The experiments may include investigation of physical, thermodynamic or kinetic properties. Products of inorganic syntheses will be characterized by a variety of techniques that include ultraviolet-visible, infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and magnetic susceptibility. Synthesis in an inert atmosphere is presented. Written assignments are designed to develop rhetorical skills using chemical language, primary literature sources, practical data processing and presentation software. The course is organized into two lectures and two laboratories per week. Normally taken in the junior year. Offered only in the spring semester for the first seven weeks. Prerequisites: Chemistry 205 and 341 or 342.  

CHEM353. Physical Chemistry Laboratory. (0.5 unit)

Laboratory experiments include examination of physical, thermodynamic and kinetic properties of chemical reactions. Spectroscopic methods such as ultraviolet-visible, fluorescence, infrared and Raman are used to study fundamental properties of molecules. Written assignments are designed to develop rhetorical skills using chemical language, primary literature sources, practical data processing and presentation software. The course is organized into two lectures and two laboratories per week. The classroom material presents the theoretical and practical background material to the laboratory experiments. This course is normally taken by second-semester juniors. Offered only in the spring semester for the second seven weeks. Prerequisites: Chemistry 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.

CHEM389, 390. Research for Juniors. (.5 or 1 academic credit)

CHEM394. Research Methods in Biochemistry. (0.5 unit)

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

CHEM403. Advanced Inorganic Chemistry.

The central theme is understanding the periodic trends of the elements. To conduct this survey of the periodic table, this course draws upon and extends the skills and knowledge acquired in previous chemistry courses. Topics include acid-base theories, chemical bonding and molecular structure, descriptive chemistry of non-transition elements and coordination chemistry. The course also explores the application of the principles of inorganic chemistry to such active fields of research as materials/nanoscale, organometallic and bioinorganic chemistry. Offered only in the fall semester. Prerequisite: Chemistry 341, 342, or permission of instructor.  

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, hormone action, membrane transport, oncogenes and cancer, photosynthesis and advanced topics in metabolism. Through both written and oral presentation, students develop their abilities to use the scientific literature and communicate in science. Prerequisite: Chemistry 309 or permission of instructor. Counts toward neuroscience major (cellular track). Also offered as Biochemistry 415.  

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. Offered only in the fall semester for second seven weeks. Prerequisites: Chemistry 205, 342, and 351 or 352.  

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