The current course catalog has a version of this page that includes hyperlinks to relevant resources. 
Click here for the 21-22 course catalog.

Introduction

A Chemistry degree can prepare you for a meaningful career in:

  • Developing renewable energy solutions for climate change
  • Ensuring safe and pure air and drinking water
  • Discovering materials for new devices using nanotechnology
  • Analyzing medical samples to detect rare and dangerous diseases
  • Contributing to Colorado’s and America’s mining and petroleum industries
  • Contributing to Colorado’s emerging natural products and pharmaceuticals industries

A BS in Chemistry also stands out as a premiere accomplishment in applications for professional degree programs, including pharmacy, medicine, nursing, dentistry, medical technology, and many others. Previous BS Chemistry graduates from CU-Denver have gone on to medical, dental, and pharmacy schools; to Ph.D. programs in chemistry and biomedical sciences; and to productive careers in the biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical technology industries.

The chemistry department offers two options for a chemistry degree: A BS Chemistry or a BS Chemistry ACS Certified. Students interested in the chemistry major should consult regularly with the chemistry majors advisor, Dr. Marta K. Maroń. The Advisor can help you select the track that best fits your future goals. A complete description of the chemistry major programs may be obtained in the Department of Chemistry office (Science 3071) or Department website.

Qualified majors are strongly urged to participate in directed research with a research faculty member and in the departmental honors program. We also strongly encourage chemistry majors to participate in the department by serving as learning assistants or teaching assistants. Contact the chemistry major advisor for more information and/or questions.

American Chemical Society (ACS) Certified Degree.

The ACS certified degree requires a more thorough background than the minimum requirements for a Chemistry BS or Biochemistry BS. Students planning on going into industry upon completing their Bachelor of Science are at an advantage completing the ACS Certified degree option. The ACS certified degree is open to all Chemistry majors regardless of future plans.

See the ACS certified degree program page for additional coursework.

These degree requirements are subject to periodic revision by the academic department, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences reserves the right to make exceptions and substitutions as judged necessary in individual cases. Therefore, the College strongly urges students to consult regularly with their major advisor and CLAS advisor to confirm the best plans of study before finalizing them.

Program Delivery

  • This is an on-campus program.

Program Learning Goals 

  1. Students possess an adequate knowledge base in several sub-disciplines of chemistry as defined by the American Chemical Society.
  2. Students can rely on this knowledge base to link more than one chemical principle to solve problems, both qualitatively and quantitatively, individually and in groups.
  3. Students can (a) recognize and define a general problem in any several sub-disciplines of chemistry, (b), design and carry out at least one significant experiment which addresses the problem, and (c) competently analyze and report their experimental results in oral and written form, adhering to proper chemical conventions.
  4. Students can (a) identify when information is needed to solve a problem, (b) identify and locate appropriate sources of information, and (c) effectively extract and construct scientific meaning from critical reading of written material, including primary, secondary, and instructional literature.
  5. Students understand the concepts of safe laboratory practice, use ethical reasoning to evaluate their practices in performing experiments and communicating results, and conduct themselves responsibly according to the ethical and safety standards of the profession. 

Declaring This Major

General Requirements

To earn a degree, students must satisfy all requirements in each of the areas below, in addition to their individual major requirements.

  • CU Denver General Graduation Requirements  
  • CU Denver Core Curriculum  
  • College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Graduation Requirements  
  • Click here for Information about Academic Policies

Program Requirements


  1. Students must complete a minimum of 66 credit hours, including a minimum of 45 CHEM credit hours and a minimum of 18 credit hours in ancillary coursework.
  2. Students must complete a minimum of 16 upper-division level (3000-level and above) CHEM credit hours.
  3. Students must earn a minimum grade of C- (1.7) in all major courses taken at CU Denver and must achieve a minimum cumulative major GPA of 2.0.  All graded attempts in required and elective courses are calculated in the major GPA.  Students cannot complete major or ancillary course requirements as pass/fail.
  4. Students must complete a minimum of 14 CHEM credit hours with CU Denver faculty, including CHEM 4128, 4518 or 4538.

Program Restrictions, Allowances, and Recommendations


  1. A student who has declared a Chemistry major at CU Denver may not take additional chemistry courses outside of the Department for the purpose of applying tose credits toward meeting requirements of the major without prior written approval of the undergraduate Chemistry/Biochemistry advisor.  No more than 3 additional hours of such pre-approved transfer credits will be allowed.
  2. All courses applied to the Chemistry major need to be taken within ten years of the graduation date with the exception of General Chemistry I and II Lecture and Laboratory (CHEM 2031/2038 and CHEM 2061/2068). In the event that the student would like to apply for expired credit for Organic I Lecture (CHEM 3481), the student will need to test at the 50th percentile on the ACS Standardized Exam for Organic Chemistry I.
  3. Intro Experimental Physics labs I and II (PHYS 2321 and PHYS 2341) are specifically designed for students in non-Physics majors and can be paired with either College Physics (PHYS 2010 and PHYS 2020) or General Physics (PHYS 2311 and PHYS 2331) and Applied Physics Labs (PHYS 2351 and PHYS 2361).
  4. Students may double major in Biochemistry and Chemistry. Students can apply the requirements for both majors, if the respective courses are a major requirement for both the Chemistry and Biochemistry major. Students must select unique Chemistry or Biochemistry elective courses to satisfy elective course credit requirements for both majors. A course cannot fulfill more than two requirement/ elective areas in a student’s degree.

  • CHEM 2031 - General Chemistry I  or
  • CHEM 2081 - Honors General Chemistry I
     
  • CHEM 2038 - General Chemistry Laboratory I  or
  • CHEM 2088 - Honors General Chemistry I Laboratory
     
  • CHEM 2061 - General Chemistry II  or
  • CHEM 2091 - Honors General Chemistry II Lecture
  • ​CHEM 2068 - General Chemistry Laboratory II  or
  • CHEM 2098 - Honors General Chemistry II Laboratory
  • CHEM 3111 - Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 3118 - Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
  • CHEM 3481 - Majors Organic Chemistry I
  • CHEM 3488 - Majors Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
  • CHEM 3491 - Majors Organic Chemistry II
     
  • CHEM 3498 - Honors Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
  • CHEM 4521 - Physical Chemistry: Quantum and Spectroscopy
  • CHEM 4538 - Physical Chemistry Laboratory: Molecular Structure
  • CHEM 4511 - Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Kinetics
  • CHEM 4518 - Physical Chemistry Laboratory: Reaction Analysis
  • CHEM 3011 - Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 4121 - Instrumental Analysis
  • CHEM 4128 - Instrumental Analysis Laboratory

  • CHEM 3018 - Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory
  • CHEM 4828 - Biochemistry Lab
  • Note: CHEM 4828 requires additional prerequisites other than the courses listed above.

  • MATH 1401 - Calculus I
  • MATH 2411 - Calculus II

Refer to note 3 under Program Restrictions, Allowances and Recommendations for alternative Physics lab information.

            Sequence A

  • PHYS 2311 - General Physics I: Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 2321 - Intro Experimental Phys Lab I
  • PHYS 2331 - General Physics II: Calculus-Based
  • PHYS 2341 - Intro Experimental Phys Lab II
     
  • MATH 3511 - Mathematics of Chemistry or
  • MATH 2421- Calculus III
    or
  • CHEM 4500- Foundations of Physical Chemistry

Or

Sequence B

  • PHYS 2010 - College Physics I
  • PHYS 2321- Intro Experimental Phys Lab I
  • PHYS 2020 - College Physics II
  • PHYS 2341- Intro Experimental Phys Lab II
  • CHEM 4500 - Foundations of Physical Chemistry