Introduction

Please click here to see Chemistry department information.

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. Vanessa Fishback.

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.

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 post BS are at an advantage taking the ACS certification. The ACS certified degree is open to all Chemistry majors regardless of future plans.

Chemistry and Biochemistry double majors earn an ACS certified degree in Chemistry automatically. For more information see the major advisor.

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

  • Click here to go to information about declaring a 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.

Program Requirements


  1. Students must complete a minimum of 67 credit hours, including a minimum of 45 CHEM credit hours and a minimum of 22 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 acheive 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.
  5. 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 those credits toward meeting the requirements of the major without prior written approval of the undergraduate advisor. No more than 3 additional hours of such pre-approved transfer credits will be allowed.
  6. All courses applied to the chemistry major need to be taken within ten years of the graduation date.

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.
  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).

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

            Sequence A

Or

Sequence B