Courses

Agnes Scott’s academic program in chemistry, approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS), introduces students to the principles, applications, and communication of chemical knowledge and provides extensive practical experience with modern instrumentation in laboratory courses and through research opportunities. The science of chemistry concerns the structure and properties of matter with an interest in the changes that occur as matter reacts.

  • CHE-111  ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMISTRY                                                    4

Central aspects of the chemistry underlying environmental problems in air, water and soil. Major topics include air pollution, the greenhouse effect, global warming, water pollution, wastewater treatment, and organic and heavy metal contamination of soils.

  • CHE-150  INTRODUCTION TO CHEMISTRY                                                 3

This course delves into the world of atoms and molecules in order to study the structure of matter and the changes it undergoes. The course will provide an introduction to the field of chemistry. Topics include atomic and molecular structure, stoichiometry, acids and bases, enthalpy, and equilibrium. In addition, contemporary problems and applications of these topics may be explored. Examples may include atomic and molecular structure relevant to the design of new material such as memory metals; stoichiometry as a means of achieving green chemistry; acids and bases in the context of biochemical and environmental reactions; enthalpy in the context of energy generating fuels; and equilibrium and its role in energy storing batteries.

  • CHE-150L INTRODUCTION TO BASIC CHEMICAL LABORATORY TECHNIQUES          1

This lab course focuses on the experimental methods in basic scientific measurements, elementary reactions and analysis arranged around a theme such as forensics or the environment.

    Corequisite: CHE-150

  • CHE-220 FOUNDATIONS OF INORGANIC AND PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY           3

This foundation course focuses on introductory aspects of inorganic and physical chemistry. Topics may include fundamental chemical reactions, nuclear structure and radioactivity, molecular shapes, trends as seen in the periodic table, equilibrium, gas laws, molecular collision theory, the laws of thermodynamics, phases, reaction rates and reaction mechanisms. To illustrate the role of chemistry in fundamental physical and chemical behaviors, examples are chosen from a variety of areas including environmental, medical, and forensic applications.

    Prerequisite: CHE-150; CHE-150L (minimum grade of C- in each)

    Corequisite: CHE-220L

  • CHE-220L FOUNDATIONS OF INORGANIC AND PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY                                                  1

Labs introduce students to the analysis and interpretation of observations. This course will also illustrate fundamental principals of chemistry including: reactivity of main group and transition metals; bonding and its relation to behavior; solution behavior; gas laws; heat capacity and enthalpy changes; and kinetics of reactions.

    Prerequisite: CHE-150; CHE-150L (minimum grade of C- in each)         Corequisite: CHE-220

  • CHE-230  ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY I                                                         4

This foundational course centers on quantitative chemical analysis. Students will study chemical equilibria including acid-base chemistry, buffers, and solubility as well as various methods used to measure chemical species in solution such as titrimetry, electrochemistry, absorption spectroscopy and chromatography.

    Prerequisite: CHE-150 and CHE-150L

  • CHE-240 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY I                                                              3

The systematic study of the chemistry of organic compounds with emphasis on theories of structure and reactivity. Specific topics include basic organic molecular structure and bonding, isomerism, stereochemistry, molecular energetics, substitution and elimination reactions, and reactions of biologically relevant functional groups.

    Prerequisite: CHE-150 and CHE-150L

    Corequisite: CHE-240L

  • CHE-240L ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LABORATORY                                          1

Introduction to fundamental experimental techniques of carbon‐based molecules, including organic synthesis, purification and separation techniques, and theory and interpretation of infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

    Corequisite: CHE-240

  • CHE-260  PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY I                                                             2

This course is a continuation of the introduction to physical chemistry that began in CHE220. Topics will include general principles of thermodynamics and equilibria, kinetics and solution dynamics, and an introduction to quantum mechanics as applied in chemistry and biochemistry. More specifically, students will study such topics as the dependence of Gibbs energy on temperature and pressure, mixtures and solutions, theories of reaction rates, the Schrodinger equation, molecular orbital theory, and a brief introduction to symmetry.

    Prerequisite: CHE-220 and CHE-220L, MAT-118 and MAT-119

  • CHE-270  FOUNDATIONS OF INORGANIC AND BIOINORGANIC CHEMISTRY  2

This foundation course in inorganic chemistry examines the behavior of the elements in an effort to identify and explain patterns on the periodic table. The course focuses on the approximately 28 elements with known roles in biochemical systems including iron, copper, zinc, Na+/K+ , Mg+2, and Ca+2. Topics include the toxicity of environmental pollutants and the often surprising toxicity of nutritionally required elements such as iron and copper. Recent discoveries and case studies are used to explain biochemical selectivity in a wide variety of systems; plant, animal and archaea.

    Prerequisite: CHE-220 and CHE-220L

  • CHE-280  INTRODUCTION TO BIOCHEMISTRY                                            4

Fundamentals of biochemistry, including structure and function of biomolecules, enzyme kinetics, bioenergetics, catabolic and anabolic pathways and regulation of biochemical processes. Fundamental biochemical laboratory techniques including spectroscopy, enzymology, chromatographic separations, and protein detection methods.

    3 LEC, 1 LAB                                                                                

    Prerequisite: CHE-240 and CHE-240L

            (Cross-listed with BIO-280)

  • CHE-305  MEDICAL BIOCHEMISTRY (Post-Baccaulaureate Program)             3

Fundamentals of of biochemistry topics with clinical significance for post-baccalaureate pre-medical students, including structure and function of biomolecules, enzyme kinetics, bioenergetics, catabolic and anabolic pathways and regulation of biochemical processes.

    Prerequisite: BIO-111 and CHE-240

  • CHE-330  ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY II                                                        4

Advanced study of chemical instrumental analysis with an emphasis on understanding the major instrumental methods chemists use to study chemical phenomena. Techniques include absorption and emission spectroscopy, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, chromatography, and electrochemistry.

    Prerequisite: CHE-230

  • CHE-335  ADVANCED ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY                     4

This laboratory course is a hands-on experimental experience investigating an original chemical analysis problem using a number of instrumental methods. The problems may be chemical, environmental, or biochemical in nature depending on student interests. Students will identify a scientific question, and formulate an experimental design and conduct experiments utilizing two or more departmental instruments such as the NMR, FTIR, GC, GC-MS, HPLC, FAAS. Students will also gain experience obtaining and preparing samples, analyzing and interpreting data, and drawing valid conclusions based on experimental results.

    Prerequisites: CHE-230

    Corequisite: CHE-330

    (Cross-listed with PH-335)

  • CHE-340  ORGANIC CHEMISTRY II                                                            3

This course is a continuation of CHE-240 and it continues the systematic study of the principal functional groups in organic compounds. Specific topics include the theory and chemical reactivity of conjugated and aromatic systems, the fundamentals of organic synthesis, and reactions of biologically relevant functional groups.

    Prerequisite: CHE-240 and CHE-240L

    Corequisite: CHE-345

  • CHE-345 ADVANCED ORGANIC CHEMISTRY LABORATORY                           1

Project‐based synthesis based laboratories including functional group analyses and reactions. Use of advanced instrumentation including nuclear magnetic resonance, infrared spectroscopy and GC‐MS are required for analysis of project results.

    Prerequisite: CHE-240 and CHE-240L

    Corequisite: CHE-340 or CHE-350

  • CHE-350 ORGANIC CHEMISTRY III                                                            4

The organic chemistry of drug design, development, and mechanisms of action, including the study of synthetic routes to commonly prescribed drugs and their biological activities and properties.

    Prerequisite: CHE-240 and CHE-240L

  • CHE-360  PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY/CHEMICAL PHYSICS: OPTICAL SPECTROSCOPY                                                           4

An advanced course that builds on concepts learned in foundational physics and physical chemistry courses. The theme of this course will be optical spectroscopy, and three major topics will be discussed: (i). Quantum mechanics, which will include discussion of selection rules and electronic, rotational and vibrational spectroscopy, (ii) an introduction to classical and modern optics, which will include geometrical optics, diffraction, interference and polarization, and (iii) Lasers, which will include quantum mechanics of lasers and laser optics. Laboratory experiments will enhance the theoretical discussions.          

    Prerequisite: CHE-260

  • CHE-365  PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY LABORATORY                                          4

This is an in-depth laboratory based course that will allow students to study key experimental physical chemistry concepts, gain experience with equipment and instrumentation used in physical chemistry research, and increase their understanding of fundamental physical chemistry topics through hands on experiments. Topics will span the fields of thermodynamics, kinetics and quantum mechanics and students will use a variety of scientific instruments and equipment. A significant amount of time will also be spent on data analysis and calculations.

    Prerequisites: CHE-220 and CHE-220L , MAT-118 and MAT-119

  • CHE-370  MODERN INORGANIC CHEMISTRY                                              4

This in-depth course introduces current theories of bonding, group theory and molecular symmetry, molecular and solid state structures, magnetism, stereochemistry and reaction mechanisms involving both main group elements and transition metals. Classes of molecules will include main group, metal, and hybrid clusters and the emerging field of molecular super-atoms. Descriptions of the bonding in such molecules will include Wade’s Rules for clusters and molecular orbital descriptions of exotic molecules (e.g. the interstellar CH5 + and interstitial structures (e.g. He@C60).

    Prerequisites: CHE-270, PHY-111 or PHY-203

  • CHE-375 MODERN INORGANIC CHEMISTRY LABORATORY                           4

This in-depth lab course focuses on the synthesis and spectroscopic characterization of inorganic and organometallic compounds and the correlation of structures with contemporary crystal field and ligand field theories. Target molecules will include examples of cluster structures such as organotransition metal metallocarboranes and their precursors along with traditional transition metal complexes. Synthesis techniques will focus on oxygen-free and microscale reactions. Students will prepare publication-ready lab reports that include budgetary and safety discussions.

    Prerequisite: CHE-370

  • CHE-380 ADVANCED BIOCHEMISTRY                                                         4

Analysis of advanced experimental techniques and research in biochemistry. Subjects include signal transduction, lipid metabolism, clinical chemistry, and proteomic and genomic techniques. Students will analyze and present examples of primary biochemical literature and develop skills in the assessment of experimental data. A project-based laboratory component is included in the course.

    Prerequisites: CHE-280/with lab

  • CHE-410  DIRECTED READING                                                                  1-4

Directed reading courses are open to qualified juniors and seniors to pursue reading outside a program's listed courses. Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.

  • CHE-435 RESEARCH IN ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY                                       4

This research experience will involve the design of a student research project in analytical chemistry that may extend over one or two semesters. The student will design a research project including the preparation of a budget, a safety and waste disposal plan, and a time-frame for undertaking the project. Completion of the project requires a written thesis.

    Prerequisite: CHE-230, CHE-260

    Corequisite : CHE-330

  • CHE-440  DIRECTED RESEARCH                                                               1-4

Directed research courses are open to junior and senior majors to work with a faculty member on a project related to particular field of intellectual or artistic interest. Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.

  • CHE-445 RESEARCH IN ORGANIC CHEMISTRY                                           2-4

Laboratory research in synthetic or mechanistic organic chemistry on a topic mutually agreeable to instructor and student.

    Prerequisite: CHE-340 or CHE-350

  • CHE-450  INTERNSHIP                                                                             1-4

Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.

  • CHE-465 RESEARCH IN PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY                                           4-8

This research experience will involve the student designing a research project with guidance from the instructor. The project may extend over one or two semesters, and will be in the field of experimental physical chemistry.

    Prerequisite: CHE-220 and CHE-220L

  • CHE-475 RESEARCH IN INORGANIC CHEMISTRY                                        4-8

This research experience will involve the design of a student research project in inorganic chemistry that may extend over one or two semesters. The student will design a research project including the preparation of a budget, a safety and waste disposal plan, and a time-frame for undertaking the project. Completion of the project requires a written thesis.

    Pre-requisite: CHE-270

  • CHE-485 RESEARCH IN BIOCHEMISTRY                                                     2-4

This research experience will involve the design of a student research project in biochemistry that may extend over one or two semesters. The student will design a research project including the preparation of a budget, a safety and waste disposal plan, and a time-frame for undertaking the project. Completion of the project requires a written thesis.

    Prerequisite: CHE-280

  • CHE-490  SENIOR THESIS                                                                        4

A senior thesis gives superior students the opportunity to write a thesis about a project related to particular field of intellectual or artistic interest. Please see the Special Curricular Opportunities section for more information.