Catherine M. Oertel, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chair
Jason M. Belitsky, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Peter Chan-Andersen, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Shuming Chen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Matthew J. Elrod, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rachel F. Hems, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Manish A. Mehta, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Cristinel P. Mîinea, Instructor & Laboratory Manager
William H. Parsons, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Lisa M. Ryno, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Rachel A. Saylor, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Visit the department webpage for up-to-date information on department faculty, visiting lecturers, and special events.
Chemistry and Biochemistry:
- Are interdisciplinary subjects with roots in physics and mathematics and with applications in biology, geology, neuroscience, environmental science, and a wide range of technology.
- Biochemistry integrates chemical principles with modern molecular biology. Biochemistry courses provide students with the tools to study the chemistry of life and biology in atomic detail.
- Have courses designed to emphasize fundamental principles and their application to observed phenomena. These courses develop chemical reasoning and experimental skills, reflect chemistry’s and biochemistry’s interdisciplinary nature, and prepare students for success in graduate or professional programs.
- Are experimental sciences. In addition to learning skills and techniques in laboratory courses, opportunities are provided for in-depth research experiences with faculty during the semesters, summer, and Winter Term.
- A major in chemistry or biochemistry can lead to a variety of careers besides chemical or biochemical research. Among these are medicine, teaching, patent law, business, and interdisciplinary sciences such as molecular biology, environmental science, pharmacology, toxicology, materials science, geochemistry, and chemical physics.
See information about Research, Internships, Study Away, and Experiential Learning (RISE).
The normal general chemistry sequence is CHEM 101 (fall) and CHEM 102 (spring). This sequence may be substituted with CHEM 103 (fall) for students with strong high school preparation.
Students who have earned the following scores are eligible to receive transfer credit equivalent to CHEM 101 (one full course) and to enter at either CHEM 103 in the fall (highly recommended) or CHEM 102 in the spring.
- Advanced Placement (AP) Chemistry Examination score of 4 or 5
- International Baccalaureate (IB) Chemistry Examination (higher-level) score of 6 or 7
- Please note students will have to relinquish AP/IB credit if the corresponding coursework (CHEM 101 ) is repeated at Oberlin.
Students who have earned an A-levels score of A*, A, or B may begin college chemistry with CHEM 103 .
Students with exceptional high school preparation in mathematics and chemistry as well as either a 5 on the AP Chemistry Examination or a 6 or 7 on the IB Chemistry Examination (higher-level) may petition the department chair to enroll in CHEM 205 (fall and spring).
Upon successful completion of CHEM 205 (earning a grade of C- or better), the student would also receive credit for CHEM 103 .
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and certifies graduates who satisfy the ACS guidelines.
For certification in chemistry, majors must successfully complete:
For certification in biochemistry, majors must successfully complete:
Transfer of Credit
Prior approval is required for chemistry coursework taken away from Oberlin.
Please note that, except for classes transferred in at the time of entry by transfer students, we cannot accept courses taken at community colleges.
Without explicit approval from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, no major may complete more than half of the full courses (or equivalent) required for the major while away from Oberlin.
Normally, transfer credit for chemistry courses numbered 300 and above will not count toward the requirements of the chemistry and biochemistry majors.
View the detailed procedure and required forms for the transfer of credit process.
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Majors and Minors
Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions
Other than the exceptions listed in the Advanced Placement (AP) section, the only entry points for the chemistry and biochemistry majors are in the fall.
The normal general chemistry sequence is CHEM 101 (fall) followed by CHEM 102 (spring). This sequence may be substituted with CHEM 103 (fall) for students with strong high school preparation. Placement in CHEM 103 is based either on an Oberlin placement exam or on AP, IB, or A-level scores; see AP section. CHEM 103 also has a co-requisite of MATH 133 .
Students with exceptional preparation can petition to enter at CHEM 205 ; see AP section.
Students with no high school preparation can take CHEM 101 , or may benefit from taking a non-majors class first (e.g. CHEM 045 , CHEM 050 , CHEM 051 ).