Apr 02, 2023  
Course Catalog 2022-2023 
Course Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry Major

The major consists of a minimum of 11.5 full courses (or the equivalent).

Note: Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major, with the exception that one chemistry course in which a student has earned a grade of D may be used to fill the requirements of the major. However, no courses in which a student has earned a D grade may be counted as prerequisites.

arrow View the catalog page for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.  

View entry-level course sequence suggestions and recommended pathways.


Students with outstanding records are invited to apply to participate in the Honors Program. Selection of honors students occurs in the spring semester for the following fall.

Seniors in the program elect a minimum of 1.5 full courses of CHEM 525/526 (with at least one half course in the first semester) and work year-long (including Winter Term) on a research project.

Honors students write a thesis based on their research, give two presentations, and take an oral examination. Students majoring in both chemistry and biochemistry must choose which major will be applied to any honors conferred.

arrow View the Majors Handbook for additional details.  

Transfer of Credit

Prior approval is required for chemistry course work 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 major.

arrow View the detailed procedure and required forms for the transfer of credit process.

Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions and Recommended Pathways

Entry-Level Course Sequence Suggestions

Other than the exceptions listed in the Advanced Placement (AP) section of the department page , the only entry points for the chemistry and biochemistry majors are in the fall.

The normal general chemistry sequence is CHEM 101 (fall) and CHEM 102 (spring).

For students with strong high school preparation, CHEM 103 (fall) can substitute for CHEM 101/102. Placement in CHEM 103 is based either on an Oberlin placement exam or on AP, IB, or A-level scores. CHEM 103 also has a co-requisite of MATH 133 (Calculus I).

Students with exceptional preparation can petition to enter at CHEM 205 (Organic Chemistry); AP section of the department page .

Students with no high school preparation can take CHEM 101, or may benefit from taking a non-majors class first (e.g. CHEM 045, 050, 051).

Recommended Pathways

Potential Chemistry majors are encouraged to take:

  • In their first year:
    • CHEM 101/102, or CHEM 103
    • MATH 131/132, or MATH 133
  • By the end of their second year:
    • MATH 134
    • PHYS 103 or PHYS 110
    • PHYS 104 or PHYS 111


Chemistry Major Pathways table

ACS-Certified Major Requirements

Return to the summary of requirements.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry curriculum is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS) and certifies graduates who satisfy the ACS guidelines.

arrow Read the ACS’s publication on why to obtain an ACS-certified bachelor’s degree.


For ACS certification in chemistry, majors must successfully complete:

Chemistry Major Course Lists