Chemistry

Overview

The curriculum of the Chemistry Department is designed to provide the student with a deep and comprehensive understanding of the principles of chemistry, including the laboratory experience necessary for basic research, teaching, and industrial research and development. Each student is expected to carry out laboratory research, working side-by-side with a faculty member on a novel problem at the vanguard of the chemical sciences. Research facilities and instrumentation are excellent and qualified students may begin research as early as their first year. Faculty research grants augmented with support from major corporations and foundations have enabled the department to offer research stipends to qualified students each summer.

To the student preparing for medicine or related professions, training is offered in the fundamental and applied branches of chemistry. In addition, chemistry offers to the liberal arts student an appreciation and understanding of the discoveries, methods, and place of this subject in our society.

The program for majors also prepares students for entrance into the School of Engineering at Columbia University and the Applied Chemistry Program of the California Institute of Technology under the Combined Plan Program. Students interested in engineering should consult the Combined Plan Program for details.

American Chemical Society Membership

The Department of Chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society for the professional education of chemists. Completion of the suggested graduate school option admits students to full membership in the American Chemical Society upon graduation. Outlines of suggested four-year programs with emphasis in environmental chemistry, biochemistry, chemical physics, engineering, pre-medicine, and teaching may be obtained from the department chair.

Major Requirements

COURSEWORK

Chemistry Foundation

CHEM 120Foundations of General Chemistry

4 units

And

CHEM 150Molecular Symmetry and Structure

1 unit

Or

CHEM 130Advanced Placement General Chemistry

4 units

 

CHEM 220Organic Chemistry I

4 units

CHEM 221Organic Chemistry II

4 units

CHEM 240Integrated Concepts in General Chemistry

4 units

CHEM 300Physical Chemistry I

4 units

CHEM 305Physical Chemistry II

4 units

CHEM 340Inorganic Chemistry

4 units

Directed Research

Students pursuing the Chemistry major must complete a minimum of four units of directed research.

CHEM 295Directed Research

2 units

CHEM 395Directed Research

4 units

Choose one additional CHEM course (must include a lab component)

CHEM 280Instrumental and Separation Techiniques in Organic Chemistry

2 units

CHEM 330Biocatalysis and Biotechnology

2 units

CHEM 332Instrumental Chemistry

4 units

CHEM 340Inorganic Chemistry

4 units

CHEM 350Biochemistry

4 units

CHEM 355Bioinformatics

2 units

CHEM 360Physical Organic Chemistry

2 units

CHEM 370Organometallic Chemistry

2 units

CHEM 380Organic Synthesis

2 units

PHYS 368Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

4 units

Mathematics Component

All chemistry majors must also complete Calculus 2 (MATH 120 or MATH 128).

Physics Component

Students must select one option as indicated below:

Option 1 - 

PHYS 110Introductory Mechanics

4 units

PHYS 120Introductory Electricity and Magnetism

4 units

Option 2 -

PHYS 115General Physics I

4 units

PHYS 125General Physics II

4 units

In order to graduate with American Chemical Society certification, it is necessary to take both CHEM 332 and CHEM 350.

CHEM 120 (or CHEM 130), CHEM 220, CHEM 221, and CHEM 240 satisfy the general and organic chemistry distribution requirements for the health professions.

Second-Stage Writing Requirement

Students majoring in Chemistry will satisfy the second-stage writing requirement either by submitting a portfolio of four special reports, drawn from CHEM 240, CHEM 300L, CHEM 305L, CHEM 340 (or appropriate course work) in the fall semester of their senior year, or successfully completing CHEM 204 with a grade of C or better. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program and consult the department chair for additional information.

Comprehensive Requirement

The student will satisfactorily present a seminar during the senior year on an area of current research in the field of chemistry to an audience of Occidental students, faculty, and guests. The student will also take a comprehensive examination in Chemistry. A student with an overall grade point average of 3.25 can earn distinction with a 75th percentile rank on the examination.

College Honors

Senior chemistry students with an overall grade point average of 3.25 are permitted to present a written thesis on their research for College Honors consideration at graduation. See the Honors Program and consult the department chair for additional information.

Minor Requirements

Introduction to Chemistry:

Option 1:
CHEM 130Advanced Placement General Chemistry

4 units

Option 2:
CHEM 120Foundations of General Chemistry

4 units

And

CHEM 150Molecular Symmetry and Structure

1 unit

Organic Chemistry:

CHEM 220Organic Chemistry I

4 units

CHEM 221Organic Chemistry II

4 units

CHEM 240Integrated Concepts in General Chemistry

4 units

Electives:

Students must enroll in a minimum of eight units of Chemistry electives in order to complete the minor. CHEM 100, CHEM 104, CHEM 195, CHEM 295, CHEM 395 and CHEM 397 may not be included as electives.

Transfer Credit Policies

The Chemistry Department policy on transfer credit conforms to College policy. AP, IB or A-level examinations in chemistry will not substitute for an Occidental course, place students into advanced courses, or allow a wider opportunity for choice of electives in the department. Students with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry examination, or with a score of 6 or 7 on the IB Chemistry examination should enroll in CHEM 130. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence
Information that can be included in this section include:
  • specific policies for majors/minors
  • AP/IB Exam credit - course equivalencies?
  • Online courses
  • Policies specifically for matriculating frosh, transfer students, returning students after a leave of absence

Courses

Chemistry Courses

Faculty

Regular Faculty

Michael Hill, chair

Fletcher Jones Foundation Professor of Chemistry 

B.A., Macalester College; Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Jeffrey Cannon

Assistant Professor

A.B., Occidental College; Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

Chris Craney

Professor 

B.S., University of Puget Sound; M.S., D.A., Washington State University

Emmanuelle Despagnet-Ayoub

Associate Professor

B.S., Ecole Normale Superieure; M.S., Ph.D., Paul Sabatier University

Raul Navarro

Assistant Professor

B.S., Yale University; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

Eileen Spain

Carl F. Braun Professor of Chemistry

B.S., Sonoma State University; Ph.D., University of Utah; H.B.Sc., University of Toronto; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

Andrew K. Udit

Associate Professor 

H.B.Sc., University of Toronto; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

On Special Appointment 

Doug Duquette

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.A., M.A., Harvard University; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

Mike Gray

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz; M.S., Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Linda Lasater

Non-Tenure Track Professor 

B.A., State University of New York; M.S., Nova University; Ph.D., University of South Florida

Natalie Muren

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.A., Willamette University; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

John Phillips

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.S., University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison 

Weidong Wang

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.S., Jilin University; Ph.D., Rochester University

Keiko Yokoyama

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor

B.E., Tokyo University; M.E., Ph.D., Tokyo University

Anne Yu

Non-Tenure Track Instructor

B.A., Pomona College; M.S., University of California, Los Angeles