Courses

The Department of Chemistry and Physics endeavors to provide students with both the knowledge and the tools to begin a life-long passion for scientific discovery and achievement.

Chemistry Courses

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CHEM 190 - Introduction to Chemical Principles
Prerequisite: Entrance by examination, Concurrent enrollment in MATH 117 or higher or consent of instructor

This course is designed for students with limited background in chemistry who plan to take additional chemistry courses to satisfy degree requirements for chemistry, biology, marine biology, or engineering programs. There is no laboratory associated with this course and this course does not fulfill chemistry requirements for science or engineering majors or minors. (3 credits) Fall

CHEM 191 - Principles of Chemistry I and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
CHEM 191 and 192 may be used to fulfill the Core Curriculum requirement in science
Prerequisite: Placement by examination . Concurrent enrollment in , or completion of, MATH 135 or higher or departmental approval.

Primarily intended for science majors. Examines the development of such concepts as the structure of matter, the chemical bond, the gas laws, and solutions. Laboratory is an integral part of the course. (4 credits) Fall

CHEM 192 - Principles of Chemistry II and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
CHEM 191 and 192 may be used to fulfill the Core Curriculum requirement in science
Prerequisite: Successful completion ( C- or higher) of CHEM 191

Continuation of Chemistry 191L, intended primarily for science majors. Emphasizes thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium concepts, electrochemistry, and some organic chemistry. Laboratory is an integral part of the course. (4 credits) Spring

CHEM 201 - Environmental Chemistry I and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 191 and 192

Examines the human impact of global environmental chemical products and processes. Uses system concepts to define the boundaries and essential inputs and outputs of each subsystem. Primary emphasis on the hydrosphere and the lithosphere, with major concentration on water pollution, solid waste management, hazardous wastes, and pesticides. (4 credits) Fall

CHEM 202 - Environmental Chemistry II and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 191 and 192

This portion of the sequence concentrates on air pollution and energy. Emphasizes the biosphere and the atmosphere, and the consequences of burning fossil fuels. (4 credits) Spring

CHEM 301 - Organic Chemistry I and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisite: Entrance by examination and successful completion of CHEM 192

Examines the theory and basic principles of the common organic functional groups. Topics include: hydrocarbons, alkyl halides, aromatic compounds, and stereochemistry. Laboratory emphasizes organic qualitative analysis. (4 credits) Fall

CHEM 302 - Organic Chemistry II and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisite: CHEM 301

Continuation of CHEM 301. Topics include: spectroscopic structural determination, alcohols, acids, and their derivatives; aldehydes and ketones; amines; and bio-organic compounds. Laboratory is project-oriented and emphasizes synthesis and instrumental techniques. (4 credits) Spring

CHEM 311 - Analytical Chemistry and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisite: CHEM 192

Theory and applications of quantitative analytical techniques, including gravimetric, volumetric, and potentiometric analysis. Theory and application of separation techniques are included. Laboratory includes volumetric and potentiometric analysis and chromatographic techniques. (4 credits) Fall

CHEM 312 - Instrumental Methods of Analysis and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisite: CHEM 311 or consent of the instructor
Co-requisite: CHEM 302

Theory and practice of modern instrumental methods with emphasis on optical techniques, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry. In the laboratory, atomic absorption, infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet and visible absorption spectroscopy, NMR and mass spectrometry methods are used. (4 credits) Spring

CHEM 320 - Inorganic Chemistry and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 301, 302 or consent of instructor.

Examines the major underlying principles of inorganic chemistry. Topics include the systematic chemistry of the elements, electronic structure of atoms, bonding, structure, reactivity and spectroscopy of inorganic compounds. The chemistry of coordination, organometallic and biologically important inorganic compounds is also examined. The laboratory develops new experimental techniques and provides experimental data to support the theoretical discussion. (4 credits) Fall

CHEM 390 - Biochemistry and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 301, 302

Study of the metabolism of the chemical constituents of living matter with emphasis on mechanisms regulating the synthesis and degradation of these chemical entities in biological systems. (4 credits) Spring

CHEM 391 - Chemical Thermodynamics and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 192, MATH 214 or consent of instructor and/or PHYS 201 (may be taken concurrently)

Examines the chemistry of energy, efficiency, and equilibria. Included are the laws of thermodynamics and their applications to chemical phenomena, kinetic theory of gases, phase equilibria, chemical kinetics, and chemical equilibria. The laboratory illustrates the principles of physical chemistry with an emphasis on modern spectroscopic methods. (4 credits) Fall

CHEM 392 - Quantum Chemistry and Lab
Fulfills a course requirement in the Chemistry Core Concentration
Prerequisites: CHEM 192, MATH 214 and PHYS 202 (PHYS may be taken concurrently)

Examines the construction of the atom, atomic and molecular orbital theory, quantum mechanics and chemical kinetics. Applications include harmonic oscillator, molecular modeling, and the theoretical basis for spectroscopy. The laboratory illustrates the principles of quantum mechanics with an emphasis on electronic and vibrational spectroscopic methods and molecular modeling. (4 credits) odd Springs

CHEM 421 - Advanced Chemistry Lab I
Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing; or consent of instructor

An advanced, integrated laboratory designed to provide the upper-level chemistry student with additional exposure to modern experimental techniques. Experiments typically involve physical measurement, analysis, synthetic methods, spectroscopy, and computer data analysis. May be repeated for credit. (1 Credit) Fall, Spring

CHEM 422 - Advanced Chemistry Lab II
Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing; or consent of instructor

Continuation of CHEM 421. Experiments typically involve physical measurement, analysis, synthetic methods, spectroscopy, and computer data analysis. May be repeated for credit. (1 Credit) Offered on demand

CHEM 430 - Topics in Chemistry
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

Offers a series of topics at the advanced level or topics of importance in contemporary chemistry. Topics determined by students in consultation with faculty. (3 credits) Special Offering

CHEM 431 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
Prerequisites: CHEM 320, 392; or consent of instructor

Emphasizes kinetics as a tool to probe mechanistic details of inorganic reactions, and develops the theoretical framework for the spectroscopy and magnetism of atoms and complexes. Group theory and coordination chemistry are also emphasized. (3 credits) even Springs

CHEM 432 - Advanced Organic Chemistry
Prerequisites: CHEM 302; a C or Higher in CHEM 302 or consent of instructor

Advanced course in kinetics, mechanisms, and stereo-chemical aspects of organic reactions. Structure and reactivity are discussed in terms of modern bonding theory. (3 credits) odd Springs

CHEM 433 - Advanced Physical Chemistry
Prerequisites: CHEM 391 and 392; or consent of instructor

Treatment of quantum mechanics in chemistry at a level beyond the qualitative manner given in the introductory Physical Chemistry course. Emphasizes principles of quantum chemistry, especially as applied to chemical bonding and to spectroscopy. Prepares students for work in modern inorganic, organic, and biotechnology fields. (3 credits) Alternate Spring

CHEM 434 - Advanced Environmental Chemistry
Prerequisites: CHEM 391 and 392; or consent of instructor

Examines the principles of aquatic chemistry. Topics include: equilibrium processes in natural waters, including multisystem equilibria; complexation; oxidation-reduction; surface chemistry; kinetic control vs. thermodynamic control of these processes; and some aspects of sediment chemistry. (3 credits) Alternate Fall

CHEM 435 – Advanced Biochemistry
Prerequisite: CHEM/BIO 390

A study of enzyme functions and metabolism (biosynthesis and breaking down) of biomolecules and how they are used to obtain or store energy. Emphasis will be placed on how the different metabolic pathways are interrelated and how they are regulated. (3 credits) Spring

CHEM 450 - Research in the Chemical Sciences
Prerequisite: Open only to qualified students with consent of a research advisor

Research and directed readings. Project chosen in consultation with the research advisor. May be repeated for credit. (1- 3 credits) Offered on demand

CHEM 451 - Senior Thesis
Prerequisites: Prior departmental approval of a research proposal, 3.3 GPA, and CHEM 450

This course serves as a capstone experience for outstanding students majoring in chemistry. Working closely with a faculty mentor, students engage in original research on a topic of their choice. The research may involve laboratory experiments, field work, or computer simulations. This course provides experience in designing and conducting experiments, critically analyzing data, reviewing published scientific literature, and communicating scientific information. The culmination of the course is a formal written thesis and a public oral presentation. (3 credits) Fall, Spring.

Physics Courses

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PHYS 109 – Physics I – Algebra based and Lab
Note: PHYS 109 lab is co-listed with PHYS 201 lab
Prerequisite: MATH 136 or higher

An introduction to physics without calculus. Vectors, equilibrium of particles, rectilinear motion, Newton’s second law, motion in a plane, work and energy, impulse and momentum, torque, rotational motion, elasticity, periodic motion, fluids, heat and thermodynamics. (4 credits) Fall

PHYS 110 – Physics II – Algebra-Based and Lab
Note: PHYS 110 lab is co-listed with PHYS 202 lab
Prerequisite: PHYS 109

Simple harmonic motion, vibrations and waves, electricity and magnetism, optics. (4 credits) Spring

PHYS 201 – Physics I with Calculus and Lab
Prerequisite: MATH 213
PHYS 201 and 202 fulfills the Core Curriculum requirement in laboratory science

Introduction to physics using calculus. Covers vectors, Newton’s laws of motion, work and energy, impulse and momentum, torque, rotational motion, elasticity, periodic motion, gravitation, fluids, heat and thermodynamics. (4 credits) Fall, Spring

PHYS 202 – Physics II with Calculus and Lab
Prerequisite: PHYS 201
Pre- or Co-requisite: MATH 214 PHYS 201 and 202
May be used to fulfill the Core Curriculum requirement in laboratory science

Covers vibrations and waves, electricity and magnetism, optics, the atomic nucleus and radioactivity. (4 credits) Fall, Spring

PHYS 240 – Introductory Astronomy and Lab

Intended for both the science major and anyone interested in learning more about the nature of the physical universe. Topics covered include the Earth, solar system, star formation and evolution, extrasolar planets, galaxies, and cosmology. The lab will include observations of the sky and celestial objects. (4 credits) Alternate Spring

PHYS 320 – Modern Physics
Prerequisites: PHYS 201 and 202 or consent of instructor

Major topics in 20th century physics including special relativity, the wave-particle nature of light, elementary quantum theory, atomic and molecular structure, particle physics, and cosmology. (3 credits) Alternate Spring

PHYS 330 – Introduction to Physical Oceanography and Lab
Prerequisite: PHYS 201 or consent of instructor

Motion and distribution of variables in the sea. Topics include early explorations, physical properties of sea water, heat balance, variation of salinity and temperature, equations of motion, currents, waves, tides, sound, light and coastal processes. Students will make observations in local marine waters. (4 credits) Fall

PHYS 340 – Classical Mechanics
Prerequisite: PHYS 201 and MATH 214 or MATH 218
This course will fulfill a requirement for the Physics Core Concentration.

A theoretical study of Newton’s equations of motion for particles and systems, central forces, collisions and scattering theory, nonlinear dynamics and chaos, and Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalism. Systems studied using these techniques will vary depending on student interest. (3 credits) Special Offering

PHYS 350 – Computational Physics
Prerequisite: PHYS 201 and 202 or consent of the instructor

A project-based introduction to computational methods applied to topics in modern physics. No previous experience in programming is required. Students will learn basic programming and apply it to problems in physics best approached from a numerical standpoint, including the n-body problem, orbital mechanics, waves, and chaos. (3 credits) Fall, Alternate Years

PHYS 405 – Electricity and Magnetism
Prerequisite: PHYS 202 and MATH 214 or MATH 218
This course will fulfill requirements in the proposed physics CORE and minor.

A theoretical examination of electrostatics, magnetostatics, electrodynamics in vacuum, Maxwell’s equations and electromagnetic waves. (3 credits) Alternate Spring

PHYS 420 – Quantum Mechanics
Prerequisite: PHYS 201 and 202 or consent of the instructor

Quantum mechanics deals with physics on the smallest scale. Topics include the Schrodinger Equation with applications to the hydrogen atom, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, and quantum tunneling. (3 credits) Fall, Alternate Years

PHYS 430 – Special Topics in Physics
Prerequisite; Consent of the instructor

Lecture course covering advanced-level topics of importance in physics determined by students in consultation with faculty. This course may be repeated for credit, but students may not study the same subject more than once. (1-3 credits) Special Offering

PHYS 450 – Research in Physical Sciences
Prerequisite; Open only to qualified students with the consent of a research advisor

Research and directed readings. Project chosen in consultation with the research advisor. May be repeated for credit. (1-3 credits) Offered on demand.

Pre-Professional Advising

In addition to a foundation in chemistry and physics, the Department of Chemistry and Physics prepares students for entry into professional programs in the Health Sciences. Students will develop skills and gain knowledge for admission into the professional program, while earning a Bachelor’s degree from RWU.

Explore the Pre-Professional Studies