Craig R. Bieler, co-chair and professor.
B.S., 1986, Juniata College; Ph.D., 1992, University of Pittsburgh. Appointed 1995.

Lisa B. Lewis, co-chair and professor.
B.S., 1989, King's College; M.S., 1992, University of Pittsburgh; Ph.D., 1994, University of California, Irvine. Appointed 1995.

Andrew N. French, professor.
B.A., 1986, Ohio Wesleyan University; Ph.D., 1992, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. Appointed 1997.

Clifford E. Harris, professor.
B.S., 1991, California State University, Chico; Ph.D., 1997, University of California, Santa Cruz. Appointed 1997.

Vanessa P. McCaffrey, associate professor.
B.S., 1996, McNeese State University; Ph.D., 2001, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Appointed 2003.

Kevin M. Metz, associate professor.
B.S., 2001, Alma College; Ph.D., 2007, University of Wisconsin—Madison. Appointed 2008.

Christopher E. Rohlman, associate professor.
B.S., 1984, Oakland University; Ph.D., 1989, University of Michigan. Appointed 2001.


The Chemistry Department has three major objectives: (1) To provide a strong major within a liberal arts framework for those entering the profession of chemistry, biochemistry, or preparing for graduate work; (2) to provide cognate backgrounds in chemistry for biology majors, Premedical and pre-dental students, medical technologists, dieticians, science educators and others who may require chemistry; (3) to provide non-science majors with sufficient background to understand advances in technology, environmental implications of new laws, drug problems and health advances.

Independent study is encouraged both as a part of formal course work and in undergraduate research projects. Faculty work closely with students in research areas of mutual interest. Cooperation with other science departments provides opportunities for interdepartmental studies. Majors are strongly encouraged to balance their science training with courses in the arts and humanities.

Chemistry Department Website

Career Opportunities

In addition to professional work and graduate study in chemistry or biochemistry, a major can establish a foundation for future careers in a number of fields: e.g., engineering, medicine and other health-related fields, law and technically related businesses. Graduate and professional schools in the medical sciences require a strong background in chemistry.

Departmental Policy on Advanced Placement Credit

The following is the Chemistry Department’s policy regarding Advanced Placement (AP) credit.

  1. Students who earn a 4 or 5 on the AP exam in chemistry may receive one unit of credit for Chemistry 121, which will count toward the chemistry or biochemistry major or chemistry minor.
  2. Students who earn a 5 on the AP exam have the option to enroll directly in Chemistry 211.
  3. Students who earn a 4 on the AP exam must consult with chemistry faculty on the appropriate first chemistry course at Albion College.
  4. Students may receive one unit of credit for either a 4 or 5 on the AP exam or for successful completion of Chemistry 121, but not both.

Majors and Minors

Requirements for Major

The Chemistry Department offers two majors—chemistry and biochemistry. The chemistry major requires a minimum of ten units, and the biochemistry major requires a minimum of nine and one-half units in chemistry, plus appropriate cognate courses. Either major is appropriate for students interested in advanced study in chemistry or biochemistry or for careers in other fields such as medicine and health sciences, law, business or education.Consult a member of the Chemistry Department for suggestions of appropriate courses for graduate school preparation.

In either major, the timing of the course sequence is crucial, and students should consult with a member of the Chemistry Department as early as possible in the planning of their major.

Chem 121: Structure and Equilibrium
Chem 123: Inorganic Chemistry: Introduction
Chem 206: Chemical Analysis
Chem 211: Organic Chemistry: Structure, Stability and Mechanism
Chem 212: Organic Chemistry: Mechanism and Synthesis
Chem 301: Chemical Energetics and Kinetics

Chemistry Major
Additional required courses in chemistry (4 units)
Chem 321: Advanced Synthesis Laboratory (1 unit)
Chem 327: Advanced Physical and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (1 unit)
Chem 340: Physical Chemistry (1 unit)
Chem 350: Advanced Organic Chemistry (1/2 unit) or Chem 353: Spectroscopy (1/2 unit)
Chem 356: Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (1/2 unit)
Required cognate courses (4 units):
One year of calculus (Mathematics 141, 143 or equivalent)
One year of physics, preferably Physics 167-168 (115-116 is acceptable)

Biochemistry Major
Additional required courses in chemistry (3 1/2 units)
Chem 321: Advanced Synthesis Laboratory (1 unit) or Chem 327: Advanced Physical and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (1 unit)
Chem 323: Advanced Laboratory: Biochemistry (1 unit)
Chem 337: Biochemistry (1 unit)
Chem 351: Biophysical Chemistry (1/2 unit)
Required cognate courses (4 units):
One semester of calculus (Mathematics 141 or equivalent)
One year of physics (Physics 115-116 or 167-168)
Biology 300. Those intending to pursue professional careers in biochemistry should, in consultation with their adviser, consider taking an additional 300-level biology course with a lab.

  • All chemistry courses required for the major must be taken for a numerical grade, except those offered only on a credit/no credit basis. Students who intend to apply for entrance into medical or dental schools should not take basic chemistry courses on a credit/no credit basis, and students majoring in other sciences are strongly discouraged from doing so.
  • The department expects that chemistry and biochemistry majors will complete the Chemistry 206 requirement no later than the end of the junior year because this course is a prerequisite for the Advanced Laboratory series.
American Chemical Society certified major: The Chemistry Department is approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS). In order to graduate as an ACS-certified chemistry major, students must take all of the courses in the chemistry major plus Chemistry 337, both Chemistry 350 and 353, Mathematics 141 and 143, and Physics 167 and 168. Course substitutions may be made only with prior approval of the Chemistry Department.

Requirements for Minor

  • Five units in chemistry: 121, 123, 206, 211, and either 301 or 337.
  • Two units in cognate areas: one semester of calculus (Mathematics 141 or equivalent), one semester of physics (Physics 115 or 167). Two semesters of physics are recommended.
  • All courses for the minor must be taken for a numerical grade.

Requirements for Major with Secondary Education Certification

  • Eight and one-half units in chemistry. The Chemistry Department offers two majors, either of which may be used as a teaching major. The majors share a common core consisting of the following: 121, 123, 206, 211, 212 and 301. In addition to these six units, the required courses are: Chemistry Major: 321 (or 327), 340 and one-half unit chosen from 350, 353 or 356 (356 is normally recommended) or Biochemistry Major: 323, 337, 351 and one unit of biology numbered above 300 (except 391 and 392).
  • Four units in cognate areas: Two semesters of calculus (Mathematics 141, 143 or equivalent), two semesters of physics (Physics 115-116 or 167-168).
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

Requirements for Minor with Secondary Education Certification

  • Five units in chemistry: 121, 123, 211, 301, plus one unit from 200, 206, 212 or 337.
  • Two units in cognate areas: One semester of calculus (Mathematics 141 or equivalent), one semester of physics (Physics 115 or 167).
  • Completion of all other requirements for teacher certification.

Requirements for Interdisciplinary Major in Integrated Science with Elementary Education Certification

Students interested in pursuing elementary education certification may wish to consider an interdisciplinary major in integrated science. The integrated science major is primarily intended for students seeking a broad, cross-disciplinary understanding of the natural sciences. Students completing a major in integrated science are required to take courses in all the natural sciences and also to choose a minor in biology, chemistry, geology or physics. The detailed requirements for the major are provided in this catalog or are available from the Education Department.

Chemistry Courses

101 Chemistry That Matters (1)
As citizens and consumers, we face the question of how we can live responsibly and safely in an environment in which we are literally surrounded by synthetic chemicals. For that reason, chemistry does matter to all of us. This course is concerned with materials which we encounter every day, including foods and food additives, cleaning supplies, fuels, building supplies, pesticides and radioactive materials (e.g., radon). The emphasis is upon what these materials are, how they work, how they can be used safely, and what their impact is on the environment. Chemical principles are introduced as needed. Hands-on microscale demonstrations are used frequently in the classroom. Non-laboratory. Lecture and discussion. Intended for non-science majors. Staff.

107 Chemistry for the Non-Science Major (1)
An introduction to the methodology of science and the basic principles of chemistry. General chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry topics are briefly surveyed. Few mathematical skills are required. Lecture and laboratory. Not intended
for the chemistry or science major. Staff.

121 Structure and Equilibrium (1)
Basic principles of stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, and chemical equilibria, including the study of weak acids and bases in aqueous solution. Proficiency in algebra is expected. Lecture and laboratory. Staff.

123 Inorganic Chemistry: Introduction (1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 121 or permission of instructor.
A systematic introduction to the chemistry of the elements; concepts include electrochemistry, solubility and complex ion equilibria. Lecture and laboratory. Staff.

187, 188, 189 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

200 Chemistry and Social Problems (1)
Prerequisite: Junior/senior standing.
An examination of selected, important social problems which have a technological basis. Discussions focus upon the economic, political and ethical dimensions of the problems, as well as the science and technology involved, and include problems such as the greenhouse effect and global warming, chlorofluorocarbons and the stratospheric ozone layer, chemical and radioactive waste disposal, and the use of pesticides. Risk/benefit analysis and the connection between chemical exposure and biological harm are important features of the discussions. Laboratory work involves the analysis of water samples for trace metals and organic contaminants, using state of the art instrumentation, and will include attempts to assess the validity of the analytical results. Intended for non-science majors as well as science majors. Lewis.

206 Chemical Analysis (1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 121; Chemistry 123 recommended.
Laboratory course emphasizing the collection, analysis and interpretation of quantitative data, using both traditional and instrumental techniques. Bieler, Lewis, Metz.

211 Organic Chemistry: Structure, Stability and Mechanism (1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 121.
An integrated two-semester introduction to the chemistry of carbon-based molecules--the molecules of life. The structure and stability of carbon compounds, including: nomenclature, physical properties, spectroscopic properties, stereoisomerism and acid-base properties. The physical and mechanistic understanding of organic chemical reactions, focusing on: substitution, addition, elimination and rearrangement reactions. Laboratory involves techniques of synthesis and purification. French, Harris, McCaffrey.

212 Organic Chemistry: Mechanism and Synthesis (1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 211.
A continued survey of the mechanisms and reactions of organic molecules focusing on aromatic and carbonyl compounds, and the application of organic reactions toward organic synthesis. Laboratory involves team-designed organic syntheses of biologically relevant molecules and/or synthetic methodology. French, Harris, McCaffrey.

287, 288, 289 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 121.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

301 Chemical Energetics and Kinetics (1)
Prerequisites: Chemistry 123 or 211 and Mathematics 141 or equivalent.
An exploration of the basic thermodynamic and kinetic principles that govern the outcome of all chemical reactions and physical processes. Primary emphasis is placed upon macroscopic chemical thermodynamics with applications to solutions, colligative properties and phase equilibria. Additional topics include kinetic molecular theory; the experimental basis for determining reaction rates, rate laws and rate constants; the relationship of rate laws to reaction mechanisms; and the effect of temperature change on the rate constant. Bieler, Lewis.

321 Advanced Synthesis Laboratory (1)
Prerequisites: Chemistry 206, 212.
An exploration of advanced methods of chemical synthesis techniques in both organic and inorganic chemistry. Emphasis is placed on analysis of the synthetic products for purity and qualitative identification, using FT-NMR, FTIR, ultraviolet and visible spectroscopy. Further identification and analysis is done using HPLC, GC/MS, gas chromatography and LC/MS. Two four-hour laboratories per week. French, Harris, McCaffrey.

323 Advanced Laboratory: Biochemistry (1)
Prerequisites: Chemistry 206, 337.
The study of biochemical laboratory techniques, including enzyme purification and kinetics; gel exclusion, ion exchange; agarose gel electrophoresis; isolation of nucleic acids; and a special student-designed project. Rohlman.

327 Advanced Physical and Analytical Chemistry Laboratory (1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 206 and 301; prerequisite or corequisite: Chemistry 340.
An exploration of various areas of physical chemistry and advanced problems in analytical chemistry including thermodynamics, kinetics, spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction and quantum mechanics. In carrying out these experiments, students use UV/Vis, fluorescence, ICP, IR, and x-ray fluorescence spectrometers and gain experience with electroanalytical methods, vacuum lines, lasers and x-ray diffraction. Two four-hour laboratories per week. Bieler, Lewis, Metz.

337 Biochemistry (1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 211; Biology 300 or Chemistry 212; or permission of instructor.
An in-depth study of biochemical structure, catalysis, metabolism and cellular regulation. Understanding living systems through molecular and chemical models. Areas of emphasis include macromolecular structure, enzyme mechanisms and kinetics, metabolic mechanisms and regulation, genomics, and proteomics. Same as Biology 337. Rohlman.

340 Physical Chemistry (1)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Normally a student is expected to have completed Chemistry 121, 123, 211, 212, 206 and 301 as well as two units of calculus and two units of physics.
The microscopic or molecular basis for chemistry. Among the topics covered are the use of Schrodinger wave mechanics to examine the energies of atoms and molecules, including structure and chemical bonds; comparison of calculated energies with experimental values obtained from atomic and molecular spectroscopy; and the use of statistical mechanics to calculate thermodynamic variables and equilibrium constants. Bieler, Lewis.

350 Advanced Organic Chemistry (1/2)
Prerequisites: Chemistry 211, 212.
Reinforces and extends the concepts introduced in Chemistry 211, 212 and introduces new concepts, reactions and molecular theories. Taught with one of two emphases: (1) the synthetic course extends understanding of organic reactions, introduces the most current synthetic organic methods and asks students to use their knowledge to propose syntheses of complex molecules; (2) the physical/mechanistic course includes topics such as aromaticity and models used to explain thermal and photochemical concerted reactions such as frontier orbital theory, Huckel-Mobius transition state theory and the conservation of orbital symmetry. Students in both courses are taught to read and understand the chemical literature, then write about and orally present the novel chemistry they have learned. French, Harris, McCaffrey.

351 Biophysical Chemistry (1/2)
Prerequisites: Chemistry 301, 337.
Examination of the physical chemistry of macromolecules in living systems. A study of thermodynamics, kinetics, ligand binding and spectroscopy related to the understanding of macromolecular structure and function. Rohlman.

353 Spectroscopy (1/2)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 340.
General principles and theories of light absorption and emission at the molecular level, including the application of symmetry and group theory. Detailed applications to IR, Raman, microwave, UV-visible and radiofrequency spectroscopy (NMR, EPR). Additional topics chosen from X-ray crystallography, mass spectroscopy, photochemistry and Mossbauer spectroscopy. Bieler, Lewis, Metz.

356 Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (1/2)
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Normally a student is expected to have completed Chemistry 340.
An advanced-level discussion of periodic properties, chemical bonding, and acidbase concepts with an emphasis upon the bonding and properties of transition metal complexes. McCaffrey, Metz.

387, 388, 389 Selected Topics (1/4, 1/2, 1)
Prerequisite: Chemistry 121.
An examination of subjects or areas not included in other courses. Staff.

391, 392 Internship (1/2, 1)
Offered on a credit/no credit basis. Staff.

401, 402 Seminar (1/2, 1)

411, 412 Directed Study (1/2, 1)