Chemistry Major


Program Details

Chemistry has seen enormous growth in the past 30 years with many new applications in biotechnology, materials, medicine, nanotechnology, environmental health, alternative fuels, and forensic science. New information is rapidly transferred from research laboratories to practical applications.

With excellent student to teacher ratios, the WIU Department of Chemistry offers a unique, friendly atmosphere of faculty mentorship to our students. Our faculty are very active researchers with knowledge of the latest applications of chemistry. The chemistry faculty involve students in all stages of scientific research, mentoring our students as they achieve their academic & career goals.

The department offers a major in chemistry, with students taking courses in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry. Students in their junior or senior years are encouraged to take research classes in the area of their interest, the results of which are usually presented at scientific meetings. Many results are also published in peer-reviewed journals.

Programs of Study

The Department also offers a  science/chemistry teacher certification option.

Student Activities

Our majors and minors are active in many campus student organizations. The full listing is available at

Special Opportunities in Chemistry

Conducting Research

Most of our faculty either presently hold, or recently held, research grants funded by the National Science Foundation, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Research Corporation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, EPA, and /or research contracts from pharmaceutical companies or biotech industries. All of these research grants and contracts involve students as “doers an thinkers” in novel, cutting edge research. Students involved in research learn techniques and instrument use not normally assessable in a large instructional setting.

Present projects involve development of new anti-cancer agents, development of new vaccines, development of new drug delivery systems, forensic analysis and toxicological studies of explosive residues, novel new nanotechnology- encapsulation delivery systems, development of new food preservation methods, green chemistry methodologies, environmental impact of agricultural chemicals in drinking water, examination of herbal materials, the development of new methods of instrumental analysis, and many more. Students become discoverers of new science in these studies.


Our students travel to state, regional, national, and international conferences. These trips are funded by faculty research grants. The students present their research data, mix with and meet chemists from across the US around the world. Our students have made 47 research presentations in the past few years at the national American Chemical Society or the national American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology meetings in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, San Diego Washington DC, and San Francisco.

Getting Published

Our students have been listed as coauthors with the chemistry faculty in over 100 refereed journal articles during the past four years alone. Most of these have been in nationally or internationally known journals, such as the Journal of Organic Chemistry, the Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Organic Letters, Applications in Biotechnology and Microbiology, Experimental Biology, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, and many, many more.

Highly Competitive Resumes

With the opportunities our students get to get involved in research, travel to scientific conferences, make professional presentations, and become published authors of articles in major scientific journals, our student often have impressive resumes by the time they complete their degree. Our students, meet, greet, and network with other students, and with chemistry professionals during the many state, regional, and national conferences they attend. The national American Chemical Society meeting hosts career fairs, where human resource people from chemical companies, have seminars on resume building, and how to act at an interview, all free to registered students. Many chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies actually contact students registered for the national American Chemical Society meetings, ask them to send them resumes, and set up interviews to take place during the conference.

After College

Chemistry Student Presenting Research.

Students Are Researchers

Chemistry graduates who have participated in undergraduate research have excellent job prospects. Our program prepares students to work in modern quality assurance laboratories, pharmaceutical labs, biotechnology labs, and crime labs at the local, state, regional, or federal level.

WIU's Chemistry degree research program allows students the opportunity to get involved with projects such as analytical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental chemistry, food chemistry, forensic chemistry, green chemistry, inorganic chemistry, material science, nanotechnology, organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, physical chemistry, pharmaceutical chemistry, polymer chemistry, and toxicological chemistry.

Because of our strong undergraduate research program, our students frequently go on to work for law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Possible Careers

  • Pharmaceutical Research Scientist
  • Biochemist
  • Criminal Forensic Scientist

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

Chemistry (CHEM) Courses

100 Introduction to Chemistry. (3) For those students who have completed less than the equivalent of one year of high school Chemistry. Introduces the fundamental concepts of Chemistry including matter, atomic structure and periodicity, stoichiometry, some descriptive Chemistry. Prerequisites: one year high school algebra or MATH 099N. 3 hrs. lect.

101 Principles of Chemistry I. (4) (General Education/Natural Sciences) A survey for students who do not plan to take Chemistry beyond the 100 level. Application of the general principles of inorganic and organic chemistry to biological, environmental, and applied sciences. Prerequisites: one year of high school algebra or MATH 099N, and either one year of high school Chemistry or CHEM 100. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab. IAI: P1 902L.

102 Principles of Chemistry II. (4) (General Education/Natural Sciences) A continuation of CHEM 101. Prerequisite: CHEM 101. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

150 Contemporary Chemistry. (4) (General Education/Natural Sciences) A course intended to inform the student of the role of science in modern society. Lectures treat the fundamentals of chemical composition, the impact of industrial products on the environment, energy, and drugs; and the importance of consumer information. 3 hrs. lect.; 2 hrs. lab. IAI: P1 903L.

190 Introduction to Chemistry Research. (1–4, repeatable to 4) Introduction to chemistry research, which may include introduction to laboratory experimental design, scientific writing, and ethical issues of chemical research and reporting. Prerequisite: special permission from the department.

201 General Chemistry I. (4) (General Education/ Natural Sciences) Designed for science and preengineering majors. Fundamental physicochemical principles and quantitative relationships including the mole concept, periodic properties of the elements, atomic structure, chemical bonding, and thermochemistry. Laboratory emphasizes quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: MATH 100 and either one year of high school Chemistry or CHEM 100. Corequisite: either MATH 101, 102, 123, or 128, or math course requiring one of these as a prerequisite. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab. IAI: CHM 911.

202 General Chemistry II. (4) (General Education/ Natural Sciences) A continuation of CHEM 201. Includes a study of solutions, acids and bases, equilibria, electrochemistry, and chemistry of the main group elements and the transition elements. Laboratory emphasizes qualitative analysis, quantitative measurements, and syntheses. Prerequisite: CHEM 201. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab. IAI: CHM 912.

221 Elementary Biochemistry. (4) An elementary course intended to teach the structure, properties, function, and metabolism of biological molecules with emphasis on macromolecules. Intended for Biology and Family and Consumer Sciences majors. Prerequisite: CHEM 102. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

241 Chemical Calculations. (2) Designed primarily for Chemistry majors and minors. Emphasis is given to methods of presenting data and performing detailed chemical calculations typically required in biochemical and pharmaceutical analysis. Prerequisite: CHEM 201. Prerequisite or Corequisite: CHEM 202. 2 hrs. lect.

251 Introduction to Forensic Applications. (3) Designed primarily for Forensic Chemistry majors and minors. Introduction to forensic chemistry with emphasis placed on the forensic applications of chemical techniques. Lab demonstrates the applications of forensic chemical analysis. Does not count toward the Chemistry minor. Prerequisite: CHEM 201. Prerequisite or Corequisite: CHEM 202.

263 Introduction to Pharmacology. (3) This course introduces the students to the basic concepts of pharmacology and the major categories of pharmacologic agents, and explores the myths and facts about vitamins, nutritional supplements, and common herbal medicines. Prerequisites: either BIOL 101 or ZOOL 200 or ZOOL 330; and either CHEM 102 or CHEM 330.

264 Pharmacy Methods. (3) This course is designed as an aid for students who plan a career in Pharmacy. The course describes methods used in Pharmacy, including receiving and processing prescriptions, drug calculations, dosage and formulations, Pharmacy law, and inventory control. Prerequisite: CHEM 263 or permission of the instructor.

330 Elements of Organic Chemistry. (5) A one-semester introduction to organic chemistry. Coverage includes nomenclature of compounds, study of selected reactions and mechanisms, spectroscopy and study of biologically relevant molecules such as carbohydrates, amino acids, and proteins. Does not count toward Chemistry major. Prerequisite: CHEM 202 (C grade or better). 4 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

331 Organic Chemistry I. (5) A study of nomenclature, preparations, reactions, and reaction mechanisms of the functional groups of aliphatic and aromatic compounds. Prerequisite: CHEM 202 (C grade or better). 4 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab. IAI: CHM 913.

332 Organic Chemistry II. (4) Further study of organic chemistry including spectroscopic methods. Laboratory includes synthetic methods, mechanistic studies, chromatography, and an introduction to qualitative analysis. Prerequisite: CHEM 331 or CHEM 330 (C grade or better). 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab. IAI: CHM 914.

333 Advanced Organic Laboratory. (1) Designed to supplement the laboratory portion of CHEM 332. Prerequisite: concurrent registration or credit in CHEM 332. 3 hrs. lab.

341 Analytical Techniques. (3) An extension of the fundamental techniques used in CHEM 201 and 202 with emphasis on the analytical process, methods of separation, and methods of measurement. Prerequisite: CHEM 202 (C grade or better); CHEM 241 or permission of instructor. 2 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

342 Fundamentals of Environmental Chemistry. (4) (Global Issues) An examination of the chemistry of the geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere with emphasis on the interactions between them and the impact of technology upon the natural environment. Prerequisite: CHEM 102 or 202. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

351 (Formerly CHEM 451) Applications of Forensic Chemistry. (4) Applications of physio-chemical principles to analysis of physical evidence from criminal investigations, including seized drugs, explosive residues, arson debris, hairs, fibers, glass, paint, papers, inks, and soil. Cannot be applied toward the Chemistry minor. Prerequisites: CHEM 251, 332, 341, or consent of instructor. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

363 Rational Drug Design. (3) The course emphasizes the process of drug development, identification of drug targets, and their introduction into clinical practice. Basic principles of target identification and validation, chemical libraries and screening, receptor mechanisms and receptor targeting, ligand-based drug design are discussed. Prerequisite: CHEM 332.

370 Elementary Physical Chemistry. (4) Designed primarily for students who wish an introduction to physical chemistry and its biological applications. Prerequisite: CHEM 202. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

374 Physical Chemistry – Thermodynamics and Kinetics. (4) A rigorous treatment of physical chemistry useful for chemists, biologists, engineers, Earth scientists, and medical scientists. The topics include thermodynamics and kinetics. Prerequisite: CHEM 202, one year of Physics, and one year of calculus. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

375 Physical Chemistry – Quantum Mechanics and Spectroscopy. (4) A rigorous treatment of physical chemistry useful for chemists, biologists, engineers, Earth scientists, and medical scientists. The topics include quantum mechanics and spectroscopy. Prerequisite: CHEM 202, one year of Physics, and one year of calculus. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

390 Junior Project Laboratory. (1–2, repeatable for different projects to 2) Enrollment only with permission of department.

401 Inorganic Chemistry. (4) Chemistry of transition elements and nontransition elements and their compounds; nomenclature, stereochemistry, symmetry, bonding, solids, and acid-base theories. Laboratory involves synthesis and physicochemical measurements of selected compounds. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisites: CHEM 332 and CHEM 370 or 374. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

416 Chemical Literature. (1) An introduction to searching chemical research literature. Prerequisite: 18 s.h. of Chemistry. 1 hr. lect.

421 Biochemistry. (4) The chemistry of major cellular constituents and their metabolism. Prerequisite: CHEM 330 or 332; CHEM 241 or BIOL 330 or permission of instructor. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

422 Advanced Biochemistry. (4) A continuation of CHEM 421 emphasizing the regulation of biosynthetic pathways and gene expression. Laboratory includes analysis of biological molecules by GC, HPLC, UV spectroscopy, and electrophoresis. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Prerequisites: BIOL 330 and CHEM 421. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

425 Biochemistry of Human Disease. (4) Biochemical aspects of human diseases with emphasis on cancer and genetic disorders. The course focuses on biochemical principles of disease development and contemporary biochemistry and molecular biology methods and approaches for drug development and cancer treatments. Prerequisites: BIOL 330 and CHEM 421. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

429 Biochemistry Topics. (2) Selected topics in biochemistry which include current topics in applications of bio-macromolecules. Cannot be applied toward the Chemistry minor. Prerequisite: CHEM 221 or 421 or permission of instructor. 2 hrs. lect.

440 Elementary Forensic Techniques. (4) Applications of chemical principles to analysis of crime scene physical evidence including serology, drugs, explosive residues, arson debris, papers and inks, paint, and DNA fingerprinting. State-of-the-art techniques and instrumentation are used. Prerequisite: CHEM 221 or 330 or permission of instructor. 3 hrs.; lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

442 Analytical Chemistry. (4) Theory and practice of analytical chemistry with emphasis on selected instrumental techniques. Prerequisite: CHEM 341 and one semester of Physical Chemistry. 3 hrs. lect.; 6 hrs. lab.

452 Forensic Toxicology. (4) Designed primarily for Forensic Chemistry majors. Applications of pharmacological, toxicological, and instrumental methods used in forensic investigations of death, poisoning, and drug use. Cannot be applied toward the Chemistry minor. Prerequisite: CHEM 332 and 341. 3 hrs. lect.; 3 hrs. lab.

455 Forensic Serology and DNA Analysis. (4) Applications of biochemical principles to analysis of human tissues, body fluids, and other biological forensic evidence. Topics will include serology, blood splatter evidence screening methods, and DNA analysis and interpretation. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Does not count toward the Chemistry minor. Prerequisite: CHEM 421.

485 Internship in Chemistry. (3–8, repeatable to maximum of 8) An on-the-job experience in a government or industrial laboratory. To familiarize students with working environments—laboratory procedures and instrumentation they will encounter in a job situation. A formal written report is required. Prerequisites: CHEM 332, 370 or 375, 442, junior or senior standing in Chemistry, or permission of department chairperson. Graded S/U only.

490 Senior Project Laboratory. (1–4, repeatable to 4) Laboratory research under the direction of a Chemistry faculty member. The work will include the use of the chemical literature in independent research programs. A formal written report of the investigation undertaken is required. Corequisite or Prerequisite: CHEM 492. Prerequisite: one semester of Physical Chemistry or permission of the department.

491 Honors Thesis in Chemistry. (1–2, repeatable to 2) A thesis prepared under the direction of one or more faculty members.

492 Safety Practices in Chemistry Research. (1) The course is designed to train students in safety techniques and practices commonly used in laboratory research. A combination of lecture and demonstrations are used to describe MSDS, PPE, federal regulations, safe handling of hazardous reagents, and isotopes. Prerequisite: CHEM 101 or 201 or permission of instructor.


239 Pre-Teacher Education Program Admittance. (0, repeatable with no maximum) Students pursuing teacher licensure are required to take this course in the semester they plan to be fully accepted in the Teacher Education Program (TEP). Students must meet established departmental criteria for admittance to TEP. Graded S/U.

339 Pre-Student Teaching Clearance. (0) Students pursuing teacher licensure are required to take this course prior to their student teaching semester. Students must meet established criteria for departmental clearance to student teach. Prerequisites: Full admittance to the Teacher Education Program (TEP). Graded S/U.

439 Methods of Teaching Secondary Science. (3) Study of secondary teaching methods (Grades 6–12) from the standpoints of theory and practice, curriculum objectives and standard implementation, materials, and evaluation and assessment. Included are demonstrations, discussions, lectures, classroom participation, and field observations. Prerequisites: BIOL/GEOL 181 or GEOG/PHYS 182, BIOL 281, and EIS 301 (all with C grade or better). Corequisite: EIS 303.

469 Pre-Licensure Clearance. (0) Students pursuing teacher licensure are required to take this course in the semester they student teach. Students must meet criteria established by the department in order to be recommended for licensure. Prerequisite: departmental clearance to student teach. Corequisite: Student Teaching (STCH). Graded S/U.

480 Student Teaching. See STCH 480.

482 (Cross-listed with BIOL 482 and PHYS 482) Science in Context. (3) Interdisciplinary course for science majors in which students explore science through inquiry, the unifying principles of science, and the role of social contexts and ethics in science. Writing Instruction in the Discipline WID course. Not open to students with credit in BIOL 482 or PHYS 482. Prerequisites: senior standing in one of the following science majors—Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, or Meteorology; ENG 280; or permission of instructor.


Department of Chemistry

Chairperson: Dr. Rose M. McConnell
Office: Currens Hall 214
Telephone: (309) 298-1538
Fax: (309) 298-2180

Chemistry Website
Chemistry Directory
Chemistry Advising

 Department Email:

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

Dean: Dr. Susan Martinelli-Fernandez
Associate Dean: Dr. James A. Schmidt
Interim Associate Dean: Dr. Kyle R. Mayborn
Assistant Dean (WIU—QC): Dr. James A. Rabchuk
Office: Morgan Hall 114
Telephone: (309) 298-1828
Fax: (309) 298-2585

CAS Website

Website: Quad Cities Advising