A Guide to Chemistry Courses at City College

most recent update: 8/16/12

This guide is intended to familiarize you with the courses that you can take at City College and to assist you in selecting the course that best fits your intended program. As you consider the possible courses, please pay particular attention to the prerequisites for each course: every year, many students enroll in courses for which they are not prepared. (You can view a summary of prerequisites for all chemistry courses by clicking the box below.)

Index to Chemistry courses by number

Index to Chemistry courses by topic/level

Other links:

How to enroll in Chem 101A/103A (detailed prerequisite information for general chemistry courses)

Chem 101A/103A placement test information

Prerequisite information for all chemistry courses (summary)

Schedule of chemistry placement exams

Chemistry department home page

email the chemistry department

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Index to Chemistry courses by number

Chem C

Chem 40

Chem 65D

Chem 101B

Chem 110L

Chem E

Chem 50-53

Chem 80-83

Chem 101L/102L

Chem 205

Chem F

Chem 55

Chem 85

Chem 103A

Chem 208A/208B

Chem 17

Chem 65A

Chem 90

Chem 103B

Chem 208L

Chem 32

Chem 65B

Chem 91-92

Chem 107

Chem 212A/212B

Chem 33

Chem 65C

Chem 101A

Chem 110

Chem 212L

Go to index of Chemistry courses by topic/type

Return to the Chem department home page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Index to Chemistry courses by type of course

 Go to index of Chemistry courses by number

Return to the Chem department home page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTORY COURSES (NO PREVIOUS CHEMISTRY NEEDED)

Chem 110 (Chemistry for Nonscientists, 3 units): This is a course that introduces you to the principles of chemistry as they apply to everyday life. It is intended for students who have never taken a chemistry course and who do not intend to major in any scientific field, but who would like to learn what chemistry is and how it affects the world we live in. This course requires minimal mathematical work.
Chem 110 can be taken for a letter grade or credit/no credit. This course is currently offered in two formats: a formal lecture and an online course (using the World Wide Web). Consult the current CCSF course schedule for more information.

Chem 110L (Laboratory for Nonscientists, 1 unit): This is a laboratory course for students who do not intend to major in science but who want to see some chemistry in action. The lab experiments use a variety of everyday substances (as well as some not-so-common substances), and they will introduce you to some of the methods that chemists use to observe and test the properties of those substances. Expect lots of pretty colors, surprising changes, and startling revelations about ordinary things....
You need to have taken or be taking Chem 110 to take Chem 110L. You can take 110L for either a letter grade or credit/no credit.

NOTE: The chemistry department does not plan to offer Chem 110  during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Chem 17 (Problem Solving Methods, 3 units): This course will teach you the mathematical and problem-solving skills you will need to succeed in most science courses. It covers a variety of topics, including graphing, calculator use, scientific notation, the metric system, and significant figures. This course also looks at ways to approach problems in science: how to translate word problems into algebraic equations, how to read a problem and extract the useful information from it, and so on.
To take Chem 17, you do not need to have taken any previous chemistry course. However, you must have completed first-semester algebra (Math 840) or its equivalent.

NOTE: The chemistry department does not plan to offer Chem 17 during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Chem 40 (Introduction to Chemical Principles, 4 units): This is a one-semester introduction to chemistry which is intended for those students who plan to major in a scientific field. If you did not take a year of chemistry in high school (or you have forgotten much of what you learned in high school chemistry), this course is for you. Students who take Chem 40 usually proceed to Chem 101A or 103A.
To enroll in Chem 40, you must have already have passed one semester of college algebra (Math 840 or 40) or placement into Math 860 or 60 or higher.

Chem 32 (Introduction to Medical Chemistry, 4 units): see "courses for allied health and biotech"

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COURSES DESIGNED FOR ALLIED HEALTH AND BIOTECHNOLOGY STUDENTS

Chem 32 (Introduction to Medical Chemistry, 4 units): This is an introduction to chemistry for students intending to major in one of the Allied Health fields. If you plan to go into nursing, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, or a related field and your program requires one semester of chemistry, this course may be appropriate for you. Chem 32 also provides an introduction to chemistry for students in the CCSF biotechnology and biomanufacturing programs. If your major requires two semesters of chemistry, you should enroll in Chem 33 after you complete Chem 32.
Chem 32 is not appropriate for students who are preparing for medical school, dental school, or similar programs. If you are headed for medical school, you will need to take the Chem 101 sequence plus a year of organic chemistry (208 or 212). If you are preparing to take Chem 101A, you should enroll in Chem 40. Students who pass Chem 32 may enroll in Chem 101A upon passing of the chemistry placement test and having satisfied the math prerequisite.  However, this transition is extremely difficult: Chem 32 does not have enough mathematical content to adequately prepare students for Chem 101A.)

Chem 33 (Advanced Medical Chemistry and Biotechnology, 4 units): This course is a continuation of Chem 32. It will cover more advanced topics in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry, including biotechnology. The combination Chem 32 + Chem 33 satisfies the prerequisites of nursing programs that require a full year of chemistry.

NOTE: The chemistry department does not plan to offer Chem 33  during the 2011-2012 academic year.  If you need a second semester of chemistry for your nursing program, you should consider enrolling in Chem 40.

Chem 50-51-52-53 (Chemistry/Laboratory for Biotechnology and Health Careers): These courses have been discontinued and will no longer be offered. Students who are interested in the CCSF biotechnology or biomanufacturing programs should enroll in Chem 32.   Consult Dr. Edith Leonhardt for further information on biotech course requirements.

Chem 55 (Ethical Issues in Science, 3 units): This course is currently offered by the Biology department as Biology 55. Consult the Biology department for additional information.

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SHORT-TERM COURSES ON SPECIAL TOPICS

Chem 65A (Introduction to GC/MS, 0.5 units): This is a five-week course that focuses on the theory and applications of gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy. The course will include hands-on work with the department's GC/MS. This course is intended for anyone wishing to become familiar with this important analytical technique.
There is no formal prerequisite for Chem 65A. We recommend that you have some previous coursework in chemistry at the introductory level: you should know what a covalent bond is, and the makeup of an atom (protons, neutrons and electrons). Familiarity with structures of organic molecules is helpful, but you do not need to know specific organic compounds and functional groups.

Chem 65B (Introduction to HPLC, 0.5 units): This is a five-week course that focuses on the theory and applications of high-pressure liquid chromatography. The course will include hands-on work with the department's HPLC. This course is intended for anyone wishing to become familiar with this important analytical technique.
There is no formal prerequisite for Chem 65B. Familiarity with the properties of water and other common solvents, and the factors that determine solubility, will be very helpful. We strongly recommend that you have taken at least an introductory level course in chemistry before enrolling in Chem 65B.

Chem 65C (Introduction to Capillary Electrophoresis, 0.5 units): This is a five-week course that focuses on the theory and applications of capillary electrophoresis. The course will include hands-on work with the department's new CE instrument. This course is intended for anyone wishing to become familiar with this important analytical technique.
There is no formal prerequisite for Chem 65C. Previous coursework in chemistry is helpful but not essential.

Chem 65D (Introduction to Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, 0.5 units): This is a five-week course that focuses on the theory and applications of AA spectroscopy. The course will include hands-on work with the department's AA instrument. This course is intended for anyone wishing to become familiar with this important analytical technique.
There is no formal prerequisite for Chem 65D, but we strongly recommend that you complete a semester of general chemistry at the college level before enrolling in this course. You should be familiar with the basic structure of atoms and the properties of the subatomic particles (protons, neutrons and electrons), as well as the basic theory behind absorption of light by atoms and ions. Prior experience with any type of spectroscopy will be very helpful.

NOTE: The chemistry department does not plan to offer any short-term courses during the 2011-2012 academic year.

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UNIVERSITY-LEVEL COURSES: FIRST-YEAR

Chem 101A (General College Chemistry, 5 units): This is the first semester of the university-transferable general chemistry sequence. If you intend to major in chemistry, chemical engineering, biology, biochemistry, or physics, you will need to take this course. If you plan to attend medical school, you will also need to take Chem 101A. If you intend to major in engineering, you should consider Chem 103A (see below). Chem 101A covers the following topics: stoichiometry, aqueous reactions, gases, thermochemistry, electronic structure, chemical bonding, intermolecular forces, colligative properties, and an introduction to chemical equilibrium (including weak acid ionizations). Note: if you take Chem 101A, you should consider taking Chem C at the same time (see "auxiliary courses").

NOTE ON PREREQUISITES FOR CHEM 101A AND 103A: All students wishing to enroll in Chem 101A or Chem 103A must satisfy one of the following chemistry prerequisites:

  • Pass Chemistry 40 or 50 at City College with a grade of C or better, or
  • Score 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement Exam (contact your high school counselor for information about this exam), or
  • Take the CCSF Chemistry Placement Exam and achieve a satisfactory score for placement into Chem 101A or 103A. Contact the City College Testing Office (Conlan Hall 203, (415) 239-3129) for information and testing schedules.

If you have taken the equivalent of Chem 101A or 103A at a different college, you may be eligible for a waiver: consult the chair of the Chemistry Department (Science Hall 210, (415) 239-3377). However, if you have taken the equivalent of Chem 40 or any other preparatory class at a different college, you must still take the CCSF placement exam. Also note: students enrolling in Chem 101A or 103A must also satisfy the mathematics prerequisite: completion of Math 860 (second-semester algebra) or 60 or placement into a higher-level math course.

For detailed information about the satisfying the prerequisites for Chem 101A/103A, click here.

Chem 101B (General College Chemistry, 5 units): This is the second semester of the university-transferable general chemistry sequence. To take 101B, you must have passed 101A (or 103A) with a C- or better. Chem 101B covers the following topics: equilibrium (weak bases, buffers, sparingly soluble salts, and complex ions), thermodynamics, electrochemistry, inorganic descriptive chemistry, crystal structures, kinetics and the properties of transition-metal complexes.

Chem 101L (General Chemistry Lab I, 2 units): This is the laboratory component of Chem 101A. It is only open to students who have passed a lecture course that is equivalent to Chem 101A, and who now need to take the corresponding laboratory. Contact the chemistry department for further information on this option. (Note: we do not allow students to take the lecture component of any chemistry course by itself.)

Chem 102L (General Chemistry Lab II, 2 units): This is the laboratory component of Chem 101B. It is only open to students who have passed a lecture course that is equivalent to Chem 101B, and who now need to take the corresponding laboratory. Contact the chemistry department for further information on this option. (Note: we do not allow students to take the lecture component of any chemistry course by itself.)

Chem 103A (General Chemistry for Engineering, 4 units): This course parallels Chem 101A and is university-transferable, but it is specifically intended for students majoring in engineering fields other than chemical engineering. (Chemical engineers must take Chem 101A.) The material which is covered in Chem 103A is similar to that covered in 101A, but the emphasis is on aspects which are of concern to engineers.
Please refer to the important information on prerequisites under Chem 101A.

Chem 103B - The chemistry department no longer offers a second-semester course for engineering majors. If you have completed 103A and you want to take a second semester of general chemistry, you should enroll in Chem 101B.

Chem 107 (Computer Applications in Chemistry, 3 units): This course is an introduction to the uses of microcomputers in chemical calculations. No knowledge of programming is required to take this course, but you must have taken or be currently enrolled in Chem 101A or 103A. The course focuses on the uses of spreadsheet and graphing programs to solve more difficult problems in chemistry and to present the solutions to those problems in the most effective fashion. It also includes an introduction to word processing programs for writing reports.

NOTE: The chemistry department does not plan to offer Chem 107 during the 2011-2012  academic year.

Chem 110 (Chemistry for Nonscientists): listed under introductory courses.

Chem 110L (Laboratory for Nonscientists): listed under introductory courses.

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UNIVERSITY-LEVEL COURSES: SECOND YEAR

Chem 205 (Quantitative Analysis, 4 units): This course covers modern analytical methods in chemistry, from both a theoretical and a practical viewpoint. Statistical treatments of sets of data will also be discussed. To take Chem 205, you must have passed 101B or 103B with a C- or better. This course can be taken before or after Organic Chemistry; the two courses can also be taken together.

NOTE: The chemistry department does not plan to offer Chem 205 during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Chem 208A-208B Organic Chemistry (4 units per semester) This is a one year course in organic chemistry for non-chemistry/biochemistry majors. It is particularly intended for students majoring in life sciences or in medical fields. Chem 208A/208B will satisfy the minimum requirements for dental, pharmacy, nutrition, chiropractic, and other health science graduate programs. Chem 208A/208B will also satisfy the minimum requirements for most medical programs, but you are encouraged to consult the individual medical schools for specific requirements. Click here for a discussion of the different between Chem 208 and Chem 212.
To take Chem 208A, you must have passed Chem 101A or Chem 103A. Although Chem 101B is not required to take 208A, it is very helpful and we encourage students to take 101B before enrolling in 208A if possible. You may not take Chem 208A if you have passed Chem 212A; and you may not take Chem 208B if you have passed Chem 212B.

Chem 208L (Organic Chemistry Lab I, 1 unit): This is the laboratory component of Chem 208A. It is only open to students who have passed a lecture course that is equivalent to Chem 208A or 212A, and who now need one unit of laboratory credit. Contact the chemistry department for further information on this option. (Note: we do not allow students to take the lecture component of any chemistry course by itself.)

Chem 212A-212B (Organic Chemistry, 5 units per semester): This is a one year course in organic chemistry for chemistry, biochemistry, and chemical engineering majors, and closely related majors.  The Chem 212A/212B sequence also satisfies the organic chemistry requirements of all medical schools. Note: if you take Chem 212A or 212B, you should consider taking Chem E/F at the same time (see "auxiliary courses")  To take Chem 212A, you must have passed Chem 101B or 103B with a C- or better. You may not enroll in Chem 212A if you have passed Chem 208A; and you may not enroll in Chem 212B if you have passed Chem 208B.

Chem 212L (Organic Chemistry Lab I, 2 units): This is the laboratory component of Chem 212A. It is only open to students who have passed a lecture course that is equivalent to Chem 212A, and who now need to take the corresponding laboratory. Contact the chemistry department for further information on this option. (Note: we do not allow students to take the lecture component of any chemistry course by itself.)

Should I take Chem 208 or Chem 212??

The Chem 208 sequence is designed primarily for life sciences majors, and is appropriate for students who intend to major in biology or related fields. Chem 212 is designed primarily for chemistry majors, and is required of students who intend to major in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, or closely related majors (such as chemical biology),  and is recommended for molecular and cell biology majors at UCB with a strong research interest. Both courses contain all of the material that is considered essential by medical schools, and both courses will prepare you for the MCAT and similar exams. Chem 212 is accepted by all medical and related programs (dentistry, pharmacy, chiropractic, etc.); most such programs also accept Chem 208, but the chemistry department recommends that students check the requirements of specific schools. Some students feel that taking Chem 212 will put them at a competitive advantage, because of the greater rigor of that class, but the chemistry department has no direct evidence to support this. Other students feel that Chem 208's greater focus on some bioorganic chemistry and its decreased demands on the student's time make it a better choice.

Logistically, Chem 208A-208B covers approximately 75-80% of the lecture material in Chem 212A-212B. Chem 212A-212B will cover some topics in more depth, particularly synthetic methods and mechanisms of reactions, and will also cover some special topics required for chemistry and biochemistry majors. Chem 212A and 212B meet for 10 hours per week (4 lecture hours and 6 lab hours); Chem 208A and 208B meet for 6 hours per week (3 lecture hours and 3 lab hours).

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AUXILIARY/SPECIAL COURSES

Chem C (supplement to Chem 101A, 1 unit): This course offers additional work in problem-solving for students in Chem 101A. It can only be taken credit/no credit.

Chem E (Organic Problem-Solving Methods I, 1 unit): This course offers additional work in problem-solving for students in Chem 212A. It can only be taken credit/no credit.

Chem F (Organic Problem-Solving Methods II, 1 unit): This course offers additional work in problem-solving for students in Chem 212B. It can only be taken credit/no credit.

Chem 80-81-82-83 (Special Topics in Chemistry, variable units): The chemistry department uses these numbers to offer special lecture courses on topics of current interest.

Chem 85 (Seminar in Chemistry, 1 unit): This course consists of a series of presentations on areas of current research in chemistry. These presentations will be given by outside speakers and by CCSF faculty and students. Students in Chem 85 will have the opportunity to explore a number of topics of current interest in such areas as biotechnology, chemical engineering, hazardous waste management, industrial chemical processes, and other chemistry-related fields. You will be expected to do outside research on one or more topics presented in this course.
To take Chem 85, you should be enrolled in or have passed a college chemistry course. Chem 85 can be repeated for credit.

Chem 90 (Lab Projects in Chemistry, 0.5 units): The chemistry department is currently offering this course as a laboratory supplement for students in advanced placement chemistry courses in selected San Francisco high schools. Consult the chemistry department for further information.

Chem 91-92 (Lab Projects in Chemistry, variable units): The chemistry department uses these numbers to offer special laboratory courses on topics of current interest.

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