Apr 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Chemistry, General Option, B.S.

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Program of Study

California State University San Marcos offers a program of courses leading to a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with options in Chemistry and Education. Chemistry is the study of matter and its changes. This includes everything in the universe from a simple hydrogen atom to very large replicating molecules in life processes. Chemistry is involved with the development of medicines that control and cure diseases; food through specific and safe agricultural chemicals; consumer products such as cleaners, plastics, and clothing; new methods of energy production, transfer, and storage; new materials for electronic components; and new methods for protection and cleanup of the environment. Chemistry majors are needed to help solve some of society’s most difficult technological problems through research, development, and teaching.

As an integral part of this program, each student is required to do a senior research project, thesis, and thesis defense. Also, students will have the opportunity to take advanced elective courses in analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, or biochemistry. With appropriate choices of chemistry and general education electives, graduates can meet the requirements for admission to graduate, medical, dental, optometry, pharmacy, veterinary, and other professional schools.

The goal of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department is to provide chemistry majors with the best education within the guidelines of the American Chemical Society. Each student will learn the basics of analytical, inorganic, organic, physical, and biochemistry, including the most recent technology in instrumentation. An atmosphere of small class size, close faculty/student interaction, and modern facilities/equipment are some of the advantages of the Chemistry Program at Cal State San Marcos.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry will be able to:

  1. Carry out synthetic and analytical experiments in the laboratory; make careful and accurate observations and measurements; and organize and interpret experimental data. [Empirical basis of chemical knowledge]
  2. Explain the relationship between the quantum mechanical rules that apply to subatomic particles and the physical and chemical properties of matter. [Quantum Nature of the Atom]
  3. Explain how different chemical substances and mixtures are held together using covalent, coordinate, and ionic bonding, as well as intermolecular forces; identify the geometrical relationship of atoms and molecules within these combinations; and explain the importance of these geometries to chemical and physical properties. [Structure and Bonding]
  4. Apply the ideas presented in the principal laws of thermodynamics to interpret and predict the behavior of chemical substances. [Thermodynamics]
  5. Use data about the rates of chemical reactions and the structures of the products to put forward models of how chemical reactions proceed at the atomic level. [Mechanisms of Reactions]
  6. Use their knowledge of chemical reactivity to plan and execute the preparation of compounds from common starting materials. [Synthesis]
  7. Plan and execute the separation, identification, and quantification of compounds and elements from complex mixtures; and identify and state uncertainties associated with these measurements. [Analysis]
  8. Use modern chemical instrumentation to analyze for known compounds and identify unknown compounds. [Chemical Instrumentation]
  9. Retrieve detailed information about chemical and physical properties of substances and accounts of other experimental or theoretical research; and communicate their own results in writing and speaking using appropriate scientific formats and language. [Communication of Scientific Results]


Up to five (5) units of chemistry credit can be applied toward a B.S. degree in Chemistry at Cal State San Marcos for students who have successfully completed the Advanced Placement Test in chemistry with a score of 4 or 5. It is recommended that students with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Test in chemistry consider auditing CHEM 150  during the fall semester in preparation for CHEM 162 . Students with a score of 3 on the AP Test in chemistry must consult with the CHEM 150  instructor to determine the appropriate beginning course or take CHEM 150 .

Special Conditions for the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry

All courses counted toward the major, including Preparation for the Major courses, must be completed with a grade of C (2.0) or better. Transfer students must complete a minimum of 24 units counted toward the chemistry major at CSUSM.


This option is for students seeking a broad training in the traditional areas of chemistry. This option is recommended for students wishing to enter a chemistry graduate program or seeking a position in industrial chemistry.

General Education (48 Units)

General Education Requirements  

Preparation for the Chemistry Option (44 Units)


**Some courses supporting the preparation or electives in the major may satisfy the Mathematics and Physical Science requirements of General Education. The courses fulfilling this double requirement are denoted by **.

Option Requirements (34 Units)


*Six (6) lower-division General Education  units in Area B (Math and Science) are automatically satisfied by courses taken in Preparation for the Major.

+ Pre-health students who need two semesters of biochemistry should take the CHEM 351 /CHEM 352  sequence to satisfy most medical school requirements.

++ Course can be taken twice for a total of four (4) units.

Minimum Total (120 Units)

The minimum number of units required for this degree is 120

*** Science major courses in the natural or mathematical sciences, chosen in consultation with the academic advisor, will be used to meet this requirement. With suitable elective choices, students in this option will earn a degree that is certified by the American Chemical Society.

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