The Department of Chemistry offers five initial courses in introductory chemistry: CHEM 110, CHEM 120, CHEM 142, CHEM 143, and CHEM 145. The following information can be used a guide to assist you in choosing the appropriate introductory chemistry course.
CHEM 110 is a preparation course for our general chemistry series. It is intended for students who have not had high school chemistry, or who feel that they need a review before entering CHEM 142. There are no prerequisites for enrolling in CHEM 110.
CHEM 120 is an introduction to general chemistry, and is the first course in the general (CHEM 120), organic (CHEM 220), and biochemistry (CHEM 221) sequence. This sequence is intended for students planning to pursue majors in the allied health fields such as nursing and other selected science majors. There are no prerequisites for enrolling in CHEM 120. Only 6 credits are allowed for courses from CHEM 120, CHEM 142, and CHEM 143, if more than one of these courses are taken.
CHEM 142 is the first of a three course "General Chemistry" sequence (CHEM 142, CHEM 152, CHEM 162). This sequence provides an introduction to a variety of chemical concepts without using calculus, and is appropriate for students interested in science and engineering majors. The sequence requires a good working knowledge of algebra but does not use calculus. CHEM 142 is open to students who score a 1 or higher on the AP Chemistry test; those who have completed CHEM 110 or an equivalent course; or those who have passed the CHEM 142 placement exam offered by the UW Office of Educational Assessment
CHEM 143 is the first of a two course “Accelerated General Chemistry" sequence (CHEM 143, CHEM 153). The course content is an accelerated version of CHEM 142, 152, 162 with an expectation that the topics of stoichiometry and gas laws have been mastered before enrolling in CHEM 143. This sequence requires good working knowledge of algebra but does not use calculus. The sequence is appropriate for science and engineering majors with a solid mathematics and chemistry background. There are no prerequisites for enrolling in CHEM 143, and it is offered only Autumn quarter. CHEM 143 is open to students with a score of 1 or higher on the AP Chemistry test or those who have passed the CHEM 142 placement test offered by UW Office of Educational Assessment. Placement into Math 124 is also required for enrollment
CHEM 145 is the first course in the "Honors General Chemistry" sequence (CHEM 145, CHEM 155, CHEM 165). This sequence covers more advanced topics than in the 142 or 143 sequences and is designed for students who are curious about science and enjoy learning deeply. The courses introduce students to the scientific literature and include advanced laboratory exercises. Courses require the use of calculus in derivations and problem solving. CHEM 145 is open to students with a score of 3, 4 or 5 on the AP Chemistry test; a 5, 6, or 7 on the High Level Chemistry IB exam; or those who have passed the general chemistry honors placement test offered by the UW Office of Educational Assessment. Students receiving a borderline passing score should consult with the chemistry advisors regarding appropriate placement. View the complete listing of CHEM 145 course information including prerequisites, exam information, source materials, sample exam questions indicating areas and level of knowledge expected on entry.
Depending on your circumstances, the choice between these introductory courses can be straightforward, or it may call for some additional information. Answers to frequently asked questions regarding our introductory courses are provided here.
You can see frequently asked questions here.