BSc in Chemistry

male and female chemistry students at work

Chemistry is the science that deals with the composition, structure and behaviour of the atoms and molecules which make up all forms of matter. Its central role in science is emphasised by the fact that Chemistry merges with Biology at one extreme and with Physics at the other.

A basic knowledge of Chemistry is essential in order to appreciate and understand the material world in which we live. It also provides a means of making the world a better place. Chemistry has an important role to play in solving the world's major problems in energy, food supply, health and the environment. Modern society relies on chemists for everything from medicine to materials.

Chemistry is also a popular choice for students pursuing double majors and double degrees. Common combinations include Chemistry and Physics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Chemistry and Law and Biochemistry and Law.

We frequently host international experts as Erskine Fellows, offering unique learning opportunities for students of Chemistry.

UC also offers a double major in Environmental Science alongside other BSc subjects including Chemistry.

At 100 level there are two core courses, CHEM 111 and CHEM 112, which are intended for students with a solid background in Year 13 Chemistry. CHEM 114 is intended for for students with fewer than 14 credits in NCEA level 3 Chemistry and will lead into the core courses.

Let's Talk Chemistry is a is an introduction to the basic concepts, vocabulary and language of Chemistry. It is written for all students who need or wish to study Chemistry for its own sake or need it as the basis of another discipline (Biological Science, Medicine, Physics, Engineering) at first-year University level.

It will also provide reinforcement for those who have a basic background and can be a useful resource for teachers.

1. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter one

2. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter two

3. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter three

4. Let's talk chemistry chapter four

5. Let's talk chemistry chapter five

6. Let's talk chemistry chapter six

7. Let's talk chemistry chapter seven

8. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter eight

9. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter nine

10. Let's talk chemistry chapter ten

11. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter eleven

12. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter twelve

13. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter thirteen

14. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter fourteen

15. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter fifteen

16. Let's Talk Chemistry chapter sixteen

Let's Talk Chemistry index of terms

Let's Talk Chemistry answers to exercises

Chemistry is an important component in many other fields of study including Agriculture, Biochemistry, Biology, Biotechnology, Consumer and Applied Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Science, Forensic Science, Forestry, Horticulture, Human Nutrition, Law, Optometry, Pharmacy, Nuclear Chemistry, Veterinary Science and many others.

At UC, degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Engineering and Forestry also include 100-level courses in Chemistry.

The core courses for a degree in Chemistry are CHEM 111, CHEM 112, CHEM 211, CHEM 212, CHEM 251, CHEM 242, CHEM 281, or BCHM 281CHEM 381 or CHEM 382.

At 300 level students choose courses that focus on a particular pathway within Chemistry. You can also focus on Biology with Medicinal Chemistry or BSc in Biochemistry, or a Physics-oriented Chemistry degree with Materials Science and Nanotechnology.

Chemistry study pathways

Chemical Biology and Biological Chemistry are the study of the chemical principles underlying biological processes, and the application of chemical techniques and tools to the study and manipulation of the molecular processes taking place within cells. This combination of courses provides a solid background for careers in pharmaceutical research, drug development, health, forensic science, biotechnology and proteomics.  It is also an important avenue to postgraduate study and research.

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (this is an alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended 

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM 212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology

And either:

OR

 Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health
  • BCHM 253 Cell Biology 
  • BCHM 222 Biochemistry 
  • BCHM 202 Foundations in Molecular Biology (equiv BIOL 231)
  • BIOL 213 Microbiology and Genetics

 

 

Year 3

Required 

  • BCHM 338 Chemical Biology
  • BCHM 339 Bioinorganic and Bioorganic Chemistry
  • CHEM 381 Advanced Synthetic Techniques
  • At least 15 points from other CHEM 300 level courses.

Recommended 

Environmental chemists undertake research and provide advice on how chemicals move through the environment and their effects on human health and the environment.  Graduates find careers in environmental consulting, environmental testing, education and policy development.  There are a range of opportunities in postgraduate study and research.

(If you are interested in Chemistry and environmental chemistry/science, there are two pathways you can follow: i) a BSc with a major in Chemistry that emphasises environmental chemistry (described below) and ii)a BSc with a double major in Chemistry (any pathway can be chosen) and Environmental Science. This double major is described on the tab below.)

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended courses from other science subjects, such as MATH, STAT, BIOL, GEOG and PHYS

  • ENVR 101 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • BIOL 111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry (equiv BCHM111)
  • BIOL 112 Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
  • GEOG 106 Global Environmental Change
  • GEOG 109 Physical geography. Earth, Ocean, Atmosphere
  • GEOL 115 The Dynamic earth System
  • GEOL 113 Environmental Geohazards
  • ANTA 101 Antarctica; The cold climate
  • ANTA 102 Antarctica: Life in the cold
  • PHYS 111  Introductory Physics for Physical Sciences and Engineering
  • MATH 101Methods of Mathematics and/or MATH 102 Mathematics 1A
  • STAT 101 Statistics 1

 

 

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM 212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)

And either:

  • CHEM 281 Practical Chemistry (preferred)

OR

 Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health
  • BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis
  • ENVR 201 Environmental Science and Practice
  • GEOG 206 Resource and Environmental Management
  • STAT 201 Applied Statistics
  • WATR 201 Freshwater Resources

Year 3

Required 

Recommended

  • WATR 301 Water Resource Management
  • BCHM 335 Biochemical and Environmental Toxicology

Environmental scientists study how the earth works, how people are affecting the environment and how to solve environmental problems.  Environmental scientists with skills in chemistry are highly sought after.  Example careers include helping businesses to be more sustainable, working with engineering firms to reduce impacts of major projects and advising government agencies on environmental risks.

If you are interested in Chemistry and environmental chemistry/science, there are two pathways you can follow:

i) a BSc with a major in Chemistry that emphasises environmental chemistry (described on the tab above) and

ii) a BSc with a double major in Chemistry (any pathway can be chosen) and Environmental Science. This double major is described here, with more information at:

http://www.canterbury.ac.nz/science/schools-and-departments/environmental-science/

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • ENVR 101 Introduction to Environmental Science
  • GEOG 106 Global Environmental Change
  • STAT 101 Statistics 1 or MATH 102 or equivalent

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 
  • MATH 101 Methods of Mathematics

Recommended

  • PHYS 111  Introductory Physics for Physical Sciences and Engineering

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 211 Molecules
  • CHEM 212 Chemical Reactivity (equiv BCHM 212)
  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)
  • CHEM 281 Practical Chemistry (preferred); OR BCHM 281 Practical Biochemistry
  • ENVR 201 Environmental Science and Practice
  • BIOL 209 Introduction to Biological Data Analysis
  • GEOG 206 Resource and Environmental Management

Note: CHEM 255 (Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health) can be taken instead of CHEM 242 with approval from the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Year 3

Required 

 Recommended

  • CHEM 340 Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology

If your Chemistry interests do not neatly fit into any of the focussed pathways: no problem! To complete a Chemistry major you must include the compulsory courses at 100 and 200 level, and then you can choose any 60 points (or more) from CHEM 300 level courses, BCHM 338 and BCHM 339, including at least one of CHEM 381 or CHEM 382

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended

Year 2

Required 

  • CHEM 251 Foundations of Materials Science and Nanotechnology
  • CHEM 242 Organic Chemistry (equiv BCHM 206)
  • CHEM 281 Practical Chemistry (preferred); 

OR

 Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health

Year 3

Required 

At least 60 points from CHEM 300 level courses, BCHM 338 and BCHM 339, including at least one of CHEM 381 or CHEM 382

Materials science and nanotechnology develop knowledge and understanding of material structure and properties. Understanding the behaviour of atoms, molecules and nanoscale objects paves the way to rational design and synthesis of functional materials with desired compositions and structures needed for specific applications.  This underpins discovery and development of new materials needed by high-tech industries.  Materials science and nanotechnology are strongly interdisciplinary and offer opportunities to work with physicists, biologists, geologists and engineers.

Depending on your interests, your Chemistry courses can be complemented by courses in Physics (giving a strong background in the origins of the physical properties of materials and behaviour at the nanoscale), in Geology (expanding your knowledge of the properties of geological materials (rocks etc)) or Biology (providing a background relevant to bionanotechnology and biomaterials).

Year 1

Required 

  • CHEM 111 Chemical Principles and Process
  • CHEM 112 Structure and Reactivity in Chemistry and Biochemistry

May be required 

  • CHEM 114 Foundations of Chemistry (this is an alternative entry point for students with a weaker background in chemistry) 

Recommended 

Complementary Physics courses

  • PHYS 101 Engineering Physics A: Mechanics, Waves, Electromagnetism and Thermal Physics
  • PHYS 102 Engineering Physics B: Electromagnetism, Modern Physics and 'How Things Work'
  • PHYS 111 Introductory Physics for Physical Science and Engineering (if required)

Complementary Geology courses

  • GEOL 111 Planet Earth: An Introduction to Geology
  • GEOL 115 The Dynamic Earth System

Complementary Biology and Biochemistry Courses

  • BIOL 111 Cellular Biology and Biochemistry

Year 2

Required 

OR

Recommended 

  • CHEM 255 Contemporary Chemistry: Technology, Environment, and Health

 Complementary Physics courses

  • PHYS 203 Relativistic and Quantum Physics
  • PHYS 206 Electromagnetism and Materials

Complementary Geology courses

  • GEOL 242 Rocks, Minerals and Ores
  • GEOL 244 Structural Geology and Global Geophysics

Complementary Biology and Biochemistry Courses

  • BIOL 231 Foundations in Molecular Biology (equiv. BCHM 202)
  • BIOL 253 Cell Biology I (equiv. BCHM 253)
  • BIOL 213 Microbiology and Genetics

Year 3

Required 

Recommended 

  • CHEM 335 Organometallic Chemistry and Catalysis
  • CHEM 336 Supramolecular Chemistry and Molecular Engineering
  • CHEM 381 Advanced Synthetic Techniques

Complementary Physics courses

  • PHYS 313 Advanced Electromagnetism and Materials

Complementary Geology courses

  • GEOL 338 Engineering and Mining Geology

Complementary Biology and Biochemistry Courses

 

 

For advice on studying Chemistry

Anna Chapman

Advisor
Student Advisor (Undergraduate)
Okeover 110
Internal Phone: 94117

Alison Downard

Professor
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Rutherford 660
Internal Phone: 94228