Prospective undergraduate students

Student in a lab

Thanks for your interest in UVic chemistry. Please also find out why UVic chemistry is a great launching pad for your career. If you don’t find the answer to your question, don’t hesitate to contact us.

What courses will I need to take?

The study of chemistry is cumulative. Introductory courses provide the fundamental concepts, lab skills and vocabulary needed to excel in subsequent courses. 

Chemistry is traditionally divided into sub-disciplines:

  • physical chemistry focuses on the properties, energies, and rates of change of chemical systems
  • analytical chemistry focuses on techniques to measure the amounts of various chemicals in samples
  • inorganic chemistry focuses on metal-containing compounds and materials
  • organic chemistry focuses on carbon-containing compounds and materials

Many of our courses develop these sub-discipline areas over successive years. Some concepts—such as how atoms are bonded to form structures, or how reactions occur—cross the traditional subdiscipline lines, and we've led the way in integrating these concepts.

Our research experience courses allow students to work in the research laboratories. You can also opt to complete a co-op degree that combines academic work with work terms in government, industry, and academic sectors. 

We can help you with your choice of courses.

See the detailed calendar listings for chemistry degree programs and courses.

Or contact us—we’ll be glad to assist you in working out the courses you need to take to complete a chemistry degree.

Overview of the chemistry program

What are all these courses and how do they fit together?

First year: All students take Chem 101 and 102. These are introductory chemistry courses that cover a wide number of chemistry topics.  They have labs on alternate weeks. You must have Chem 12; if you only have Chem 11 you'll also need to take Chem 091 before you attempt Chem 102. You can take the first half of intro organic, Chem 231 (it does not have a lab) at the same time as Chem 102.

Second year: Chemistry students will take six chemistry covering courses four areas. Students headed to other degree programs will take fewer chemistry courses, but almost everyone takes Introductory Organic Chemistry (Chem 231).  

Third and Fourth year: Majors and Honours Chemistry programs have a number of 300 level required chemistry courses and two 400 level required courses.

Fourth year: Many of the 400 level courses are offered on a two-year cycle—see the projected course offerings page. There are also independent fourth-year lab courses (one term each) and research experience. The additional requirement for an Honours degree is Chem 499 (Thesis). 

Chemistry for specific programs: We offer a first-year course, Chem 150, specifically for engineering students.  We also offer a specific lecture course (Chem 337 – Bioorganic Chemistry) that biochemistry students typically take in their fourth-year.

General interest courses: We offer two elective courses on a two-year cycle.  Chem 300A – Chemistry in Modern Society has no pre-requisites and is intended for non-scientists.  Chem 400A – Applications of Chemistry requires two second-year chemistry courses from Chem 213, 222, 231 and 232 as prerequisites.  

Do I have to take a chemistry course?

All I'm really interested in is (astronomy / biology / biochemistry / engineering / geosciences / microbiology / oceanography / physics)—do I have to take chemistry?

If you are going to get a UVic degree in those areas, you will have to do some chemistry courses. The other disciplines recognize that chemistry has a lot to contribute in their areas of specialization, and that’s why the vast majority of degree programs in the Faculty of Science have chemistry requirements.

Don't worry—we understand that not all undergraduate students are headed to chemistry  and we're ready to help you be successful in your required chemistry courses. We also have some great upper-level electives that are recognized by degree programs across the university. You should consider enriching your degree in another field with a chemistry course!