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Academics - Courses in Chemistry and Biochemistry

100 level | 200 level | 300 level | Off-Campus Courses

100 Level

101 - The Molecular World 
(4). S. This is a general course designed for the non-science major and the elementary education student. The course explores the role of chemistry and its resulting technologies in the environment and contemporary society. It emphasizes the nature of scientific investigation, some historical developments in chemical theory, chemical periodicity and reactivity, and our daily interaction with synthetic materials and chemicals. The course is taught from a biblical worldview and addresses issues such as the validity and limitations of scientific knowledge, human responsibility in applying such knowledge in society, and the care and stewardship of natural resources. Laboratory.
103 - General Chemistry I
 (4). F. This course is a study of the basic principles of chemistry, with emphasis on the laws of chemical combination, descriptive inorganic chemistry, thermochemistry, the gas, liquid, and solid states of matter, the periodic law, atomic structure and chemical bonding, and the nature of intermolecular forces. The course is taught from a biblical and reformed worldview and addresses issues such as the validity and limitations of scientific knowledge, the methodology of the physical sciences, human responsibility in applying such knowledge in society, and the care and stewardship of natural resources. Laboratory. Prerequisite: One year of high-school chemistry or permission of the instructor. Note: Successful completion of the Chemistry 103-104 sequence meets the requirements for both science core categories.
103R - General Chemistry Recitation 
(1). F. An assistance course for students who desire regular professorial help with General Chemistry I. Especially for students who have not studied chemistry previously or who have a weak high school background in mathematics and/ or chemistry. Corequisite: CHEM 103.
104 - General Chemistry II
(4). F. and S. A continuation of chemistry 103 with emphasis on kinetics, chemical equilibria involving gases, weak acids and bases, and slightly soluble solids, free energy changes, electrochemistry, transition metal chemistry, descriptive chemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 103 or the equivalent.
115 - Chemistry for the Health Sciences
(4). F. and S. This course is specifically designed for those planning for a health care career such as Nursing or other allied health careers that require a chemistry course. The fundamental concepts of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry are presented with an emphasis on the chemical nature of biological systems. Topics such as molecular bonding and structure, equilibrium chemistry, and chemical reactivity as illustrated by acid/base reactions and redox reactions are presented in a biological context such as membranes, enzymes, buffers, and cellular energy metabolism. Issues regarding the ethics and stewardship of health also will be discussed. Laboratory.  Prerequisite: high school chemistry.

200 Level

201 - Analytical Chemistry
(4). F. Features a problem-solving approach that incorporates sampling, sample preparation, separation of the analyte from interfering substances, measurement, data analysis, and interpretation. Quantitative analysis is presented in the context of analytical methods that primarily include separation science (gas, liquid, ion chromatography, and electrophoresis), optical spectroscopy (uv-visible, fluorescence, and atomic absorption spectroscopy), and electrochemistry (electrode potentials, ionselective electrodes, and sensors). The laboratory includes chemical analysis of water in the athletic field and nature preserve ponds, and the measurement of air quality across Calvin’s campus using modern analytical techniques and wet chemical methods. These methods illustrate the principles of complex equilibria, theory of acids and bases, and titrations. Laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 104. Not open to seniors except by permission.
230 - Essential Inorganic Chemistry 
(4). S. This foundational course for 1st and 2nd year students covers the properties and trends of molecules derived from across the periodic table, with special emphasis on the main group elements. Topics covered include periodicity, bonding, symmetry, and reactivity. Special attention will be given to visualization tools for molecular structures.  Upon completion of the course, students will be prepared to critically compare and contrast molecular and biomolecular structures with chemical reactions presented in subsequent course work throughout the science division.  No laboratory requirement.  Prerequisite: CHEM 104 (can also be taken concurrently).
253 - Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry
(5). F. A study of organic compounds, reactions, and reaction mechanisms, emphasizing their biochemical significance. Laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 104.
261 - Organic Chemistry I
(5). F, SS. A detailed study of organic compounds, their synthesis and reactions, presented within the framework of modern physico-chemical theory, together with an introduction to modern methods of analysis and identification. Laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 104.
262 - Organic Chemistry II
(5). S, SS. A continuation of Chemistry 261. Laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 261.
271 - Environmental Chemistry
(3). I, odd years. A study of the chemistry of the atmosphere, natural water, and soils, with a special focus on environmental problems arising from the activities of humans, including a study of acid precipitation, greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, urban and indoor air pollution, water and soil pollution, solid and hazardous waste disposal, and risk assessment all presented within the context of a Christian view of humans and nature. Prerequisite: CHEM 253 or CHEM 261.
281 - Laboratory in Environmental Chemistry
(1). S, odd years. Experiments and investigations devoted to chemical analysis of samples obtained from the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere using EPA approved protocols involving both instrumental and wet chemical methods. Prerequisite: CHEM 271.
295 - Chemistry Seminar.
F and S, no credit. A seminar devoted to an exploration of topics in current chemical research in both academic and industrial laboratories. 
Junior and senior chemistry and biochemistry majors must attend each semester; freshmen and sophomores intending to major in chemistry or biochemistry are encouraged to attend

Off-Campus Offerings

332 - Environmental Chemistry.
Principles and analysis of chemical movement and distribution in natural environments. Sampling and analytical methods are included for water, soil, and air. Work conducted both in natural habitats and the laboratory. Prerequisites: One year of general chemistry and one semester of either biochemistry or organic chemistry. Offered in conjunction with the AuSable Institute.
385 - Internship in Chemistry
(3,4). F and S. Off-campus chemistry internships can be arranged for qualified students. Students work 10-12 (3 semester hours) or 13-15 (4 semester hours) hours per week throughout the semester under the supervision of an off-campus employer-supervisor and a faculty internship coordinator. Interns will meet with their faculty coordinator bi-weekly, keep a reflective journal, and submit a final written paper summarizing their internship experience. The off-campus supervisor will send in an evaluation report on the work of the intern.
 To be enrolled in an internship, the student must have junior or senior standing, must have a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better, an average GPA of 2.0 or better in all science and Mathematics courses, completed the second semester of organic chemistry (CHEM 262) or equivalent, and approval from both the department and the off-campus employer. To be enrolled in this course, the student must submit a completed research agreement form to the office of academic services.

300 Level

303 - Fundamentals of Biochemistry
(4). S. A survey of biochemistry focusing on the structure, and function, of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Fundamentals of metabolism and regulation will be presented in the context of exercise science—that is how does the body biochemically support the energy demands of exercise. This course is not primarily intended for students who wish to major or minor in chemistry or biochemistry, but it may substitute for CHEMy 323 in all programs. The lab component of this course is CHEM 383. Prerequisite: CHEM 253 or CHEM 261.
304 - Physical Chemistry for the Biological Sciences
(4). S, odd years. A survey of physical chemistry with emphasis on the laws of thermodynamics, physical equilibria, transport phenomena, and enzyme kinetics. Topics are treated with life science applications. Laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 104, a one-semester college level calculus course.
317 - Physical Chemistry I
(4). F. A study of macroscopic properties of matter as described by chemical thermodynamics and kinetics. Major topics include: The laws of thermodynamics and their application to pure substances, chemical reactions, solutions, and physical and chemical equilibria, and reaction kinetics. Laboratory. Prerequisites: CHEM 104, Mathematics 162, and a college physics course.
318 - Physical Chemistry II
(4). S, even years. A study of the microscopic even of matter in terms of quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics. Major topics include: the structure, energy, and spectroscopy of atoms and molecules given by quantum theory, and the relationship between microscopic and macroscopic properties of matter (statistical mechanics). Laboratory includes a six-week project on a topic proposed by the instructor. Prerequisite: CHEM 317.
323 - Biochemistry I
(4). F. A study of proteins, enzymes, carbohydrates, lipids, and membranes with an emphasis on the relationship of structure and function. Also included is the study of metabolism with primary focus on glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen metabolism, Krebs cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation. Prerequisite: CHEM 253 or CHEM 262.
324 - Biochemistry II
(4). S. A continuation of chemistry 323. Topics covered are lipid metabolism, photosynthesis, biosynthesis of macromolecular precursors, the chemistry of the storage, transmission and expression of genetic information, biochemical dimensions of selected physiological processes, and philosophical and ethical issues related to biochemistry. Also listed as Biology 324. Prerequisite: CHEM 323.
325 - Advanced Organic Chemistry
(4). S, odd years. A study of selected topics in organic synthesis or physical organic chemistry. In the laboratory individual projects involving multi-step syntheses are carried out based upon procedures found in the literature. All compounds prepared are characterized using spectroscopic methods and other instrumental techniques. Prerequisites: CHEM 262.
329 - Instrumental Methods for Chemical and Biological Sciences
(4). S. The aim of this course is to expose students to several instrumental techniques in chemistry, biochemistry, and biotechnology. The course will cover the principles underlying common instrumental methods, surface analytical methods used for studies in chemical and biological materials, spectroscopic techniques, separation techniques and thermal methods. A combination of lecture and/or laboratory will cover a number of instrumental techniques. Special emphasis will be paid to techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry, which are essential to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. An important aspect of this course is to provide students with “hands-on” experience on a number of instruments used in industrial and academic laboratories. The focus is to examine how these instruments work, how they are best used, and what type of performance one can expect. In the laboratory, students have the option of choosing the types of instruments and/or experiments to investigate based on their intended major. The final six laboratory sessions will be devoted to an independent project, which will use a minimum of two instruments. Laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 201.
330 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
(4). F, even years. A fundamental study in the chemistry of all elements with emphases on periodicity, symmetry, bonding, and reactivity. Types of compounds discussed include ionic solids, cage compounds, organometallic compounds, coordination compounds, and bioinorganic compounds. Electronic and magnetic characteristics are studied in depth. A significant component of the course involves studying advances in inorganic chemistry from peerreviewed literature. Laboratory.
359 - Seminar in Secondary Teaching of Chemistry
(3). S. A course in perspectives on, principles of, and practices in the teaching of Chemistry on the secondary level. This course should be taken concurrently with Education 346. The seminar provides a forum for the discussion of concerns that develop during directed teaching. This course is part of the professional education program and may not be included in the major or minor in chemistry.
383 - Laboratory in Biochemistry
(1). F and S. A laboratory course designed to teach students modern biochemical separation and analytical techniques. Included in this course are the following topics: Exclusion, ion-exchange, affinity, and high performance liquid chromatography, agarose gel and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, ultracentrifugation, ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy, enzyme kinetics, and recombinant DNA techniques. Students will be required to carry out individual projects involving the purification and analysis of a biological macromolecule from cells or tissue. Also listed as BIOL 383Pre or co-requisite: CHEM 323.
390 - Independent Study.
F, I, and S. Directed readings or projects. Admission by permission of the chair and instructor under whom the work will be done.
395 - Academic Year Research.
(0-4). F, I, and S. Research on a project selected in consultation with a faculty member at Calvin College. Each credit requires 45 hours of research. This course may be taken more than once. A student may be paid for research if and only if it is taken for zero credit. The student will be required to write a report and complete all tasks specified by the supervisor. If taken as honors, a seminar in CHEM 295 must be given and a formal research report must be written that is approved by a review committee. To be enrolled in this course, the student must submit a completed research agreement form to the office of academic services.
397 - Summer Research.
(0) F and S, Summer research for a minimum of 10 weeks full time on a project selected in consultation with a faculty member at Calvin College. This course constitutes 3 semester hours of research and may be taken more than once. A formal research report must be written each time. If the project is to be conducted off campus, prior approval by the chair is required. If taken as honors, a seminar in Chemistry 295 must be given and the formal research report must be approved by a review committee. Register for the course for the Fall semester directly following the summer in which the research was conducted, unless a seminar is to be given the next spring. To be enrolled in this course, the student must submit a completed research agreement form to the office of academic services and the science division office.
IDIS - 310 History of Physical Science
(3). S. Integrative Studies/ Capstone. An examination of natural philosophy in the 17th century and of major developments since then in the physical sciences (predominantly physics and chemistry). Particular attention is given to the philosophical and religious background of scientific ideas and the institutional context in which science develops. A central theme of this capstone course will be the investigation of the interaction of science and religion with a view toward articulating a critical reformed Christian perspective on this historical development. Some primary texts will be considered. Prerequisites: developing a Christian mind, History 151 or 152, Philosophy 153, Religion 121 or 131, junior/senior standing, and a declared major in the natural sciences (or approval of the instructor).