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Newly Admitted Students

Welcome to McGill!  And welcome to the Department of Chemistry!

University wide information for you is available on the McGill website for Newly admitted undergraduate students.

It is also recommended for all B.Sc. students to familiarize themselves with content on this handbook developed by the Faculty of Science.  

On this site, we hope to provide assistance for those that have already made the excellent choice to pursue a program in Chemistry at McGIll, and are entering directly into your U1 year from U0, CEGEP or another type of pre-University degree that exempts you from most first year courses.   Another great way to get information is to schedule an advising appointment with the advisor.chemistry [at] mcgill.ca (subject: advising%20appointment%20request) (Director of Undergraduate Studies), who will happy to elaborate information here. 

Here are some of the most common questions students entering U1 have.

What are the different types of programs I can choose as a Chemistry major?

Students who major in Chemistry can choose from a bewildering number types of different programs (Honours, Major, Liberal) and with those programs different options (regular, Bio-Organic, Atmosphere & Environment, Materials, Measurements, Bio-Physical).   

A majority of our students choose to pursue Honours or Major programs. The main difference between the Majors and Honours degree is that Honours requires a research project and additional advanced coursework when compared with the Major.  Most students are in either the regular option, Bio-organic option, Materials option, or the Atmosphere and Environment Option. For each of those 4 options, the Major and Honours are very similar in terms of required coursework and offer basically the same level of credentials when the B.Sc. is completed.  

A relatively smaller number of students choose to pursue a more specialized program via in our Department, via  the Major or Honours degree with a Measurements or Bio-physical option.  These are very good programs for students who know they would like to pursue graduate studies in Chemistry or related fields, but as the required coursework for these options differs more significantly from the regular chemistry degree they may not always be acceptable for professional practice as a Chemist for those who only hold a B.Sc. degree.

The liberal programs have much less required coursework than either a Honours or Majors programs, and offers students the chance to get a strong foundation in chemistry that they must combine with a Minor or second liberal program in another discipline. Once again, this will not always be acceptable for professional practice as a Chemist for those who only hold a B.Sc. degree but this is a great option for students who want flexibility in pursuing a rigorous blend of different fields during their degree. 

While this seems like a lot of choices, I really don't recommend overthinking this before starting U1.  Generally, aside from the Bio-physical option students do not need to make a final choice about their option or program until sometime in U2, or sometimes even U3.

What classes should I take in my first year?

The good news is that we recommend basically the same coursework for all students in U1, except those in the Bio-physical option.

 

Typical U1 Schedule

Fall SeMESTER WINTER SEMESTER
CHEM 212 Intro Organic Chemistry 1 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 222 Intro Organic Chemistry 2 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 213 Introductory Phys Chem1:Thermo 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 273 Intro Phys Chem2:Kinetics&Meth 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 267 Introductory Chemical Analysis 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 281 Inorganic Chemistry 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

MATH 222 Calculus 3 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

 

Students in the Bio-organic option can potentially take BIOL 200 in the Fall and BIOL 201 in the winter- but could instead be done in U2 depending on how many courses you want to take. 

It's not impossible to put off one or more of these courses in the table above until your second year, but I recommend discussing with advisor.chemistry [at] mcgill.ca (the chemistry advisor) ahead of time.  

Will I get any credits for my CEGEP courses that might exclude me from taking CHEM 212, CHEM 222 or MATH 222?

The answer to this is actually specific to each CEGEP.  Information can be found here.

I am not from CEGEP and I don't have all my 100 level courses complete- how should I proceed?

Many students who have credits from AP exams or other types of programs which give you advanced standing have not completed all the pre-program requirements that we expect- completion of the top 3 rows of the following table would be the courses considered equivalent to our recommended U0 courses.

Pre-program requirements
CHEM 110 General Chemistry 1 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

CHEM 120 General Chemistry 2 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

MATH 140 Calculus 1 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

MATH 141 Calculus 2 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

PHYS 131 Mechanics and Waves 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

or 
PHYS 101 Intro Physics - Mechanics 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

PHYS 142 Electromagnetism & Optics 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

or
PHYS 102 Intro Physics-Electromagnetism 4 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

MATH 133 Linear Algebra and Geometry 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

BIOL 112 Cell and Molecular Biology 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

While many students take MATH 133 and/or BIOL 112 during their U0 year, for a variety of reasons it's also common to take them as a U1.    If you don't have all these courses, it's best to discuss with the advisor.chemistry [at] mcgill.ca (Director of Undergraduate Studies) the best route to proceed, each case is usually a bit unique.  

Can I pursue a Minor? Do I HAVE to pursue a minor?

Sure!  A student in Chemistry can pursue a minor in any other Science or Arts department, along with a few other minors from other Faculties.  

Minors could be useful professionally if the minor allows you to take courses outside of your chemistry program which are of use in the career you are aspiring too-  for example students that may want to be involved in start-up companies maybe interested in a minor in entrepeneurship for science students?  

Other students take a minor simply to take coursework in a field that they are interested in, for example to learn a foreign language or develop their writing skills via an English Minor.    

Unless you are in a Liberal Program, you would not be required to take a minor.  You can also fill up your required credit load via electives. These can be additional Chemistry courses, something to improve your scientific skill set such as a computer science course or an additional mathematics course, or a pure elective in the Faculty of Arts or Science (there are a number of 100/200 level Science courses that are popular electives).   

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