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Major Planning: Which Chemistry course do I start with?

I want to, or have been told I have to take chemistry.  Which chemistry course should I take?

1.  I’ve never had a course in Chemistry in my life.  Enroll in CHEM 0103.  This course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry, although it moves briskly through easier topics commonly covered in high school courses.

2.  I’ve had an average year of high school college preparatory chemistry or integrated physical science.  Enroll in CHEM 0103.

3.  I’ve taken the AP test in chemistry, and received a 4 or 5.  Enroll in CHEM 0107 this fall (preferred), or CHEM )104 in the spring or fall (less desirable).  You have already demonstrated that you are quite talented in chemistry, and Middlebury College has automatically awarded you credit for CHEM 0103. If you enroll in CHEM 0103, you will forfeit your AP credit and be bored senseless.  CHEM 0107 is an honors section of general chemistry specially designed for strong incoming students such as yourself.    CHEM 0107 is offered only in the fall, but not offered in the spring, and is open only to first year students.  You may also elect to take the regular second semester course, CHEM 0104.  If you do so, you will find much, if not most of the course review, so this is not recommended.  However, you will not forfeit any AP credit with this choice.

3.  I’ve taken the AP test in chemistry, and received a 3 or lower.  Take the placement test to see in enrollment in CHEM 0103 or CHEM 0104 is more appropriate.  The Chemistry placement test can be found here.

4.  I’ve taken a lot of chemistry, or a good AP chem course,  but never took the AP test.  The placement test is available online here.

Satisfactory performance on this test will allow you to comfortably and confidently bypass CHEM 103 and place directly into CHEM 104 or in rare cases, CHEM 107.

5.  I have taken, and done well on the British system “A-Levels”, or the International Baccalaureate Exams “Advanced Level”.  Register for CHEM 0203, Organic Chemistry, or Chem 107.  This one is a bit more complicated.  Upon completion of minimal paperwork, you will be awarded transfer credit for Chem 103 and 104 for your past work, but students whose previous chemistry work did not have much lab work feel rather lost in organic chemistry.  So – if the lab part of your previous chem courses was good, feel free to jump into organic.  If you have almost no lab experience, 107 is a better call, but by registering for 107 you will lose a chem credit.  This may have consequences for you if you are planning to graduate in 3 years.


Medical Schools require 4 semesters of chemistry with lab.  This can be fulfilled by CHEM 0103, CHEM 0104/0107, CHEM 0203 and CHEM 0322. Advanced placement, with or without college credit can be used to fulfill some of these courses.  These courses must be taken in succession, however.  Thus if you want to go directly from Middlebury to Med School, and want to spend any part of your junior year abroad, it is recommended that you have  CHEM 322 completed by the end of your sophomore year, which in turn requires that you have CHEM 0104 or CHEM 0107 completed by the end of your freshman year. 

Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753