"Principles of Chemistry," CHEM 115 and 116, are the courses by which students prepare for intermediate and advanced chemistry courses. Students with reasonably strong backgrounds in chemistry (at least one course in high school chemistry) may place into CHEM 116 by assessment examination (see below). Although CHEM 115 is not a remedial chemistry course, it does include content – such as atomic and molecular structure, chemical equations, and stoichiometry – that high school chemistry classes sometimes address well. CHEM 115 is particularly useful for those students who have little or no background in chemistry, who need substantial review of high school chemistry, or who need more practice with the mathematical manipulations of chemistry.
Well-prepared students who need the equivalent of two terms of chemistry as preparation for advanced study in graduate or professional programs (including medical school), are encouraged to place into CHEM 116 and to take an additional intermediate-level course in analytical, inorganic, or physical chemistry rather than 2 terms of introductory chemistry. That will provide a stronger and more appropriate preparation for the MCAT and other examinations than taking CHEM 115 and 116. Thus, the normal preparation for medical students with strong high school chemistry backgrounds would be CHEM 116, one of CHEM 210, 320 or 370, and two terms of organic chemistry. Students who intend to pursue professional studies should consult potential schools' admission guidelines for specific program requirements.
The scheduling of the introductory courses enables students to move quickly into intermediate level courses (analytical, organic, inorganic). For chemistry majors or minors, this allows for efficient completion of program requirements. For students completing majors in related disciplines like biology, biochemistry, and ENST, offering CHEM 116 in both fall and spring allows for timely and strong support as well. For example, students can easily complete the introductory course plus analytical and/or inorganic, or the introductory course plus Organic I and II, by the end of the sophomore year. That in turn frees up scheduling in the junior and senior years, allows potential biochemistry majors to get to Biochemistry I earlier in their careers, and provides excellent preparation for professional school aptitude tests.