Chemistry, Minor

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

College of the Environment, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

This minor is a natural companion to careers in biology, physics, geology, environmental studies, genetics, science education, etc. A science minor is an excellent credential in the eyes of future employers and enhances opportunities for students interested in medical or other professional schools.

  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 - 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

No more than fifty percent of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 18 - 21
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 108

Purpose Statement

The major purposes of the Chemistry minor are to (1) provide students with the prerequisite chemistry courses and skills needed for their major, (2) prepare non-majors with the chemistry-related knowledge and skills needed to compete in the workforce or enter graduate school, and (3) provide courses needed for a basic understanding of the principles of chemistry either for a chosen major or to meet liberal studies requirements. A minor in chemistry allows students to enhance their degrees by making themselves more attractive to graduate programs, future employers, and medical and professional schools. Students in the biological sciences and health-related disciplines in particular find that the chemistry minor fits comfortably into their schedules and adds  an interdisciplinary approach to their degree. This minor allows students to use a chemistry concepts and ideas in a variety of future career pathways across a range of scientific, educational and social fields.
Scope of Program
A chemistry degree allows you to develop excellent laboratory techniques but as it overlaps with other degrees, it also gives you skills that are useful in the areas of biology and medicine, physics and engineering, and geology and earth science. Chemistry is also studied in an environmental and social context, so you can gain awareness of its ethical implications and issues relating to environmental impact and sustainability. As well as developing strong mathematical/numerical ability, a chemistry degree gives you transferable skills, including:

  • analysis and problem-solving
  • time management and organization
  • written and oral communication
  • monitoring/maintaining records and data
  • team work
  • research and presentation
  • IT and technology
There are three tracks leading to the chemistry minor (18–21 units). All three require General Chemistry (CHM 151, CHM 151L, CHM 152) and at least one semester of Organic Chemistry (CHM 235). CHM 151 and 152 both meet the Science and Applied Science requirements and address the essential skill Quantitative Reasoning. CHM 151L meets the Lab Science requirement. Students then chose additional courses from various sub-disciplines of chemistry, depending on their major (organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, or biochemistry). 
Student Learning Outcomes

Outcomes for all chemistry minors (based on required courses CHM 151, 152, 151L, and 235)
  • Atomic Theory: Recognize that modern chemical science is based upon the idea of atoms, their combination in compounds, and their recombination in the course of chemical reactions.
  • Quantum Nature of the Atom: Realize that physical and chemical properties of matter result from subatomic particles that behave according to physical rules not apparent in the behavior of macroscopic objects, and discern the importance of spectroscopy in establishing this behavior.
  • Thermodynamics: Identify the principal laws of thermodynamics and how they dictate the behavior of chemical substances. Describe how the thermodynamic information about chemical and physical changes shape chemist’s explanations of interactions between atoms, molecules, and other ensembles of particles.
  • Molecular Models:  Use valence shell and molecular orbital models of bonding to predict molecular shapes, reactivity, and spectroscopic properties.
  • Gas Laws: Apply the kinetic theory of gases, including properties of ideal gases and interactions that lead to non-ideal behavior, to predict gas behavior with varied temperature, pressure and volume.
  • Kinetic Molecular Theory: Understand that atomic, molecular and ionic particles are in constant motion. Ensembles of these particles have a characteristic distribution of kinetic energies based on the temperature of the sample.  Use knowledge of this distribution of kinetic energy to predict chemical and physical properties of the sample.
  • Acid-Base Theory:. Predict interactions between strong and weak acids and bases. Use structural features of molecules to estimate acid and base strength.
  • Laboratory skills: Demonstrate mastery of basic laboratory skills such as quantitative weighing, pipetting, dilution, and titration. Describe and demonstrate safe laboratory practice including risk assessment using hazard codes and material safety (MSDS) or safety data sheets (SDS). Record laboratory procedures and results neatly and concisely in a laboratory notebook
  • Organic synthesis: Use knowledge of chemical reactivity to plan and execute the preparation of an organic product (such as an alcohol, alkene, or ether) from a starting material (e.g., an alkyl halide)
  • Organic nomenclature and functional groups: Identify the major organic functional groups and be able to give systematic (IUPAC) names to alkanes, alcohols, and alkenes
  • Organic structure and shape: Describe the shape, structure, and hybridization of organic compounds. Identify if a compound is chiral. Draw the enantiomer of a chiral compound. 
  • Additional outcomes based on track. Outcomes vary with the courses taken. Here are learning outcomes for the course options in the three minor tracks.
CHM 238: Organic Chemistry II (required in Track 1 and Track 3):
  • Identify products formed in Grignard reactions, reactions of aromatic compounds, and reactions of aldehydes and ketones.
  • Propose plausible “arrow-pushing” mechanisms for organic reactions identifying bonds formed and made and showing all non-zero formal charges.
  • Interpret IR and NMR spectra of organic compounds.
CHM 320: Analtyical Chemistry (an option for Fundamental Chemistry Track  and Physical Chemistry Track)
  • Distinguish between qualitative and quantitative chemical analysis.
  • Describe the underlying principles behind analytical methods such as titrations, separations, electrochemical measurements, and spectroscopy at an introductory level.
CHM 341: Physical Chemistry (an option for Fundamental Chemistry Track  and Physical Chemistry Track)
  • Describe and apply key concepts and principles of thermodynamics and kinetics.
  • Use calculus to derive and calculate thermodynamic relationships.
  • Create and analyze figures and graphs describing these relationships.
CHM 350 (an option for Fundamental Chemistry Track  and Physical Chemistry Track)
  • Name inorganic compounds.
  • Explain electronic structure and trends in the periodic table.
  • Identify a molecule’s shape and symmetry. Based on its shape and symmetry, predict its spectroscopic properties.
CHM 360 (an option for Fundamental Chemistry Track  and Physical Chemistry Track)
  • Identify the structure and function of basic biomolecules including nucleic acids, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.
  • Describe the primary metabolic pathways within the cell and the types of regulation associated with those pathways.
CHM 442C (an option for Physical Chemistry Track)
  • Use the results of quantum mechanics to explain the phenomena of spectroscopy and to predict spectroscopic transitions.
  • Recognize that the language and methods of quantum mechanics are the basis for computational chemistry.
  • Apply the statistical treatment of energies derived by quantum mechanics to the energy equations of model systems to derive partition functions and solve for populations of states as a function of temperature.
CHM 461/462C (Biochemical Track)
  • Identify structure and function of common biomolecules, including nucleic acids, amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.
  • Understand the basic principles of enzymatic catalysis, kinetics, mechanism, and regulation.
  • Describe the biosynthetic pathways and modes of action of biomolecules. Recognize the importance of the 3-D arrangements of atoms and ions in these molecules.

Minor Requirements
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.