Juniata's chemistry curriculum is unique in the nation, beginning with a full-year course in organic chemistry specifically designed for first-year students. There is a long list of reasons for this choice; the result is that our students do not have to repeat what they already learned in high school and they learn chemistry of relevance to biology sooner than most other students.
Just what will I take as a freshman?
We begin with the organic side of chemistry, but unlike the approach of many other schools, our introductory course is not a sophomore organic course transplanted to the freshman year. We have instead designed a new course called Organic Chemical Concepts that does not assume prior knowledge of "freshman chemistry" and therefore begins slowly and gently, covering only those aspects of organic that are meaningful and useful to both biologists and chemists.
What about after my freshman year?
The sophomore year consists of a set of newly created courses.
- Fall semester: Introductory Inorganic Chemistry builds on the organic chemistry students already know and considers at a higher level some concepts traditionally taught in the freshman year.
- Spring semester: Analytical Chemistry covers classical and especially instrumental methods of quantitative analysis. Chemistry POEs also take an Intermediate Inorganic Chemistry course.
What about all the organic material left out of Organic Chemical Concepts?
The "missing" topics, along with new material, appear in a junior level course called Organic Reactions, which focuses on synthetic reactions and strategy. It includes all the important standard reactions omitted during the freshman year from a traditional organic course (Wittig, Grignard, Diels-Alder, etc.), but because we are dealing almost exclusively with chemistry majors we are able to go more rapidly and extend our consideration beyond the bounds of a standard sophomore course to include such topics as asymmetric synthesis, organometallic chemistry, orbital symmetry, whatever else the professor and students find to be interesting and relevant.
We have also developed new lab experiences to go along with the new courses. During the fall of your freshman year you will have the luxury of not having a chemistry lab, while you learn some organic chemistry and get used to college. In the spring you will have labs that remind you of what you learned in Organic 1 while you are taking Organic 2. In the fall of the sophomore year, when there are no Biology labs, there will be two Chemistry labs: one that deals with the material in Organic 2, and another to accompany the Introductory Inorganic Chemistry course that you will be taking. In the spring of the sophomore year, you will take an Analytical Chemistry lab once a week. Students with POEs in chemistry also take an Intermediate Inorganic Lab to accompany the course of the same name. Finally, Chemistry POEs take Spectroscopy in the fall of their junior year and Chemical Synthesis, a lab in organic and inorganic synthetic techniques, in the spring.
What if I only need 1 year of chemistry?
Most students in this category, such as geologists, pre-engineering students, and some environmental science students, will take a two-semester sequence called Physical Inorganic Chemistry, including a lab both semesters. Some, such as Allied Health students, will take Organic Chemical Concepts 1 & 2 and stop. Students interested in both chemistry and the environment are encouraged to take Organic Chemical Concepts 1 & 2 and complete a POE in chemistry.
The ultimate form of learning chemistry is doing chemistry, and we encourage our students to become involved in research as soon as they feel they can spare the time. We have research courses available for freshmen through seniors, and a variety of research projects are available.