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Kansas Wesleyan University

Chemistry is the study of matter, its building blocks, its properties and its behaviors. Because it focuses on the central nature of physical matter, chemistry is considered a foundational science, one that can help with understanding the natural world. At Kansas Wesleyan University, you will receive a firm foundation in chemistry while gaining a broad liberal arts education that puts science education into the context of life and society. 

About the Chemistry Program

Meet the Faculty

Click here to view information on the faculty of the Department of Chemistry.

Mission Statement

The Chemistry Department promotes ethical, intellectual and social responsibility through rigorous teaching methods in the chemical sciences that develop students into best practitioners of science. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statements

The DEI vision for Kansas Wesleyan is to promote a diverse culture of equity, inclusion, integrity, and collaboration that deepens understanding and embraces intercultural and global experiences for students, faculty and staff.

Chemistry Department
The Chemistry Department at Kansas Wesleyan University seeks to generate and maintain an inclusive, diverse and equitable learning environment for all its students. As a department we wish to promote excellence in all of our students’ academic pursuits. The department is guided by the mission of Kansas Wesleyan University “to promote and integrate academic excellence, spiritual development, personal well-being, and social responsibility” for all of its students.

Updated September 2023

Program Goals

Students who complete the Bachelor of Science in Chemistry should be able to: 

  • Solve both qualitative and quantitative problems utilizing critical thinking and the scientific process.
  • Safely carry out scientific research, both literature and laboratory based, and write reports and/or give presentations based on that research.
  • Understand the role of science in modern society and be able to identify both the positive and negative impacts chemistry has made on our world.
  • Understand and explain concepts and processes related to the various divisions of chemistry. 

Chemistry Course Offerings

CHEM 120 Concepts in Chemistry — Fall & Spring

This is a beginning course presenting the essentials of inorganic chemistry and a brief discussion of the concepts of organic and biological chemistry. The course provides preparation for CHEM 123 General Chemistry I and meets the requirements for the nursing education and health certification. Includes laboratory.

CHEM 123 General Chemistry I — Fall

The course is designed for chemistry majors and minors, pre-health professionals, biology, physics and pre-engineering students. The emphasis includes atomic and molecular structures, periodicity, chemical reactions and quantitative relationships. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: One year of high school chemistry or CHEM 120 and high school algebra or MATH 116.

CHEM 124 General Chemistry II — Spring

This course is a continuation of CHEM 123. The emphasis includes equilibria, kinetics and redox chemistry. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 123.

CHEM 130 Forensic Science —  On Demand

Forensic science is the study and application of science to the processes of law, and involves the collection, examination, evaluation and interpretation of evidence. This course is designed to familiarize students with the basic principles and uses of forensic science in the American system of justice. The course will review the basic applications of the physical, chemical, biological, medical and behavioral sciences to questions of evidence and law. Students are expected to acquire a basic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the forensic sciences as they are practiced presently.

CHEM 221 Quantitative Analysis — Even Year Spring

This course deals with theory, methods and techniques of volumetric, gravimetric and instrumental analysis. Statistical analysis of data, multiple equilibria in aqueous systems and use of the engineering cycle in selection, development, implementation and evaluation of an analytical process are included. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: CHEM 124.

CHEM 286 Special Topics —  On Demand

CHEM 290 Independent Study — Variable Credit — On Demand

See Alternate Means to Academic Credit for a more detailed description

CHEM 299 Undergraduate Research — On Demand

The student will participate in an original chemistry research project under chemistry faculty direction. Progress of work will be presented at a biweekly research seminar. A written report detailing work completed, in ACS journal format, will be submitted to the faculty advisor at the end of the semester. May be repeated once for a total of two credits. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

CHEM 300 Organic Chemistry I — Fall

The course involves a systematic study of organic compounds including their structures, methods of preparation, properties and an analysis of important reaction mechanisms. Problem solving will be emphasized. Prerequisite: CHEM 124 or consent of instructor.

CHEM 310 Organic Laboratory Techniques — Fall

This laboratory course will deal with simple organic techniques, such as (i) determination of physical properties e.g., melting point, boiling point, refractive index, (ii) purification of organic compounds by (a) recrystallization and (b) simple and fractional distillations, (iii) isolation of organic compounds of biological importance by extraction, (iv) identification of organic compounds by simple chemical tests, and (v) simple organic synthesis. Prerequisite of CHEM 124 or consent of instructor.

CHEM 311 Laboratory Safety & Maintenance —  Even Year Spring

Procedures in maintaining and operating a chemical laboratory are included as well as safety procedures, storage, handling and disposal of chemicals and hazardous materials. Prerequisite: CHEM 124.

CHEM 320 Organic Chemistry II —  Spring

This course is a continuation of Organic Chemistry I, with emphasis on organic syntheses, reaction mechanisms and structural determinations. Prerequisite: CHEM 300.

CHEM 323 Inorganic Chemistry — Odd Year Spring

Modern concepts and theories of inorganic chemistry are taught, plus a systematic survey of the elements, their compounds and their chemistry. Prerequisite: CHEM 124.

CHEM 330 Organic Synthesis & Spectroscopy — Spring

This organic lab will emphasize synthesis of novel organic compounds of different functional families and their reactions. Isolation and purification of reaction product of synthetic importance. Detailed study of spectroscopic techniques, such as infrared, UV-visible, mass and nuclear magnetic resonance. Characterization and identification of unknown organic compounds by interpretation of infrared and NMR spectra. Prerequisite: CHEM 300 or consent of instructor.

CHEM 386 The Wesleyan Journey —  On Demand

This course combines service-learning with travel, either domestic or abroad, to provide students an opportunity to strengthen values and abilities, in addition to learning specific academic content. The service projects will be linked to the academic content of the class, and the course may require a co-requisite or stand-alone as its own special topics course. Credit varies based on the length of the journey and may involve additional fees for travel. Prerequisite: INTD 110 is recommended but not required for this course.

CHEM 410 Biochemistry I — Odd Year Fall

This course is an introduction to biochemistry from a chemical perspective. Topics covered include the structure and function of amino acids and proteins; enzyme catalytic strategies and mechanisms; membrane structure and function; function and structure of biomolecules such as carbohydrates, lipids and vitamins; acidity and basicity in relation to amino acids and buffer systems; structure and function of nucleic acids in RNA and DNA; DNA replication and transcription; and separation and isolation of proteins and amino acids utilizing various chromatographic techniques. Satisfies as credit for the chemistry major and biomedical chemistry major. Prerequisite or in concurrent enrollment in CHEM 300.

CHEM 420 Biochemistry II — Even Year Spring

This course is an introduction to biochemistry from a chemical perspective and a continuation of CHEM410 Biochemistry I. Topics covered include membrane structure and transport, immune response, thermodynamics of metabolism, glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, processes of electron transport and oxidative phosphorylation. Prerequisite: CHEM 410.

CHEM 427 Physical Chemistry I —  Odd Year Fall

Physical Chemistry I is a study of classical thermodynamics and its application to equilibrium and electrochemistry. Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: MATH 145 and CHEM 124 or consent of the instructor.

CHEM 460 Internship —  On Demand

CHEM 485 Special Topics — On Demand

Discussion on topics of current interest in chemistry and related fields. Prerequisite: CHEM 124.

CHEM 490 Independent Study — On Demand

Independent Study consists of research, readings, or other scholarly investigations or creative work. See Independent Study under Alternate Means to Academic Credit, for a more detailed description.

CHEM 499 Research Project — On Demand

This course is designed to help students learn and apply appropriate and effective methods for designing, conducting, analyzing and presenting original chemistry research. A supervised research project is required, including a written research paper and an oral report. The course is to be taken during the sophomore/senior year.

Hands-on Learning


In addition to studying the nuts and bolts of chemistry, you will get hands-on lab experience and opportunities to conduct research and work or intern at Salina Regional Health Center or one of the local environmental and medical testing labs. You will also receive personal guidance from faculty members who will help you choose the right career from the many available to hardworking chemistry graduates.

Chemistry Club

The chemistry club is a gathering of students who enjoy all areas of science but enjoy a particular affinity for chemistry. Our club is involved in spreading our love of science through events such as the Science Olympiad, demonstrations within the community and hosting laboratory days for younger school children. We are also involved with the local branch of the Lions Club providing support for our community through fundraising events.

What can I do with this degree?

Chemistry graduates from KWU have had great success in medical, veterinary, pharmacy, dental and other professional schools related to the allied health fields and laboratories. Our students have gone on to graduate studies in chemical engineering, physical chemistry, forensic science and analytical chemistry at such institutions as the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Lamar University, Kansas State University, the University of California and others.