What Topics Are Covered in an Introductory Chemistry Class?

In an introductory chemistry class, students learn basic chemistry knowledge and skills, like properties of solids, liquids and gases, chemical bonding and radioactivity. Students taking an introductory chemistry class may be majoring in chemistry, a science field, health care field or any other subject. Continue reading for more information about what you can learn in an introductory chemistry class. Schools offering Science, Technology, and International Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Introductory Chemistry Overview

An introductory chemistry class can be taken in high school, a community college or a university. It may be a general education course or part of a chemistry degree program curriculum. Also, chemistry is commonly studied in various science, engineering and health care degree programs. In addition to general chemistry, introductory classes may be offered in organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, human environment chemistry and quantitative chemistry.

Important Facts about This Area of Study

Common Courses Chemistry fundamentals, chemical reactions, intermolecular forces, phases of matter, solutions, electron transfer, radioactive decay, chemical equilibrium
Programs Undergraduate, graduate levels available
Online Availability Select schools
Possible Careers Food scientist, chemical engineers, science writer, water resource planner, carbon trader, environmental chemist, FDA inspector, forensic scientist
Median Salary (2018) $104,910 (for chemical engineers)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% (for chemical engineers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Introductory Chemistry Focus

Schools may offer introductory general chemistry classes at various levels. Classes may be designed for students who've never taken a chemistry class before, students who scored highly on the AP test in chemistry or for students entering a particular degree program, like nursing or engineering. Some introductory-level chemistry classes have prerequisites, like one year of high school chemistry or one semester of college chemistry as well as a higher mathematics course. Continue reading for more information about a few classes that may be offered at the beginning level:

General chemistry A general chemistry course may cover basic topics such as atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding and acids and bases. Students may also learn about biological chemistry, organic chemistry and nuclear chemistry. Sometimes, general chemistry classes are offered in sections over two semesters.

Chemistry and the environment This course teaches students to understand environmental phenomena through chemistry. Students learn the relationships between chemistry and energy, water pollution and air quality. The effects of toxic and solid waste on the environment may also be discussed.

Quantitative chemistry This course emphasizes the theory of analytic chemistry and may include applicable training in electrochemistry and separation science.

Degree Programs and Careers

Individuals who want to study chemistry past the introductory level can consider earning a degree at the bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree level. In a degree program, students explore various areas of chemistry, including biochemistry, organic, inorganic, physical, analytical, environmental and experimental chemistry. Several laboratory courses are typically included in the curriculum. Graduate students conduct specialized research that leads to writing a thesis at the master's degree level and dissertation at the PhD level.

Graduates from bachelor's degree programs in chemistry may become research assistants, or they may be able to complete a secondary teacher education program and become high school teachers. Individuals who hold master's or doctoral degrees in chemistry are often involved in research careers.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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