Chemistry

Chemistry is a branch of the physical sciences that studies matter and the principles that govern matter. It connects physics with biology and geology. Western Chemistry students focus on the composition, structure and properties that occur in chemical systems.

What Will You Learn? What Skills Will You Acquire?

Students in Chemistry learn theory and laboratory techniques to ensure their safety and success in the lab. Students learn to use instruments such as the infrared spectrometer, nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer and atomic absorption spectrophotometer to identify and characterize chemicals.

Most of Western's Chemistry courses include lab components, so students gain hands-on experience with the topics discussed in lectures and texts.

Beyond the Classroom

Students in Chemistry take field trips to facilities such as the Crested Butte wastewater treatment plant, where they collect water samples for metal analysis. Classes have also visited the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) lab to see crime data analyzed. 

Students attend a variety of conferences and work with faculty members on original research. Western students have also participated in summer research at Vanderbilt University, Montana State University, the University of Wyoming and other institutions offering Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs. Stipends for these summer research positions range from $3,500 to $4,500, with housing included.

After Graduation

With a degree in chemistry from Western, students can follow several career paths, such as teaching, working in industry and conducting research. 

Many Western Chemistry graduates have gone on to pharmacy and graduate schools. Others are teaching, or working in labs as quality control or environmental analysts.

Next Steps

If you're interested in Western's Chemistry Program, we invite you to take the next steps towards becoming a part of the Mountaineer family. 

Share your interest with friends and family: 
  1. Email this to your friends or family    Share on LinkedIn    Share on Google+    Twitter    Share this on Facebook

  2. Get more information about the program.
  3. Schedule a campus visit so you can meet professors, see the beautiful Gunnison Valley, and find out if Western is the perfect school for you.
  4. Start the online application process - apply online now.
  5. Find scholarships, grants, or financial aid that match your interests and situation.

Profiles

Sean Markey
From truck driver to neurosurgeon thanks to Western and its nurturing professors. 
Shannon Shaw
Biology major with Pre-med/Cell Biology emphasis, minor in Chemistry, Thornton Undergraduate Research Committee grant recipient, Pre-Health Science Club president, supplemental instructor for BIOL 150, Chemistry Club Secretary, and much more!
Cassandra "Cassie" Ortiz
Double-major in Biology and Exercise & Sports Science, minor in Chemistry, Cross Country & Track Team, All-Academic honoree, Student Athletic Advisory Committee, and so much more!
Eric Loewen
Alum's recycling reactor may 'save the world.'
Patricia Wheeler-Larsen
"My education at Western is the greatest gift I have ever received. It fuels passion in me I never knew I had and has installed a sense of responsibility, gratitude, and overall wellness and excitement that can’t be created in any other place on Earth!"

Scholarships

Scholarships associated with academic programs usually have a specific scholarship application form that can easily be obtained by contacting that academic program's office or visiting that academic program's web page. If you have any questions, please contact the Financial Aid office at 970.943.3085 or 800.876.5309. To find scholarships based on year of study (e.g. - Freshmen Scholarships), please see the navigation to the left.

 Charlesworth, William Memorial Scholarship

Charlesworth, William Memorial Mathematics and Natural Science Scholarship Available to:

The applicant has applied to and has been accepted for admission to Western State Colorado University and is pursuing a major in mathematics or related natural sciences. The applicant has demonstrated a need for financial assistance. The applicant has demonstrated an interest and is active in inter-collegiate athletics. Preference should be given to entering freshmen; however, all classes, freshmen through senior, are eligible. Preference should be given to applicants whose study time is limited by family obligations or the need to earn income. No preference should be given based on the sex of the applicant. Preference should be given to applicants from Delta County, Colorado, or from the Western Slope of Colorado.

Scholarship Provided by:

Established with the Western State Colorado University Foundation to perpetuate the memory of William Charlesworth, a 1954 graduate of Western State Colorado University. The express purpose of the fund is to provide financial assistance to student-athletes pursuing majors in mathematics or related natural sciences.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Chaired by the chairman of Mathematics and Computer Science and shall include a representative from the Athletic Department appointed by the Athletic Director. A representative from the Natural Sciences Department shall be on the selection committee.

Application: Contact the Mathematics and Computer Science Department or the Athletic Department for application and deadline information. MCIS Department: (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128 Athletic Department: (970) 943-2079 - Paul Wright Gym 201

Find out more about Western's Math Program at www.western.edu/mathematics.

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry.

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology.

Find out more about Western's Geology Program at www.western.edu/geology.

 Lawrence, A. W. Memorial Scholarship

Lawrence, A.W. Biology and Chemistry Scholarship is Available to:

Students majoring in Biology or Chemistry.

Scholarship Provided by:

Family and friends of Aubrey W. Lawrence who served as Professor of Chemistry and Chairman of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Science Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application: Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry

 Mckenny, Casey James Memorial Scholarship

Mckenny, Casey James Memorial, Natural and Environmental Sciences Scholarship is Available to:

Full-time students at Western who are Juniors or Seniors (qualified Juniors shall be given preference over Seniors). Must be a declared major in Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences. Must maintain a GPA of 3.2 or greater. Recipients must follow Casey's example of academic promise, love for the outdoors and service to fellow students demonstrated by volunteering in the community and involvement in campus activities and service.

Scholarship Provided by:

Gifts by Bill and Monica McKenny, Casey's parents, as well as other family members and friends.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Western NAES faculty in consultation with the Dean of Students and Bill and Monica McKenny.

Application: Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128.

Find out more about Western's Physics Program at www.western.edu/physics

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry

Find out more about Western's Geology Program at www.western.edu/geology

 Nauman, James D. Scholarship

Nauman, James D. Department of Environmental Sciences Scholarship is Available to:

Full-time, Colorado residents who have a major in a field within the Department of Natural & Environmental Sciences. Must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 and demonstrated financial need.

Scholarship Provided by:

Dr. James Nauman, who attended Western from 1945-49.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Recipient Selected by:

Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application: Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Western's Physics Program at www.western.edu/physics

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry

 Walker, C. Ralph and Florence Memorial Scholarship

Walker, C. Ralph and Florence Memorial Scholarship (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) is Available to:

Full-time students at Western State Colorado University; must have declared a major in Biology, Chemistry or Physics.

Scholarship Provided by:

Gifts from members of the Walker family to perpetuate the memory and to commemorate the service and devotion of C. Ralph and Florence Walker who both served the College and the Gunnison community in an exemplary manner for many years. Professor Walker was Chairman of Western's then Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Amount: Award depends on funds available.

Scholarship Selected by:

Sciences Scholarship Selection Committee.

Application: Contact the Department of Natural and Environmental Sciences for application and deadline information. (970) 943-2015 - Hurst Hall 128

Find out more about Western's Physics Program at www.western.edu/physics.

Find out more about Western's Biology Program at www.western.edu/biology.

Find out more about Western's Chemistry Program at www.western.edu/chemistry.

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a sample of offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the university course search.

 CHEM 111 - General Chemistry I (3 credits)

An introductory course designed for science majors focusing on principles and applications of chemistry. Topics covered in this course are stoichiometry, bonding models, intermolecular forces, and periodic trends. Prerequisite or corequisite: MATH 140 or Accuplacer college-level mathematics test score of 85 or above, ACT math score of 24 or above, or instructor permission.

 CHEM 112 - General Chemistry Laboratory I (1 credits)

An introduction to basic laboratory techniques of inorganic chemistry correlating with CHEM 111. Experiments emphasize techniques, instrumentation, and solution chemistry. Laboratory notebookkeeping and the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals are also stressed. Additional course fee applies. Corequisite: CHEM 111.

 CHEM 113 - General Chemistry II (3 credits)

A continuation of CHEM 111. Topics covered are thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibrium, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 111 with a minimum grade of C-.

 CHEM 114 - General Chemistry Laboratory II (1 credits)

A continuation of CHEM 112. An introduction to basic laboratory techniques of inorganic chemistry correlating with CHEM 113. Experiments emphasize techniques, instrumentation, and solution chemistry. Laboratory notebookkeeping and the safe handling and disposal of laboratory chemicals are also stressed. Prerequisite: CHEM 112. Corequisite: CHEM 113.

 CHEM 302 - Chemical Information Literacy and Communication (3 credits)

In this course designed for chemistry majors, students learn about the organization of the chemical literature, important resources for navigating the literature of chemistry, and methods for selecting the most appropriate resources. Students will work on effective written, oral and graphical communication for chemistry and the sciences. Prerequisites: COM 202, CHEM113 and CHEM114.

 CHEM 306 - Analytical Chemistry (with laboratory) (4 credits)

A lecture/laboratory course involving principles, techniques and calculations involved with quantitative analysis of substances. Includes solution chemistry, gravimetric, volumetric, redox, and pH determinations. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisites: CHEM 113 and CHEM 114.

 CHEM 331 - Organic Chemistry I (3 credits)

First semester course of a two semester organic chemistry sequence. This course is an in depth study of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons. Topics include their naming, electronic structure, bonding, reactivity, stereochemistry, and reaction mechanisms Prerequisite: CHEM 113.

 CHEM 332 - Organic Chemistry II (3 credits)

A continuation of CHEM 331. This course discusses spectroscopic analysis, physical, and chemical properties of organic functional groups. Emphasis includes synthesis, mechanisms, and reactions of aromatic compounds, carbonyl containing compounds, and amines. Prerequisite: CHEM 331.

 CHEM 334 - Organic Chemistry Lab I (1 credits)

An accompanying laboratory course for CHEM 331, serving as an introduction to basic macro-and micro- scale organic techniques used to separate, isolate, and characterize organic compounds. Methods utilized include distillation, extraction, chromatography, Infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 114. Corequisite: CHEM 331.

 CHEM 335 - Organic Chemistry Lab II (1 credits)

This lab is a continuation of CHEM 334, with an expansion in scope that allows incorporation of more complex synthetic problems. The lab will employ the use of thin layer chromatography (TLC) to follow reaction progress along with NMR spectroscopy to determine reaction outcomes. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 334. Corequisite: CHEM 332.

 CHEM 406 - Instrumental Analysis (with laboratory) (4 credits)

A lecture/laboratory course examining the theory and techniques of instrumental methods of quantitative analysis, including spectrophotometric methods, electrochemical methods, and chromatography. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: CHEM 306

 CHEM 451 - Physical Chemistry I (3 credits)

A detailed study of thermodynamics, phase equilibria, kinetic theory and chemical kinetics. Offered in alternate years, 2011-2012. Prerequisites: CHEM 113, MATH 251, and PHYS 201

 CHEM 452 - Physical Chemistry II (3 credits)

A continuation of CHEM 451, which examines quantum chemistry, atomic, and molecular structure and spectra, photochemistry, and statistical mechanics. Offered in alternate years, 2011-2012. Prerequisites: CHEM 451.

 CHEM 454 - Physical Chemistry Laboratory (2 credits)

An experimental-techniques course in physical chemistry (including computer-assisted instruction), with emphasis on thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics, and spectroscopy. Offered in alternate years. Additional course fee applies. Corequisite: CHEM 452 or PHYS 452.

 CHEM 461 - Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (3 credits)

Inorganic chemistry based on principles of bonding, structure, and reaction mechanisms. Chemistry of representative and transition elements and their compounds are covered. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisites: CHEM 113, CHEM 302, and MATH 251.

 CHEM 494 - Research Problems in Chemistry ( credits)

An advanced, supervised laboratory or literature research experience involving methods of chemical research in an area of analytical, physical, organic, or biochemistry. A research paper and oral presentation of research results is required. Prerequisite: CHEM 302.

 MATH 151 - Calculus I (4 credits)

A study of differential calculus, including limits, continuous functions, Intermediate Value Theorem, tangents, linear approximation, inverse functions, implicit differentiation, extreme values and the Mean Value Theorem. This course also introduces Integral calculus including anti-derivatives, definite integrals, and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Prerequisite: ACT math score of 27 or above; SAT math score of 630 or above; MATH 141 with a minimum grade of C-; or Accuplacer university-level mathematics test with a score of 95 or above. GT-MA1

 MATH 251 - Calculus II (4 credits)

Topics include techniques of integration, area computations, improper integrals, infinite series and various convergence tests, power series, Taylor's Formula, polar coordinates, and parametric curves. Prerequisite: MATH 151 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 MATH 252 - Calculus III (4 credits)

Topics include calculus of functions of several variables, differentiation and elementary integration, vectors in the plane and space. Prerequisite: MATH 251 with a minimum grade of "C-."

 PHYS 200 - General Physics I (with laboratory) (4 credits)

A quantitative lecture and laboratory introduction to the basic principles of physics, using the concepts of calculus as a tool. Topics covered include the motions of particles, forces in nature, field concepts, energy, conservation laws, many-particle systems, and thermodynamics. A student may not receive credit for both PHYS 170 and PHYS 200. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite or Corequisite: MATH 151. GT-SC1

 PHYS 201 - General Physics II (with laboratory) ( credits)

A continuation of PHYS 200 dealing with electromagnetism, light, and the atomic structure of matter. A student cannot receive credit for both PHYS 171 and 201. Additional course fee applies. Prerequisite: PHYS 200.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Chemistry lab
Professor of Chemistry
B.S., Clemson University; Ph.D., University of Montana.
Phone: (970) 943-3152
Office Location: Hurst Hall 204
Dale L Orth
Professor of Chemistry
B. A., Colorado College; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Phone: (970) 943-3437
Office Location: Hurst Hall 206
Anne W. Ryter
Professor of Chemistry
B.S., Beloit College; Ph.D., University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-7098
Office Location: Hurst Hall 208
Jarral W. Ryter
Senior Lecturer in Chemistry
B. S., Fort Lewis College, M. S. University of Colorado.
Phone: (970) 943-2875
Office Location: Hurst Hall 217A
Lecturer of Chemistry
B.S., Saint Louis University, M.S., Saint Louis University, Ph.D., University of Oregon
Phone: 970.943.2256
Office Location: Hurst 218