Guide to Chemistry Placement & Introductory Courses

Chemistry Placement Exam

The placement exam is now open and will remain open until October 6, 2020. Please note: The placement exam is offered every semester during advising, pre-registration and registration periods. 

Please access the link through the secure student portion of self-service banner web. The results of this exam will be available immediately and will determine your course placement in Chemistry. You must score a minimum of 8 in order to enroll in CHEM0330. 

Register for CHEM-Web tutorial, a free, noncredit tutorial that helps incoming students review general chemistry. CHEM- Webeb covers stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, chemical bonding, solutions, chemical reactions, and thermochemistry.  CHEM- Web is a voluntary non-credit tutorial that is offered only during the summer  and in the month of January. The CHEM- Web tutorial will be open June 15 - August 31, 2020.

updated 11/6/19

The CHEM- Web tutorial will remain open throughout 2020-21 academic year.  Incoming students with Brown usernames and passwords can register for CHEM - Web .

Completion of CHEM-Web tutorial is optional and does not replace taking the Chemistry placement exam. The goals of CHEM-Web tutorial are to review general chemistry and help students prepare for the placement exam.

Introductory Courses

The Chemistry Department offers two introductory level chemistry courses: CHEM0100 and CHEM0330. CHEM0100 is only available in Semester 1.

CHEM0100 (Introductory Chemistry) is designed for students with little or no background in Chemistry.  This course meets twice a week, plus a weekly problem session. This course does not have a lab and can only be taken for S/NC (Satisfactory/No Credit). Students who successfully complete CHEM0100 should be well prepared to enroll in CHEM0330 in Semester II. CHEM0100 will be offered in  Fall 2019.

CHEM0330 (Equilibrium, Rate and Structure) is a one-semester course with both lecture and laboratory portions.  It serves as the foundation course and entry point for all of our other Chemistry courses, and is intended for students who have a solid preparation in Chemistry and have met the mandatory prerequisites. Two sections of CHEM0330 will be offered in Semester I and one section in Semester II.  In Fall 2019, CHEM0330 lecture will have two sections instructed by Prof. Matthew Zimmt (MWF) and Prof. Christoph Rose-Petruck (TTH).

*All students who plan to take chemistry are required to take a short placement exam that will be offered online through Banner. To enroll in CHEM0330 students must:

  • score an 8 or higher on the placement exam, or 
  • have successfully completed CHEM0100, or 
  • have a minimum score of 4 on the AP Chemistry exam or minimum score of 5 in IB Chemistry exam

Please note, the official test scores must be on file with the Registrar’s office. Placement out of CHEM0330 is generally appropriate only for students who have completed IB-Higher Level Chemistry exams with a 6 or higher, British A-level Chemistry with a B or higher, or equivalent courses at another university.


updated 6/10/19

Yes, in order to successfully register for CHEM0330, you must register for each component in the same registration session.

The four components are: Common Meeting – this component is a tool the Registrar utilizes to organize the enrollment.  Despite the name, this component does not actually meet. Primary Meetingthis component is the lecture section of the course. There is one lecture section: S01(Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10 - 10:50 am), S02  (Tuesday and Thursday, 10:30 - 11:50 am). Conference – this component is the pre-lab instruction, it meets once per week and is offered Monday and Tuesday,  at 12:00 pm. Lab – this component meets once per week and is offered up to 10 times each week. The start time is either 1:00 pm Monday – Friday or 2:00 pm Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday 2:30pm.

In order to successfully register for CHEM0330, you must register for all four components.  

Students with British A-level exams, scores of 6 or 7 on the IB-Higher Level Chemistry exam, or a grade of C or better in an equivalent college course at another university or college may start with CHEM0350.  They are also able to transcribe transfer credit for CHEM0330. Please contact Dean Maitrayee Bhattacharyya regarding CHEM0330 credit for IB/A-Level courses.

You will need a course override to enroll in CHEM0350 in Semester II: please contact Sheila Quigley.

Concentrating in Chemistry

Learn more about our concentrations on the Undergraduate Program page.

Concentration Advisors:
Chemistry:  Amit Basu
Biochemistry: Christopher SetoArthur Salomon, Gerwald Jogl, Louis_Lapierre, Alexandra Deaconescu
Chemical Physics: Brenda Rubenstein


updated 6/10/19

No. While it is possible to start the Chemistry sequence in your second year and still complete all of the requirements for a degree in four years, it is best to take CHEM0330 in your first year, if you are considering Chemistry, Chemical Physics or Biochemistry as possible concentrations.

Yes,  you can start independent research with a faculty member at any stage of your time at Brown, but most students wait one or even two semesters. Numerous opportunities and funding sources are available for carrying out research over the summer. A significant number of Chemistry Department concentrators graduate with more than the required 2 semesters of independent research experience.