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What chem classes would you have taken

  1. Jul 5, 2008 #1
    I am an undergrad student studying chemistry and I was wondering from the pros what classes you thought were the most interesting or helpful after school.
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  3. Jul 5, 2008 #2


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    General Chemistry and Quantitative Chemistry
  4. Jul 6, 2008 #3
    Gen Chem
  5. Jul 6, 2008 #4
    At least from my perspective (physical/biological chemistry focus), I wish I had taken a computer programming/applications course for chemists (scientists) as an undergrad. Would have saved me some trouble later along the way.

    I personally thought p.chem. was invaluable, but again, that's a personal bias. P.chem. lab was also highly useful, in terms of thinking about and analyzing experiments.
  6. Jul 6, 2008 #5


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    If you are interested in p-chem, definitely take some advanced math courses. I found an abstract algebra course covering linear algebra and group theory to be especially useful for quantum mechanics.
  7. Jul 6, 2008 #6
    Organic chemistry is crucial for materials research. It's also a really hard class that uses no math. Even though I didn't like it that much, it was really satisfying when I did well in it.
  8. Jul 7, 2008 #7
    leumas: I beg to differ my friend. Organic chemistry is not that crucial, maybe if your into polymers and plastics, but not if you're into more hard/condensed materials.

    gmunoz: I would get as much experience doing computational work. It's a much needed skill in both academia and corporations. Also, doing computational quantum and physical chemistry is probably a good breadwinner. Learn to program, preferably matlab/C/fortran. And, do as much physics you can. Not just some mechanics and some steppingstone - physics, but real physics like solid state physics, quantum mechanics and the like. I think it would be easier to land a R&D job that way.

    Besides, general chemistry? come on guys! That is like playstuff for a real chemist. I don't really think you have that much need of a gen chem course in corporate life? Although if that is the only chem you're using in the companies where you work I don't think they're doing very well... gen chem is only a stepping stone on the chemical ladder.
  9. Jul 7, 2008 #8


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    Fearless, about post #7:

    Beyond General Chemistry, which courses are important depend on what work a person expects to do. Sometimes a company which does not do very well needs a couple of people with some strong general knowledge which may be adequately taken from General Chemistry; and sometimes that is the course which is adequate in a company which is doing reasonably well. You can become at least briefly acquainted with several different analytical tests/measurements in a General Chem. lab section. A variety of gravimetric measurements may be done as exercises in the lab section, and some companies still rely on old-fashioned gravimetric methods. A few companies still use a few qualitative inorganic tests and many of such tests are instructed in General Chemistry.

    Beyond General Chemistry, the most likely course of great value is Quantitative Chemistry so that you are ready to be trained and understand many titrations, or electroanalytical analysese, or spectrophotometric analyses, or possibly chromatographic methods (Yes, a person may often be trainable for any of those also without having coursework beyond General Chemistry - he's just ready to understand more.). A chemist may at times need some theoretical knowledge for analytical chemical situations which he may have studied in the Quantitative course.
  10. Jul 9, 2008 #9
    Symbolipoint: Which country are you refering to? I believe that in most hightech industrialised countries there doesn't exist such enterprises which are so lowtech. Of course there are exceptions, but science jobs which only really challenges you up to generel chemistry are not that abundant. I can somewhat relate to quantitative chem to being a good course, but only for lab-related work.
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