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What kind of math is required for upper level chemistry classes?

  1. Oct 16, 2011 #1
    Hello, I am a first year student majoring in chemistry. I really like it and I'm very interested in the subject, but I am worried about my math skills. I am taking calculus 0 right now and I really struggled on my first exam. What kind of math is in the upper-level chemistry courses? Right now we're just doing stoichiometry so it's very simple, but I'm worried about how advanced the math will get. As a chemistry major, will I eventually be doing calculus in my chemistry courses? What kind of math will I need to know? And if someone has taken upper level chem courses, could you tell me what the work is like?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2011 #2


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    Some of the upper level chemistry courses -- especially the physical chemistry courses -- involve a good deal of calculus and classes beyond calculus such as linear algebra and differential equations. As a chemistry major, you should expect to take ~ 1 years worth of calculus along with one or two extra math courses at a minimum. If you are particular interested in physical chemistry, taking more advanced mathematics classes is advisable.
  4. Oct 16, 2011 #3


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    Read the college and university catalogs and they will tell you. Just be aware, they tell you only what is required in an official, bureaucratic sense. You may need more, depending on what you want to elect as options and what you want to do when you take a job.

    One year of single-variable Calculus, and one semester of multi-variable Calculus; a semester course if available on Linear Algebra; and maybe an additional course about Differential Equations or Finite Math, and you might benefit very much from at least an Elementary Statistics course.

    What you might find in the catalogs is the requirement of 1 year singlevariable Calculus, 1 semester multi-var Calculus, and a combined course Introductory Differential Equations + Linear Algebra. My opinion is that is not really enough.
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