General Chemistry Prerequisites

Hello, everyone. I was hoping you could help me with the following problem. I am pursuing a degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology and the General Chemistry sequence required for this program is labeled Fundamentals of General Chemistry 1 and 2, although it appears on our transcript as General Chemistry 1 and 2. This is the sequence required of allied health majors. The chem majors are required to take College Chemistry 1 and 2. After this sequence, both groups are eligible to take the Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 series. I spoke to my advisor and he said that if I wished to major in chemistry, for example, that he would allow me to substitute the allied health Gen Chem for the College Chem. I’ve worked very hard in this General Chem sequence and have obtained good grades. Since I’m eligible to take Organic Chem next semester, I don’t know if it would be worth my time and money to take College Chem 1 and 2. This would probably delay my graduation a year. I’ve emailed several med schools and have received inconclusive answers. I’ve even looked into taking College Chem over the internet, but am worried about having Distance Learning listed on my transcript. I am so confused! I’m enclosing my colleges description for the General Chem series I took. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
CHM 17 1 Rec 2 Lect 3 Lab 4 Cr
Fundamentals of General Chemistry I
Introductory course in general chemistry, atomic theory, formulas and equations, electron configurations, periodic table, chemical bonding, molecular structure, calculations, gas, liquid and solid states, solutions. Laboratory exercises illustrate principles of course and laboratory techniques.
Prerequisites: CHM 02 or passing of placement examination , MTH 03 or MTH 05 and RDL 02
Text: General Organic & Biological Chemistry,3rd Edition, Stoker, Houghton Mifflin
CHM 18 1 Rec 2 Lect 3 Lab 4 Cr
Fundamentals of General Chemistry II
Continuation of CHM 17. Ionic reactions; acid-base theories, pH, chemical equilibria, structure, nomenclature and properties of hydrocarbons, alcohols, ethers, carbonyls, acids, esters, fats, lipids, amino acids, and proteins, carbohydrates.
Prerequisites: CHM 17
Text: General Organic & Biological Chemistry, 3rd Edition, Stoker, Houghton Mifflin
Chemistry and Life in the Laboratory, 5th Edition, H. Christenson, Prentice Hall

Hi there,
I’m taking General Chemistry this semester - for Chemistry Majors. I looked at the description of the class you posted and it doesn’t look any different from the class I’m taking.If I were you I wouldn’t retake the same class, with only different name.

Just a little input from someone also pursuing an allied health degree, check with the pre-med adviser at your school or one near by because from your course description, it appears to be okay but, the pre-req of “general and biological chemistry” raises a “red flag” to me suggesting that the course may not be accepted for transfer credit in terms of medical school requirements because it is a chemistry course for “allied health majors”. Just my $0.02 worth…

chem pre-req for medical school is the chemistry for chemistry majors this is usually a different course than the one for allied health so beware!

unfortunately there is no standardization of courses or course descriptions. The fact that the sequence you’re taking would be acceptable for organic chemistry makes me think you could get away without taking a whole 'nother year of general chemistry. I am not surprised that you’re getting inconclusive answers from med schools - they are not going to be able to figure out which chemistry it is without looking a LOT more closely, and they don’t usually have the time to do that.
What if you were majoring in another science - e.g. biology or physics? Would these chemistry classes be acceptable science courses for those majors? That information might be helpful…

As someone else mentioned, the pre-med advisor at your school is probably the best resource to consult. Generally I warn people away from taking science courses that are specifically geared for allied health majors because they are NOT as rigorous as the pre-med courses, but your situation does sound a little less cut-and-dried. Good luck!

(Long Post…Sorry)

Everyone, thank you so much for your informative responses (especially Mary). I’ve contacted at least a dozen schools and the responses I’ve received run the gamut from “as long as you complete Organic Chemistry, you should be okay,” to “after you take Organic Chem, we don’t really focus on your general chemistry grades,” to “send me a copy of your course catalogue” then “uh, I think the course you should’ve taken is College Chemistry 1 and 2 but we might make an exception in your case”. Also, the full title of the College Chemistry 2 class at my school appears as College Chemistry 2 and Qualitative Analysis, yet it’s listed in the Schedule of Classes as “Qualitative Analysis” (and I think on the transcript too). I should also mention that I’m taking these courses at a CC with a large science and allied health department. (I also have a BA and MBA in IT.) Unfortunately, there are no state-supported senior colleges in my area that offer science courses in the evenings and I can’t afford to pay $4k per course at a private school. It was either take the prereqs at a CC or quit my job.

My advisor told me that he would allow me to substitute both my Gen Chem courses for College Chem 1 and 2 if I wanted to get an AAS in Chemistry from the CC, but that I should check with senior colleges and med schools just to be sure. My CC is part of consortium of CCs and Senior Colleges. The particular Gen Chem series I took would not automatically transfer to the Senior Colleges as Gen Chem for Chem Majors, but as Essentials of General Chemistry and Essentials of Organic Chemistry (every college has a different course title, but this was the most common), although I was told I could easily obtain a departmental waiver. Generally, if all you want is a BS in Chem, most senior colleges don’t care as you can even test out of the gen chem series or obtain a course substitution, but some med schools can get extremely finicky about their requirements (the University of Utah, for one - no distance learning, no independent study, no CLEP, must be chemistry for chem majors, etc.). Since I’m a non-trad and work full-time, I don’t want to waste my time or money. Anyhow, I wish Med Schools and the AAMC had clearer guidelines as there are many of us, especially non-trads, in ambiguous situations. One problem is that “Chem for Chem majors” type courses aren’t generally offered in the evenings or weekends, whereas allied health prereqs are so in demand that I’ll be taking Microbiology (yes, I know it’s not a prereq) from 9-4 on Saturdays, next semester. I’m just lucky that Micro is a prereq for the Nuc Med, Nursing and pre-Physical Therapy students. Otherwise, there’s no way they’d schedule an all-day Saturday course.

Oh, and here’s another tricky question. I took a one-semester Physics course ten years ago. Should I just take one more semester of Physics? Take an entire year? What if I achieve a lower grade now? I guess this whole process is just starting to drive me a bit paranoid. There are several other folks in my classes who are interested in premed and we all seem to be receiving conflicting answers.

Anyhow, sorry about the long post and thanks again for all your help!

First, on the chemistry front - I agree with Mary that most medical schools aren’t going to really look at your gen chem series as long as you have completed organic chemistry.
The bigger issue may be the CC thing. There has been extensive discussion on how medical schools look at CC courses within the past couple of months. We all understand the situation that makes CC pretty much the only option for you, but many medical schools don’t. Make sure you get the best grades you possibly can. Try doing a search for the threads. Let us know if you can’t find it, and maybe one of us can find it and bump it up to the top. Or, if it hasn’t been moved to the FAQ forum, maybe it should be.
As for the physics . . . obviously, you need a good grade. Do you feel that you can get one without spending excess amounts of time studying it? Do you have time to spend on reviewing the material that would have been covered in the first semester prior to taking the course? Some physics courses focus on completely different topics each quarter/semester, some make each new one a continuation that requires that you have learned the material in the previous course well.
I took microbiology this quarter. I really enjoyed it. Although it may not be as valuable to me in medical school as biochem was, I think I got enough out of it to justify taking it.
Good luck -

The issue is not only will they transfer and be accepted as pre-reqs but will it adequately prepare you for the MCAT that is what you need to be looking into. The MCAT will test chemistry at a very conceptual and level that is taught in chemistry classes geared for chem/phy/bio majors…so that is where you need to focus on as well as will it be accepted by medical schools.