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Chemistry 117, 118 - Principles of Chemistry

Many freshman students entering West Virginia University each year pursue undergraduate majors, such as chemistry, biochemistry, forensic and investigative sciences, biology, and chemical engineering, which require them to enroll in an introductory general chemistry course.  Most science and engineering students elect to take the Chemistry 115/116 sequence. However, the Bennett Department of Chemistry also offers an honors level two-semester general chemistry sequence, Chemistry 117 and 118, which provides students with a more advanced treatment of fundamental chemical principles and their quantitative application in the laboratory.

Students who elect to take Chemistry 117 and 118 may use these two five-credit courses to substitute for Chemistry 115, 116, and 215, which are three core curriculum courses for all chemistry, biochemistry, and forensic and investigative sciences majors.

Students who are enrolled in the WVU Honors College, also receive 10 hours of honors credit upon completion of Chemistry 117 and 118.

General Information:

Chemistry 117 and 118 involve three lectures, two three-hour laboratory sessions, and a recitation/exam period per week. The class enrollment is typically 25-30 students. These two five-credit courses place considerable emphasize on helping students develop their problem solving and individual analytical laboratory skills.

The most recent course syllabi, which describe the specific topics covered in Chemistry 117 (fall 2016) and 118 (spring 2017), may be found online at The lecture material includes topics that are normally introduced in upper level undergraduate chemistry courses.


A student may qualify for Chemistry 117 by

            1.     obtaining a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement examination in Chemistry prior to                     entering WVU or

             2.     both having a minimum math ACT score of 28 or a minimum math SAT score of 640                      and obtaining a minimum score of 14 on the Qualifying Examination for Chemistry 117.

The Qualifying Examination will be administered by Professor Jeff Petersen on June 1, 2, 7, and 22, which are the days designated for Honors students this year during New Student Orientation.

The exam consists of 20 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as basic aspects of atomic structure, stoichiometry and the mole concept, determination of empirical formula, Lewis structures and VSEPR theory, solubility properties of simple salts, unit conversions, and chemical equilibrium.  

If you have any questions about Chemistry 117 or the Qualifying Examination for Chemistry 117 feel free to contact Professor Petersen by e-mail at or by phone at 304-293-6874.