Courses and Seminars

How to register: The department should email you a list of graduate chemistry course (if not, use the schedule of classes link above). From there:

  • Find the 5-digit Course Control Number (CCN) in the schedule of classes before logging into CalCentral and going to the “My Academics” tab.
  • Click on “Choose Classes” in the rightmost column, which will direct you to the Enrollment Shopping Cart. Enter the CCN and hit “Enter” on the “Add to Cart” section.
  • From here you will  select whether you want to take the course for a Letter Grade or Pass/Not Pass (seminars and research are Pass/Not Pass; classes are variable); and enter the number of units you want for the course (seminars are 1 unit/semester; classes are typically 3-4 units/semester or 1 unit/module; research is variable, up to 9 units).
  • Don’t forget to register for Chem 300 in your first semester!
  • You must register for 12 units/semester.  Be sure to register on time to avoid late fees!

Berkeley Time: If a class is listed as starting at 9 am, its actual start-time will be 9:10 am. This is true for all classes throughout the campus, so enjoy the extra ten minutes of sleep!

What to take: Most graduate students in Chemistry complete the equivalent of four semester-long courses during their first two years of graduate school. There is a great deal of flexibility in your choice of courses so that you can mold your classes to lay the foundation for your individual research interests.

Along with those courses, which are discussed below, you can attend any number of seminars. The weekly seminar schedule is filled with prestigious speakers from universities and research institutes around the world. Visit the College of Chemistry’s Calendar for an up-to-date listing. Seminar announcements are also posted in the elevators of buildings in the chemistry complex. Weekly seminars include:

  • Structural and Quantitative Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Graduate Research Conference (presented by physical grad students)
  • Graduate Research Seminar (presented by synthetic and chem bio grad students)

There is also a Student Hosted Colloquium which takes place during one of the regularly-scheduled seminar time slots. The SHC is hosted once per semester. All the arrangements for the speaker and the meetings during their visiting day will be made by and with students. If you are interested in helping to coordinate this, please contact the CGLC.

Physical Graduate Program

All physical chemistry courses are semester-long. There are no formal course requirements in the Physical Chemistry program. However, most students take two semesters of Quantum Chemistry during their first year, as well as a course in Statistical Mechanics. There are no restrictions as to taking courses in other Divisions of the Chemistry Department, or in other departments. A few other departments that offer interesting and pertinent courses are Physics, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Materials Science.

Synthetic Graduate Program

Courses in the Synthetic Program are divided into three five-week long modules per semester. The purpose of the modular system is to allow students more flexibility in the courses they take. You can sign up for only the first module of a given course if you are interested in studying a particular topic, but do not want to take a whole semester. Synthetic students are expected to take four semester-long courses, or a total of at least eleven modules.

All Organic students take CHEM 200, Chemistry Fundamentals, during their first year. They also typically take Organic Reactions I, II, and III, and Reaction Mechanisms I and II. All Inorganic chemists take CHEM 201, The Fundamentals of Inorganic Chemistry. Inorganic students also usually take Introduction to Bonding Theory and Coordination Chemistry I. Students who are interested in organometallic research may be required to take both CHEM 200 and 201.

Chemical Biology Graduate Program

Chemical Biology students take CHEM 200 during their first Fall semester. CBGP students must also take the three modules of the Chemical Biology course offered in the Spring, as well as a course on scientific ethics. Other than this, Chemical Biology students can plot their own course (no pun intended!). Many students take courses in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.