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Chemistry Program

The prerequisite course for Chem 161 - General Chemistry I w/ Lab is now Chem 121 – Introduction to Chemistry, with a 2.0 or better, or instructor permission. High school chemistry will no longer be accepted as a prerequisite for Chem 161.

Students may obtain permission to enroll in Chem 161 by achieving an appropriate score on the Chem 161 Placement Quiz, which can be taken at the testing center. The quiz is free of charge. The quiz is 30 questions that cover algebra and basic chemistry knowledge. Students are allowed 30 minutes for the quiz, and may use a calculator. Scratch paper and a periodic table, as well as the value for Avogadro’s constant will be provided.

For some questions that will help you study for the quiz, take a practice quiz online. Focus on the quizzes regarding sig figs and sci notation, unit conversion, density, naming, the mole and molar mass, and balancing equations.

Students who earn a passing score on the placement quiz may enroll in Chem 161 with no other requirements. Students who do not earn a passing score are advised to enroll in Chem 121 to properly prepare for the rigor of Chem 161. Students who wish to attempt Chem 161 without a passing score on the placement may do so, however they will be REQUIRED to co-enroll in Chem 159 - Problem Solving in Chemistry, a 1-unit study skill class that will guide them in overcoming deficiencies in prerequisite knowledge.

Please note that students who enroll in Chem 161 without the proper prerequisite, and who have not taken the placement quiz WILL BE DROPPED FROM THE COURSE.

Why Chemistry?

Chemistry has been called “the central science”, and therefore at least one course in chemistry is often required for a wide variety of majors and careers. The Chemistry department at Centralia College is dedicated to providing appropriate coursework for students going into allied health fields as well as those students transferring to four-year institutions as science majors.

For science majors, we offer both freshman and sophomore level chemistry courses, so that upon transfer, students will be well prepared for upper division coursework. You will find our chemistry courses to be challenging, but also engaging and interesting… and dare we say fun? It is our intention that the labs be closely tied to the material being taught in lecture, so that students can actually explore chemical phenomena and reactions in the lab setting.

Our science building, the Walton Science Center, was opened in 2009. Students work in individual fume hoods for safety, and the use of Vernier data acquisition technology greatly enhances the ability of students to collect and analyze data. Our instrument room houses a Fourier-transform Infrared spectrometer and gas chromatography units, and work is underway to obtain a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer (NMR).

Course Information: The links to the right will guide you to specific information on courses within the Chemistry programs, including course descriptions, intended audience, and prerequisites.


Dr. Ruby Nagelkerke
Professor - Chemistry, Mathematics (retired fall 2017)
Office: WSC 318H

Karen Goodwin
Associate Professor - Chemistry
Office: WSC 318G