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Chemistry Program

Beginning in the Winter of 2020, the preferred chemistry prerequisite for Chem&161 – General Chemistry with Lab I, will be Chem& 139 – General Chemistry Preparation, with a 2.0 or better. This is a 5-credit, non-lab class that is taught in the summer, fall and spring quarters. Chem 121- Introduction to Chemistry (>2.0) will still be accepted as a prerequisite, but is not the preferred preparation.

High school chemistry is NOT accepted as a pre-req for Chem& 161 – however, students with a full year of high school chemistry may place into 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 75% (23/30) or higher on the placement may enroll in Chem 161 with no other requirements. Students who earn between 65% and 75% on the placement quiz (20-22/30) may enroll in Chem&161, but will be required to co-enroll in Chem 159 – Problem Solving in Chemistry. Students that do not earn 65% on the placement quiz (19/30 or below) WILL NOT BE ADMITTED to Chem&161 – those students will be required to enroll in Chem& 139 (or Chem&121) to properly prepare for the rigor of Chem& 161.

PPlease note that students who enroll in Chem& 161 without the proper prerequisite, or who do not earn an appropriate score on 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.


Karen Goodwin
Associate Professor - Chemistry
Office: WSC 318G