Getting Started

   — Choosing your first chemistry class.


Getting Started with ChemistryCollege chemistry is a big subject.  But the longest trip starts with a single step.  There are three options of a 'first' chemistry class, three possible first steps into college chemistry.  Courses at De Anza that will take you to these classes are listed below, as well as one other that may help you prepare for the most challenging of the first chemistry options.  Hopefully this brief description will help you find the best first step to reach your goals in studying college chemistry.

General Chemistry - Chem 1A  / 1B / 1C

General chemistry provides the broadest and most solid foundation for a study in chemistry.  If you are a STEM major your program will likely require you to begin your study of the physical sciences with this course.  Biology, physics, engineering, chemistry, pre-med and similar programs usually require general chemistry as your first collegiate science class.

General chemistry is a challenging body of knowledge.  Students often struggle with the differences between being in school and adapting to a collegiate environment.  These two factors alone contribute to a high failure rate for general chemistry.  The national average for success in general chemistry is about 2/3 — one in three students who attempt general chemistry at most colleges and universities don't succeed.

To help students with this daunting goal, De Anza and many other colleges offer a "before chemistry" class called prep chemistry.  The goal of prep chemistry is to ensure students have the best preparation for success in general chemistry.  It is offered at De Anza as Chem 25.

General chemistry at De Anza is offered as Chem 1, a series of three classes that must be taken in sequence (Chem 1A / 1B / 1C).  It covers the same topics and has the same requirements as general chemistry at most major universities and colleges.  This series is transferable to UC and CSU programs.

Find a General Chemistry class — Chem 1 AChem 1 BChem 1 C

Preparation for Chemistry - Chem 25 (was Chem 50)

Prep chemistry is not a first chemistry course.  It is preparation for your first chemistry course. 

Chemistry will require solid math and general science skills to master.  Chemistry is a math intensive study with a lot of algebra.  But more than math skills, students need a solid understanding of empirical scientific method.  They need to know how to observe the real world, capture the data from those observations, and explore their significance in the context of established laws and theories of science.  Unfortunately not all high school educations completely prepare students with these essential skills.

Prep chemistry attempts to bridge the gap many students face their first year of college.  This course introduces the idea of empirical scientific method.  It helps students understand the difference between the perfect, exact numbers of math and the less complete or certain numbers we find in measurements of the real world.  Prep chemistry will help students understand precision, accuracy, and significance.  It will show students how to identity, record and propagate the significant parts of measurements through the manipulations of scientific laws and theories to discover properties and dimensions that cannot be observed but can be known.  It helps students develop a solid understanding of the nature, practices, strengths and limitations of science, an understanding required for college chemistry.

This course is a good preparation for any first chemistry course and it is required for students taking on general chemistry at De Anza.  Well prepared students may be able to skip this course by taking the De Anza chemistry placement exam and demonstrating they have this preparation and are ready to begin studies in general chemistry.

Prep chemistry has been offered in the past as Chem 50 at De Anza college, it is currently offered as Chem 25.

Find a Prep Chem class — Chem 25

Domains of Chemistry

Introduction to General, Organic & Bio Chemistry - Chem 30 A / 30 B

Students with goals in the health care industry may not need the full exploration of chemistry offered by general chemistry.  Many nursing, PA, PT, and other programs require only one or two semesters of health chemistry (also called GOB chemistry). 

Health chemistry is a subset of general, organic, and bio chemistry all delivered in a context appropriate for students with goals in the health care industry.  A health chemistry series offers a more narrow, focused track through these bodies of knowledge that provides only the necessary foundation for further studies in health science. 

If you are pre-med this series will not be sufficient, you need general chemistry.

Prep chemistry is not required for this series, but may be a valuable preparation for students who may have had difficulty with high school science classes.

De Anza offers health chemistry as a two part series (Chem 30 A / 30 B) that provides the same topics and meets the same requirements as health chemistry (GOB chemistry) offered at most major universities and colleges.  This series is transferable to UC and CSU systems.

Find a Health Chem (GOB Chem) class — Chem 30 AChem 30 B

Introductory Chemistry - Chem 10

Introductory chemistry is a broad overview and brief introduction to many of the topics of general chemistry.  This course is neither an alternative to nor preparation for general chemistry.

Intro chemistry satisfies the GE (general education) science requirements for many non-science programs.  It can provide valuable insight into the science of chemistry for students trying to understand how chemistry affects their areas of study in law, literature, policy, economics, business, and other fields. 

Intro chemistry can also serve as a preview of the content in general chemistry for students uncertain of their next steps who would like to explore what chemistry may have to offer them without fully committing to general chemistry.

At De Anza, introductory chemistry is offered as Chem 10.  The content is similar to that of introductory chemistry offered at any major university or college.  This course is transferable to UC and CSU systems.

Find an Intro Chem class — Chem 10


 De Anza ChemistryDOWNLOAD PDF

email icon Email: Nick DeMello
phone icon Phone: 408.864.8800


Last Updated: 2/16/16