Course Goals

Chem 260 provides an introduction to core concepts in physical chemistry and in analytical chemistry. Because these areas, even at an introductory level, are too broad to cover in a single semester, our content-specific goals, which are relatively modest, are to:

In addition to these content-specific goals, we also have several important broader goals; which are to:

Textbook and Other Resources

The textbook for this course is Chemistry: Atoms First by OpenStax College, a free textbook you can read on-line or download as a pdf; you will find the textbook at the OpenStax website. The schedule provides daily reading assignments and suggested end-of-chapter problems. Most of these problems provide practice in the basic calculations necessary for success in this course. You should use these end-of-chapter problems to test your facility with these calculations; answers to these problems are included at the end of the textbook. We will spend much of our time in class working on more comprehensive and more integrative problems that build on these basic calculations and that better reflect typical exam questions.

No textbook is a perfect match for any course and you will find that our textbook explores some topics at a greater depth and explores other topics more superficially than will we. As needed, we will supplement the textbook with short essays written specifically for Chem 260 and with reading assignments from other sources; see the daily schedule for links to these materials. If you have a copy of a Chem 130 textbook (Chemistry: An Atoms-Focused Approach by Gilbert, Kriss, and Foster, Chemistry: Atoms First by Burdge and Overby, and General Chemistry by Ow, are three recent choices), then you may find that it also is a useful resource.


This section of Chem 260 is designated as a Q-course. A signficant portion of our time in class and in lab is spent solving quantitative problems and using other forms of quantitative reasoning. A course grade of C or better is required to receive Q-certification.


Your final grade is determined as follows:

Letter grades are assigned using the following scale:

A (≥93.0) A- (90.0-92.9)
B+ (87.0-89.9) B (83.0-86.9) B- (80.0-82.9)
C+ (77.0-79.9) C (73.0-76.9) C- (70.0-72.9)
D+ (67.0-69.9) D (63.0-66.9) D- (60.0-62.9)
F (<60.0)

Final averages are not rounded; to earn a grade of B instead of a grade of B-, for example, you need a final average of ≥83.0. These ranges are fixed with the following caveats:

Office Hours

Feel free to stop by my office (Julian 364) without an appointment at any of these times:

If you wish to schedule an appointment at another time, please catch me after class or lab, send me an email, or drop by my office.

Due Dates

Because I value thoughtful, well-written, and well-reasoned work more than absolute deadlines, the due dates for most assignments are intentionally flexible. Unless otherwise specified, there is no penalty for turning in an assignment late as long as I am in the process of grading the assignment; however, once I finish grading a set of assignments, any missing work receives a grade of zero (no exceptions).

Flexibility with due dates is not a license to procrastinate. To make this policy work requires communication. If you need additional time, then you must meet with me before the assignment's due date so that you can show me the work you have completed and explain why you need additional time. Together we will work on a reasonable extension.


A textbook is a poor substitute for the active learning that takes place in a classroom. Although attendance at class sessions is not required, I encourage you to take advantage of our time together by engaging fully with the material and with your classmates during class. If you miss class it is your responsibility to know and to understand the material covered that day; ask a classmate for a copy of his or her notes and visit the course website for copies of handouts.

You are expected to attend all lab sessions and failing to do so will affect your final grade. You should not assume that it is possible to make up lab work at a different time.

Academic Integrity

Although you may make frequent use of external resources when completing an assignment, it is important that the work you submit represents your understanding of the assignment. A failure to do so is unethical and a serious breach of academic integrity. Be sure to review DePauw's guidelines for academic integrity, which are included in the Student Handbook; in particular, review the examples of plagiarism. Although often unintentional, plagiarism nevertheless is a serious violation and may result in a significant reduction in your grade for an assignment or for the course.

Be sure to consult with me if you are unsure about any issue concerning academic integrity.

Disability Services

It is the policy and practice of DePauw University to provide reasonable accommodations for students with properly documented disabilities. Written notification from Student Disability Services is required. If you are eligible to receive an accommodation and would like to request it for this course, please contact Student Disability Services. Allow one week advance notice to ensure enough time for reasonable accommodations to be made. Otherwise, it is not guaranteed that the accommodation can be provided on a timely basis. Accommodations are not retroactive. Students who have questions about Student Disability Services or who have, or think they may have, a disability (psychiatric, attentional, learning, vision, hearing, physical, medical, etc.) are invited to contact Student Disability Services for a confidential discussion in Union Building Suite 200 or by phone at 658-6267.

Religious Accomodations

DePauw accommodates students who are adherents of a religious tradition and wish to fulfill obligations of that religious tradition on holy days. Students are expected to notify their instructors of their intent to fulfill the obligations of their religious tradition well in advance of these days. For the sake of this policy, “holy days” are defined as periods of time in which either activities required by normal class participation are prohibited by a religious tradition, or a special worship obligation is required by a religious tradition.