High School Courses Needed to Study Chemistry in College

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What special courses do you need to take in high school so that you can get a college degree in chemistry or chemical engineering? Basically, it boils down to science and math. You can talk with your guidance counselor and teachers for more information. Also, always feel free to contact the department chair in the college program that interests you to get more detailed advice. College catalogs are also a good source for learning about requirements.



Geometry is critical in understanding college-level chemistry. You'll need this to understand bonding, molecular models, and crystal structures.


You'll need trig for much the same reason as you need geometry. Plus, trig is essential for completing physics.


Calculus is perhaps the most important math subject to take in high school for a future in the sciences. It may also help you place out of pre-requisites! You have a lot of calculus in your future. Hope you enjoy it!


Physics and chemistry are inseparable. If you major in chemistry, you'll still take college physics. If you major in physics, you'll take chemistry.


In addition to making college chemistry a bit easier, high school chemistry gives you a taste of what the science is all about. Be sure to master these concepts:

  • Be able to define atoms, molecules, elements, and compounds.
  • Be familiar with the periodic table and know the symbols of common elements.
  • Understand how to read a chemical formula (e.g., H2O).
  • Know what a 'mole' us.

In addition to this list, it's a good idea to be proficient with a computer and keyboard. Statistics and biology are also useful courses, although your schedule probably won't allow you to take everything you want!

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "High School Courses Needed to Study Chemistry in College." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/high-school-classes-for-college-chemistry-602267. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). High School Courses Needed to Study Chemistry in College. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/high-school-classes-for-college-chemistry-602267 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "High School Courses Needed to Study Chemistry in College." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/high-school-classes-for-college-chemistry-602267 (accessed June 5, 2023).