Chemistry Placement Survey

Important Note: If you are interested in enrolling in either Chemistry 100 (Chemistry Matters) or Chemistry 101 (Concepts of Chemistry) for Fall 2024, you need to complete the Chemistry Placement Survey 2024 course (click here to be taken directly to the survey and log in with your official Williams username/password). Further details are listed below if you would like more information in advance.

Current students are required to take the Chemistry Placement Survey before pre-registration in the Spring semester. Incoming first years must take the Placement Survey by July 14, 2024.

Information about the Introductory Chemistry Sequence and the Chemistry Major

Most students will begin their study in the department in Chemistry 101 (Concepts of Chemistry), which may be taken in the fall or the spring semester. For students with little or no high school chemistry, we offer Chemistry 100 (Chemistry Matters) as preparation for Chemistry 101, which is offered in the fall semester, and will allow students to then take Chemistry 101 in the spring semester. All students interested in taking Chemistry 100 or Chemistry 101 must complete the Chemistry Placement Survey to assist in determining the best first semester placement, which is available through GLOW. After Chemistry 101, students will take Chemistry 200 (Advanced Concepts in Chemistry) and Chemistry 201 (Introduction to Organic Chemistry), in either order. After completing these courses, students can move into elective courses.

Completion of a Chemistry major requires nine semester chemistry courses beginning with Chemistry 101. Chemistry 100 can count as one of these courses. Alternatively, two approved courses from adjacent sciences (those with significant chemical and/or quantitative content) from Biology, Computer Science, Geosciences, Mathematics, Physics, or Statistics can count towards one of their required Chemistry credits. Only one course designated as pass/fail may be counted towards the major. Chemistry 242 (Intermediate Organic Chemistry) is required for the major, as is at least one course selected from the quantitative chemistry courses (Chemistry 361, 363, 364, 366, or 367). Starting at the 300 level, at least three of the courses taken must have a laboratory component. The specific courses selected will depend on each student’s future plans and interests and can be determined in consultation with the chair or major advisor.  In addition, the department has a number of “Independent Research Courses” which, while they do not count toward completion of the major, provide a unique opportunity to pursue an independent research project under the direction of a faculty member.

Required Foundational Courses

  • 101 Concepts of Chemistry
  • 200 Advanced Chemical Concepts
  • 201 Organic Chemistry: Introductory Level
  • 242 Organic Chemistry: Intermediate Level (required for the major)

See Chemistry Department website for additional information.

Details about the Placement Survey

The Placement Survey is available on GLOW, the college’s course management service.

All students, including first-year and currently enrolled students, can access the Chemistry Placement Survey directly through the following link:

Chemistry Placement Survey course

(click here to be taken to directly to the Placement Survey and log in with your official Williams username/password)


The Placement Survey consists of two sections and should take about 30 minutes to complete. The two sections of the survey are:

Section 1: Honor Code Statement  (Required for all students)

The Placement Survey, which helps us learn about your chemistry background, is closed-notes, closed-book, and thus access to information and help other than that provided with the Placement Survey is in violation of the Honor Code. You are permitted the use of a calculator; calculators on smart phones or similar devices are not permitted. You may also use blank sheets of paper to work out numerical answers before selecting your answer.

Williams College prides itself on the Honor Code. In this section, you will be asked to acknowledge that you have read the Honor Code statement and that you agree to abide by the code. Note that it is also in your best interest to provide the faculty with a fair description of your background in chemistry to allow us to place you most appropriately.

Section 2: Learning more about your chemistry background and interests  (Required for all students)

In this section, we want to learn about your chemistry and science background – what classes you took (e.g. AP Chemistry) and how much experience you have working in a laboratory – and about how taking chemistry fits into your plan of study at Williams and beyond.

You will then be asked a series of multiple-choice questions involving chemistry concepts and skills. This section is closed-notes, closed book, and access to information and help other than that provided with the Placement Survey is in violation of the Honor Code.

Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with the subject of the question – your choices of answers will include “I have covered this in a class, but can’t remember how to do it now” and “I don’t think I’ve seen this before”. Select the appropriate choice and move along.

Note that you are not required to take the Placement Survey if you plan to take a non-majors chemistry class, as for example CHEM 115, AIDS: The Disease and Search for a Cure. Classes like this can be taken without prerequisite and satisfy the Division III distribution requirement. Such classes do not count toward completion of the chemistry major, nor as prerequisite for other courses in the department.

Following submission of the Placement Survey, Chemistry faculty will inform you of your placement before or during this year’s pre-registration period.


FAQS CHEMISTRY Placement Survey

Do I still need to take the survey if…?

“I never took a Chemistry class in high school.”

“I took AP Chemistry.”

“I took AP Chemistry, but my high school teacher was awful.”

“I took Chemistry a long time ago and I forgot everything.”

 “I am not sure whether I will take Chemistry in my first year at Williams, but plan to take it later as part of pre-health requirements”

“I am a currently enrolled student and already took the survey in a previous year”


“I want to take a non-majors class such as CHEM 116(S) Chemistry and Physics of Cooking.”

“I do not plan on taking a Chemistry class at Williams.”


Still have questions about the Chemistry Placement Survey? Please contact one of the instructors listed below.

Prof. Katie Hart ([email protected]) – CHEM 100

Prof. Bob Rawle ([email protected]) – CHEM 101

Prof. Ben Augenbraun ([email protected]) – CHEM 101


For technical questions, including gaining access to the Survey, please contact Tattiya Maruco, Academic Technology Consultant