Policy and Procedures

Understanding and knowing the policies and procedures of the department is important to succeeding in Chemistry. If you are not familiar with the current univeristy policies, please review the updated list on the University Policies & Procedures web page.

Departmental Policies

All Chemistry courses (except independent study, research, teaching practicum, certain upper division courses and graduate-level courses) will be part of Western's automatic waitlist system and adhere to registration repeat policies, effective Fall 2017.  For more information on this policy, please see the current catalog, under University Academic Policies/Repeating a Course.  The Chemistry Department will adhere to the university policy regarding registration in repeated courses for which a passing grade has already been achieved.  The Chemistry Department does not actively manage waitlists for 100-level, and 200-level courses. Students who are on a waitlist will be offered seats on a "first in, first out" basis. Given the variability of enrollment needs across courses within our department, we reserve the right to manage course waitlists as summarized below. Application of this policy may change your position on the waitlist without advance notice. It is the student's responsibility to check their position on a course waitlist in order to make timely registration decisions.

Requests to declare a major in the Chemistry Department are not processed during registration times.  Declarations and assignment of faculty advisors takes place during intercessions only.  Declaring a major/minor in the Chemistry Department will not solve your registration issues, please plan ahead.

CHEM 121/MATH 114 and ALEKS Math Placement Assessment - Prerequisites are not arbitrary or negotiable.  Students need to have mastered the content of MATH 114 in order to be successful in CHEM 121. Students who achieve an ALEKS MPA score requirement of 65 or better but feel more comfortable taking MATH 114 despite their higher test score are not ready for CHEM 121. Historically, students that have taken MATH 114 concurrently with CHEM 121 have extremely high failure rates, regardless of test scores.

Additionally, there are no exceptions to this rule.  The Chemistry Department will not issue an override to allow concurrent enrollment in MATH 114 and CHEM 121

CHEM 121-123 – Students (regardless of their major) who have been on the waitlist for the same course for two consecutive quarters will be given priority. Any waitlisted students declared in Chemistry or Biochemistry Pre-Major (Phase I) will be given waitlist priority.  Waitlists in these courses will be evaluated during registration and reprioritized without advance notice.  This can take place at any time during registration, but usually after grades post and prerequisites are checked.

CHEM 333 – Analytical Chemistry – This course will not be restricted.  Students declared in majors requiring this course (not as an elective option) will be given waitlist priority.  Registration will be open to all students during all phases of registration.  Any students waitlisted in said majors will be given waitlist priority.  Waitlists in these courses will be evaluated after grades post and prerequisites are checked.

CHEM 351-355/356 Organic Chemistry Lecture Series (CHEM 351-353): Courses in the lecture series will not be restricted.  Students declared in majors requiring courses within this series (not as an elective option) will be given waitlist priority.  Registration will be open to all students during all phases of registration.  Any students waitlisted in said majors will be given waitlist priority.  Waitlists in these courses will be evaluated after grades post and prerequisites are checked.

Organic Chemistry Lab Series (CHEM 354/355 but NOT 356):  Courses in the major required lab series (CHEM 354/355) will be restricted to Chemistry and Biochemistry Pre-Majors (Phase I) and Majors (Phase II) and Phase II Biology Majors (for which this course is required) through Phase I of registration.  Restriction will be lifted on the first day of Phase II of registration, by 9 am.  Any students waitlisted in said majors will be given waitlist priority.  Waitlists in these courses will be evaluated after grades post and prerequisites are checked.   CHEM 356 will not be restricted.

CHEM 375 – Elements of Biochemistry – This course will not be restricted.  Students declared in majors requiring this course (not as an elective option) will be given waitlist priority.  Registration will be open to all students during all phases of registration.  Any students waitlisted in said majors will be given waitlist priority.  Waitlists in this course will be evaluated after grades post and prerequisites are checked.

CHEM 471 – Biochemistry Lecture I For Fall:  Each offering will be split into two CRN’s, each CRN will be restricted to Phase II majors, one for Biochemistry majors and the other for Biology-Cellular & Molecular Emphasis majors for the first 2 weeks of fall registration.  Thereafter, declared pre-health and chemistry minor students will be allowed access to the Biochemistry sections.  All other students must wait until Phase II of registration, at which point all restrictions on the Biochemistry sections will be lifted.  Please see the Registrar’s Important Dates & Deadlines listings for specific information on when the registration Phases begin and end.  Waitlists in these courses will be evaluated during registration and reprioritized without advance notice, at any time during any phase of registration.

For Winter:  The course will be split into two CRN’s, each CRN will be restricted to Phase II majors, one for Biochemistry majors and the other for Biology-Cellular & Molecular Emphasis majors until Phase II of registration, at which point declared pre-health and chemistry minor students will be allowed access to the Biochemistry section.  All other students must wait until Phase III of registration, at which point all restrictions on the Biochemistry section will be lifted.  Please see the Registrar’s Important Dates & Deadlines listings for specific information on when the registration Phases begin and end.  Waitlists in these courses will be evaluated during registration and reprioritized without advance notice, at any time during any phase of registration.

For Biology Sections & All Biology Majors:  The sections restricted to Phase II Biology-Cellular & Molecular Emphasis majors are managed by the Biology Department.  Waitlist management, overrides, special circumstances, and any other issues for Biology majors are to be handled by the Biology Department.  Their office is in the Biology Building, on the third floor (BI 315).  The Biology Advisors can be reached by phone at 360-650-3627 or by email at BiologyAdvising@wwu.edu.  Biology majors (aside from the Cellular & Molecular Emphasis) that are also declared pre-health or chemistry minors, should contact the Chemistry Department Program Coordinator (chemistry@wwu.edu) several weeks prior to registration to discuss options for seat placement.

Upper Division Lab Courses (Specifically CHEM 436, 464, 465 & 474) – In courses where waitlist management is necessary, prioritization will be done primarily based on GPA and to expedite time to degree completion, attempting accommodation of students who are close to graduation. Students who have formally applied for graduation and who require a specific course as part of their degree plan, will be given the highest priority. It is the responsibility of the student to approach the Department as soon as possible for assistance if they are unable to get into a required course as specified on their approved graduation checklist. Additionally, students on the waitlist may be prioritized based on one or more of the following considerations: GPA, proximity to graduation, declared major/degree requirements, and/or number of quarters the student has waitlisted.

Due to unprecedented enrollment pressure, waitlists for the above specified courses are heavily managed each quarter and qualified students are prioritized based on GPA and proximity to graduation.  Students must follow the formal departmental pre-application process by the published deadline which will be announced via Canvas.

Failed Prerequisite Policy

The Chemistry Department enforces Western's campus-wide prerequisite policy. Students who are enrolled in a course but have failed to pass the prerequisite course with a C – or higher will be required to withdraw from the course immediately. Students who have failed prerequisites will be notified via email within a week after final grades are posted.

Registration and Access to Chemistry Courses

Most lower-level chemistry courses are open to all students who have successfully met the prerequisites. Many 300- and 400-level courses are major restricted (for at least the first several days of registration) and the restrictions vary widely by course. It is important to review the department's detailed registration information, published in ClassFinder and TimeTable, each quarter to fully understand the major restrictions that will be enforced and when it is appropriate to request an instructor override. For more information, students should review our “For Students” and “Registration” tabs on our website.  It is also vital for students to closely monitor their WWU email accounts for Canvas announcements and waitlist notifications.

***PLEASE BE ADVISED:  IF YOU MISS YOUR WAITLIST NOTIFICATION/REGISTRATION WINDOW, THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE.  YOU WILL NEED TO PLACE YOURSELF AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WAITLIST.  THIS IS A UNIVERSITY, NOT DEPARTMENTAL, POLICY.  THEREFORE, EXCEPTIONS CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE MADE.  PLEASE DO NOT ASK!***