Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the CHEM-BA program

Q. What are the differences between the BS Programs and the BA Program?
A. The BS programs provide more laboratory and advanced coursework within Chemistry and Biochemistry. Therefore, these programs are recommended for students interested in careers as professional scientists or who intend to pursue graduate degrees in the sciences. The BA program is more flexible and is designed for students who are aiming for careers outside of laboratory research such as in secondary education, business, clinical/health professions, law, public policy, etc.
Q. What would you suggest for a student who is not yet sure of their career plans?
A.  We generally recommend starting in one of the BS majors and switching to the BA if you become more certain that your career plans lie outside of professional science. The three programs are very similar in the first two years.  Also, it is MUCH easier to switch from the BS track to the BA track than from BA to BS. The latter can be complicated if you did not complete the correct Math (140/141/241) and Physics (161/260/261) prerequisites for upper level BS coursework.
Q. Is the CHEM-BA a limited enrollment program (LEP)?
A. Yes. If you have already been accepted into one of the Chemistry or Biochemistry majors, then you do not need to apply to the LEP. If you were accepted into another major, then you do need to apply to the LEP. 
Q. I am a UMD student currently majoring in a subject outside of Chemistry and Biochemistry. How do I go about switching to the CHEM-BA major?
A. (1) Set up an appointment with a Chemistry and Biochemistry advisor ( to review your current coursework and develop a four year plan. 
(2) Complete the Limited Enrollment Program (LEP) checklist and  apply to the CHEM and BCHM LEP. The steps for doing this can be found on the LEP Website. (3) Once you have been accepted into the LEP, then you will receive on-boarding information from the College (CMNS). The on-boarding process includes a virtual workshop for new majors, and a meeting with your advisor in Chemistry. (4) After you have completed on-boarding, you will receive a note in TerpEngage confirming your change in major.
Q. I am a UMD student currently majoring in a subject outside of Chemistry and Biochemistry. How do I go about adding the CHEM-BA as a double major or double degree?
A. You would follow the same steps as you would for switching majors (see above). During the on-boarding process (step 3) you will be offered an opportunity to add CHEM-BA as a second major. This entails getting permission from both departments and both colleges.
Q. I am a UMD student currently majoring in a field outside of Chemistry and Biochemistry but am interested in adding CHEM-BA as a second major. When would it be too late to do that?
A. If you are interested you should make an appointment with a Chemistry Department advisor ( ASAP to review your current coursework and develop a plan. The time to complete the major depends on how much college-level chemistry, physics and math you have already taken. Many majors such as BSCI, NEUR, ENSP, and most pre-health programs require 4-5 semesters of chemistry and biochemistry. These courses will also count toward the Chemistry BA major.  On the other hand, if you are starting with zero credits in CHEM, MATH and PHYS, it would take a minimum of 5 semesters to complete prerequisites and requirements. 
Q. I am a UMD student currently majoring in CHEM-BS or BCHM-BS and would like to change my major to CHEM-BA. How do I do this? 
If you are already in the Chemistry or Biochemistry BS majors, then you do not need to apply to the LEP. All you need to do is set up an appointment with your advisor ( to discuss your plans and get the change entered into the system. You will receive a notification in TerpEngage confirming your change in major.
Q. I am a student on the CHEM-BS or BCHM-BS. Is it too late to switch to the BA track?
A. NO, it’s not too late! If you are meeting the requirements for one of the BS degrees, then you can switch to the BA track at any time prior to graduation. However you do need to contact a departmental advisor ( to go over the process and get the change entered into the system.
Q. I am a UMD student currently (or soon to be) in the CHEM-BA major, and would like to add a second major or minor. How do I go about doing that? 
Degree and certificate programs at UMD all have different requirements and procedures for double majoring, adding minors, etc. So it's best to consult the website of the programs you might be interested in and, if possible, make an appointment to speak with an advisor or attend a prospective majors workshop in that department.  Here are links to some programs of interest

Note that engineering, computer science, neuroscience, business, as well as several other majors are limited enrollment programs (LEP). In those cases, you will need to go through the LEP application process for current UMD students.

Q.  The BS programs require MATH 140/141/241, but the BA program also accepts MATH 135/136 (Life Science Math). Which sequence should I take?
A. It depends on your long-term plans. MATH 140/141/241 allows you to take the more in-depth 2-semester sequence in physical chemistry (CHEM481 and CHEM482/BCHM485) as well as many upper-level electives in physics, computer science, and engineering. So, if your interests are in the physical, mathematical, or computational side of chemistry, then MATH140/141/142 is the better choice. MATH 135/136 is sufficient for the 1-semester version of physical chemistry (CHEM480) as well as most upper-level electives in the biological sciences. Both sequences fulfill the math requirements for medical school and other health professions.
Q. I am switching to (or adding) the CHEM-BA major, but I took the non-majors general chemistry labs (CHEM 132 and 272) instead of one of the major’s lab courses (CHEM 177 or 277). Is it possible for me to complete the BA major without repeating general chemistry lab(s)?
A. YES! However, to meet in-major credit requirements you may need to take an additional chemistry or biochemistry course. The  Chemistry and Biochemistry advising office ( can provide you with a list of options.
Q. Is there a BA program in Biochemistry? 
A. Not yet. The department is currently developing this program, but we don't know when it will be officially approved. The Chemistry BA provides enough flexibility for you to take as much biochemistry as you want, and the lower-level majors classes for the BA satisfy all of the prerequisites for Biochemistry 461, 462, 463, 464, and 465.