Frequently Asked Questions

Information Concerning Chemistry Courses

Applicants for admission to UHM Chemistry courses who are using non-UH Manoa courses to meet our required prerequisites, e.g. NSE students, must have these courses evaluated by the department prior to enrolling. To have your courses evaluated, please complete the override request form  to provide the following information:

  • Course in which you wish to enroll (for laboratories please include section number)
  • Please provide course number of any prerequisite courses, name of college and location, e.g. if you wish to enroll in General Chemistry II (CHEM 162), please tell us the course number of the General Chemistry I course you have taken, the school’s name and location so that we can perform a prerequisite evaluation. Please also include the course descriptions for these classes from your school’s academic catalog.
  • Whether your original school is on the quarter or semester system NOTE: You can only access this form if logged in to your Hawaii.edu account. If you are logged in to a Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or other email account, you will need to log out of this account before you can proceed.

Chemistry Department FAQ

Answers to the most common questions received by the chemistry department are posted below. All efforts are made to keep this page accurate, but this information is subject to change without prior notice. Please check the entire list before contacting the department.

Registration

Q. SUMMER SESSION ONLY: I want to take Chem 161 and 162 or Chem 272 and 273 in the summer. I have the prerequisite for the first course, but the system will not let me register for the second session course, i.e. Chem 162 or 273. Can I get an override from the department to register for this course?

A. Yes, summer session registration is different than Fall or Spring. Because both sessions occur in the same semester, students will always need an override to register even after completing the first course. This applies to labs as well. Note: students who do not pass the first lecture or lab (Chem 161/161L or 272/272L), will need to drop their second session classes (Chem 162/162L or 273/273L). Please use the Override Request Form to request an override.

Q. FALL ONLY: I will be taking a Chemistry class on the mainland (e.g. Chem 162) in the summer, but still want to register for the next class in the sequence at UHM in the Fall (e.g. Chem 272). The registration system will not let me though, and I get a prerequisite error. Can I get a prerequisite override from the department to register for the Fall class (Chem 272)?

A. Yes, since the registration system would allow students registered at UHM in the summer to do this automatically, students taking prerequisite classes on the mainland can request an override to register at UHM for fall. Please note, you will have to provide evidence before the start of the fall semester that you have completed this prerequisite with a C minimum. If not, then you will need to drop that course in the fall. Please use the Override Request Form to request an override.

Students wishing to enroll in Chem 161 and 161L: All students must pass the placement exam before registering in CHEM 161.  For the times of the placement test pleaser refer to  http://manoa.hawaii.edu/chem, or click here. Scores will be automatically reviewed by the department, and an authorization code entered if you pass. Typically, you will be able to register within two business days. You will not receive notification after the code is entered though.  Please be patient and do not contact the department during this time.

Q. I am having trouble registering. Who do I contact about an override request?

A. All overrides requests are handled by the department’s main office via our on-line form, not the instructors of record. Please use the Override Request Form to request an override. Many of the common override questions, solutions, and policies are listed below. Please check the list before contacting the department. For registration questions, please email the Department at .  Please be sure to include your student ID number in your email requests.

Q. I am on the waitlist for the lecture but keep getting an error for the lab. Why can’t I enroll in the lab?

A. Unfortunately, being on the waitlist is not the same as being enrolled in the lecture. You will be unable to register for the lab until you have a seat in the lecture.

Q. How do I know what credit I get for my AP Chem Score?

A. An AP score of 3 earns credit for Chem 151, and waives the Chem 161 placement exam. Effective Summer 2016, a review of lab notebooks is no longer required. An AP score of 3 earns credit for Chem 151/151L. An AP score of 4 earns credit for Chem 161/161L. An AP score of 5 earns credit for Chem 161/161L and 162/162L.

Q. I have AP credit for a chemistry lecture. How do I get AP credit for the corresponding lab?

A. Effective Summer 2016, a review of your lab notebooks is no longer required. An AP score of 3 earns credit for Chem 151/151L. An AP score of 4 earns credit for Chem 161/161L. An AP score of 5 earns credit for Chem 161/161L and 162/162L.

Q. I have AP credit for the lecture and/or the lab, but would still like to enroll in the class. Is this allowed?

A. Yes, but you will need to contact the department for permission. Please use the Override Request Form to request an override.

Q. I have AP credit for Chem 151, do I need to take the Chem 161 placement exam before registering?

A. No, the department accepts AP credit for Chem 151 in lieu of the placement exam. An AP score of 3 earns credit for Chem 151.

Q. I am currently enrolled in Chem 131, and I register tomorrow for the next semester. Can I get an override to register in Chem 161?

A. The registration system allows students currently enrolled in prerequisite courses to enroll in the next course in the series automatically. So, students in Chem 151 should be able to register in Chem 161, while students in Chem 161 should be able to register in Chem 162 automatically. The only exception to this policy is summer session I and II, in which overrides are required for courses in session II.

Q. I have transfer credit for Chem 151. Can I get an override code to register for Chem 161?

A. Students with approved transfer credit who earned a C (not C–) or better in their Chem 151 equivalent should contact the department about an override code for Chem 161. Please use the Override Request Form to request an override.

Q. I earned a C- in Chem 151 or Chem 131. Can I get an override code to register for Chem 161?

A. No, a minimum of a C (not C–) grade is required to waive the Chem 161 placement exam. Students who do not earn this grade, may still place into Chem 161 by passing the on-line chemistry placement exam though.

Q. The system will not let me register for Chem 161.

A. To enroll in Chem 161 (Gen Chem 1), you’ll need to pass the prechemistry assessment. The exam may only be attempted twice a semester and the second attempt may not be within 24h of completing the first exam. Details about the exam can be found here.

Q. I did not pass the Chem 161 assessment exam after two attempts. What should I do?

A. If your last score was 12 or less, then the department recommends enrolling in Chem 131, Preparation for General Chemistry. Students who earn a C (not C–) or better in Chem 131 will have the prerequisite Chem 161 placement exam waived. Alternatively, students may study on their own and attempt the placement exam again once registration begins for the next semester. Effective Fall 2017: Students need to score between 8 and 15 on the CHEM placement exam to register for CHEM 131. Those student who score below 8 on both attempts are advised to address thier math deficiencies before attempting the exam next semester.

Q. I passed the placement exam, but cannot register. Why?

A. First, check the academic calendar and your records to ensure it is a valid registration period and there are no holds on your registration. If it has been more than a week since you took the exam, then contact the department for assistance.

Q. Can I take two chemistry courses concurrently, when one is a prerequisite for other, e.g. Chem 161 and 162 in the same semester?

A. No, students must demonstrate mastery of all the prerequisite material before advancing to the next course. It also violates the University’s policy on backtracking.

Q. The lab is full. Can I get an override?

A. The maximum enrollment in the each lab is capped for safety reasons and is consistent with standards enforced by American Chemical Society. Overrides will not be granted in these cases.

Q. The lab section I need is full! What should I do?

A. Don’t panic. Get on the waitlist and be patient. Often slots open up in labs during the last days of registration as students adjust their schedules. Sometime demand for a section in a particular semester will exceed available space. In this case, be aware that students can enroll in the lecture without the corresponding lab. Since Chem 161L, 162L, 272L and 273L are generally offered three times a year the lab can be complete either next semester or in the summer to catch up.

Q. I am only allowed to register a week after other UH students and so I am worried that the class or lab I need will be full. Can I get an override to allow me to register early?

A. The registrar’s office sets enrollment priorities to ensure full-time students at UH Manoa are able to take the classes they need in a timely fashion. The department does not have the power to modify registration priorities.

Q. When I try to register the system gives a prerequisite error, but I took the prerequisite chemistry courses at another institution.

A. The registration system does not recognize courses from other institution automatically. Your course will need to be evaluated for equivalence by the department. All non-UH applicants for admission to Chemistry courses for Summer Session please submit a prerequisite override request using our on-line Override Request Form and provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • UH ID#
  • Course in which you wish to enroll (for laboratories please include section number)
  • Please provide course number of any prerequisite courses, name of college and location, e.g. if you wish to enroll in Gen Chem II (CHEM 162), please tell us the course number of the Gen CHEM I course you have taken, the school’s name and location so that we can perform a prerequisite evaluation. Please also include the course descriptions for these classes from your school’s academic catalog.
  • Whether your original school is on the quarter or semester system

Q. What is the difference between Chem 161 and 171?

A. Chem 171 is a one semester version of general chemistry (Chem 161 and 162), which is best suited for students majoring in engineering. Other departments, e.g. Biology and Chemistry, will accept it as a substitute for Chem 161 and 162 in order to fulfill degree requirements, but most professional schools do not. For example, medical, dental, and pharmacy schools require six credits of general chemistry. As Chem 171 is only a four credit course, it does not meet their admission requirements.

Q. What is the difference between Chem 100, 131, and 151?

A. Chem 151 is a survey of chemistry course that had been discontinued at UH Manoa, although it is still offered at community colleges within the UH system and accepted for transfer credit at UH Manoa. Students needing a survey course which fulfills DP requirements should enroll in Chem 100 Chemistry and Society. Students, who did not place into Chem 161 General Chemistry I, and need additional preparation before continuing in the Chem 161/162 sequence, should consider enrolling in Chem 131, Preparation for General Chemistry. Students who earn a C (not C–) or better in Chem 131 will have the prerequisite Chem 161 placement exam waived. Effective Fall 2017: Students need to score between 8 and 15 on the CHEM placement exam to register for CHEM 131. Those student who score below 8 on both attempts are advised to address thier math deficiencies before attempting the exam next semester.

Q. I am trying to register for a chemistry course (161, 162, or 272) again because I did not get a passing grade, but the system is not allowing me to register. Why?

A. Students who did not earn a C (not C–) or better in Chem 161, 162, or 272 must repeat that course before continuing in the chemistry series. The registration system should allow you to register automatically for the repeat course, so fill out the Override Request Form.

Transfer Credits

Q. How do I know if my courses may transfer to UH?

A. UH Manoa maintains a list of courses at other schools, which have been considered equivalent at one time or another. This can be searched in the UH System Course Transfer Database. Please note just because your classes are listed in the database, does not guarantee that these courses will transfer when you apply. Likewise, the listing of one course does not guarantee the acceptance of another chemistry course from that school. The final decision on all chemistry transfer credits requires departmental review of the course content to ensure equivalency, and any recent changes to course content or format at either institution may result in those courses no longer being accepted for transfer credit. Pitfalls can also be encountered transferring from a school on a quarter system to a UH’s semester system. So one of the first things to check is which courses may transfer. You would then want to consult the Bachelor Degree Program Sheets and Sample Four Year Academic Plans to see where you might be in the BS/BA sequence (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior). This should give you some idea of where you stand. The more courses you want to transfer, the more likely there will be problems. The department also enforces C minimums in our freshman and sophomore chemistry classes, so check these grades. Once you transfer, you’ll want to make an appointment to see a chemistry advisor to discuss issues specific to our degrees. A list of current advisors can be found here.

Q. How do I know if the course I took at a community college in the UH system will transfer to UH Manoa?

A. UH Manoa maintains a list of system course equivalents on-line. This can be found here.

Q. What if my institution or course is not listed in the transfer database?

A. The courses content will need to be reviewed by the chemistry department to determine equivalences. Please see our the information posted above on transfer credit evaluation.

Q. My previous chemistry lecture and lab were taught online. Will this be accepted for transfer credit at UH Manoa?

A. Credit may be given for lecture taken online outside of the UH system pending reviewed by the chemistry department. Please see the information posted above on transfer credit evaluation. In contrast, due to safety concerns, lab courses taught online, or using other “distance” formats, will not be accepted as valid prerequisites for any lab offered by the chemistry department at UH Manoa. To be considered for transfer credit, students must have completed their labs in a traditional laboratory setting, under the direct supervision of an instructor.

Other General Questions

Q. I need a copy of an old syllabus for a course I took at UH Manoa, where can I get this?

A. All syllabi are posted here.

Advising

Q. I’m an undergraduate chemistry major. Do I need to talk to an advisor?

A. Undergraduate major advising is mandatory for freshman and sophomores after a student has declared their major. You may contact an advisor at any time though. Please go to our Undergraduate Advising page to find out more.