Questions and Answers

What is CHEM 101?

Chemistry in Our Community is designed for non-science majors who are interested in learning about scientific topics currently in the news and affecting our community, such as the ozone hole, global warming, acid rain, nuclear power, plastics, drugs, and genetic engineering. The course fulfills the physical and natural science general education core curriculum requirement.

Is CHEM 101 a “remedial course”?

Chemistry in Our Community is not a remedial course. The course fulfills the physical and natural science general education core curriculum requirement.

How does CHEM 101 differ from the other 100 level chemistry courses?

The course is geared specifically to non-science majors and differs fundamentally from other chemistry courses by using topical issues such as global warming, nuclear power and genetic engineering to introduce and reinforce key chemical concepts. Chemistry and science are presented as a web of related ideas and calculations rather than a sequence, which favors learning patterns common in non-science majors.

CHEM 111L

If I know that I’m not prepared to take CHEM 121, should I take CHEM 111L first?

It is not advisable to take 111L to prepare for 121 since UNM does not grant course credit for both courses. Students who plan to pursue a degree program that requires CHEM 121 that feel unprepared to tackle the course should go ahead enroll in the course. If after the second exam the student is not doing well, they can “parachute” into CHEM 120.

CHEM 212

Can I take CHEM 212 to prepare for CHEM 301?

It is not advisable for students planning to take CHEM 301 to enroll in CHEM 212 since UNM does not grant course credit for both CHEM 212 and CHEM 301.

CHEM 120

How can I enroll for CHEM 120?

CHEM 120 is a parachute class available to students enrolled in CHEM 121 who are failing at the point of the 2nd test in the semester. You cannot take CHEM 120 if you are not already taking CHEM 121 in a semester. If you were hoping to take CHEM 120 as a class to prepare you for CHEM 121, please contact Sushilla Knottenbelt, sknotten@unm.edu for suggestions on what you can to to prepare yourself for CHEM 121.

How many credits? What are the times?

CHEM 120 is a 3 credit hour class. The section times usually correlate with the CHEM 121 section times. Check the UNM Schedule of Classes for the current semester for up-to-date information about section times and room numbers.

How do I sign up?

There is often more demand for CHEM 120 than we have available seats, and if there is enough demand and we know in advance, it might be possible to create another section. DO NOT DROP CHEM 121. You will maximize your chances of getting in if you are flexible to attend a different section. Admission to CHEM 120 will be made on a first come first serve basis, but if there are more students wishing to transfer than we have seats, we will give priority to students having more than 50% on their online homework from CHEM 121.


If you are interested in switching, you must fill a pre-enrollment survey which will be emailed to you by your instructor after the 2nd test in CHEM 121. You will be emailed 24 hours before the start of the class you wish to take to let you know if you have a place.  You must attend the first day of the class (see the email for dates, rooms and times).  Any students who do not attend class on these days may forfeit their place in class, and waitlisted students may enroll, based on who is present in class on those days.


The registration is processed as a transfer from CHEM 121 to CHEM 120 so you must still be in 121 for the Registrar to move you to Chem 120. It will not show on your transcript that you took 121 this semester, only Chem 120. Once you have decided to take Chem 120, you do not need to attend Chem 121 or complete any further assignments for 121. None of your Chem 121 grades will follow you into CHEM 120, it will be a fresh start.

What about my lab?

You may keep the lab or drop it. If you keep the lab and pass it, you will not need to retake it when you retake CHEM 121. In the past, many students taking CHEM 120 and keeping the lab have been able to pass.  If you drop the lab, it will show up as a W on your transcript.

What new materials do I need to buy?

CHEM 120 uses the same textbook and homework software system as CHEM 121.  You can use your existing codes in Chem120.

Does this count as a general ed science requirement?

CHEM 120 uses the same textbook and homework software system as CHEM 121.  You can use your existing codes in Chem120.

What has been the success of this program in the past?

CHEM 120 has been offered every Fall and Spring semester since Fall 2010. Students taking CHEM 120 in these semesters were more likely to return and succeed in CHEM 121 than those who failed CHEM 121 and did not take CHEM 120.

Do I still have to take CHEM 121 in future?

Yes, if it is required for your degree program or any classes with CHEM 121 as a prerequisite.