Policies for organic chemistry transfers

The Process

Many of the Oregon and other local community colleges integrate the organic chemistry laboratory and lecture classes, without separate numbering. If a student attains an acceptable grade for all three terms, the courses will satisfy both the lecture and lab courses at PSU as explained above. If students take only one term at the community college, they will only receive one credit of lab and will need to complete both CH 337 and 338 (or 339 for the majors) at PSU. If a student passes two terms of organic chemistry at the community college, they will receive two lab credits and credit for CH 337 (leaving CH 338/339 to be taken at PSU).

The Portland State University Office of Admissions offers detailed information about transferring college-level credits from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

The following guidelines address the transfer of a lower-division organic chemistry sequence from an Oregon community college to Portland State University. 

The Transfer

Many students take the complete organic chemistry sequence at an Oregon community college before transferring to Portland State. Most of these 4-credit courses include both lecture and lab components and therefore differ from the Organic Chemistry sequence at Portland State, which distinguishes between lecture and lab courses. These differences have a number of consequences:

  1. Community college organic chemistry courses do not have a one-to-one correspondence with organic chemistry courses at Portland State.
  2. Community college organic chemistry courses are transferred as lower division credit because the courses are officially 200-level at the community college.

These courses may be used to fulfill the organic chemistry requirement of many departmental courses of study at Portland State according to the following criteria:


1. Conditions for granting upper-division credits at Portland State:


The full-year organic chemistry lecture and laboratory sequence from a community college (for example CH
241, 242, 243) may be transferred to Portland State as equivalent to CH 331, 332 (lecture) and CH 327, 328
(laboratory) with upper division credits, granted under the following conditions:

  1. The student has received a grade of C or better each term.
  2. The student has taken a recent standardized American Chemical Society (ACS) examination (http://chemexams.chem.iastate.edu/) covering the full-year, majors-level undergraduate organic chemistry course and has received a score representing a national ranking at the 50th percentile or better. (This examination is typically administered by the instructor at the community college and the result reported to Portland State.)

The number of upper-division credits granted can be no more than the credits transferred, but will not exceed
12, which is the total combined credits at Portland State for CH 331, 332, 327, 328. Excess credits will be
transferred as lower-division elective credits.

For students who do not meet conditions 1 or 2 above, lower-division organic chemistry will be transferred as
a lower-division science elective. The use to which the course is put in the studentʼs major or minor program
is up to the department administering the program.

The upper-division credit transfer takes place at Transfer Evaluation of the Admissions Office. Students should
contact their instructor at the Community College and ask that their ACS exam score and their full name and
9-digit PSU ID number be sent to Nick Matlick (nmatlick@pdx.edu) in the Registrar's office at Portland State.


2. Conditions for satisfying departmental organic chemistry requirements for chemistry and biochemistry majors:


These guidelines are intended for students who declare chemistry or biochemistry as a major after having
completed a full-year organic sequence at a lower-division level. Situations that are not addressed by these
guidelines are to be resolved on the basis of recommendations made by the instructor for CH 334, 335, 336, and/or the organic laboratory coordinator. A student can satisfy chemistry major organic lecture and lab requirements if the following conditions are met:

  1. If the one-year o-chem sequence (lecture and lab) is prescribed for chemistry / biochemistry majors, or Pre-meds, or has been evaluated as the equivalent of Portland State full-year organic chemistry sequence.*
  2. The student has received a grade of C- or better each term.

*The main organic chemistry sequences at PCC, Mt Hood, and Clackamas CC have all been pre-approved, as has Clark College's sequence (although it is not eligible to receive the upper division credit).



If any of the above conditions are not met, selected coursework will be prescribed to remedy the deficiencies in preparation.


NOTE: The rules apply only to students at community colleges in Oregon who transfer to Portland State (or another state University). For Oregon private colleges or out-of-state community colleges, colleges, or universities, the question of the level status (lower or upper division credit) of an articulated course in organic chemistry will be based on the level of the course at the original institution and the normal rules of the Portland State Office of Admissions. The ACS test is not an option.