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Registration FAQs

PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION BELOW before requesting assistance. Your question may be answered here.

First Year Students

As an entering first year student, your courses will be selected during orientation/pre-registration meeting in July, which will take place on campus and at the Chemistry Department. Placement in classes will be finalized during that time. Information below includes the considerations for placement into specific classes and for upper level students.

Current Students

Subsequent registration is done centrally in PAWS, through a priority system that depends on your major and your class standing. The Chemistry Department staff cannot override these administrative restrictions, only the Chair or Dean has authority to do so, and only under limited, extenuating circumstances.



Courses needed to complete a chemistry degree.

Chemistry Core Courses (9.5 Course Units)         
CHE 201, 202/General Chemistry I, II or HON 201, 202/Honors Chemistry I, II 2 course units
CHE 310/Analytical Chemistry 1 course unit
CHE 331, 332/Organic Chemistry I, II 2 course units
CHE 371/Quantum Chemistry 1 course unit
CHE 372/Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics 1 course unit
CHE 430/Biochemistry 1 course unit
CHE 451/Inorganic Chemistry – Structure and Bonding OR CHE 452/Inorganic Chemistry– Reactions and Mechanisms  1 course unit
CHE 099, 316, 317/Chemistry Seminars  0.5 total course unit
Correlate Courses (4 Course Units)
MAT 127, 128/Calculus A, B 2 course units
PHY 201, 202/Physics I, II 2 course units


Options Courses (5 or 3 Course Units)
See course descriptions for prerequisites
CHE 365/Chemical Aspects of the Environment
CHE 370/Special Topics in Chemistry
CHE 410/Instrumental Analysis
CHE 451/Inorganic Chemistry– Structure and Bonding OR CHE 452/Inorganic   Chemistry– Reactions and Mechanisms
CHE 474/Special Topics in Biochemistry
CHE 476/Special Topics in Organic Chemistry
CHE 478/Special Topics in Condensed Matter
CHE 493/Independent Research



Q: I received a 4 on my AP chemistry exam. Do I still need to take CHE 201/202 General Chemistry I/II at TCNJ?

With an AP chemistry score of 4 you are eligible to obtain credit for General Chemistry I CHE 201. However, while a score of 4 indicates that you have a good foundation in general chemistry, we recommend that if you plan to major in chemistry, that you enroll in either CHE 201 or Honors General Chemistry I HON 201. This is strongly recommended if it has been more than a year since you were enrolled in an AP Chemistry course.  If you do not plan to major in chemistry you may enroll directly into General Chemistry II CHE 202.

Q: I received a 5 on my AP chemistry exam. What chemistry course should I first take at TCNJ?

With an AP chemistry score of 5 you are eligible to obtain credit for both General Chemistry I and II CHE 201 and CHE 202. However, while a score of 5 indicates that you have an excellent foundation in general chemistry, we typically recommend that you enroll in either General Chemistry II CHE 202 or Honors General Chemistry II HON 202 the spring semester of your freshman year. For those students who have obtained high AP scores in additional science AP exams (e.g., physics, calculus A, and calculus B), we sometimes recommend taking CHE 310 (analytical chemistry) your freshman year. Only under extenuating circumstances (or if you are a transfer student) do we recommend that you take CHE 331 (organic chemistry I) as your first chemistry course at TCNJ. We have found that it is beneficial for all entering students to have a consistent General Chemistry laboratory experience; therefore, taking General Chemistry is advised. Taking General Chemistry allows students the additional benefit of getting to know the department, acclimating into the major and meeting their classmates and cohort for the major.

Q: What mathematics prerequisites do I need to register for CHE 201 or more advanced chemistry courses?

To enroll in General Chemistry I (CHE 201), you must satisfy one of the following:

  1. You have a minimum SAT math score of 630 or a 28 ACT math score or higher.
  2. You have taken an AP math exam and have scored indicating calculus readiness, as follows:
  • A score of 4 on the AP Calculus AB exam can place you out of Calculus A Math 127
  • A score of 3 on the AP Calculus BC exam can place you out of Calculus A Math 127
  • A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam can place you out of Calculus A and B, MAT 127 and MAT 128
  1. You pass the CLEP placement exam (you must receive at least 50%) offered through the college board: You can prepare for this exam by taking the online course offered through the Department of Mathematics and Statistics:
  2. Pass (with a grade of C or higher) a Pre-calculus course at a college or university

Please note that many of the upper level courses require a significant amount of mathematics background and students with higher mathematics proficiencies are better prepared for these courses. There is a strong correlation between success in these mathematics courses (achieving a grade greater than a C) and success in the chemistry major, as your grade in the course is a reflection of your mastery of the subject matter.

For more information on Mathematics placement at TCNJ, please go to

Q: Does the department have grade prerequisites to enroll in chemistry courses?

Yes, the following prerequisites apply:

To enroll in: A minimum grade of C- is required in:
CHE 202 General Chemistry II CHE 201 General Chemistry I
CHE 310 Analytical Chemistry CHE 202 General Chemistry II
CHE 331 Organic Chemistry I CHE 202 General Chemistry II
CHE 332 Organic Chemistry II CHE 331 Organic Chemistry I

Retention in the chemistry major is based on the performance standards in the following “critical content courses”:

  • CHE 201 General Chemistry I (minimum grade of C)
  • CHE 202 General Chemistry II (minimum grade of C)
  • CHE 331 Organic Chemistry I (minimum grade of C)
  • CHE 310 Analytical Chemistry (minimum grade of C)



Q: I have to repeat a course. Do I need to repeat the laboratory?

Fall 2019 and beyond:  All students repeating a course must take both the lecture and lab portions of the course.

Q: I am considering repeating a course to get a higher grade. What is the recommendation?

If you are a non-major and you have received a C- or better in a chemistry course, we do not generally recommend that you repeat a course to receive a higher grade.  If you believe that retaking a course is best for your circumstances, we recommend that you consider retaking a course only if you have received a C or less in a course.  If you have received less than a C- the first semester of a two-semester sequence course, you must retake the course before you enroll in the second semester course. You may want to have a discussion with your academic advisor regarding your plan of action. See above question for laboratory considerations.  Students who make a request to be enrolled in a course that they have previously taken will receive lower priority ranking than those students who meet all of the course prerequisites and are enrolling in the course for the first time.

Q: How many times can I retake a course?

You can enroll in the same course two times.  Enrollment the second time you take a course does not require special approval; however permission to repeat a course a third time does. If you wish to enroll in a course a third time, you must complete a Repeat of Course Authorization Form and this request must be approved by your academic advisor, the chair of your department, and the chemistry chair. These requests will only be granted when there are extenuating circumstances for your prior poor performance in a course, for example, death in family, severe and/or prolonged illness, etc.

Per college policy, you will NOT be allowed to repeat a course more than three times. Please note, withdrawing from a course still counts as having enrolled in the course.  

Students who make a request to be enrolled in a course that they have previously taken will receive lower priority ranking than those students who meet all of the course prerequisites and are enrolling in the course for the first time.



Q: What should I do if there are no seats available in any section of a Chemistry course I need?

If ALL sections are full, you may complete a wait list request on or after the date of your registration appointment.

Q: I’m having trouble enrolling using PAWS. What can I do?

Make sure that you are enrolling in a course for which you meet the prerequisites or whose seats have not been reserved for certain students who require this course for their major. If you continue to have problems, consult the troubleshooting guide ( or contact Records and Registration directly.

Q: Why am I getting an error when I try to enroll in a course?

There are several potential reasons for receiving an error message when enrolling in a course. If a course does not have open seats, it will indicate this by the error “closed class.” Class sizes with laboratories are strictly limited due to safety issues and cannot be increased. If you try to register outside of your registration time window or you have not met with your advisor prior to registration you will likely receive the message “appointment.” Certain classes, such as Independent Research CHE 493, require faculty permission and cannot be self-enrolled through PAWS without this obtaining this approval through the Chemistry Department and/or instructor. Finally, if you try to enroll in a course that overlaps with another course you have enrolled in, you will obtain a “time conflict” error. Please note that you must ensure that you have no overlap with any activity during your enrolled laboratory periods as attendance is required.

Q: Why are there so many reserved seats for a class?

When scheduling classes, the Chemistry Department consults with outside departments (primarily physics, biology, and several engineering departments) that require chemistry courses for their major. From these discussions, we reserve the necessary seats for students, placing reserves in sections that coordinate with course section offerings from these other departments.  We are not able to override reserves that have been placed on our courses by other departments without their approval.   Students who are majors in departments that have placed chemistry reserves must use those seats that have been identified in specific course sections.

Q: Why can’t you place me into a course with reserves?

The reserve system is the only way we can ensure that all students who need a class have a class seat. With the proper adjustments to your schedule, it is almost always possible to find the proper combination of courses sections that meet your needs. At the end of the registration period, we will remove class reserves, at which time you will be able to enroll yourself through PAWS.

Q: I’m in the pre-med track. Why can’t I get into a pre-med course?

The pre-med track is not a major. We provide limited seats for this academic standing.

Q: Why are there both double and single sections for a course?  Is this an error in PAWS?

Some courses will run with both double and single sections.  If you see this, it’s not an error.

Q: PAWS shows the instructor as “Staff”.  Can you tell me who’s teaching this course?

As soon as we have identified the instructor for a course/section, we will update PAWS.

Q: How do I enroll in research?

The department has a formal process for this which will be discussed in the seminar classes. Please discuss with your advisor for further information.

Q: I want into a specific course section.  Can I ask the professor/instructor to hold a seat for me?

The professor/instructor of the course does not have authorization to hold a seat or enroll you.  Please enroll yourself in an open section and/or follow the guidelines outlined on this page.

If your question remains unanswered please send an email, including your name and PAWS ID number, to