Welcome to Chemistry for Majors. This text has been created with several goals in mind: accessibility, assessment of learning outcome mastery, and student engagement—all while encouraging students toward high levels of academic scholarship.

About Chemistry

Chemistry for Majors is designed for the two-semester general chemistry course. For many students, this course provides the foundation to a career in chemistry, while for others, this may be their only college-level science course. As such, this text provides an important opportunity for students to learn the core concepts of chemistry and understand how those concepts apply to their lives and the world around them. The text has been developed to meet the scope and sequence of most general chemistry courses. At the same time, the book includes a number of innovative features designed to enhance student learning. A strength of Chemistry for Majors is that instructors can customize the book, adapting it to the approach that works best in their classroom.

Coverage and Scope

Our Chemistry textbook adheres to the scope and sequence of most general chemistry courses nationwide. We strive to make chemistry, as a discipline, interesting and accessible to students. The organization and pedagogical features were developed and vetted with feedback from chemistry educators dedicated to the project.

Pedagogical Foundation

Throughout Chemistry for Majors, you will find features that draw the students into scientific inquiry by taking selected topics a step further. Our features include:

Chemistry in Everyday Life ties chemistry concepts to everyday issues and real-world applications of science that students encounter in their lives. Topics include cell phones, solar thermal energy power plants, and measuring blood pressure.

How Sciences Interconnect feature boxes discuss chemistry in context of its interconnectedness with other scientific disciplines. Topics include neurotransmitters, greenhouse gases and climate change, the thermodynamics of ATP, and proteins and enzymes.

Portrait of a Chemist features present a short bio and an introduction to the work of someone actively working in this field so that students can see the “face” of contributors in this field as well as science in action. Chemists profiled include Lee Cronin, Richard Smalley, Fritz Haber, and Deanna D’Alessandro.

Assessments Aligned to Learning Outcomes

There are plenty of in-module calculation examples that walk students through problems by posing a question, walking step-by-step through the solution, and then asking students to practice the skill with a “Check Your Learning” component. The text also includes practice questions at the end of each section so students can apply what they’ve learned. Lumen’s corresponding OHM course includes both formative and summative assessments aligned to every course learning outcome.

Comprehensive Art Program

Our art program is designed to enhance students’ understanding of concepts through clear, effective illustrations, flowcharts, and photographs. These images are designed to be as accessible as possible to those with sight difficulties (following WCAG standards), and the videos have accompanying transcripts for those with audio impairments.

Atom-First Alternate Sequencing

Chemistry was conceived and written to fit a particular topical sequence, but it can be used flexibly to accommodate other course structures. Some instructors prefer to organize their course in a molecule-first or atom-first organization. For professors who use this approach, our OpenStax Chemistry textbook can be sequenced to fit this pedagogy. Please consider, however, that the chapters were not written to be completely independent, and that the proposed alternate sequence should be carefully considered for student preparation and textual consistency. We recommend these shifts in the table of contents structure if you plan to create a molecule/atom-first version of this text for your students:

  • Chapter 1: Essential Ideas
  • Chapter 2: Atoms, Molecules, and Ions
  • Chapter 6: Electronic Structure and Periodic Properties of Elements
  • Chapter 7: Chemical Bonding and Molecular Geometry
  • Chapter 8: Advanced Theories of Covalent Bonding
  • Chapter 3: Composition of Substances and Solutions
  • Chapter 4: Stoichiometry of Chemical Reactions
  • Chapter 5: Thermochemistry
  • Chapter 9: Gases
  • Chapter 10: Liquids and Solids
  • Chapter 11: Solutions and Colloids
  • Chapter 12: Kinetics
  • Chapter 13: Fundamental Equilibrium Concepts
  • Chapter 14: Acid-Base Equilibria
  • Chapter 15: Equilibria of Other Reaction Classes
  • Chapter 16: Thermodynamics
  • Chapter 17: Electrochemistry
  • Chapter 18: Representative Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals
  • Chapter 19: Transition Metals and Coordination Chemistry
  • Chapter 20: Organic Chemistry
  • Chapter 21: Nuclear Chemistry


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