Undergraduates: COVID impact on CHEM courses

UBC Chemistry and the Global Novel Coronavirus Crisis.

update: April 30, 2020

This is a message for undergraduate students who are taking or are planning to take Chemistry courses at UBC Vancouver.

This is an unprecedented and dramatic global situation. Our first priority is to make sure that students remain healthy and safe. We hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.

Most first and second year CHEM courses are described in the UBC Calendar as having a lecture and laboratory component. This is often described in the curriculum vector in the Calendar.

CHEM 121 (4) Structure and Bonding in Chemistry

Fundamentals of bonding theories and structural chemistry, with applications relevant to modern society. [3-3-0]
Prerequisite: One of CHEM 12, CHEM 100.

The first number in blue is the lecture hours per week, the second is the laboratory hours per week, and the last number deals with tutorial sections.

With physical distancing and stay-at-home rules in place, the laboratory sections in which students learn and demonstrate fundamental practical laboratory skills in person cannot run in the usual way. For example, a student taking CHEM 121 without any laboratory work would not be able to pass the course and would not receive academic credit and could not move forward in their academic plan.

In response to this challenge, our Department will introduce new courses that enable students to take the lecture content and the laboratory content of these courses independently, so students may continue to progress. The new courses are summarized in this table:


Course (Credit)

Lecture Course (Credit)

Lab Course (Credit)

CHEM 111 (4)

CHEM 110 (3)

CHEM 115 (1)

CHEM 121 (4)

CHEM 120 (3)

CHEM 115 (1)

CHEM 123 (4)

CHEM 130 (3)

CHEM 135 (1)

CHEM 203 (4)

CHEM 223 (3)

CHEM 225 (1)

CHEM 211 (4)

CHEM 210 (3)

CHEM 215 (1)


Students who register in CHEM 121 for Summer 2020 will have their course registration transferred to CHEM 120, to reflect the fact that they will not be taking any lab component in this course. Similarly, registration for CHEM 123 will be transferred to CHEM 130.  

It is expected that students will make up these laboratory requirements when face-to-face instruction is allowed.

These new courses are responses to the Covid-19 emergency. The Department plans to resume its non-emergency curriculum--CHEM 111, 121, 123, 203, 211--when the Provincial government and UBC determines that it is safe to do so. It will commit to run the 1 credit lab courses for students to catch up with their programs.

• Students interested in Fall 2020:

The University has not made any decisions regarding Fall 2020 courses and registration.

Chemistry lecture courses will be offered.

The Chemistry department will begin offering lab courses again as soon as it is safe to do so, and is committed to offering the new 1-credit lab courses as long as needed for students to catch up. Students should be aware that attending Summer Session may be needed in order to progress through their programs in a timely manner.  

Please note that access to in-person laboratory courses will depend on the amounts of space available, the physical distancing requirements set in place, and course scheduling requirements.


This page will be updated as new information becomes available.