Plebe Chemistry  


Message from Department Chair:

Welcome to the USNA Plebe Chemistry Website. Here you will find vital information to help you succeed in SC111 and SC112 (usual 2 semester sequence) or SC151(course for one-semester validators).

Goals of Plebe Chemistry

  1. Provide midshipmen with an atomic / molecular level understanding of matter, its properties and changes so that they may understand applications of chemistry in the military and think critically about chemical issues in society.
  2. Form the foundation of the technical education of all midshipmen at the Naval Academy.
  3. Develop skills (problem solving, data collection and analysis, report writing, conceptualization, etc.) with which midshipmen can advance their own education.

Rumor Control

You may have heard many rumors about plebe chemistry; here are the facts! Plebe chemistry is the same two-semester chemistry sequence taught at hundreds of colleges and universities around the country (check the preface of your textbook) except for our unique use of naval applications (explosives, life support, fuels and lubricants, chemical and biological warfare, water treatment, nuclear chemistry, corrosion, etc.) to illustrate underlying chemical principles. Plebe chemistry is a demanding course due to the conceptual nature of the content, the brisk pace, the vertical structure of the curriculum (understanding explosives requires that you understand stoichiometry, thermochemistry and gas laws) and other demands of plebe year. However, like thousands of midshipmen before you, YOU can excel in this course. Historically, > 95% of each plebe class passes each semester of plebe chemistry on their first attempt and the remaining 5% almost invariably pass on the second attempt.

Keys to Success

  1. Read the text and supplements and come to class / lab ready to participate in the learning process.
  2. Do your homework to understand the concepts behind the problems.
  3. Ask questions early if you don’t understand. Don't fall behind.
  4. Take advantage of all the resources you are provided;
    • Extra instruction with your professor
    • The Chemistry Resource Room (MI100) is staffed by a faculty member most hours of the day (and some evenings).  The room has several computers, and is a good place to work on your online homework.
    • The Chang textbook, and the McGraw-Hill ARIS website have a variety of resources to aid your understanding of the subject.

    • The Midshipmen Group Study Program (MGSP), where midshipmen volunteer their time to help you, is credited with raising student chemistry grades a full letter grade.

You’re all capable students and can succeed in plebe chemistry. Strive to become the most scientifically literate officer/citizen you can.

Prof. Daniel W. O'Sullivan
December 2010

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