Chemical and Biological Sciences
Montgomery College's Chemical and Biological Sciences unit (CBS) consists of four departments, over 90 full time faculty and staff and numerous part-time instructors that are dedicated to serving over 13,000 students a semester. We believe that learning should be a lifelong experience and enthusiastically put the success of our students first. The unit is largely supportive in mission, providing students with general education opportunities and core courses in preparation for a future in allied health, biotechnology industries, or life sciences. Many of our students receive a certificate or associate of science (AS) degree prior to transferring to a four-year school in a STEM related program.
The CBS unit is growing, especially in our two core areas: chemical sciences and biological sciences. This reflects continued student interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. We have built academic partnerships with MCPS and with area four-year schools such as the Universities at Shady Grove, and the University of Maryland, College Park. Our biotechnology program has crafted corporate partnerships with regional businesses like BioReliance, Human Genome Sciences/ GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, and Quality Biological, Inc.
Dr. James Sniezek is the Instructional Dean for the Chemical and Biological Sciences unit, and is housed at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus of Montgomery College. Dr. Sniezek manages a division serving students in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
Dr. Sniezek has been associated with Montgomery College as a faculty member in the Biology Department, having taught at both the Rockville and the Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses. He is a lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park where he teaches majors-level biology for post-baccalaureate students. Past teaching experiences include the College of Southern Maryland, Prince Georges Community College, and Frederick Community College.
Dr. Sniezek is active in committee work primarily centered around curriculum development. While faculty, he served as chair of the Collegewide Curriculum Committee, a member of the General Education Committee, a member of many College Area Review Committees, and has led numerous professional development seminars through the Center for Teaching and Learning. He is a graduate of Montgomery College’s Leadership Development Institute and has authored three new courses in biology. In 1999, Dr Sniezek was awarded an NSF grant for Facilitating the Comprehension of Biological Principles through the Creation of Modules Utilizing Interactive Computer Assisted Instruction and Hands-On Investigative Exercises. In 2007, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, College Park, he received NSF funds for a project titled: MathBench Modules: Mathematics for All Biology Undergraduates. He was granted Sabbatical Leave in 2008 to work on the project: Design and Incorporation of Collaborative Learning Exercises, Relevance, and Mathematics into General Biology Labs.
Dr. Sniezek received both his Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Zoology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He did his post-doctoral research at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, researching the Production Estimates of Planktonic Ciliates in the Rhode River by Community, Trophic Category, and Specific Species. He has several publications and remains active in research at the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida. He serves as a reviewer for the scientific publications Zootaxa and the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology.
In the community, Dr. Sniezek has sat on the Board of Trustees for MMCI (Monocacy Montessori Communities, Inc.) as a Friend of Education. He has served two term as PTA President at Walkersville Elementary School as well as two terms as President of the Walkersville Middle School PTSA. He also donates his time to the Fredericktowne Rotary Club.
Chemical and Biological Sciences Department - Germantown
Department Chair: Scot Magnotta
Biology Department - Rockville
Department Chair: K. Rebecca Thomas
Chemistry Department - Rockville
Department Chair: Laura Anna
Chemical and Biological Sciences Department - Takoma Park/Silver Spring
Department Chair: Valerie Lantz
Chemistry & Biology Class Planning and Transfer Information
It depends on what your major is. Look at the Advising Worksheet by logging onto MyMC, Click on “Counseling and Advising” near the top of the page just below the Blackboard icon, click on the “Degree Planning Forms” icon and find your major or go to:
Biological Sciences majors
- Chemistry course: Ideally, you should take CHEM 131 (or CHEM 099) before BIOL 150. See below for more details. CHEM 131 → CHEM 132 → CHEM 203 → CHEM 204
- Biology course: BIOL 150 students should take BIOL 151 next for biology. BIOL 151 students should take Genetics BIOL 222. 11 credits of Program Electives are required.
- Math: Take math every semester until you complete MATH 181 (Calculus I).
- Biology course: After BIOL 150, you should take either BIOL 210 (Microbiology) or Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 212). There is significant overlap in material between Microbiology and BIOL 150, so the sooner you take Microbiology the better. However, BIOL 212 must be taken before BIOL 213. There is an accelerated BIOL 212/213 (both in 1 semester) at Takoma for students earning an A or B in BIOL 150. Which you take depends on your schedule, whether you can take a course during the summer, your grade in BIOL 150, etc.
Chemistry course: If you plan to earn a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree), then you must take CHEM 131.
Biochemistry and Chemistry majors
- Chemistry: CHEM 131 → CHEM 132 → CHEM 203 → CHEM 204 and CHEM 272.
- Biology: BIOL 150 is required.
- Math: Take math every semester until you complete MATH 280 (Multivariable Calculus).
- Physics: PHYS 161 and PHYS 262 are required.
Environmental Science and Policy
- Chemistry course: Take CHEM 131 as soon as possible. Ideally, you should take CHEM 131 before BIOL 150.
- Biology course: You need both BIOL 150 AND BIOL 151. Ideally, you should take BIOL 150 before BIOL 151. (If you started the Environmental major before Fall 2019, you only need one biology course, either BIOL 150 or BIOL 151.)
- Math: Take math every semester until you finish one of these (choose depending on your transfer institution): MATH 150 or MATH 160 or MATH 181.
- Other courses: 12 credits of 200-level course are required as Program Electives.
Physician, Pharmacist, Dentist or other Health Professional
- Take the Chemistry Placement Test at the Assessment Center on any MC campus.
- If you pass the Chemistry Placement Test, then you can register for CHEM 131. If not, you will take CHEM 099 or ALEKS CHEM 131 Preparation Module online. Once you pass CHEM 099, you can take CHEM 131.
- To study for the chemistry placement test, study the first four chapters of any college chemistry textbook available at any library.
- Note: If you have never taken chemistry, you did not do well in chemistry in HS or it has been a long time since you took chemistry, you might want to just register for CHEM 099.
- Program Advisors for Biological Sciences: Dr. Kadima, Dr. Del Castillo-Olivares, Dr. Newtoff
- Program Advisors for Chemistry and Biochemistry: Dr. Newman, Dr. Chen, Dr. Newlin
- Program Advisors for Environmental Science: Dr. Sagasti, Prof. Schneider, Dr. Smith
- Go to Academic Program Advising by Major and scroll down to science for contact information
Log onto MyMC, Click on “Counseling and Advising” near the top of the page just below the Blackboard icon, Click on the “Schedule an Appointment (new students)” icon and Click on “Returning Students” or click Make an Advising Appointment
Caution: ARTSYSnew window is not always up to date.
Degrees and Certificates
More Programs and Courses
Chemistry tutoring is available in the Ackerman STEM Learning Center (Rockville Campus - SW 100). All tutors can tutor CHEM 099, CHEM 131, and CHEM 132. Visit the Ackerman STEM Learning Center for up-to-date information.
Chemistry Program and Advising
Our associate of science degree program provides the first two years of a typical four-year curriculum leading to a bachelor's degree in a science or mathematics-related field. In the chemistry and biochemistry concentration, you will complete core courses and choose electives that meet the requirements of your degree and transfer institution. Learn more about the chemistry and biochemistry degree, including advising guides, transfer opportunities, career information, and required courses.
Internships: The College partners with businesses and institutions that can offer internships and other real-world experiences. For information about STEM internships, contact Michael Mehalick, the internship coordinator.
Chemistry Advising Tips
- Are you a non-science major?
Chemistry and Society CHEM 109/CHEM 109L can satisfy the general education NSND/NSLD requirements for non-science majors. The CHEM 109 lecture is also offered in a distance learning format.
- Are you a student in a Science or General Studies STEM Program?
- Start your chemistry sequence early. Take the Chemistry Placement Exam (CPT) first to determine eligibility to enroll in CHEM 131, Principles of Chemistry I.
- CHEM 099, Introductory Chemistry, is only required for students that have not passed the CPT or have never had a high school chemistry course.
- All sequential chemistry courses (CHEM 131/132 and CHEM 203/204) have grade pre-requisites of a C or better to move on to the next course.
- Are you a student in an Engineering Program?
- CHEM 135, Chemistry for Engineers, has a Math pre-requisite of MATH 165 to be eligible to enroll.
- Talk to an Engineering advisor to make sure CHEM 135 is the appropriate course for your degree program and transfer institution.
- Are you ready to register for a Chemistry course?
- Make sure you have the appropriate MATH pre-requisite course or assessment level when registering for a chemistry course.
- Chemistry courses have linked lecture/discussion/lab sections - make sure you are
selecting 3 linked CRNs when registering.
Day, evening and weekend course scheduling is available for most courses
Talk to a Chemistry Advisor
Dr. Don Newlin, Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biology
Dr. Thomas Chen, Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
Takoma Park/Silver Spring
Dr. Cory Newman, Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biology