Nationwide Survey of the Undergraduate Physical Chemistry Course

Laura J. Fox, Gillian H. Roehrig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A nationwide survey of the undergraduate physical chemistry course was conducted to investigate the depth and breadth of content that is covered, how content is delivered, how student understanding is assessed, and the experiences and beliefs of instructors. The survey was administered to instructors of physical chemistry (N = 331) at American Chemical Society certified colleges and universities in the United States. The majority of instructors (N = 187) provided contact information, allowing responses to be associated with their institution. The goal of this preliminary study is to provide an awareness of the current state of physical chemistry courses across the United States. Several relationships regarding the course curriculum were investigated such as depth versus breadth of course content, and goal for understanding versus types of assessment questions. Also, several relationships regarding instructor beliefs and experiences were investigated such as degree of teacher preparation experience versus course delivery, and instructor beliefs about the challenging nature of physical chemistry education versus proposed strategies to overcome those challenges. Information gained from this study may inform the development of new teaching practices, curriculum, assessments, and resources for physical chemistry education, as well as encourage instructors of physical chemistry and researches of chemical education to work together to improve student understanding of physical chemistry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1456-1465
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 8 2015


  • Chemical Education Research
  • Physical Chemistry
  • Professional Development
  • Testing/Assessment
  • Upper-Division Undergraduate


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