Introductory Organic Chemistry - Part 1

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This course surveys structural chemistry of organic compounds with an emphasis on electronic structure, conformation and stereochemistry. Concepts and models are developed to build intuition about the stability and reactivity of organic compounds. These concepts will prepare students for a mechanistic-based approach to learning organic reactivity. Emphasis will also be placed on developing problem-solving skills unique to organic chemistry. This course (Introductory Organic Chemistry Part I) together with Introductory Organic Chemistry Part II are equivalent to a first-semester organic chemistry course; these courses and the subsequent courses (Intermediate Organic Chemistry Parts I and II) are especially suited for students in agricultural, nutritional and biological sciences, as well as pre-medical, pre-dental, and pre-veterinary programs.


Module Key Concepts Week 1: The Building Blocks of Organic Chemistry
  • Period 2 Elements
  • Formal Charge
  • Stability Trends
  • Bonding Patterns
  • Functional Groups
Week 2: The Language of Organic Chemistry
  • Basic Organic Nomenclature
  • Molecular Symmetry
  • Chirality
  • Stereochemical Descriptors
  • Representations of 3-Dimensional Structures
Week 3: Electrons in Molecules
  • Resonance
  • Wave Properties of Electrons
  • Atomic Orbitals
  • Linear Combination of Atomic Orbitals
Week 4: Molecular Orbital Theory
  • Constructing Simple MO Diagrams
  • Inferring Reactivity From MO Diagrams
  • The Hybrid Orbital Approximation
  • Frontier Orbital Theory
Week 5: Molecules in Motion
  • Conformations of Linear Molecules
  • Stability of Cyclic Molecules
  • Conformations of Cyclohexanes
  • Coordinate Diagrams
Week 6: Understanding Reactivity
  • Bond Energy Changes
  • Transition States
  • Nucleophiles and Electrophiles
  • Acid-Base Equilibria
Week 7: Organic Reactions, Part I
  • Substitution Reactions
  • Elimination Reactions
  • Discriminating Related Reaction Mechanisms
Week 8: Organic Reactions, Part II
  • Stereospecificity of Substitution and Elimination Reaction Mechanisms
  • Carbocation Rearrangements
  • Activated C-O Electrophiles
  • Carbon-Based Nucleophiles