CHEM& 261 Organic Chemistry I • 6 Cr.


The first of a three-course series in organic chemistry. The 261/262/263 series covers structure, nomenclature, reactions, and synthesis of organic compounds. Format includes laboratory work. Prerequisite: CHEM& 163 with a C or better.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Determine the structure of organic molecules and ions and classify and name them using various systems of notation.
  • Predict trends in physical properties for simple organic molecules based on their structure (e.g., relative boiling point, melting point, solubility).
  • Provide reagents, predict products, and provide electron-pushing mechanisms for the reactions of alkanes, alkenes, and alkyl halides.
  • Predict the relative energies of conformational isomers and identify the types of strain involved in alkanes/cycloalkanes.
  • Determine the structural relationship of chiral/achiral molecules and predict whether samples will be optically active based on whether they contain chiral or achiral compounds, or racemic mixtures.
  • Describe how infrared spectroscopy works, interpret IR spectra, and effectively use an IR in a laboratory setting.
  • Effectively use laboratory techniques to synthesize, isolate, and purify samples, and assess the purity and yield of final products.