List of Free Online Organic Chemistry Courses & Learning Materials
See our list of the top free online organic chemistry courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.
Online Organic Chemistry Courses for Credit
Free courses in organic chemistry can be found online that don't require registration or tuition. However, these courses don't lead to college credit. Students who want to earn credit might consider courses that charge a nominal fee in exchange for access to online resources. These fee-based courses provide a pathway to college credit.
Education Portal has this fee-based type of distance learning available through its engaging and short video lessons and self-assessment quizzes. Education Portal also offers free transcripts for the video lessons. Both of these training options prepare students to earn college credit. Students can take Chemistry 101: General Chemistry, which offers some training on organic chemistry in addition to introductory chemistry topics. Sample chapters from this course include:
- Experimental Chemistry and Introduction to Matter - Learn about chemistry lab equipment, states of matter, dimensional analysis and chromatography.
- Chemical Bonding - Topics include the Octet Rule, ionic compounds, covalent compounds, Lewis Dot structures, identification of organic macromolecules and organic molecules.
- Stoichiometry - Examine chemical reactions, mole-to-mole ratios, limiting reactants, empirical formulas and hydrates.
- Chemical Reactions - Get info on decomposition, acid-base reactions, the PH scale, redox reactions and combustion reactions.
- Kinetics - Some of the subjects covered here include rate constants, activation energy and catalysts, reaction mechanisms and factors that affect chemical reactions.
Free Online Non-Credited Organic Chemistry Courses
Several schools offer online courses in organic chemistry. The self-directed courses outlined below can include videos, lecture notes and homework assignments, but they do not award grades or academic credit.
University of California - Irvine
- Full Undergraduate Chemistry Sequence (12 courses available as of March 2013)
UC - Irvine has been offering free online chemistry courses since 2009, but they recently made available the complete course sequence of a Chemistry major through the OpenChem Initiative. Starting with a Prep Course for General Chemistry and including college classics like Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, OpenChem courses walk students through four years of undergraduate Chemistry education and even include some graduate level courses like Organic Reactions Mechanisms and Organic Spectroscopy.
Students interested in these courses have free access to lectures, and reading and homework lists. While the actual readings are not included at this point (i.e., students might need to purchase textbooks to get the full materials), UCI is hoping to eventually provide no- or low-cost alternative materials for Chemistry learners. Furthermore, while there is no way to get credit for completing these courses at this time, the university is discussing possible partnerships with schools and companies that may use these courses.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT's free organic chemistry courses include lecture notes and assignments. Some of the courses also have exams, which are not assessed or graded. Students must obtain the recommended reading materials on their own.
The undergraduate course, Organic Chemistry I, teaches students about organic molecular structure. Lecture notes cover topics including chemical reactions, alkyl reactions and carbonyl chemistry. The intermediate Organic Chemistry II course examines processes for identifying molecular structures and synthesizing organic compounds. This course also discusses how organic chemistry is used in medicine, biology and industry.
Advanced Organic Chemistry is another undergraduate course that looks at stereochemistry and reaction dynamics as well as carbenes and free radicals. The graduate-level course, Synthetic Organic Chemistry, considers how such methods as stereocontrolled alkylation and alkene reduction are used to make complicated organic molecules.
University of California - Berkeley
Structure and Reactivity is a free course from UC - Berkeley that consists of 23 video lectures covering such topics as spectroscopy, aromatic compounds, aldehydes, carboxylic acid and carbohydrates. This non-credit course does not include lecture notes, assignments or exams.
University of Massachusetts - Boston
Organic Chemistry I discusses topics including aldehydes and ketones, spectroscopy, aromatic compounds, carboxylic acids and amines. Students have access to lecture notes as well as exams with answers. The lab component is not available to online students.
University of Michigan
The Synthesis and Characterization of Carbonyl Compounds is an undergraduate course that teaches students how to use microscale equipment in the laboratory. Spectroscopy and chromatography are also discussed. Course materials largely consist of outlines of experiments. However, online students will not have access to lab sessions. Class handouts and supplemental reading materials are also included; these documents can be accessed on the website or downloaded as a ZIP file.
These classes were originally taught as a 1-year, introductory course sequence in organic chemistry. Lectures are available in video, audio and transcript formats. Homework assignments, illustrations and additional reading materials are also available via a link to the professor's website.
Freshman Organic Chemistry I includes 37 lectures on such topics as x-ray diffraction, wave functions, chemical reactivity and stereochemical nomenclature. Mid-term and final exams with solutions are also included. The Freshman Organic Chemistry II course continues the introduction to organic chemistry with lectures in complex reaction mechanisms, spectroscopy and organic synthesis. Exams are not included with this course.