CHEM-241: Organic Chemistry I

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Organic Chemistry I
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
CHEM-141 with a grade of C or better, or Instructor Permission
Catalog Course Description

Introduces organic chemistry. Emphasizes structural theory, stereochemistry, physical properties, reaction mechanisms, and functional group chemistry. This course covers the first semester of a full year course. It is a lecture course designed to meet the requirements for science majors, pre-professional biology, pre-professional chemistry, as well as premedical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, pre-veterinary, and chemical engineering students. Students should check requirements for organic chemistry at their intended transfer institution. Four hours of lecture per week without lab.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

After completing Chemistry 241, students should:

  1. Be further acquainted with how organic chemistry impacts their lives on a daily basis.
  2. Be able to understand the basic mechanisms by which alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alkyl halides, ethers, thiols, and alcohols react.
  3. Be able to name basic organic molecules, molecules containing functional groups, as well as cyclic and bicyclic compounds.
  4. Be able to predict physical properties of organic molecules.
  5. Be able to predict the results of some chemical reactions.
  6. Be able to propose a synthesis of some basic organic molecules.
  7. Be experienced in using critical thinking and the scientific method.
  8. Be more familiar with the work of organic chemists.
  9. Be prepared to enroll in higher level classes in chemistry.
  10. Find greater appreciation for the complexity and beauty of the interrelationship between organic chemistry and biology.
Core Course Topics
  1. Chemistry is the study of stuff (matter)
  2. Organic Chemistry and the diversity of Organic Compounds
  3. Drawing Organic Compounds
  4. Predicting acid-base equilibrium by using pKa’s
  5. Chirality (“Handedness”) in Organic Chemistry
  6. Nomenclature; Structure; Physical and Chemical Properties of:

    Alkanes, Cycloalkanes, Alkenes, Alkynes, Alkyl Halides, and Alcohols

  7. Thorough study of the following reaction mechanisms:
    1. Addition reactions to alkenes: H-X, (hydrohalogenation, with possible rearrangements); H2O (hydration via: acid catalyzed oxymercuratio/demercuration; hydroboration/oxidation); X-X (halogenation); H2O (vicinal halohydrin formation)
    2. Oxidation of alkenes (dihydroxylation, ozonolysis)
    3. Reduction of alkenes (transition metal catalyzed hydrogenation)
    4. Alkyne Reactions: Formation of Alkynes by halogenation/double elimination; Reduction of alkynes by Na in NH3; HgSO4/H2SO4 catalyzed addition of water (including tautomerization); Hydroboration of Alkynes (including tautomerization); Addition of X2; Addition of HX; Addition of carboxylic acids
    5. Radical halogenation of alkanes, allylic halogenation, and benzylic halogenation
    6. Reactions of alkyl halides and sulfonates: SN1; SN2; E1; E2; Neighboring Group Participation, and Rearrangement
    7. Reactions of alcohols: Reaction with H-X; Dehydration Reaction with SOCl2 and PBr3; Conversion to alkyl sulfonates; Oxidation using Chromic acid (including Chromate ester formation); Pinacol Rearrangement; Oxidation with NADP+
    8. Reactions with ethers: Lysis using H-X; Hydrolysis; Nucleophilic opening of epoxides
    9. Reactions forming ethers: Condensation of alcohols; Williamson Ether Synthesis; Sharpless Asymmetric Epoxidation
    10. Reactions of alkenes with alcohols
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

Students who successfully complete the assignments of this course should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate various levels of proficiency with predicting the mechanisms of reactions of various classes of organic molecules including, but not limited to alkanes, alkenes, alkyl halides, and alcohols. 2, Demonstrate the use of critical thinking skills in the analysis of chemical reactions.
  2. Recognize and give examples of the importance of searching for patterns when one is studying the sciences and carrying out investigations and/or experiments.
  3. Name organic and biochemical molecules possessing a variety of structural complexity.
  4. Predict the physical properties of molecules based on an understanding of functional groups.
  5. Predict reactions between molecules base on an understanding of functional groups and bonding.
  6. Describe how chemical properties and reactions mediate biological processes such as: i. How solubility mediates where drugs and other chemicals go in the human body; ii. The role of pH in maintaining enzyme activity. iii.The importance of buffers in maintaining the appropriate pH; iv. How isomerism can change a molecule's bioavailability/reactivity; vi. Demonstrate proficiency in performing retrosynthetic analysis; vii. Demonstrate proficiency with course management software such HFC Online. viii. Display professional behavior, courtesy, and attitude.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Student assessment is built into the course objectives. Objectives were written using wording which allows their achievement to be measured. Students will be assessed on:

  1. In Class Questions, both verbal and written.
  2. Pre Class Questions, both written and electronic.
  3. On-line Web Based Learning (OWL) provided by text publisher which allows students to complete homework type problems, receive immediate feedback, and allows them to redo the material until they get it right.
  4. Lecture examinations consisting of objective questions and short essays.
  5. Professional behavior and attitude.

Understanding Organic Chemistry I D. Todd Whitaker, PhD, Cengage Learning, USA, 2012


General Education Categories
  • Natural Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Scientific Reasoning
MTA Categories
  • Category 6.1: Natural Sciences

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2019
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date