Foundations of Organic Chemistry--CHEM 3310

This course is required for Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, and Dietetics majors, and will also be taken by students preparing for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and related health professions.

Prerequisite: CHEM 1120 with a grade of at least a C-. Repeat no more than two times.
Corequisite: Students are strongly encouraged to enroll concurrently in the associated laboratory, CHEM 3301.

Course Description: Systematic study of the structures, physical properties, and reactivity of organic compounds, including interpretations based on modern theories of organic chemistry; emphasis on alcohols, amines, carboxylic acids and their derivatives.
Three lecture hours per week; 3 credit hours.

Textbook and other materials:

  • Paula Y. Bruice, Organic Chemistry, 5th ed.

Course Objectives:
To provide students with an in-depth conceptual and practical understanding of the structure, structural characterization, properties, and reactivity of organic compounds; To provide students with appropriate background for biochemistry or further study in organic chemistry.

Course Outline: (The exact order of topics may vary by instructor.)

  • Structural notations (Lewis, Kekule, skeleton) and nomenclature
  • Functional groups and chemical classes
  • Bonding (using concepts of atomic and molecular orbitals)
  • Isomerism (conformational, constitutional, stereochemical)
  • Electronic delocalization (discussed in terms of both resonance and molecular orbitals)
  • Introduction to spectroscopic characterization of organic structures (infra-red, spectroscopy, one-dimensional NMR and UV)
  • Reaction types (acid-base, addition, substitution, elimination, oxidation-reduction)
  • Mechanism types (heterolytic/polar, homolytic/radical)
  • Reaction intermediates (radicals, cations, anions, carbenes)
  • Reaction energetics and kinetics
  • Reactivity and reactions of alcohols, amines, carboxylic acids and carboxylic acid derivatives

Grades: A comprehensive final examination will be administered in class at the assigned time. At least one test will be administered in class and graded before the last day to drop. Other tests, quizzes, and graded assignments, weighting, and grade ranges are at the discretion of the instructor, and will be detailed on a syllabus distributed on the first day of classes.


  • Tardiness and unexcused absence from class are unprofessional behaviors which should be avoided, but attendance will not be graded.
  • Electronic devices such as cell phones and pagers should be turned off in the classroom.
  • Reasonable and appropriate accommodations will be made for students who present a memo from Student Disability Services.

Instructor Homepages
Dr. Peter Bridson
Dr. Ted Burkey
Dr. Tomoko Fujiwara
Dr. Abby Parrill

 On-line Resources
Spectroscopy - Organic Chemistry Online at Michigan State University
Database of Spectra - Hosted by SDBS in Japan