• Length:
    15 Weeks
  • Effort:
    10–12 hours per week
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  • Course Type:
    Instructor-led on a course schedule


High School Chemistry (Module 0 provides background information)
Pre-Calculus-Level Mathematics
5.01x is a prerequisite for 5.02x, which will be available in 2021

About this course

Skip About this course

Chemistry is the study of the properties, structure, behavior, and reactivity of matter. As the central science, chemistry has connections to fields from physics to biology, from environmental science to nano-science. A fundamental understanding of chemistry is the basis on which cutting-edge research in many fields rests. This course is designed to build core skills in chemistry, including drawing chemical structures and predicting molecular properties and reactivities, as well as to gain the necessary fundamental knowledge for advanced courses such as Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Materials Science.

This chemistry course is the first in a series of two courses that together cover first-year, University-level chemistry. In this course, you will uncover the principles of chemical bonding, in the way it historically occurred: starting from the first experiments that revealed the fundamental dual wave-particle nature of energy and matter. Using the machinery of quantum chemistry, you will learn to:

  • build models to describe the electronic structure of atoms,
  • examine how atoms can be combined into molecules through different chemical bonding models,
  • predict the structure and geometry of molecules,
  • analyze how molecular geometry determines molecular properties,
  • explore how molecules interact with each other and analyze how these interactions impact properties in a variety of phases

This course is based on material in MIT’s Principles of Chemical Science course, which fulfills the General Institute Requirement in Chemistry for all MIT undergraduates.

The course image is of liquid oxygen suspended between two powerful magnets, demonstrating that oxygen is a magnetic species.

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Wave-Particle Duality of Energy and Matter
  • Introductory Quantum Mechanics
  • Electronic Structure of Atoms
  • Molecular Bonding and Structure
  • Intermolecular and Interatomic Interactions

Meet your instructors

Sylvia Ceyer
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mei Hong
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Patti Christie
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alisa Krishtal
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners from one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.