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Learn organic chemistry with online courses and programs

Organic chemistry is a branch of science that studies carbon-based compounds, or organic compounds. These molecules can be used to develop helpful substances found in everyday products. Learn organic chemistry with online classes delivered through edX.

What is organic chemistry?

Organic chemistry is focused on the study of organic compounds, which are compounds that contain one or more atoms of carbon. By observing and researching these compounds, organic chemists can aid in the development of useful products across a variety of fields, including pharmaceuticals, construction and manufacturing, and science and engineering.

Table salt, sugar, and water are some of the most common compounds we interact with every day. Synthetic products can also be organic compounds. These include plastics and rubbers, artificial sweeteners, cardboard, and carpeting, among many other materials.

Organic Chemistry | Introduction Image

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Organic chemistry course curriculum

Learning organic chemistry can help you build vital skills and knowledge for a variety of STEM-based careers. With edX, you can study online and explore courses that align with your experience and goals.

Introductory organic chemistry courses may cover foundational topics such as:

  • Different types of organic reactions

  • Organic molecule structures

  • Alkanes, cycloalkanes, alkenes, and alkynes

  • Amino acids, peptides, and proteins

  • Nucleotides and nucleic acids

Learners who opt to learn organic chemistry through bachelor’s degree coursework may have opportunities for exploration in a laboratory setting. There, you might conduct experiments in distillation, chromatography, stereoisomerism, and infrared spectroscopy.

edX also offers master’s degree programs that may require mastery of organic chemistry topics. These advanced courses can be beneficial for learners looking to advance their knowledge and career. They may involve theoretical discussions around the future of organic chemistry, as well as technological, ethical, societal, and economic consequences in the production of bio-based products. Existing professionals can also choose from executive education programs that are designed to fit around busy working schedules.

Explore jobs that use organic chemistry

Organic chemistry is necessary for the development of products in a wide range of industries. Once you’ve learned about the importance of organic chemistry and its applications, you can tailor your educational path toward a career you’re passionate about.

Some of the jobs you may be able to qualify for with organic chemistry skills include:

  • Pharmaceutical scientist: Researches and develops chemical compounds that aid in the creation of new medications and treatments.Footnote 1

  • Chemical engineer: Conducts research and performs various chemical processes in product development.Footnote 2

  • Environmental scientist: Studies the impact of organic compounds on the natural environment and makes recommendations for harm reduction.Footnote 3

  • Forensic scientist: Uses organic chemistry approaches to analyze and identify substances collected from crime scenes.Footnote 4

  • Food scientist: Analyzes the nutritional content and safety of natural and processed foods to enhance various processes within food product development.Footnote 5

Each of these roles will have different education and skills requirements. For example, you may be able to build relevant skills in shorter learning formats like an individual course or a boot camp. However, some employers may seek candidates with a degree in science or engineering depending on the role. Before deciding on a specific learning path, research the professional roles you hope to pursue and align your coursework with your career goals.