Organic Chemistry


This track represents a broad spectrum of traditional and emerging areas of chemistry involving the synthesis and study of small and large carbon-based molecules. The enormously diverse applications of artificial and natural organic compounds creates strong interdisciplinary efforts in organometallic, physical organic, materials, bioorganic, and natural products chemistry. Many research programs have significant overlap with Chemical Biology and other tracks, as well as efforts within the UCSD School of Medicine, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the UCSD Moores Cancer Center, Nanoengineering and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Course Offerings:

  • CHEM 252 Synthetic Methods (F)
  • CHEM 254 Mechanisms of Organic Reactions (F)
  • CHEM 255 Synthesis of Complex Molecules (W)
  • CHEM 256 Structure and Properties of Organic Molecules (W)
  • CHEM 257 Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry (S)
  • CHEM 258 Applied Spectroscopy (S)

Course Descriptions

CHEM 252 Synthetic Methods (F)

(Conjoined with Chem 152.) A survey of reactions of particular utility in the organic laboratory. Emphasis is on methods of preparation of carbon-carbon bonds and oxidation reduction sequences. For Chem 252, students would be required to complete an additional paper and/or exam beyond that expected of students enrolled in Chem 152. Prerequisites: Chem 140C or 140CH (152), or graduate standing (252).

CHEM 254 Mechanisms of Organic Reactions (F)

(Conjoined with Chem 154; formerly Chem 247.) A qualitative approach to the mechanisms of various organic reactions; substitutions, additions, eliminations, condensations, rearrangements, oxidations, reductions, free-radical reactions, and photochemistry. Includes considerations of molecular structure and reactivity, synthetic methods, spectroscopic tools, and stereochemistry. The topics emphasized will vary from year to year. This is the first quarter of the advanced organic chemistry sequence. Chem 254 students will be required to complete an additional paper and/or exam beyond that expected of students in Chem 154. Prerequisites: Chem 140C or 140CH (154), or graduate standing (254).

CHEM 255 Synthesis of Complex Molecules (W)

(Conjoined with Chem 155.) This course discusses planning economic routes for the synthesis of complex organic molecules. The uses of specific reagents and protecting groups will be outlined as well as the control of stereochemistry during a synthesis. Examples will be selected from the recent literature. Chem 255 students will be required to complete an additional paper and/or exam beyond that expected of students in Chem 155. (May not be offered every year.) Prerequisites: Chem 152 or 252 or consent of instructor.

CHEM 256 Structure and Properties of Organic Molecules (W)

(Conjoined with Chem 156.) Introduction to the measurement and theoretical correlation of the physical properties of organic molecules. Topics covered include molecular geometry, molecular-orbital theory, orbital hybridization, aromaticity, chemical reactivity, stereochemistry, infrared and electronic spectra, photochemistry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. Chem 256 students will be required to complete an additional paper and/or exam beyond that expected of students in Chem 156. Prerequisites: Chem 140C or 140CH (156), or graduate standing (256).

CHEM 257 Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry (S)

(Conjoined with Chem 157.) A comprehensive survey of modern bioorganic and natural products chemistry. Topics include biosynthesis of natural products, molecular recognition, and small molecule-biomolecule interactions. Chem 257 students will be required to complete additional course work beyond that expected of students in Chem 157. Prerequisites: Chem 140C or 140CH (157), or graduate standing (257).

CHEM 258 Applied Spectroscopy (S)

(Conjoined with Chem 158.) Intensive coverage of modern spectroscopic techniques used to determine the structure of organic molecules. Problem solving and interpretation of spectra will be strongly emphasized. Students will be required to write and submit a paper that reviews a recent research publication that reports the structure determination by spectroscopic methods of natural products. Recommended: one year of organic chemistry with laboratory.