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Organic chemistry

This course is a part of Chemistry, a 18-course Topic series from Khan Academy.

Sal and Jay cover topics covered in college organic chemistry course. Basic understanding of basic high school or college chemistry assumed (although there is some review).

This course contains 14 segments:

Structure and bonding

Let's review the basics of chemical bonds including dot structures, hybridization, bond-line structures, electronegativity, and polarity. We will also discuss how bonding and intermolecular forces relate to physical properties such as boiling point.

Resonance and acid-base chemistry

Let's review how to keep track of electrons using formal charges, oxidation states, oxidation-reduction reactions, and resonance structures. We will also go over the principles of acid-base chemistry.

Alkanes, cycloalkanes, and functional groups

The properties of organic molecules depend on the structure, and knowing the names of organic compounds allow us to communicate with other chemists. We'll be learning about different aspects of molecular structure, including common functional groups and conformations.


Just like how your left foot doesn't quite fit your right shoe, molecules also can have properties that depend on their handedness! This property is called chirality. We will go over what makes a molecule chiral, stereoisomers, assigning configurations using the R,S system, optical activity and Fischer projections.

Substitution and elimination reactions

Sn1, Sn2, E1, and E2 reactions form the basis for understanding why certain products are more likely to form than others. We will learn about the reaction mechanisms, and how nucleophilicity and electrophilicity can be used to choose between different reaction pathways.

Alkenes and alkynes

Alkenes and alkynes can be transformed into almost any other functional group you can name! We will review their nomenclature, and also learn about the vast possibility of reactions using alkenes and alkynes as starting materials.

Alcohols, ethers, epoxides, sulfides

Alcohol and thiol groups are important functional groups for applications ranging from enzyme reactions to making flexible contact lenses. We will be reviewing naming oxygen and sulfur containing compounds. Then we will be ready to learn about some reactions that involve alcohols, ethers, epoxides, thiols, and sulfides as both reactants and products.

Conjugated systems and pericyclic reactions

Molecules with conjugation can undergo some interesting and useful reactions! We will be learning about the Diels-Alder reaction, including how to predict the stereochemistry and regiochemistry of the product based on the diene and dienophile.

Aromatic compounds

The distinctive electronic structure of aromatic leads to some distinctive reactivity! We will be covering the naming of benzene derivatives, stability of aromatic compounds, electrophilic aromatic substitution, and nucleophilic aromatic substitution.

Aldehydes and ketones

Aldehydes and ketones can be starting materials for a range of other functional groups. We will be learning about the nomenclature and reactions of aldehydes and ketones, including how to use acetals as protecting groups.

Carboxylic acids and derivatives

Did you know that many fruit aromas including banana (isoamyl acetate) and pineapple (ethyl butanoate) come from molecules containing ester groups? These compounds can be synthesized from carboxylic acids using a reaction called Fischer esterification. We will be covering naming carboxylic acids, as well as the diverse chemistry of carboxylic acid derivatives such as acid chlorides, amides, esters, and anhydrides.

Alpha carbon chemistry

The carbon that is one carbon away from an aldehyde or ketone group is the alpha carbon. The deceptively innocuous hydrogens bonded to the alpha carbon can be involved in some classic organic chemistry reactions such as aldol condensations. We will be learning about the formation of enolate anions, and how they can be used in Aldol condensations to build complex organic molecules.


Amines are found in many biologically active molecules. Two examples are the charmingly named putrescine and cadaverine, which are formed by the breakdown of amino acids. We will be discussing the IUPAC nomenclature of amines.


Spectroscopy is the study of how light interacts with matter. We can use spectroscopy to determine the structure and functional groups in organic compounds. We will be learning about how to use IR, UV/Vis, and NMR spectroscopy.

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Length 14 segments
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Subjects Science
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Khan Academy

Rating Not enough ratings
Length 14 segments
Starts On Demand (Start anytime)
Cost Free
From Khan Academy
Download Videos On all desktop and mobile devices
Language English
Subjects Science
Tags Science

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