What should I know to start CH 630?

The three Advanced Organic Chemistry courses, CH 630-2, are designed as a one year course of study for students who intend to pursue research in areas related to organic chemistry.  I assume that you have completed a one-year course in undergraduate organic chemistry and have taken a physical chemistry course covering thermodynamics, quantum mechanics and kinetics, and that you retain the fundamentals from this undergraduate course work.

An incoming organic graduate student should be familiar with the following concepts and be able to carry out tasks indicated.  Note:  you do not need to be expert in all of these subjects; Advanced Organic Chemistry will be exploring each in some depth.  However, if you find you are very unfamiliar with a large portion of this list, taking CH334-6 may be a better option for you.

Acid/base definitions:

Electrostatics and electronegativity:

Use of resonance structures:

Basic reaction energetics and dynamics:


Basic reaction types:

A student should understand the basic reaction mechanisms available for each of the following, particularly how structural variation of the reactive site in a molecule will affect the facility and outcome of the reaction.


A student should know the basic concepts of the common spectroscopic techniques for structure elucidation, including:

IR: know the simple spring model for bond stretching and bending, and recognize the general frequency/wavenumber ranges for single, double and triple bonds.

UV: know the relationship between electron excitation and UV/vis absorption; know the relationships between absorption wavelength and extent of conjugation.

NMR: know the spinning dipole model for nuclear magnetic resonance, and recognize the general chemical shift ranges for aliphatic, vinylic and aromatic hydrogens (1H NMR) and carbons (13C NMR).

Should you feel your background on one or more of these topics is incomplete, any of the following sophomore-level texts is a suitable reference. Discussions in any of these reflect the level of understanding we hope to see in a first-year graduate student.

Morrison & Boyd, "Organic Chemistry," 5th Ed.
McMurray, "Organic Chemistry," 4th Ed.
Streitweiser & Heathcock, "Introduction to Organic Chemistry," 4th Ed.
Solomons, "Organic Chemistry," 6th Ed.
Vollhardt & Schore, "Organic Chemistry" 2nd Ed.

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 Last updated:  8/5/97
Comments to K. Gable