CHEM 2123: Organic Chemistry I

Students review the basic principles of chemical bonding as they apply to organic molecules and are introduced to the concepts of functional groups, nomenclature, stereochemistry, and reaction mechanisms. The systematic chemistry of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alkyl halides, alcohols, and ethers are discussed, in addition to the theory and use of spectroscopy in identifying organic compounds. Students are expected to apply their knowledge to problem-solve, deduce structures, and synthesize simple organic molecules using the studied reactions. The relationships between organic chemistry and other disciplines are noted.

Students who intend to complete a full year of university or college organic chemistry are required to register for CHEM 2123 and 2223 and the two laboratory courses.

CHEM 2125, the laboratory component of CHEM 2123, is usually offered once per year in the summertime in Kamloops BC.


After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe bonding in organic molecules and its effect on reactivity.
  • Give correct IUPAC names for compounds having the functional groups studied.
  • Describe and explain conformational analysis in alkanes and cycloalkanes.
  • Identify chiral molecules and use the (R)-(S) nomenclature correctly.
  • Discuss SN1, SN2, E1, and E2 mechanisms and predict when each might occur.
  • Give the experimental evidence for these different mechanisms.
  • Explain the mechanism of free radical chlorination.
  • Predict products from reactions of alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, and ethers.
  • Explain the physical properties of alkanes, alkenes, alkynes, alcohols, and ethers.
  • Predict products of Grignard reactions.
  • Deduce molecular structures of simple unknown compounds from their spectra.
  • Solve simple synthesis problems of compounds with the functional groups studied.
  • Solve simple "railroad" problems involving the functional groups studied.

Course outline

  • Unit 1: Chemical Bonds and Carbon Compounds
  • Unit 2: Stereochemistry
  • Unit 3: Mechanisms of Organic Reactions
  • Unit 4: Alkenes and Alkynes
  • Unit 5: Alcohols and Ethers
  • Unit 6: Spectroscopy of Organic Compounds

Required text and materials

Vollhardt, P., & Schore, N. (2018). Organic chemistry: Structure and function (8th ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman.
Type: Loose leaf: ISBN: 978-1-319-17697-6

Schore, N. (2018). Study guide and solutions manual for Organic chemistry: Structure and function (8th ed.). New York: W. H. Freeman.
Type: ISBN: 978-1-319-19574-8

The Prentice Hall Molecular Model Set for Organic Chemistry. Prentice Hall. England: Prentice- Hall, Inc. (1991).
Type: Model Set


Please be aware that due to COVID-19 safety guidelines all in-person exams have been suspended. As such, all final exams are currently being delivered through ProctorU, which has an approximate fee of $35 involved. There will be more information in your course shell, on how to apply, if your course has a final exam.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1 8%
Assignment 2 8%
Assignment 3 8%
Assignment 4 8%
Assignment 5 9%
Assignment 6 9%
Final Exam * 50%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member

An Open Learning Faculty member is available to assist students. Primary communication is through the Learning Environments “Mail” tool or by phone.

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