NKEK13006U Organic Chemistry

Volume 2020/2021

MSc Programme in Chemistry
MSc Programme in Chemistry with a minor subject


The Organic Chemistry course covers structure and mechanisms in organic chemistry with an emphasis on physical organic chemistry.

The major topics are:


-       Chemical bonding and structures (electronegativity, VSEPR, Lewis structures, hybridization, QMOT, orbital mixing);

-       Stereochemistry (configuration, conformation, chirality);

-       Conformationally, sterically and stereoelectronic effects (thermodynamic, kinetic);

-       Solutions and non-covalent binding forces (strong and weak interactions)

-       Acid-Base chemistry (definitions and implications of pH and pKa);

-       Energy surfaces and Kinetics (transition state theory, Hammond postulate, More O’Ferral-Jencks plots)

-       Isotope effects (theory and practice)

-       LFER (Hammett, Bronsted relationship, enthalpy-entropy compensation)

-       Catalysis (General and specific acid/base catalysis)

-       Nucleophilic substitution (at sp2, at sp3, types, leaving groups, anchimeric assistance, carbocations);

-       Addition/elimination/rearrangement/isomerization

-       Concerted pericyclic reactions (cycloadditions, sigmatropic rearangements, FMO theory, electrocyclization)

-       Radical reactions (reaction patterns, stability, substituent effects);

-       Introduction to organometallic chemistry (catalysis, reactions and structures).


And special topics related to the above topics.


The teaching will to a large extent follow the themes in the teaching book chapters, but additional literature will be used to support each topic. The additional literature will mainly be classic and contemporary articles and concepts in organic chemistry. When possible and appropriate, examples from the teachers own research will be used as examples of applied physical organic chemistry. Each topic will be introduces by the lecturer followed by discussions on the class. Exercises for each chapter will be handed out and discussed on the class based on the questions from the textbook or independently prepared quiz.

It is required that all students present at least one research paper during the course. 

Learning Outcome

After passing the course the student should be able to:


Describe reactions using physical organic chemistry.

Justify selectivities between products on the basis of physical organic chemistry.


Apply the theory to solve practical problems in organic chemistry and elucidate the mechanisms of the desired and undesired reactions.


Explain  and discuss the above topics. Analyze reactions on the basis of physical organic chemistry.

Course material will be indicated on Absalon

Basic competencies physical chemistry, quantum chemistry, inorganic chemistry are necessary and intermediate competencies in organic chemistry and organic synthesis  are necessary (equivalent to KemiO and (Vid)OrgSyn).

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The teaching is divided into lectures by the teacher (and invited lecturers), student presentations of research papers and exercises (solved by the students at home – discussed on the class). Special topics and own experiences will be included when appropriate in the context
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 323
  • Theory exercises
  • 56
  • Exam
  • 5
  • Total
  • 412
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written examination, 4.00 h under invigilation
Oral examination, 20 min. (no preparation time)
Midterm Essay (10%)
Written examination, 4.00 h under invigilation (45%)
Oral examination, 20 min. (no preparation time) (45%)

The written and oral exams are weighted equally

Mid-term Essays:
The written exam consists of an essay. At the beginning of block 4 we will shortly discuss the essays and the students will receive feed-back. It is recommended to write the required essay as soon as possible after classroom teaching in the essay subjects has been covered.
Only certain aids allowed

Only certain aids allowed

Midterm essay: open-book

Written examination: molecular building models are allowed

Oral examination: no aids allowed

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
several internal examiners

Same as ordinary exam.

Both oral (20 min no preparation) and written exam (4 hours)must be retaken.

Criteria for exam assesment

Adequate and profound presentation and explanation of the topics in the written and oral examination will result in the grade 12. Basic understanding of the topics and the ability to explain them in context of presented problems is sufficient for passing the course.