Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Labs: 2 sessions / week, 4 hours / session

Course Description

Laboratory Chemistry introduces experimental chemistry for students requiring a chemistry laboratory who are not majoring in chemistry. The course covers principles and applications of chemical laboratory techniques, including preparation and analysis of chemical materials, measurement of pH, gas and liquid chromatography, visible-ultraviolet spectrophotometry, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectrometry, polarimetry, X-ray diffraction, kinetics, data analysis, and organic synthesis.


While this course does not have prerequisites, 5.12 Organic Chemistry I is a co-requisite which is taken concurrently with this course by students on campus.


Laboratory Chemistry has three components:

  1. The safety lecture,
  2. The course lectures, and
  3. The experiments carried out in the laboratory and associated quizzes, written and oral reports.

Classroom lectures are given on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as shown in the Calendar. The purpose of the lecture component is to provide the background and theoretical understanding necessary to execute and understand the experiments. Lectures will cover the chemistry involved in the experiments, the theoretical background of various techniques and procedures used in the experiments, and the instrumental methods of analysis used throughout the semester. Error analysis and use of the computer to perform the more elaborate calculations will also be covered.

In this course, students are divided into four groups for the laboratory experiments. To accommodate this, there are two concurrent offerings of the labs, one that meets on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and one that meets on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. The content for both offerings is the same. Lectures will be given concerning Safety and General Laboratory Procedures according to the schedule shown in the Calendar. Students are potentially prevented from doing some of the experiments if the instructors believe that the students are unprepared because of absence from a lecture pertinent to that experiment.

A list of required readings is provided in direct support of the lecture material. It will prove most valuable to students to look over the readings prior to the associated lectures.



Mohrig, Alberg, et al. Laboratory Techniques in Organic Chemistry. 4th ed. W. H. Freeman, 2014. ISBN: 9781464134227.

Coghill, and Garson, eds. The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Science Information. 3rd ed. American Chemical Society, 2006. ISBN: 9780841239999.

Laboratory Experiments

There will be five required experiments in the course. The Labs section contains detailed information on laboratory policies and organization, lab notebooks, and report format.


Students will be graded on the basis of quality of the laboratory work and the write-up for required experiments, as well as an oral report after the last experiment.

More details can be found in the Labs section in Report Format (PDF). For a detailed breakdown of grading for this course, please see the Grading Policy (PDF).

General Information

Ethics (PDF) — Standards for academic honesty.

Safety (PDF) — Safety and general laboratory procedures.

Grading Policy (PDF) — Details of the experiment grade and the final grade for the course.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

theaters Lecture Videos