Skip to Content

Campus Leaders is an affiliate for companies including Amazon Associates and earns a commission on qualifying purchases.

Is Organic Chemistry Easier at Community College?

Organic chemistry is regarded as a killer pre-medical course because it sifts out discouraged students from career paths like medicine. Because of its notorious difficulty, many would want to take the easiest version of it. But is taking it at a community college easier than a 4-year college?

Organic chemistry in community colleges is easier because it is less specialized than those in universities. However, it can still tackle the most important basic principles, like structures and reaction mechanisms. 

In this article, I will discuss how organic chemistry is in different community colleges and universities, how they compare to each other, and why one would be easier than the other. 

Organic chemistry at community college - is it easier?

Taking Organic Chemistry in Community College

How and what specific lessons are tackled in an organic chemistry course depends upon the curriculum or course outline of the institution. 

For instance, the upper-level organic chemistry class at the Community College of Philadelphia tackles organic compounds’ structure, synthesis, reactions and mechanism, and stereochemistry (source).

Meanwhile, at the Montgomery County Community College, they place emphasis on the nomenclature, structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds. In the Richmond Community College, more or less the same topics are also tackled. 

Overall, based on the course outlines and curricula that I have read regarding the organic chemistry courses in community colleges, they are able to cover the most essential and basic principles of organic chemistry that one may need.

Organic Chemistry in University

Now, in making comparisons, it would also be important to look into how organic chemistry is delivered in universities. 

The Organic Chemistry I class at the National University in California introduces carbon compounds, their properties, structure, reactions, and mechanisms. It also stated specific classes like aliphatics, halides, thiols, sulfides, among others.  

At Doane University, the same basics are being taught, but they also let the students explore different laboratory techniques and applications, like nuclear magnetic resonance, mass spectroscopy, and others (source).

Meanwhile, at Ohio University, many organic chemistry classes are offered, with some basic and introductory classes, adapted for those with no chemistry background (source). Some courses are more specialized and geared towards specific paths, like medicine.

Organic Chemistry in Community College vs. University

If you need to take an introductory organic chemistry class and learn about its basic principles and laboratory techniques, it makes no difference whether you take it in a community college or a university. 

Both institutions tackle its foundation, and with community college education being as sophisticated and specialized as universities, then you’ll learn as much as you would need if you take it there. 

Why Would Organic Chemistry Easier at Community College?

Organic chemistry could be easier in community colleges simply because their classes are less specialized than those in universities. As classes get more specific and high-level, they tend to get more difficult to grasp. If you want the basics, then community college may suit you well. 

For instance, looking at Doane University’s course outline, you can see that they learn techniques like nuclear magnetic resonance, which are sophisticated and have a challenging background knowledge you would need to understand. 

Universities are also bent on pressure and quality, taking their education a step above the usual and the basic. Thus, courses may be generally harder when taken in a university setting over a community college setup.

Why You Might Need To Take Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry is taken not just by pre-medical students but also those pursuing biology, chemistry, engineering, and other fields. The kind of organic class you take may also depend on your field. 

For instance, medical students may need to take upper-level organic chemistry classes, which community colleges may not offer. Or if they do, it may not even be credited. 

Thus, it is essential that if you plan to proceed to higher education like medicine, you must also see if the classes you take in community college would be acknowledged. If not, you might have to end up still taking it in university just to satisfy prerequisites. 

What Is Organic Chemistry?

Organic chemistry is the branch of chemistry that deals with carbon, such as its compounds, reactions, and everything about it. Compounds with carbon in them, like methane (CH4), are called organic compounds.

Carbon has a branch dedicated to it because of its very versatile nature. Being a group 4A element, it can form up to four (4) bonds with other elements, compounds, or even other carbon atoms. Many long-chain compounds have this element as their backbone.

Thus, carbon can form a wide variety of compounds that help make life possible, from gases like methane to the very essence of life, like DNA. 

Source: Chemistry: Organic Chemistry 9th Edition By John McMurry

Is Organic Chemistry Easy?

Organic chemistry classes are not easy. It is regarded as the “do or die” pre-medical course, leading many medical aspirants to change tracks when they could not bear the pressure and difficulty of the subject. 

What Is Community College?

A community college offers two-year programs that lead to an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree. It is an alternative that students in the United States may opt to take should they not wish to enroll in a university or earn academic credit before going to university. 

Community colleges also offer technical or vocational programs that allow students to hone their skills in areas like teaching or welding. Later on, they may become part of the skilled labor workforce that helps make many of society’s functions possible.

Earning Academic Credit Through Community Colleges

But while these colleges are often regarded as vocational or technical, they also serve as credible and strong academic backgrounds. Students may take one to two years worth of classes, which may be credited when they go to university for a Bachelor’s degree. 

In this way, many students are able to save on fees while getting the same classes that they would have had to take had they proceeded immediately to university. Many of these institutions have special agreements with other universities that make the “2+2” (2 years community college, 2 years university) process possible.

Source: Education USA: United States Department of State

Final Thoughts 

Organic chemistry may be easier in community college, but it is still a pretty tricky course to tackle, needing commitment and drive to understand its most basic principles. Thus, even its introductory courses would require you to exert effort in it. 

Recommended Reading: