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Organic and Biomaterials Chemistry Part 1: An Introduction to Polymer Chemistry

Explore the fundamental chemical concepts underlying the synthesis, properties, and design of a wide variety of organic materials important for engineering applications.

start date
5 Weeks
7-9 hours per week

About this course

Organic and Biomaterials Chemistry is a self-paced online course that focuses on the chemistry and chemical structure-property relationships of soft synthetic and biologically derived materials.

Developed for engineers, scientists, and university-level STEM students interested in learning more about polymer, biomaterials, and organic chemistry from a materials science and engineering perspective, this course aims to help you develop a fundamental understanding of the molecular nature of materials.

This module is the first in a series of three modules based on the MIT course 3.034: Organic and Materials Chemistry. Part 1 of the course, An Introduction to Polymer Chemistry, will focus on methods for preparing synthetic polymers by step- and chain-growth polymerization, polymerization kinetics, and practical considerations of running a polymerization reaction.

What you’ll learn

  • Explore the polymer descriptors that allow researchers to control polymer properties (e.g. molecular weight, dispersity, and topology).
  • Understand the mechanisms of step-growth and chain-growth polymerization.
  • Explain how varying reaction parameters such as temperature and solvent choice can affect the outcome of a polymerization reaction.


  • University-level Introductory Chemistry or 3.091x: Introduction to Solid-State Chemistry
  • University-level Calculus

Meet your instructors

  • Rob Macfarlane

    Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

  • Jessica Sandland

  • John Harrold

Who can take this course?

Because of U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) restrictions and other U.S. federal regulations, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba, Syria, North Korea and the Crimea, Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic regions of Ukraine.