Are you looking to gain a better understanding of chemistry? In this guide, we’ve listed the best online chemistry courses to help you get started.
Many people need to find a good online chemistry course. For some, it might be to augment or supplement the curriculum you are learning in another chemistry course. For others, it might be to meet a prerequisite for careers such as nursing, medicine, pharmacy, biology and engineering.
With the expansion of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), it is much easier to find such coursework without being enrolled in a college. Many MOOCs are provided by the top universities in the country, often free or at very low prices.
1. Chemistry from Kentucky (Coursera)
School: University fo Kentucky
The University of Kentucky offers a top-rated chemistry course on Coursera. The curriculum is the same as an advanced high school chemistry course. The content of the course replicates the curriculum of that recommended by the American Chemical Society. The University of Kentucky also offers a Coursera course on advanced chemistry. Students learn about periodic trends, the structure of atoms, compounds, stoichiometry, reactions, chemical bonding and thermochemistry.
The course is team-taught by Dr. Allison Soult and Dr. Kim Woodrum. The coursework includes videos, reading, practice exercises and quizzes. There is 25 hours of content in the course. Deadlines are flexible. Also, there is ongoing enrollment, so you can begin the course when you desire. There are English and Spanish subtitles provided with the videos. The English subtitles are very helpful if English is not your first language. Students rated the course a 4.7 out of 5 and were impressed with the practice exercises and how they added to their learning.
- The Atom and Its Structure
- The Periodic Table
- Chemical Reactions
- Molecular Compounds
2. Introduction to Chemistry: Reactions and Ratios (Coursera)
School: Duke University
Introduction to Chemistry is a beginner chemistry course offered by Duke University on Coursera. The curriculum is designed for students who need a bit more grounding before taking a college-level chemistry course. It is also helpful for those who took high school chemistry quite a long time ago. There are no prerequisites to take the course. Students learn about chemical reactions, the periodic table and trends, stoichiometry, the nomenclature of chemistry and problem solving.
The course is taught by Professor Dorian Canelas and has flexible deadlines. There is a continuous, open enrollment. There are 29 hours of coursework offered over a 6-week term that includes videos, readings, quizzes, practice exercises, forum discussions, honors lessons, an advanced problem set and a two-part final exam. The videos have subtitles available in English, Spanish and Hebrew, so it is helpful for learners who are not native English speakers. Students were very pleased with the course. The average rating was 4.8.
- Scientific Method
- Matter and Energy
- Chemical Composition and Reactions
- Solutions and Solubility Rules
- Acid-Base and Redox Reactions
- Final Exam Week
3. Chemistry Courses from MIT Open Courseware
No rating available
The MIT Open Courseware Chemistry offerings include 46 chemistry courses, graduate and undergraduate, that range in topics from organic chemistry to experimental chemistry and physical chemistry. Many different professors teach the courses. All of the offerings are absolutely free to download. Unlike the Coursera courses, no one is going to grade your work, so there is no feedback mechanism in place to see if you are on track in your learning efforts. Basically, what you have are sets of videos, video lectures, simulations, problem sets, exams and solutions. MIT believes, by placing this information online, they are making education accessible to everyone and allowing for independent study.
There is no ratings mechanism for these courses. In order to provide a fair comparison with the other introductory chemistry offerings, this writer chose the Principles of Chemical Science offering. It is taught by Professor Catherine Drennan and includes downloads for the video lectures, videos, problem sets and solutions, captions, transcripts, lecture notes, instructor insights and an index for all of the material. As a semester course, this is a more robust offering than any of the other courses listed in this article. Students are recommended to budget 150 hours to complete the course successfully.
The course is the freshman-level introduction to chemistry course. There is a prerequisite of a year of high school chemistry.
- The Atom
- Chemical Bonding and Structure
- Thermodynamics and Chemical Equilibrium
- Transition Metals and Oxidation-Reduction Reactions
- Chemical Kinetics
4. Become A Chemistry 1 Master – Basic Principles Of Chemistry (Udemy)
The Chemistry 1 offering by Udemy is another online introductory chemistry course. It is taught by Dr. Mohammad Abualrub, a Jordanian national, who is currently an assistant professor at a private Jordanian university. Dr. Abualrub also has eight years of experience in the pharmaceutical field as a chemical analyst in both quality control and research and development.
There are 92 lectures, six and a half hours of video, seven articles, seven resources for download and 31 quizzes liberally sprinkled throughout the course. The list of what one can expect to learn in the course is astounding. Udemy courses, though, do not require the instructor to grade any quizzes, and there are no practice exercises.
The course is rated as a 4.2. Some students had trouble, even with subtitles, understanding the professor’s speech. One student complained that the microphone was not loud enough to properly hear the content. Since Udemy has a 30-day money-back guarantee, one can get a refund if there are audio issues.
Dr. Abualrub also offers an organic chemistry course through Udemy.
- Matter and Measurement
- Atoms, Molecules and Ions
- Chemical Formula and Equation Calculations
- Chemical Reactions
- Gaseous State
- Quantum Theory
- Ionic and Covalent Bonding
- Molecular Geometry and Chemical Bonding Theory
5. Chemistry from Khan Academy
School: Khan Academy
No rating available
The Khan Academy has created an incredible array of videos on topics such as mathematics, science and engineering, Advanced Placement courses, test preparation and the arts and humanities. These are all free for download and viewing. One of the major sponsors of the Khan Academy is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The introduction to chemistry course offered by Khan Academy is targeted at a high-school level. There are videos, practice exercises, quizzes and unit exams – all machine graded.
The course consists of 17-different chemistry-related topics, each with a number of sub-topics and content. Everything from atoms, compounds and ions to checmical equilibriums are covered in the Khan Academy Chemistry tutorials.
- Atoms, Compounds, and Ions
- Chemical Reactions and Stoichiometry
- Electronic Structure of Atoms
- Periodic Table
- Chemical Bonds
- Gasses and Kinetic Molecular Theory
- States of Matter
- Chemical Equilibrium
- Acids and Bases
Which of these online chemistry courses are best for you? The answer seems to be that it depends upon what you are looking for. For those who would like a course that covers the most possible topics, it seems that the Udemy offering is most comprehensive. From user comments, though, one has to wonder if there might be too broad a coverage and not enough depth for full comprehensibility and learning.
Those looking for solid introductory chemistry offerings – with a full panoply of videos, quizzes and graded practice exercises as well as a final examination – would do best with one of the two Coursera offerings if you want the graded feedback and don’t have time for a full semester course. The offering from Duke appeared to have more coverage and provided more support for the basics in the mathematics of chemistry.
The MIT offering is best if you don’t mind that you will have to check your answers to everything against the provided scoring keys and prefer a comprehensive semester college introductory chemistry course.
If you are looking for a high-school level, online chemistry course and are content to watch videos and take machine-scored quizzes, practice exercises, and examinations, then the Khan Academy offering would be best and is free as well.