Medical Should I take Organic Chemistry I online in the summer?

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Oct 13, 2014
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Hello! At my school Organic Chemistry is separated into three classes, Orgo I, II, and lab. Organic Chemistry I and II are completely just lecture with no lab attached. I was wondering if it would be okay to take Orgo I online and take Orgo II and Orgo lab in the fall semester. Would medical schools frown upon this even though it is all lecture? I would have Organic Chem II and lab in person so I thought that taking Organic Chem I would be okay.
I am a biomedical engineering major on a premed track so my schedule is really busy and doesn’t require Orgo II or lab, so the track that they give us doesn’t include those classes. I will be a sophomore next year and I was planning on applying to a few early assurance programs but they require to have taken organic chemistry I and II. If I can excel at all the classes will it make a difference in my acceptances to medical schools? Thank you!!

I'll defer to our current adcom folks but considering Organic Chemistry is a "weed out" course for many potential premeds, it would raise a red flag if you took any portion of it online. At that, many programs wont waiver the prerequisite that you absolutely need in an in-person lab elective that coincides with both Orgo I and II (not just 1 lab that covers both).

I suggest investing in getting the latest MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements) that will allow you to compare MD programs and what requirements they allow (online vs no online).
Oct 14, 2011
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Under the current circumstances, it is clear that flexibility is being encouraged in the admissions processes at a lot of schools, including considering online coursework for prerequisites, provided it is offered by your home institution and has the same set of rigorous expectations as an in-person class. If anything, this may be the best time to take an online prerequisite if offered by your university. Definitely check with some schools' admissions offices to see where their faculty will stand on this issue.


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Feb 21, 2002
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From an academic standpoint, this is a high-risk option. I have seen quite a number of applications derail from a bad compressed class. If you are willing to risk the study over the summer, then it can be done. You will not be able to take the Organic II lab in most universities without having done the Organic I lab (and I would advise against it). Schools differ, but most require the lab. There are flexibility issues stemming from COVID-19, but ignoring the laboratory component is going to be a major stretch if not outright opposed by schools that require the lab to be considered. I would check with the early schools with the plan. I do generally recommend against a Summer Organic class even for highly motivated students because of the teaching risk and compressed nature with it being very deterministic on the Organic II.

The general advice for Organic Chemistry that I tell students (and what is said in Medicinal Chemistry) is that one should consider every exam to be a cumulative exam as the course requirements build on each other. Organic II is virtually impossible to do well without a good understanding of the concepts taught in Organic I (acid-base, electrophilicity, the basic SN2/SN1, E2/E1 reactions with mechanisms and alkyl halides). A poor understanding really puts you behind in second term.
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