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What Does an Organic Chemistry Tutor Do?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Organic chemistry revolves around the study of carbon and its role in various types of structures. An organic chemistry tutor educates students about this branch of science. Tutors work with groups of students but can also provide one-on-one tutorials for individuals. Typically, an organic chemistry tutor is employed by a college or university although some high school science teachers may provide tutoring on this topic.

Science undergraduates are often required to study organic chemistry; these students attend group lectures and seminars on this topic. An organic chemistry tutor may meet with students after each lecture to discuss the subject matter in more detail. Students normally have the ability to ask questions during these tutorials and the tutor may assign essays or ask students to complete questionnaires that are designed to test their knowledge of the subject. In some instances, tutors also conduct lectures but in many instances, tutorials and lectures are handled by different people.

Many organic chemists are engaged in research to create new compounds or to alter the structure of existing compounds and materials. Research is often conducted by postgraduate students at major universities and these research students usually work with a tutor who oversees their work. The tutor may advise students during their research or assign students specific tasks such as creating a compound that has certain properties. Some organic chemistry research is practical and laboratory based while other research is purely hypothetical. An organic chemistry tutor may assist students involved in both types of study.

Traditionally, academic tutors have conducted in-person meetings with students but towards the end of the 20th century, some academic institutions began offering online classes and tutorials. An organic chemistry tutor may liaise with web-based students on messages boards or via email. The tutor may send out group emails with class notes to large numbers of students or send separate emails to students based upon their specific needs. Some tutors also conduct video-based online conferences. Students can interact with the tutor either through messaging services or via online videos.

While many tutors are employed by universities or other types of academic establishments, some tutors are self-employed academics who arrange classes with individuals. Typically, self-employed tutors are professors or postgraduate students who supplement their income by conducting fee based tutorial sessions. Both independent tutors and tutors employed by universities must have a college degree in organic chemistry although many universities require tutors to have an advanced degree. Senior tutors are usually individuals with Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) postgraduate degrees.


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