Chemistry Laboratory Techniques

Video still of a separatory funnel in Video 5 of the Digital Lab Techniques Manual.

"Chemistry Laboratory Techniques" consists of intensive practical training in basic chemistry lab techniques, and is intended to provide first year MIT students with the skills necessary to undertake original research projects in chemistry. (Photo by Elizabeth R. McGrath, Communications and Development Coordinator, MIT Chemistry Department)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

January IAP 2012



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Highlights

5.301 includes a series of chemistry laboratory instructional videos called the Digital Lab Techniques Manual (DLTM), used as supplementary material for this course as well as other courses offered by the Chemistry department. The full "Digital Lab Techniques Manual" is available in our Supplemental Resources section under Chemistry.

This course is offered during MIT's Independent Activities Period (IAP)—a special 4-week term that runs the full month of January.

You can follow the students who took 5.301 in January 2012, as they faced the challenges of learning chemistry the MIT way, through a unique video series called ChemLab Boot Camp.

Course Description

This course is an intensive introduction to the techniques of experimental chemistry and gives first year students an opportunity to learn and master the basic chemistry lab techniques for carrying out experiments. Students who successfully complete the course and obtain a "Competent Chemist" (CC) or "Expert Experimentalist" (EE) rating are likely to secure opportunities for research work in a chemistry lab at MIT.


The laboratory manual and materials for this course were prepared by Dr. Katherine J. Franz and Dr. Kevin M. Shea with the assistance of Professors Rick L. Danheiser and Timothy M. Swager. Materials have been revised by Dr. J. Haseltine, Dr. Kevin M. Shea, Dr. Sarah A. Tabacco, Dr. Kimberly L. Berkowski, Anne M. (Gorham) Rachupka, and Dr. John J. Dolhun.


The experiments described in these materials are potentially hazardous and require a high level of safety training, special facilities and equipment, and supervision by appropriate individuals. You bear the sole responsibility, liability, and risk for the implementation of such safety procedures and measures. MIT shall have no responsibility, liability, or risk for the content or implementation of any of the material presented.

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John Dolhun. 5.301 Chemistry Laboratory Techniques. January IAP 2012. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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