The differences between Organic Chemistry and Synthetic Organic Chemistry are small, but by no means insignificant. At it’s most base and simple form, Organic Chemistry describes the overall study of the properties and structures of organic compounds, and the effects had on them by various sources. While the study referred to as Synthetic Organic Chemistry generally talks more specifically about finding ways to create compounds using existing methods.
This can either mean creating brand new compounds or molecules that have never existed before (but have been theorized to have desirable uses and/or applications) or simply taking an existing compound or molecule and trying to find a more efficient way to create it so that it can be used more readily.
Of course saying that those are the only two uses of synthetic organic chemistry is almost insulting to the study, but they are the two main focuses, and will therefore be the focus here. Since synthetic organic chemistry is in fact a subset of the larger umbrella of “Organic Chemistry” people usually wind up studying a bit of both. However, it is theoretically possible to study organic chemistry and only have the most passing familiarity with synthetic organic chemistry.
So it’s not that it’s a different science, per-se, it just simply uses focuses one general aspect of the science. The building of compounds. It might be a bit boring to some people, but to others this process is endlessly fascinating. So, to clarify, this is the process of:
1: Mixing Compounds or Molecules
2: Adding and Repeating as Needed
3: Testing the Results Under Various Conditions
4: Making a Viable, Usable Entity at the Other End
This is a wonderful, useful science that is helping drive the modern world forward as we create new and exciting molecules. Or simply better ways of making stuff we already know how to make, making them more available for people and the public in general.