Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Chemistry


Type Open Level 3 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Core Chemistry 2 (CHEM2012).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Bioactive Chemistry 3 (CHEM3211) or Chemical Physics 3 (CHEM3411)


  • To develop the fundamentals of chemistry through in-depth discussion of selected areas.


  • Introduction to organometallic chemistry.
  • Catalysis.
  • Pericyclic transformations in synthetic organic chemistry.
  • Reactive intermediate in organic processes.
  • Selectivity in organic transformations.
  • Statistical thermodynamics.
  • Transition state theory and its applications.
  • Soft Matter and/or Molecular biophysics

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Have an appreciation of the chemistry of low oxidation state transition metal compounds and the ability to predict structure and reactions from electron distributions and mechanisms, where appropriate using spectroscopic data, and hence solve problems in organometallic chemistry;
  • discuss the significance, industrial or otherwise, of catalysis at a variety of metal centres with an emphasis on understanding their mode of action;
  • employ advanced methods of organic synthesis alongside more basic methodologies learnt in earlier years to solve problems in organic chemistry;
  • describe synthetically useful free radical reactions, carbenes, nitrenes and ionic rearrangements;
  • describe methods for introducing stereoselectivity into a variety of organic reactions;
  • use of FMO to predict reaction outcomes from pericyclic transformations;
  • employ pericyclic reaction strategies to the synthesis of organic frameworks;
  • describe the ideas of statistical thermodynamics and develop equations which allow the calculation of heat capacities, standard entropies and equilibrium constants;
  • describe the principles of transition state theory, develop equations for rate constants and activation parameters and apply these to chemical reactions;
  • either (i) describe how soft matter differs from liquids and solids; or (ii) understand biomolecular systems and explain biological function in terms of molecular structure, structural organization, and dynamic behaviour.
Subject-specific Skills:
Key Skills:
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures are used to convey concepts, demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples. When appropriate, lectures will be supported by written on-line material, or by information and relevant links on Blackboard Learn Ultra.
  • Private study should be used by students to develop their subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation, through reading textbooks and literature.
  • Tutorial workshops are where groups of students consider problems and share common difficulties. This ensures that students have understood the work and can apply it to real life situations. These are formatively assessed.
  • Students will be able to obtain further help in their studies by approaching their lecturers, either after lectures or at other mutually convenient times.
  • Student performance will be assessed summatively through examinations. Examinations test students' ability to work under pressure under timed conditions, to prepare for examinations and direct their own programme of revision and learning, and develop key time management skills. The examination will provide the means for students to demonstrate the acquisition of subject knowledge and the development of their problem-solving skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 79 4 or 5 per week 1 Hour 79
Workshop 9 1.5 Hours 13.5
Preparation and Reading 307.5
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Examination 1 3 hours 50%
Examination 2 3 hours 50%

Formative Assessment:

Set work for workshops.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University