Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Chemistry


Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Core Chemistry 2 (CHEM2012) AND Structure and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry (CHEM2087).


  • Core Chemistry 3 (CHEM3012) OR Bioactive Chemistry 3 (CHEM3211).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To expand and promote the knowledge of synthetic and mechanistic chemistry.


  • Catalysis and mechanism: general principles and applications.
  • Natural product biosynthesis: comparison of synthetic reactions with natural reagents, methods to establish biosynthetic pathways.
  • Molecular recognition and Molecular Machines.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Categorise the different types of catalytic reactions;
  • Understand the basis of covalent catalysis including nucleophilic catalysis and catalysis by cofactors, thiamine pyrophosphate and pyridoxal phosphate;
  • Understand the origins of intramolecular catalysis and their relation to effective molarity;
  • Rationalize the high efficiencies of enzymes based on contributions from different forms of catalysis;
  • Understand the importance of intermolecular interactions and how modulation of structure, charge and solvation changes affinity in natural and synthetic systems;
  • Rationalise the operation of molecular machines based on mechanically interlocked molecules;
  • Describe how different classes of common natural products are biosynthesis from simple precursors
  • Explain how isotopes and NMR methods can be applied to establish and differentiate between biosynthetic pathways.
Subject-specific Skills:
Key Skills:
  • Problem solving, developed through practice;
  • information retrieval and scientific writing, exercised through assignments for workshops;
  • 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 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.
  • Workshops are groups of students where problems are considered, and common difficulties shared. 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 summatively assessed 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 18 1 per week 1 hour 18
Workshops 3 3 in Term 3 1.5 hours 4.5
Preparation and Reading 77.5
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination Two hours 100%

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