Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Chemistry


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to FGC0


  • Bioactive Chemistry 3 (CHEM3211), Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHEM3117) AND Biological Chemistry (CHEM2051).


  • Bioactive Chemistry Research Project (CHEM4272), Biochemistry Research Project (BIOL4022),

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Core Chemistry 4 (CHEM4311) AND Advanced Research Concepts in Chemistry (CHEM4481).


  • To build on material taught at level three and provide students with an advanced overview of more specialised areas of chemistry at the interface with biology.


  • I - Medicinal Chemistry I - Drug design, discovery and development
  • J - Advanced Polymer Synthesis
  • K - Carbenes in Organocatalysis
  • M - Strategies in Total Synthesis
  • N - Organofluorine Chemistry
  • O - Designer Polymers and their Applications
  • U - Medicinal Chemistry II - From hit to pill
  • [*Each student will follow six lecture courses.].

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • After attending the relevant lecture courses, students should be able to:
  • I1 - Classify drugs according to their site and mode of action and critically discuss the relationships between structure and activity;
  • I2 - Describe methods by which drugs may be discovered and optimised;
  • J1 - Describe and distinguish between the major synthetic routes to polymer molecules
  • J2 - Understand the relative merits and limitations of each synthetic route and suggest suitable strategies for the synthesis of key polymer classes
  • K1 - Identify different classes of carbene organocatalysts and synthetic routes to these catalysts;
  • K2 - Discuss typical mechanisms of reactions enabled by carbenes including acyl anion, Lewis base and azolium enolate catalysis;
  • M1 - understand and exemplify the key strategies used in the construction of complex chemical scaffolds;
  • M2 - devise retrosynthetic strategies and provide forward synthetic routes to the construction of complex targets;
  • N1 - Describe several methods for the introduction of fluorine atoms into organic systems
  • N2 - Discuss reactivity and mechanisms of fluoroalkenes, aromatics, heterocyclics and ‘mirror-image’ chemistry of related hydrocarbon systems
  • O1 - Understand the principles underlying the design of structurally complex or adaptive macromolecular architectures, and how to apply controlled polymerisation techniques to their preparation;
  • O2 - Understand the applications of designer polymers within materials science, biology and medicine, and appreciate how limitations of current synthetic methodology may impact further advancement.;
  • U1 - Understand the process of developing a successful "hit" from drug discovery into a final product;
  • U2 - Understand the importance of solid-state forms and their characterisation for drug pharmacokinetics and patenting;
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:

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

      • Facts and new concepts are introduced in the lecture courses.
      • Students' knowledge and understanding is tested by examination.
      • Undergraduates are aided in the learning process by workshops where they attempt sample problems about the lecture courses.

      Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

      Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
      Lectures 36 1 Hour 36
      Workshops 6 1 Hour 6
      Preparation and Reading 158
      Total 200

      Summative Assessment

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

      Formative Assessment:

      Workshop problems.

      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