Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Chemistry


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 100 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to F102
Tied to F111


  • Core Chemistry 3 (CHEM3012) AND two from [Inorganic Concepts and Applications (CHEM3097), OR Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHEM3117) OR Molecules and their Interactions (CHEM3137)] AND two from [Practical Chemistry 3 - Inorganic (CHEM3107) OR Practical Chemistry 3 - Organic (CHEM3127) OR Practical Chemistry 3 - Physical (CHEM3147)].


  • Core Chemistry 4D (CHEM4361).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The External Research Project is a module undertaken principally outside Durham. It is designed to provide an introduction to chemistry research and to impart new experimental, analytical and theoretical skills. The project includes laboratory or computational work, or both, and the writing of a research report.


  • Research Project: aims and objectives; host institution safety induction programme; consultation week in Durham including an oral presentation and review of progress in the project; production of a written report including a review of information published in the research field; oral and poster presentation of results.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of level 4 studies, undergraduates should be able to:
  • demonstrate a conceptual understanding of chemistry built on the in-depth developments in levels 1 to 3,
  • demonstrate an ability to evaluate current research critically, assess the relevance of their research project and propose hypotheses and explanations for their results.
  • describe and critically analyse the literature predecent and background of their research project;
  • demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the specific topic of their research project.
  • have gained experience of working in different environments (industry and/or abroad).
Subject-specific Skills:
  • be able to plan and undertake experiments of unknown conclusion.
  • have acquired an appreciation of the issues of health and safety at work.
  • have obtained results from experiments, and be able to rationalise these results and draw conclusions for further experimentation.
  • demonstrate an awareness of the role of professional chemists, the factors driving research and the responsibilities of chemists in responding to the needs of society.
Key Skills:
  • have developed the competence to present results in written and oral formats.
  • be familiar with a variety of data search engines.
  • be capable of preparing detailed written reports.
  • have experience of remote working practices via interaction with local and Durham supervisors.
  • have experienced the benefits and challenges of working in a group.
  • have acquired a specialised set of research skills appropriate for the project work undertaken.

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

  • The module is project-based in a research laboratory away from Durham under the supervision of a local supervisor, and with a member of Durham staff assigned to provide support.
  • The project will be assessed by a project report, including abstract, literature survey, results and discussion. Students will give a lecture presentation and defend a poster. The student will be orally examined on their research by two examiners and a moderator.
  • The written report will assess the communication skills learnt.
  • Oral examination will test the knowledge and understanding of the project by the undergraduate.
  • The ability to deliver a clear lecture presentation, appreciating the level of presentation appropriate for the target audience is tested by the summatively assessed presentation.
  • The conceptual understanding of chemistry built on the in-depth developments in levels 1 to 3 will be assessed by a synoptic examination paper.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 20 Weekly (weeks 1-20) 1.5 Hours 30
Placement 100 5 per week (weeks 1-20) 6 Hours 600
Preparation and Reading 370
Total 1000

Summative Assessment

Component: Project work Component Weighting: 75%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Supervisor report 32%
Project report 50%
Lecture presentation 12%
Poster presentation 6%
Component: Oral examination Component Weighting: 15%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Oral examination 100%
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Synoptic examination 2 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formulation of the project's aims and objectives including health and safety aspects, preparation of a draft review and its presentation at the consultation week in Durham.

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