Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Chemistry


Type Open Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Core Chemistry 3 (CHEM3012) AND two from [Inorganic Concepts and Applications (CHEM3097) OR Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHEM3117) OR Molecules and their Interactions (CHEM3137)].


  • Core Chemistry 4 (CHEM4311).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Bioactive Chemistry 4 (CHEM4211) OR Chemical Physics 4 (CHEM4411) OR Chemistry and Society (CHEM3061).


  • To demonstrate contemporary research concepts in chemistry, chemical physics and chemistry at the interface with biology.


  • D - Metals in Medicine
  • E - Recent developments and applications of solid-state NMR spectroscopy
  • F - Research concepts in heterogeneous catalysis
  • M - Strategies in Total Synthesis
  • N - Organofluorine Chemistry
  • O - Designer Polymers and their applications
  • U - Medicinal Chemistry II - From hit to pill
  • V - Cold and Ultracold Molecules
  • W - Optical Microscopy and Imaging
  • [*Each student will follow six lecture courses. The choice will depend on modules taken at level-3 and student choice.]

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • After attending the relevant lecture courses, students should be able to:
  • D1 - Discuss the properties and reactions of metal complexes that make them suitable as therapeutic agents in the treatment of various diseases;
  • E1 - Appreciate the role of solid-state NMR spectroscopy in the characterisation of solids and the information that can be extracted/obtained;
  • E2 - Identify and explain the main interactions in solid-state NMR and their effect on NMR spectra;
  • E5 - an introduction to dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP) methods and applications, e.g., catalysis.
  • F1 - Understand and appreciate current major research concepts in understanding how heterogeneous catalytic processes work (beyond Y2 surface science and Y3 catalysis courses);
  • F2 - Appreciate the necessity for and methods available for understanding and measuring active sites and following catalytic processes in operando
  • F3 - Understand the importance of both single crystal and nanostructured models for understanding heterogeneous catalytic mechanisms;
  • F4 - Appreciate how fundamental scientific approaches are being used in real world applications through specific case studies of “hot reactions” relevant to current global challenges, e.g., solar energy harvesting or bio-refineries for chemicals production;
  • 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;
  • V1 - Understand what is meant by the terms cold and ultracold and how the behaviour of molecules in these regimes of temperature differs from behaviour at higher temperatures;
  • V2 - Describe the various experimental techniques employed to produce cold and ultracold molecules and know the current state of the art in experiment and theory;
  • V3 - Appreciate the many applications of cold and ultracold molecules to contemporary problems in modern chemistry and physics;
  • W1: understand the underlying physical principles behind optical microscopy and fundamental knowledge of key microscope components and their function and design progression;
  • W2: Describe fluorescence microscopy and it’s application, including fluorescent dyes and their desired biocompatibility and physical properties; describe excitation sources and basic laser applications and important safety aspects;
  • W3: Understand the confocal principle, including the achievable axial and lateral resolution with both single and multiphoton excitation and its application in life sciences;
  • W4: Explain basic image acquisition and important cell culture techniques to compliment optical microscopy in life sciences, mounting techniques and application to real life applications.
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.

      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
      Written examination Three hours 100%

      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