Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module CHEM1111: Mathematical and Experimental Tools required in Chemistry

Department: Chemistry

CHEM1111: Mathematical and Experimental Tools required in Chemistry

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • A-level or equivalent in Chemistry AND Mathematics.


  • Core Chemistry 1 (CHEM1078) AND Practical Chemistry 1A (CHEM1087).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce areas of chemistry and key analytical skills that are of central importance to material taught in later modules, whilst reinforcing background material in cognate disciplines relevant to chemistry.


  • Mathematical Tools for Chemistry. Solving differential equations by integration. Functions of many variables, partial differentiation, stationary points, total derivative. Complex numbers. Matrices and matrix algebra. Determinants. Eigenvectors and eigenvalues. Coordinate systems.
  • Measurements and Statistics. Measurement uncertanities. Statistical distributions. Propagation of uncertainties. Regression. Hypothesis testing
  • Physics for Chemists. Vectors, equations of motion, force and momentum, circular motion, angular momentum, harmonic motion, waves, charge and charge distribution, electric and magnetic fields.
  • Separation science and validation of analytical methods. Laboratory separation, purification and analysis methods including liquid-liquid extraction, crystallisation, sublimation, distillation, a variety of chromatography techniques and aspects of quantitation.
  • Biology for Chemists: the main classes of biomolecules, amino acids, nucleotides, proteins, sugars, enzymes.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • present mathematical models to describe simple physical problems;
  • analyse statistical data and uncertainties arising from experiments;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the physics of electrostatics, magnetism, waves and motion;
  • describe common analytical techniques in chemistry;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles of isolating and purifying products following a chemical reaction;
  • describe the structures and properties of biomolecules.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Solve chemical problems;
  • Develop mathematical solutions to basic chemical problems.
Key Skills:
  • Apply mathematical tools to develop and solve physical problems.

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 Learn Ultra.
  • Problem classes are given to ensure that the students have grasped the concepts given in the lectures and to practice examples of problems. In preparation for the problem classes students attempt a set of defined problems. Problem classes will be formatively assessed. All work will be returned with feedback.
  • Workshops are larger 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.
  • Private study should be used by students to develop their subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation, through reading textbooks and literature.
  • A progress test is held in January for students to assess their own learning and performance to improve their examination technique. It is an opportunity for them to assimilate the work completed in the first term. Papers are returned to students with model answers so that they can learn from the experience.
  • 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 36 2 per week 1 Hour 36
Problem Classes 11 1 per week 1 Hour 11
Workshops 2 1 per week in Term Three 2 hours 4
Progress Test 1 1 per year 1.5 hours 1.5
Preparation and Reading 147.50
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examinations Component Weighting: 90%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination Two hours 100%
Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 10%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Progress Test 70 minutes 100% Written examination (70 min)

Formative Assessment:

Set work in preparation for problem classes. Set work in preparation 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