Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Chemistry


Type Open Level 2 Credits 40 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Core Chemistry 1 (CHEM1078) AND EITHER Mathematical and Experimental Tools required in Chemistry (CHEM1111) OR [Single Mathematics A (MATH1561) AND Single Mathematics B (MATH1571)] OR [Calculus I (MATH1061) AND Linear Algebra I (MATH1071)].


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Molecules in Action (CHEM1061)


  • To teach the fundamentals of Chemistry and to provide a foundation on which later courses can be based.


  • Transition-metal chemistry.
  • Symmetry, group theory and applications
  • Organic Chemistry of π-systems: From alkenes to arenes and beyond
  • Introduction to Organic synthesis and retrosynthetic analysis
  • Synthesis and retrosynthetic analysis.
  • Quantisation and spectroscopy, including Hückel computer practical.
  • Thermodynamics.
  • Applied spectroscopy.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Rationalize the bonding in transition metal complexes, and thus understand their formation and magnetic properties, and to utilize this information in a predictive manner.
  • Describe key trends in the chemistry of the transition elements and use these trends as tools to assist in problem solving in any area of chemistry involving transition metals.
  • Determine the symmetry elements and point groups of molecules.
  • Use group theory to construct symmetry adapted linear combinations of atomic orbitals and then determine qualitative molecular orbital diagrams for simple molecules.
  • Apply group theory to molecular vibrations and use it to predict infrared and Raman activity.
  • Use retrosynthetic analyses to design and plan reasonable synthetic routes to moderately complex organic molecules.
  • Describe and rationalize outcomes of organic reaction processes involving control of enolate chemistry and redox reactions.
  • Describe aromaticity in a bonding and structure context and use this to explain reactions and directing effects of both carbocyclic and heterocyclic arenes.
  • Develop comparisons between arene, alkene, and more complex pi systems chemistry and apply this knowledge to organic synthesis
  • Outline the basic principles of quantum mechanics and group theory and be able to apply these to simple systems to predict their structure and spectroscopy.
  • Apply thermodynamics to predict values of equilibrium constants and the direction of spontaneous change of chemical reactions.
  • Determine enthalpies from phase transition data.
  • Calculate colligative properties.
  • Apply thermodynamics to non-ideal systems of gases, gas mixtures, liquid mixtures, and solutions.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Predict simple NMR spectra, and interpret MS infra-red, Raman and more complex multinuclear NMR spectral data.
Key Skills:
  • Group working, encouraged and developed through workshop teaching.
  • Written communication, advanced through the use of essay type questions in lecture-support worksheets.
  • Problem-solving, developed through worksheets and spectroscopy problems sessions.

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

  • Lectures and on-line videos are used to convey concepts and are examined by written papers. This is the best method to assess the knowledge of the students.
  • Tutorials are used to develop understanding of key concepts in inorganic and organic chemistry. These are formatively assessed.
  • 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.
  • Computer practicals give students the opportunity to learn to use off the shelf computer packages and those specific to chemists. A summative coursework assessment follows.
  • Problem classes are used to teach applied spectroscopy, where a concept is introduced, and students work to understand its application and use. A summative coursework assessment follows.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 73 4 per week 1 Hour 73
Computer Practicals 1 1 in Term 1 3 Hours 3
Problem Classes 3 in Terms 1 and 2 3 Hours 9
Tutorials 12 6 in Term 1, 6 in Term 2 1 Hour 12
Workshops 1 1 in Term 3 1.5 Hours 1.5
Two meetings with Departmental Advisor 2 1 per Term
Preparation and Reading 301.5
Total 400

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 1 Two hours 50%
Written examination 2 Two hours 50%
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
coursework 100% One hour written examination

Formative Assessment:

Set work in preparation for tutorials and 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