Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Chemistry


Type Open Level 4 Credits 80 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • One of [Practical Chemistry 3 - Inorganic (CHEM3107) OR Practical Chemistry - Organic (CHEM3127) OR Practical Chemistry 3 - Physical (CHEM3147)].


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an introduction to Chemistry research and to impart new experimental, analytical, theoretical and problem-solving skills through a capstone project including laboratory or computational work, or both, and the writing of a research report containing work of potentially publishable novelty and quality.


  • Health and Safety Induction programme
  • Development of Research Skills
  • Perspectives from Industry
  • Poster Presentation Workshop
  • Independent Research Investigation

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of this module, 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 own research project and propose hypotheses and explanations for their results;
  • describe and critically analyse the literature precedent and background of the research project;
  • demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the specific topic of their research project.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • construct risk assessments for proposed research in collaboration with project supervisor;
  • show skill in designing a poster presentation of the project that will communicate key aspects clearly and concisely;
  • construct a well-structured abstract and report;
  • deliver a clear lecture presentation, appreciating the level of presentation appropriate for the target audience;
  • 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;
  • demonstrate expertise in research by oral examination.
Key Skills:
  • develop expertise in relating modern literature to a specific area of research;
  • apply and develop problem solving skills (experimental and/or theoretical) appropriate to the particular research project identifying suitable techniques, methods and equipment;
  • define key problems and the tasks needed for their solution and develop a timetable to undertake and complete these tasks developing and applying appropriate data analysis methods;
  • develop interpersonal skills through working in a research group and calling on the assistance of others and interacting with service providers;
  • demonstrate and apply written communication skills in writing an extended research report;
  • search the scientific literature using both paper-based and online facilities;
  • use appropriate specialist databases.

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

  • Teaching will begin with a compulsory Health and Safety course. This will be followed by a series of short, formative, Research Skills courses that develop skills learnt in earlier years, and which are applicable to either the specific project or broadly enhance students' research expertise - students will attend two from four courses offered. Project supervisors will arrange appropriate additional formative research training.
  • Once ethics and risk assessments have been completed and approved, students will undertake a research project within a research group led by a member of the Board of Studies in Chemistry. The research supervisor will have been allocated by the Chemistry Education Committee during Epiphany Term of Level 3.
  • During the project students will submit, and receive formative feedback from their supervisor on, draft project chapters. Students will also receive regular formative feedback, usually verbal, from their supervisor on the progress of their project.
  • Students will normally have the opportunity to attend, and present at, research group meetings, developing their presentation skills introduced in Level 3. A poster presentation workshop will be given.
  • 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 examined on their research in an oral examination by two examiners and a moderator.
  • The written report will assess the communication skills learnt
  • The 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 2 will be assessed by a synoptic examination paper.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Health & Safety Induction 1 Start of Term 1 4 hours 4
Research Skills 12 Start of Term 1 1 hour 12
Poster workshop 1 1 hour 1
Practicals 72 4 per week 4 Hours 288
Preparation and Reading 495
Total 800

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:

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