Information for Incoming First Year Chemists 


We hope you will find the following information useful, prior to starting your Chemistry course.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Professor Andrew Parsons (email: We look forward to welcoming you to the Department in September.

Examination dates

For the latest assessment and examination periods.

Year 1 Chemistry timetable for the first week (to be confirmed)

Day (week 1) Activity Time Location in the Chemistry Dept
Monday  -  -  -


 -  -
Wednesday Introductory meeting with Head of Department (followed by a meeting with your supervisor) 10.00 - 12.00 C/A101
Thursday Safety Briefing I 10.00 - 11.00 SLB/118
Thursday General Introduction (careers, library, etc.) 11.00 - 12.00 C/A101
Thursday Introduction to Chemistry 12.00-13.00 C/A101

Collecting Lab Kit

Group X (Avogadro, Hodgkin, Mendeleev, Pauling and Woodward Chemistry Teaching Colleges)

14.00-15.00 FTL

Collecting Lab Kit

Group(Curie, Dalton and Faraday Chemistry Teaching Colleges)
15.00-16.00 FTL


Safety Briefing II

13.00 - 14.00



Introduction Skills for Chemists

14.00 - 15.00


Lectures are normally scheduled on the hour. The lecturer will begin at 5 minutes past the hour and finish no later than 5 minutes before the subsequent hour. (You have a 10-minute break between lectures.)

Recommended reading

Stepping up to Chemistry

This new site is an online resource aimed at pre-university students, the summer before coming to university.

It has been designed to provide you with a comprehensive online resource for background reading prior to starting your Chemistry studies.

The recommended textbook for our first year chemistry course is:

Chemistry3; 3rd edition, A. Burrows, J. Holman, A. Parsons, G. Pilling and G. Price; Oxford University Press; 3rd edition (ISBN 978-0-19-87380-5) - you will be provided with a free copy of this.‌

If you would like to read through Chapter 1 before collecting your free copy, we have included this on our VLE site, 'Preparing to Study Chemistry'. This chapter reviews key concepts that you are likely to have encountered in your pre-university course. There is also an online resource centre that supports this textbook, which includes over 90 Chemistry videos.‌

The recommended textbooks for maths (to support some of your chemistry topics) are as follows:

Primary text:

Maths for Chemists, Martin Cockett and Graham Doggett; 2nd edition (ISBN 978-1-84973-359-5)

The revised and extended edition of the hugely successful Maths for Chemistry texts provides an accessible and useful resource for all undergraduate chemistry students.  The book adopts a user-friendly approach, leading the reader though the underlying mathematical principles before capitalising on confidence gained by developing those concepts in the chemical context.  The broad spread of material ranging from elementary essentials to more advanced topics should appeal to readers of wide-ranging mathematical confidence. 

Secondary text:

Scott, S.K.; Beginning mathematics for chemistry; OUP; 1995; 1st edition (ISBN-13:9780198559306).

There is also some material on physics topics of relevance to Chemistry and a self-teach tutorial on data analysis (using Excel) on our VLE site. 


The calculator provided in University examinations is the Casio fx-85ES model and the Casio fx-85GT PLUS model.

Teaching Package

We provide a Teaching Package free of charge to all students starting on one of our Chemistry courses. The pack contains:

  • A laboratory coat. If you wish to bring your own labcoat please ensure it is cotton or a mix of poly/cotton and is fastened with press-studs and not buttons. 
  • Safety spectacles
  • A full set of laboratory equipment including a comprehensive set of Quickfit glassware, test tubes, lab beakers, graduated cylinders, conical flasks and volumetric flasks.
  • A molecular model set to learn about molecular shape and bonding in organic and inorganic molecules.
  • Affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry for one year, starting in November.  Membership of the RSC, the learned society and professional body for the chemical sciences, will enable you to keep up to date with the chemical sciences and support your subject and profession.
  • A chemistry data book, which contains a selection of information including physical and chemical properties, mathematical data, units and constants.
  • A series of detailed laboratory scripts are provided in advance of each of the practical courses.
  • Year 1 student enrolment to Chemsoc
  • A free copy of Chemistry3 (to be collected during the first week of term)
  • Hard copies of all lecture handouts

Computer information

If you are bringing your own computer, the following software will be useful: a word-processing package, typically Microsoft Office (look out for educational discounts), internet access software, and a chemical drawing package.

ChemSketch is free to download from the internet. Probably the most useful tool for producing chemical drawings is ChemDraw for which the Department has a subscription. ChemDraw Std is installed on pcs in computer classrooms and is also available to download for personal use.

IT Services has further information for new students.

College Teaching Groups

For teaching purposes, each Chemistry student is assigned a chemistry teaching college with typically 25 first year students in each college, our teaching colleges are:

  • Avogadro
  • Dalton
  • Curie
  • Faraday
  • Hodgkin
  • Mendeleev
  • Pauling
  • Woodward