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Chemistry for Natural Sciences Module I: Introduction to Chemical Structure & Reactivity - CHE00010C

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  • Department: Chemistry
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Glenn Hurst
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to key concepts of chemical structure, reactivity and mechanism through a blend of lectures, practicals, tutorials and workshops. In particular, the module will help students make the transition from their pre-university studies to university-level study, and will ensure that they have a firm foundation in these fundamental topics, which will underpin much of the future Chemistry modules.

Module learning outcomes

  • Students will obtain a good understanding of the physical basis of chemical change - including detailed knowledge of the introductory principles of thermodynamics. This includes an ability to perform simple calculations in order to determine thermodynamic parameters of chemical change.
  • Students will gain a detailed understanding of the different definitions and behaviour of acids and bases, including an ability to rationalise and predict the behaviour of new compounds. Students should also be able to carry out calculations of acidity/basicity.
  • Students will build on their A level knowledge of bonding by considering key concepts of structure/bonding of relevance to molecular compounds. In particular, they will use electronic structure and concepts such as resonance to predict the shapes and stabilities of different molecules.
  • Students will obtain an introductory-level understanding of quantum theory and its impacts on atomic structure. They will use this theory to gain an understanding of the behaviour of the elements.
  • Students will be able to recognise organic functional groups and apply principles of organic reactivity and mechanism, and use simple curly arrow mechanisms in order to predict and rationalise how simple organic compounds react with one another.
  • Students will learn the principles of separation science and will use their knowledge to propose appropriate separation techniques for different mixtures of compounds. They will develop their understanding of mass spectrometry and be able to assign and predict simple molecular fragmentation patterns.
  • Students will learn key practical skills for carrying out synthetic reactions including different practical manipulations, product purification and simple analysis skills to test purity. They will develop skills in considering the hazards of practical work, and simple numerical skills in assessing product yield and/or purity. They will also learn to plan their time in the laboratory effectively, to work in a collaborative manner with students around them, and to communicate their results in a simple/concise manner.

Module content

Module Structure

First Law of Thermodynamics


10 lectures


Acids, Bases and Hydrogen


5 lectures


Organic Reactions and Mechanisms


7 lectures


Separations Science and Mass Spectrometry


7 lectures

1x 1h Central Workshop, 1x 2h Assessed Workshop

Atomic Structure & Intro to Quantum Theory


7 lectures


Structure & Bonding


7 lectures

1x 2h College Workshop

Synthesis Practical





Task Length % of module mark
24 hour open exam
Chemistry for Natural Sciences
N/A 75
Assessed workshop
N/A 15
Synthesis Practical
N/A 10

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Assessed workshop on Separations Science and Mass Spectrometry in week 9.

Closed examination where all 5 questions must be answered on 'First Law of Thermodynamics', 'Acids, Bases and Hydrogen', 'Organic Reactions and Mechanisms', 'Atomic Structure & Intro to Quantum Theory' and 'Structure & Bonding'

Two practical reports on synthetic experiments in weeks 6 and 8 where the deadlines are the Friday of the same week labs were undertaken.


Task Length % of module mark
24 hour open exam
Chemistry for Natural Sciences
N/A 75
Assessed workshop
N/A 15

Module feedback

Written feedback will be given for tutorial work within a week. Written and/or oral feedback for workshops will be given either during the sessions or within a week. Written feedback will be provided on all summative practical work within 20 working days. Closed exam results with per-question breakdown are returned to the students via supervisors within 5 weeks (as per special approval by the University Teaching Committee). Outline answers are made available via the Chemistry web pages when the students receive their marks, so that they can assess their own detailed progress/achievement. The examiners’ reports for each question are made available to the students via the Chemistry web pages.

Indicative reading

"Chemistry3: Introducing Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry, 2nd edition" by Burrows, Parsons, Price, Holman and Pilling (published by Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-969185-2)

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students