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Chemistry for Natural Sciences III: Structure, Bonding & Reactivity - CHE00014I

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  • Department: Chemistry
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Glenn Hurst
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

This is the first module in Year 2 whose purpose is to extend students’ understanding of key concepts of structure, bonding, chemical reactivity, equilibrium and change through a blend of lectures, practicals, tutorials and workshops. The module adopts the principles of an integrated approach in which topics as diverse as retrosynthesis and enolate chemistry mix with key physical chemistry concepts (covering the behaviour and properties of solutions and mixtures), and coordination chemistry and metal to ligand bonding both of which are key foundations of inorganic chemistry, and on to an exploration of more advanced ideas of quantum chemistry. The subject matter explored in this module is covered at a more advanced level compared to the foundations courses delivered as part of stage 1 and serves to signal to the students how their understanding of chemistry will be expected to develop in its sophistication throughout the course.

Module learning outcomes

  • Students will develop their understanding of principles of retrosynthetic analysis.
  • Students will obtain a good understanding of organic synthesis with enolate equivalents.
  • Students will explore the properties and behaviour of solutions and mixtures, drawing on key principles of thermodynamics and equilibria introduced at Stage 1.
  • Students will learn about the principles of molecular symmetry and group theory. They will learn to use these ideas to classify molecules according to their symmetry and to use the tools of group theory to better understand theories of molecular bonding.
  • Students will obtain an understanding of the ways in which metals bond to other metals and other ligand molecules.
  • Students will obtain a good understanding of coordination chemistry. Students will obtain a good understanding of coordination chemistry.
  • Students will gain a detailed understanding of the principles and applications of quantum mechanics. The subject will be introduced using the abstract model of the particle in a one-dimensional box, but will extend this to three dimensions, to particle on a string and the harmonic oscillator. Students will develop and appreciation of the insights that these model systems offer into the behaviour of real atomic and molecule systems, their spectroscopy, properties, structure and bonding.
  • Students will further develop their practical skills in the area of organic and inorganic synthesis.

Module content

Module Structure

Retrosynthetic Analysis


6 lectures

College Workshop

Solutions and Mixtures


6 lectures


Symmetry and Group Theory


6 lectures


Organic Synthesis with Enolate Equivalents


6 lectures


Metal-Ligand & Inorganic Mechanisms


10 lectures


Quantum Mechanics


6 lectures


Advanced Synthesis Practical






Total credits


% weighting




written exam





practical work




Task Length % of module mark
Synthesis Practical Reports
N/A 15
University - closed examination
Chemistry Natural Sciences III Paper I
1.5 hours 42.5
University - closed examination
Chemistry Natural Sciences III Paper II
1.5 hours 42.5

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Chemistry Natural Sciences III Paper I
1.5 hours 42.5
University - closed examination
Chemistry Natural Sciences III Paper II
1.5 hours 42.5

Module feedback

Weekly feedback is provided for college tutorial assignments, both verbally and through written feedback on assignments. Supervisors will also discuss performance in college tutorials and workshops at end-of-term meetings through the college marks sheets that are returned to supervisors termly. Feedback on practical writeups is provided weekly through both annotation of scripts by markers and verbally by Graduate Teaching Assistants. Students receive their marks for practical write-ups on a weekly basis and collectively via supervisors at end-of-term meetings. The closed examinations held in Wk1 SpT are marked typically within 10 days with scripts and mark slips being returned to students via supervisors in Week 3 of the Spring term. Examiners reports on each question are made available to students via the Chemistry web pages. Failing students or those whose performance is a cause for concern are written to by the Chair of the Examiners and Chair of the Board of Studies following the Spring term closed examination.

Indicative reading

P. Atkins, T. Overton, J. Rourke, M. Weller, F. Armstrong, “Shriver and Atkin’s Inorganic Chemistry”, OUP, 2010.

J. Clayden, N. Greeves, S. Warren, “Organic Chemistry”, OUP, 2013.

P. Atkins, J. de Paula, “Atkins' Physical Chemistry”, OUP, 2010.

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.