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Advanced Skills & Practical 1 - CHE00033I

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  • Department: Chemistry
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Pugh
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

This module builds on the Stage 1 modules Introductory Skills & Practical 1, and Introductory Skills & Practical 2, in complementing the core theoretical content of the Chemistry degree programme by further developing the skills that students require in order to become a professional chemist.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

Building on the Stage 1 modules Introductory Skills & Practical 1, and Introductory Skills & Practical 2, this module will continue the development of the skills that complement the core chemical knowledge of the degree programme. Specific aims are:

  • To further develop students’ practical laboratory skills and understanding of the practical work, introducing new techniques and consolidating prior knowledge with practice

  • To develop students’ understanding of safety and risk assessment in Chemistry

  • To introduce students to scientific writing skills, in order to meet the standards of publication.

  • To develop students’ knowledge of key analytical techniques to a greater depth

  • To develop students’ employability skills, and transferable skills, through group work, problem solving, and the study of “real world” chemistry applications

Module learning outcomes

Students should:

  • be able to deploy a range of intermediate-level experimental techniques in the practical laboratory, and understand the theory that underpins the techniques and experiments

  • be able to understand increasingly complex safety implications of practical work, including being able to conduct a risk assessment.

  • understand the scope of scientific literature, and be able to prepare selected elements of scientific writing to a standard commensurate with publication

  • be able to analyse a broad variety of increasingly complex instrumental/spectroscopic data, in order to identify molecules and solve chemical problems

  • further develop transferable and problem-solving skills, and be able to work in groups to solve problems, based on industrially-relevant scenarios

Module content

  • Global Challenge

This set of exercises and sessions focuses on working in teams to solve “real world” problems involving sustainability.

[introductory lecture, four days of teamwork/private study, followed by assessed presentation]

  • Practical work

Building directly on the experience developed in the Stage 1 modules Introductory Skills & Practical 1, and Introductory Skills & Practical 2, this element introduces more advanced practical techniques and consolidates students’ prior knowledge. The laboratory exercises are overseen and taught by laboratory demonstrators. Information is provided in a variety of formats, including introductory lectures, instructional videos, experimental scripts, experimental briefings, notes and interactions with the demonstrators. Detailed instruction on safety aspects is included, to complement the practical instruction in advanced techniques.

[ten laboratory days, ten supporting lectures]

  • Scientific Writing

Primarily using guided self-study, students are taught key ideas for the presentation of chemical information (presenting experimental data, spectra etc.).

[introductory lecture, structured private study]

  • Advanced Techniques for Structure Determination

A series of lectures develops key analytical techniques in greater depth, covering the application of these techniques to a wider range of problems. The lectures are supported with workshops so that students can practise hands-on interpretation with guidance.

[ten lectures, two workshops]

  • PC Workshops

A number of PC workshops are used to introduce students to elements of data analysis, including coding, to solve problems in a chemical context.

[three workshops]


Task Length % of module mark
Closed/in-person Exam (Centrally scheduled)
Closed exam : Advanced Techniques for Structure Determination 1 open-book in-person exam
2 hours 30
Portfolio submission : Practical portfolio
N/A 35
Presentation : Group Exercise presentation
N/A 20
Online Exam -less than 24hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Open exam : Practical Theory
1 hours 15

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

In addition to the practical assessment listed in the assessment section, students must complete a risk assessment exercise and a safety quiz. These pass/fail assessment components do not bear numerical marks but both components MUST be passed in order for students to progress. These components will not influence the mark for this module.

These assessment tasks are recorded under the module catalogue entry "CHE00039I Advanced Skills & Practical 1: lab work assessment.”



Module feedback

For the Global Challenge Group Exercise, students will receive formative verbal feedback during the exercise, and emailed summative feedback.

Throughout the laboratory exercises, students will receive formative verbal feedback on their ongoing performance from demonstrators, to help them improve their understanding and skills.

General feedback on the Scientific Writing formative work, at the cohort level, is provided via a series of screencast discussions, after the mid-semester break.

The Scientific Writing formative work informs the Practical Portfolio assessment, for which email feedback is provided several weeks after submission.

The Advanced Techniques for Structure Determination (I) lectures are supported with workshops, in which students receive formative verbal feedback on their work. Feedback on the assessment is provided after the Common Assessment Period.

For the Safety Quiz assessment, feedback is provided immediately after completion. Any students with unsatisfactory performance are required to resubmit the assessment.

For the Risk Assessment Exercise, feedback is provided 2-3 weeks after completion. Any students with unsatisfactory performance are required to resubmit the assessment.

Indicative reading

  • Dean, Jones, Holmes, Reed, Weyers and Jones, “Practical Skills in Chemistry”

  • Vogel, “Practical Organic Chemistry”

  • Cranwell, Harwood and Moody, “Experimental Organic Chemistry”

  • Burrows, Holman, Lancaster, Overton, Parsons, Pilling, Price, “Chemistry3”

  • R. H. Hill & D. C. Finster, “Laboratory Safety for Chemistry Students”

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.