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Introduction to Chemical Science

Module titleIntroduction to Chemical Science
Module codeINT0044
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Julia De Ste Croix (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module provides a basic introduction to the chemical concepts required to underpin a first year of undergraduate study in biochemical and medically related sciences. Students are introduced to aspects of physical and organic chemistry, and analytical methods. An appreciation of practical skills is an integral part of the course, providing basic skills in practical technique, presenting and analysing data and report writing.  Laboratory work is covered through online and teacher-led delivery to enhance the teaching of these essential skills.

Although recent study of Chemistry is desirable, students who have not studied the subject past GCSE equivalent are able to progress with this course.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  1. To provide a foundation in chemical science which gives the underpinning knowledge needed to progress to the first year of an undergraduate programme in a biochemical or medically related science.
  2. To provide an awareness of practical technique that will enable full participate in laboratory work in the first year at undergraduate level.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic chemical concepts as covered in the syllabus plan
  • 2. To understand that bonding and shape are important to the functioning of biological molecules as well as their functional group chemistry, and that biochemical reactions are subject to basic physical chemistry laws
  • 3. Use mathematics confidently to solve calculations associated with the physical chemistry content of the module
  • 4. Understand the need to follow written methods exactly during practical work so that reproducible results can be achieved
  • 5. Process data achieved by practical means, either data that has been obtained by the student themselves or by observing a demonstration. Be able to draw logical conclusions and appreciate the accuracy and limitations of the methods used

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of basic chemistry at theoretical and experimental level as covered in the syllabus plan
  • 7. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of knowledge in the biochemical and chemical sciences with reference to data sources outside of lectures
  • 8. Evaluate established methods used in practical demonstrations and develop a respect for Health & Safety within a working laboratory

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Guiding towards taking responsibility for your own learning and work independently
  • 10. Work cooperatively in groups through online and/or face-to-face activity
  • 11. Development of effective communication skill in the written or spoken form

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Formulae and equations – writing formulae and balanced equations, including ionic.
  • Chemical calculations based on reacting masses.
  • Atomic structure – energy levels, electron configurations, ionisation energies, isotopes.
  • Structure and Bonding – chemical bonds, molecular shape, macromolecules, intermolecular bonding
  • Redox – definitions, oxidation numbers, redox equations.
  • Enthalpy – exothermic and endothermic reactions, bond energies, Hess’ Law, Born-Haber cycles and associated calculations.
  • Kinetics – collision theory, Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, calculation of rates of reaction and activation energy from experimental data.
  • Equilibrium – factors affecting an equilibrium, calculation of equilibrium constants from experimental results.
  • Acid-base equilibrium – pH and buffer systems
  • Organic chemistry – classification of organic compounds, functional groups and their properties, types of reaction mechanism.
  • Instrumental methods of analysis – mass spectroscopy, Infra-Red spectroscopy, Visible and UV spectroscopy, Nuclear Magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities40Lectures (including solving tutorial problems)
E-Learning Activities20Focus on chemical techniques, (practical and research based skills), through use of on-line materials, including demonstration videos
Guided independent learning 140Preparing for lectures and tutorials. Problem solving and reading around topics. Completion of coursework elements (practical skills portfolio)


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Understanding good laboratory practice and basic skills used in chemical science – through preparing/processing material for class discussion4 x 3 hours1-7, 9-11Verbal feedback as class review
Coursework – exam style questionsVaries with student1-7, 9-11Results posted on ELE

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical skills awareness portfolio - Analysis and discussion of practical elements of chemical science.30Two pieces of work (word limit to be defined at setting of assignment), each contributing 15%1-9, 11Written feedback on formal submission
Computer-marked assessment20End of semester 1 (2 hours)1-3, 6, 9Written feedback
Final Examination (online)502.5 hours, end of semester 21-3, 6, 9, 11Formal grade only


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Final Examination (online)Examination (online), 2.5 hours (deferral); 3.5 hours (referral)1-11 (referral); 1-3, 6, 9, 11 (deferral)As soon as possible, before APAC
Practical skills awareness portfolioPractical skills portfolio1-9, 11As soon as possible, before APAC
Computer-marked assessmentComputer-marked assessment1-3, 6, 9As soon as possible, before APAC

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for reasons judged legitimate by the Mitigation Committee, the applicable assessment will normally be deferred. See ‘Details of reassessment’ for the form that assessment usually takes. When deferral occurs there is ordinarily no change to the overall weighting of that assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to take a re-sit exam. Only your performance in this exam will count towards your final module grade. A grade of 40% will be awarded if the examination is passed.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Textbook: Lawrie Ryan (2015), Advanced Chemistry for You, OUP

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Chemistry; atom; molecule

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date