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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2019-2020

Module Description

Please ensure you check the module availability box for each module outline, as not all modules will run each academic year.

Department: Chemistry


Type Open Level 1 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2019/20 Module Cap Location Durham


  • A-level or equivalent in Chemistry AND Mathematics.


  • Core Chemistry 1 (CHEM1078)

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop the basic skills in practical chemistry, building on pre-university study;
  • To provide a foundation in research-led practical chemistry for single honours, natural sciences, and others students;
  • To contribute towards the requirements of RSC accreditation.


  • Introduction to practical work (week 1, workshop and practical)
  • Skills in Practical Chemistry (weeks 2 - 7)
  • Discovery in Practical Chemistry (weeks 8 - 10, 12 - 17)
  • Research-led project (weeks 18, 19, with briefing lecture in week 14)
  • Applied Spectroscopy workshop (weeks 11, 20)

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the chemical principles illustrated by the practical work carried out.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Demonstrate basic skills in planning and executing practical problems in Chemistry
  • Perform safely basic experimental procedures such as titrations, synthesis, purification and crystallisation of organic and inorganic compounds.
  • Use chemical apparatus with care and confidence.
  • Use volumetric glassware and balances in the correct manner and obtain accurate results.
  • Make careful observations of chemical reactions and explain them qualitatively in terms of balanced chemical reactions.
  • Determine rate and thermodynamic properties experimentally.
  • Interpret basic spectroscopic data (NMR, IR, Mass spectrometry)
Key Skills:
  • Work effectively alone, in a pair and in larger groups to solve practical chemical problems;
  • Apply IT skills to laboratory reports and data analysis.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Pre-laboratory exercises are used to ensure that students have a clear understanding of the practical concepts they will be following, prior to attending the laboratory. Pre-lab work is assessed summatively, and the student is provided with feedback.
  • Laboratory classes teach students techniques in various aspects of practical chemistry. They are also essential because a chemist needs to be able to perform standard experiments competently. Students are continuously assessed in their practical skills whilst in the laboratory, and provided with feedback.
  • Report writing demonstrates a student's ability to analyse their data and present in a consistent and coherent format, consistent with standard chemistry reporting methods. Reports are summatively assessed and returned with feedback.
  • The week 1 practical session begins in a lecture theatre, including a compulsory safety briefing.
  • Spectroscopy workshops allow students to practice the interpretation of spectra and determination of structure.

Teaching Methods and Contact Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Practicals 18 1 per week 3 Hours 54
Project briefing lecture 1 Week 14 1 hour 1
Spectroscopy workshops 2 Weeks 11, 20 3 hours 6
Preparation and Reading 39
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Practical work Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical work 100% Two-hour practical examination

Formative Assessment:

Initial laboratory reports are returned with formative assessment. Later reports are marked summatively and returned with formative feedback.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University

If you have a query about a specific module or degree programme, please contact the appropriate department.

If you have a question about Durham's modular degree programmes, please visit our FAQ webpage.  If you have a question about modular programmes that is not covered by the FAQ, or a query about the on-line Faculty Handbook, please contact us using the Comments and Questions form below.