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Durham University

Faculty Handbook 2022-2023

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 2 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Core Chemistry 1 (CHEM1078).


  • Core Chemistry 2 (CHEM2012) AND Practical Chemistry 2 - Organic (CHEM2117).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To enhance understanding of the relationship between structure and reactivity (mechanisms) in organic compounds.


  • Determination of reaction mechanisms.
  • Ring chemistry and stereochemistry.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • draw accurately simple 5 and 6 ring systems and cis and trans-decalins, showing the correct positioning of axial and equatorial groups;
  • devise reasonable syntheses of 3 to 9 membered rings, paying attention to strain and stereochemistry of the target molecule including examples of template syntheses;
  • devise reasonable mechanisms that account for the reactivity patterns of conformational isomers;
  • understand why some cyclisation reactions occur favourably, whereas others are inhibited, as a result of the requirement for a preferred stereoelectronic pathway;
  • use linear free energy relationships to quantify substituent effects and interpret reaction mechanism by analysis of Hammett parameters;
  • understand the basis of Hammond’s postulate, kinetic and thermodynamic control and the Curtin-Hammett principle;
  • use kinetic data to interpret reaction mechanism by analysis of the sign or magnitude of the enthalpic and entropic components of the free energy of activation;
  • distinguish primary, secondary and solvent kinetic isotope effects and interpret reaction mechanism based on the observed magnitude of these values;
  • distinguish between general and specific acid or base catalysis and use the Bronsted linear free energy relationship.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Perform more complex analysis of structure and reactivity in Organic Chemistry.
Key Skills:
  • Written communication, advanced through the use of discussion type questions in lecture-support worksheets.
  • Problem-solving, developed through problems set in lecture-support worksheets and workshop question sheets.

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

  • Lectures are used to convey concepts and are examined by written papers. This is the best method to assess the knowledge of the students.
  • Workshops are larger groups of students where problems are considered and common difficulties shared. This ensures that students have understood the work and can apply it to real life situations. These are formatively assessed.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 per week 1 Hour 20
Workshops 2 2 in Term 3 1.5 Hours 3
Preparation and Reading 77
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination Two hours 100% Two hour written examination

Formative Assessment:

Set work in preparation for workshops.

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.