Module code: CHEM025

Module provider


Module Leader

CUNNINGHAM ID Dr (Chemistry)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 7

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 116

Lecture Hours: 26

Tutorial Hours: 6

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK 30%
Examination EXAM 2 HOURS 70%

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites

A knowledge of Organic Chemistry to FHEQ Level 5 and 6 

Module overview

This advanced module builds on level 4-6 undergraduate material to introduce the up-to-date organic chemistry that is typically carried out at research level (both industrial and academic).  Organic chemistry research is dominated by synthesis and this is very much the leitmotif of this module, although the indispensible mechanistic aspects that underpin synthesis are as usual covered.  There is much emphasis on strategy and critical analysis of work that is at the forefront of the topic and the application of the knowledge to real-world examples.

On completion of the module the student will be equipped to begin a programme of research in organic chemistry.

Module aims

To provide students with the appropriate advanced material in organic chemistry in a way that allows them to solve unfamiliar problems in synthesis, and to apply critical analysis to new and existing knowledge

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of modern advanced organic reactions (including their scope), especially the more abstracts ones (chirality, combinatorial) K
Predict chemo-, regio- and stereo-selectivity in given reactions K
Critique and select from several viable synthetic approaches to target compounds KC
Discuss with critical analysis and report on current advances in organic chemistry KCT
Show originality in the approach to solving specific problems in synthesis KCPT
Reviewing, assessing, and critical thinking T
Report writing T
Presentation skills T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Revision of organic reactions
Revision of mechanisms
Retrosynthetic Analysis: Terms, definitions and basic concepts.
Retrosynthetic Analysis: Aromatic compounds
Retrosynthetic Analysis: Alcohols and carbonyl compounds
Retrosynthetic Analysis: 1,2-, 1,3-, 1,4- and 1,5-dicarbonyl compounds; a,b-unsaturated and 1,3-dihydroxy compounds
Retrosynthetic Analysis: Carbocyclic and heterocyclic compounds
Polar reactions in synthesis
Radical reactions in synthesis
Pericyclic reactions in synthesis
Asymmetric synthesis – an introduction
Catalytic reactions in organic chemistry. Concept of catalysis. Mechanistic implications: creating a catalytic cycle.
Reactions using metal catalysis. Palladium-catalysed cross-coupling reactions: Heck, Sonogashira, Stille and Suzuki reactions.
Pauson-Khand reaction. Small organic molecules as catalysts. Baylis-Hillman reaction.
Olefin metathesis
Multi-component reactions
Solid-phase synthesis and combinatorial chemistry
Asymmetric Synthesis: Enantioselectivity: definitions and overview
Chiral reagents and auxiliaries in organic synthesis
Chiral catalysts in organic synthesis

The Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation reaction

Mini-project literature report and presentation (2 x 3 h). Students are given an important topic/synthesis and are required to write a short article on the importance of the topic to the field of organic chemistry, to present a lecture on the topic, AND to attend and participate in all presentations

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

give the student not just an advanced knowledge base, but the analytical and problem-solving skills appropriate to independent research in modern organic chemistry.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Lectures (~2-3 per week x 11)
Problem-solving CW based on the lectures (18 h over 8 weeks)
Investigative self-study (assessed report) (18 h over 8 weeks)
General explanative, contemplative and summative self-study
Presentation (of report) and class discussion (6 h in 1 week)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

·         Examination and coursework: Application of knowledge to problems in advanced organic chemistry [LOs 1, 2, 3, a]

·         Report and Presentation: Ability to critically analyse the latest discoveries (report and presentation CW) [LOs 4, 5, a, b, c]


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


·         Coursework: Problem solving on aspects of the course (15%, 18 h over 8 weeks) [LOs assessed 1, 2, 3, a]

·         Report and presentation: Current advances in Organic Chemistry (15%, 18 h over 8 weeks) [LOs 4, 5, a, b, c]

·     Examination: 2 hours, closed book (Week 14, 70%) [LOs assessed 1, 2, 3]


Formative assessment and feedback

Formative assessment and feedback are provided throughout the module in the form of in-class exercises, examples and worked problems as appropriate. Feedback is instant as model answers (full worked solutions) are given in class. Formative assessment is also evident through the provision of ‘checklists’ at the end of each section of the module that detail the areas covered in that part of the course.

Detailed and individualised feedback is given on the marked assignments within the time allowed for marking coursework.


Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.