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2019/20 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CHEM5610M Advanced Topics in Chemistry

40 creditsClass Size: 50

Module manager: Dr Paul Thornton

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Acceptance onto MSc Chemistry (BSc degree in Chemistry or equivalent)

This module is mutually exclusive with

CHEM5600MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry 60 Credit
CHEM5601MAdvanced Topics in Medicinal Chemistry 60 Credit
CHEM5602MAdvanced Topics in Chemical Biology (40 Credit)
CHEM5603MAdvanced Topics in Chemical Biology (30 Credit)
CHEM5604MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry (40 Credit)
CHEM5605MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry (30 Credit)
CHEM5606MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry (20 Credit)
CHEM5607MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry (10 Credits)
CHEM5608MAdvanced Topics in Chemistry (15 Credits)
CHEM5622MAdvanced Topics (10 Credits)

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

Advanced topics in chemistry is a compulsory module for students studying the MSc in Chemistry. Discrete topics that are of current research/commercial interest are taught and assessed by an equal combination of coursework submission and examination.


On completion of the module, students will have an advanced level of understanding of a selection of current topics of chemistry. They will be able to demonstrate their knowledge of multiple areas simultaneously and be able to explain and solve unseen problems of an advanced nature.

Ultimately, the module will prepare them for research either in academia or industry by providing the students with the core basis of advanced knowledge they will require. Through the continual assessment aspects of the module they will receive training in transferrable skills that will aid their future career.

Learning outcomes
The students will have a broad understanding of core areas of advanced chemistry and be able to solve unseen problem-led questions in these areas.

They will also be able to access the primary literature and use their knowledge to make a critical evaluation of this information.


Students will be required to study 4 free choice topics from a selection of coursework topics, and 4 free choice topics (two per semester) from a selection of examined topics.

An understanding of the coursework topics will be assessed by a portfolio of work, based on continuous assessment. The exact topics may vary year by year, but a provisional list includes:

Electronic Structure Calculations
Energy Transduction – powering the Earth, life and society
Structural Control in Modern Materials
Physical Organic Chemistry
Statistical Thermodynamics
Delivery of Functional Fluids
Case Studies in Pharmaceutical and Fine Chemical Synthesis
An understanding of the examined topics will be assessed by a January exam and a May/June exam. The exact topics may vary year by year but a provisional list includes:

Characterising structures and mechanisms in Inorganic Chemistry
Metals in Medicine
Medicinal Chemistry Strategy
Expanding the Synthetic Chemistry Toolbox
Chemical Biology Tools
The Combustion Chemistry of Biofuels
Molecular Dynamics

Metals in Biology
Heterocyclic Chemistry in Medicines and Natural Products
Natural Product Biosynthesis
Asymmetric and Stereoselective synthesis
Planetary Atmospheres
Chemistry, Climate Change and Air Pollution: Atmospheric Measurements, Modelling and Policy
The CHEM5600M examined topics ‘Biomedical Applications of Polymeric Materials’ and ‘Advanced Applications of Colorants’ are not included as examined options CHEM5610M as they form part of optional modules (COLO5180M and COLO5162M, respectively) that students may elect to take.
Students that take CHEM5702M will not be eligible to submit coursework for the ‘Nanomaterials’ topic.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment21.503.00
Private study hours167.00
Total Contact hours233.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

Each student will submit four pieces of coursework over Semesters 1 and 2 that will require 37.5 hours of preparation, per submission. Each piece of coursework will require attendance of 10 x 1 hour lectures (40 hours in total).

A further four topics will have to be attended in order to complete the examined part of the course (40 hours in total). Each student will undertake a total of two exams. These assessments, which will be take place in the January and May/June examination periods, will consist of 1 x Section A question (10 marks) and 2 x Section B questions (20 marks each), and have a duration of 1.5 hours each (3 hours in total).

Students will be presented with a wide range of advanced material and will be expected to spend considerable time consolidating this knowledge. 167 hours is assigned to reading research literature, further reading for the exam-based topics and exam revision.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Coursework will be submitted in both semesters 1 and 2. Although summative assessment, this may be readily exploited to identify students that are struggling with this module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
EssaySee Information Below50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Students have the option to select four options from the following topics: Semester 1 Coursework Tutor Code Teaching Period Coursework Deadline Dr Miranda CW1 Semester 1, weeks 6-10 Nov 30 and Dec 14 Prof. Zhou CW2 Semester 1, weeks 1-5 Dec 3 Dr Kee CW3 Semester 1, weeks 1-5 November 26 Prof. Rayner CW4 Semester 1, weeks 6-10 December 14 Dr Auer CW7 Semester 1, weeks 6-10 Multiple Dates between weeks 8 and 12 Prof. Blacker CW9 Semester 1, weeks 4-8 1 submission between 9/11 and 7/12 Semester 2 Coursework Tutor Code Teaching Period Coursework Deadline Prof. Meldrum / Dr Menzel CW5 Semester 2, weeks 14-18 Feb 15 / March 8 Dr Nguyen CW6 Semester 2, weeks 14-18 March 29 Prof. Lin CW8 Semester 2, weeks 14-18 March 22 The submission deadlines are deliberately spread throughout the academic term. Each topic will be accompanied by the following forms of assessment: Code Coursework CW1 Two short reports based on computational calculations of molecular properties. CW2 Short literature review on recent research related to the topic. CW3 Preparation of a research proposal in the area of energy transduction research. CW4 The lifecycle analysis for a known consumer product or chemical. CW7 The practical sessions will be assessed and related questions sheets issued. CW9 The completion of an essay. CW5 Two essays based on the scientific literature related to each half of the topic. CW6 An assignment in which the students will apply the principles of physical organic chemistry CW8 The completion of an essay. The coursework submission dates will be identical to all other Advanced Topics (CHEM5600M-CHEM5708M and CHEM5622M).

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins25.00
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

There will be 2 x 1.5 hour exams. Each exam is worth 25% of the total module assessment.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019


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