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Unit information: Foundations of Chemistry in 2021/22

Unit name Foundations of Chemistry
Unit code CHEM00001
Credit points 40
Level of study QCA-3
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Charmant
Open unit status Not open

IELTS minimum 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5 in writing and 4.5 in all other components or equivalent. This language pre-requisite is applicable only for International Foundation Programme students.

Students should have the appropriate qualifications in Science and Mathematics at the equivalent of FHEQ level 2



School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science


The unit is intended to provide students with a broad understanding of the fundamental principles of chemistry and experience of practical techniques, as a pre-requisite for entry or progression onto undergraduate degree programmes in science. It defines the tools of the subject, chemical constitution and stoichiometry. The electronic structure of atoms and bonding in molecules are introduced and used in discussing molecular shape and in outlining the properties of key elements and inorganic compounds. The concepts of energy, equilibria and chemical kinetics are explored. The importance of acid/base solution equilibria and of oxidation/reduction processes in determining the properties of aqueous solutions is discussed. Structural Organic Chemistry is introduced through a study of hydrocarbons. Simple functional groups and mechanisms of organic reactions are discussed, and features of biologically important molecules are outlined. Practical sessions and tutorials are integral to the unit

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit a successful student should be able to:

  • Describe atomic structure and use the periodic table to predict how atoms combine to make bonds in inorganic molecules, organic molecules and transition metal complexes.
  • Use atomic properties to predict molecular structure and relate the shapes of molecules to the electronic configurations adopted by the atoms within molecules.
  • Draw, name and assign stereochemistry to organic molecules by combining carbon frameworks and functional groups.
  • Predict the outcome of simple organic chemical reactions and confirm these predictions using spectroscopic data.
  • Balance chemical equations to predict quantities of reagents and products in chemical reactions
  • Predict the properties of a gas from the kinetic properties of its constituent atoms or molecules and describe the relationship between the pressure, volume and temperature of a gas.
  • Use the concepts of equilibrium, enthalpy and entropy to predict the direction of spontaneous change in chemical systems and to identify the standard energies of the products or reactants in a chemical reaction.
  • Predict the rate of a reaction and show and calculate how reaction rate varies with temperature.
  • Perform simple chemical analyses and use standard laboratory equipment to prepare and purify compounds. Recognise the risks present within a laboratory and employ safe working practice.

Teaching details

Students will be provided with online material including narrated presentations and worked examples. Students will be supported in the development of their understanding through twice weekly seminars and weekly tutorials. Experimental skills will be developed through practical classes.

Assessment Details

Assessment for learning/Formative Assessment: weekly worksheets with feedback provided in small-group tutorials; an online multiple choice progress test will be held towards the end of the first teaching block with feedback provided in a subsequent session.

Assessment of learning/Summative Assessment continuously assessed laboratory practicals, including, as appropriate, pre-laboratory, in-laboratory and post-laboratory work: 10% Multiple-choice timed, end-of-unit examination to assess all of the material covered throughout the year: 90%.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. CHEM00001).