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Unit information: Advanced Organic & Biological Chemistry in 2021/22

Unit name Advanced Organic & Biological Chemistry
Unit code CHEM30011
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Chris Willis
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit develops the organic chemistry given in CHEM20180 to expand that essential base into this more advanced level of study. The unit covers important areas of the subject e.g. using molecular orbitals to understand organic reactions, the value of main group elements in synthesis, selectivity in synthesis, medicinal chemistry and drug design and aspects of the synthesis and biosynthesis of natural products including saccharides. Workshops are integral to the unit.

This unit aims to provide a deepening understanding and widening knowledge of organic chemistry, which is appropriate for a BSc student and will enable progress to even more advanced aspects in a variety of areas of not only organic chemistry but also the interface with other disciplines (e.g. biology). The implications of these ideas are illustrated with real world examples to set them in context and highlight their relevance in the modern scientific world. The unit aims to explore key reactivity in new areas of chemistry including examples of biologically relevant compounds which build upon and broaden concepts introduced in the second year.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding organic reactions using molecular orbitals.
  • An ability to predict selectivity in organic reactions and to suggest how it may be controlled.
  • Understanding of the principles of drug design and action.
  • An appreciation of approaches used to investigate how nature produces biologically active molecules (biosynthesis).
  • Understanding of carbonyl chemistry that underpins much of natural product biosynthesis.
  • Understand how conformation and the anomeric effect influences structure and reactivity.
  • Understand the roles of carbohydrates in nature, the challenges in the synthesis of oligosaccharides and the role of protecting group chemistry.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, workshops and independent study, supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises. The Dynamic Laboratory Manual provides important e-learning resources in advance of workshop sessions. Pre-workshop online material will be provided to assist students with workshops.

Assessment Information

Assessment of learning/Summative assessmsent End-of-unit timed, open-book examination (100%)


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. CHEM30011).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.