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Unit information: Advanced Computational & Interdisciplinary Chemistry for Chemists in 2021/22

Unit name Advanced Computational & Interdisciplinary Chemistry for Chemists
Unit code CHEM30018
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Davis
Open unit status Not open

CHEM20170, CHEM20180, CHEM20190, CHEM20480



School/department School of Chemistry
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

The course covers a range of disciplines that do not fall into traditional sectional divisions, including subjects that span the breadth of chemistry, intersect other disciplines (e.g. geochemistry, biochemistry) and highlight how chemistry underpins a wide range of modern science. The unit focuses on computational chemistry with an emphasis on modelling and on global biogeochemical cycles. The overall structure will comprise an initial module focusing on computational chemistry, representing one of the major tools/techniques that spans the discipline (and beyond) and is essential to addressing major scientific challenges. The course aims to provide a widening knowledge of interdisciplinary chemistry, which is appropriate for a BSc student and will enable progress to even more advanced aspects in a variety of areas of chemistry. This unit aims to develop (i) a deeper understanding of analytical techniques; (ii) an ability to reason through processes and interactions in complex biological and environmental systems; and (iii) an understanding of how chemistry underpins a wide range of other disciplines and its role in addressing major societal challenges.

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Recognise the role of computational modelling in modern chemistry
  • Explain the way that quantum mechanics provides the theoretical basis for many key concepts in chemistry
  • Discuss biomolecular design, engineering and production
  • Describe the application of modern-day problems in biology and biotechnology
  • Explain the broader ethical, social & legal issues of biomolecular engineering
  • Explain how cutting edge analytical methodologies can be used to resolve previously intransigent biochemical and environmental processes
  • Explain how numerical modelling allows the complexity of chemical systems in the environment to be examined
  • Describe human impacts on the Earth's atmosphere, e.g. measurement of key species (analytical/spectroscopic), ideas about reactivity and lifetimes (kinetics, physical organic chemistry) and analysis of complex systems (thermodynamics, construction of simple models)
  • Recognise that different classes of living organism produce different structures of functionally important lipids which relate chemotaxonomically to their phylogenetic evolutionary origins.
  • Describe how structurally diagnostic lipids preserved in geologic sediments can be used as proxies to reconstruct past environments and climate change events.
  • Explain how stable isotope compositions can be used in tandem with characteristic lipid structures to probe environmental process in extinct and extant environments.
  • Discuss the processes that govern production and remineralisation of organic matter and control the CO2 content of the atmosphere (global carbon cycle)
  • Describe the impacts that human activity can have on the carbon budgets of natural ecosystems

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. CHEM30018).

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.