Module code: CHE3043

Module Overview

This module in organic chemistry moves from the predominantly functional group approach of Introductory beyond the skeletal construction approach of Intermediate, to deal with modern and more conceptually challenging reaction. These are the reactions that are commonly used in contemporary organic chemistry.

Module provider


Module Leader

CUNNINGHAM Ian (Chemistry)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 10

Independent Learning Hours: 120

Lecture Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

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 1,5dicarbonyl compounds; a,b-unsaturated and 1,3dihydroxy compounds; Retrosynthetic Analysis: Carbocyclic and heterocyclic; compounds

  • Modern reactions: 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; PausonKhand reaction. Small organic molecules as catalysts; BaylisHillman; reaction; Olefin metathesis

  • Multicomponent reactions: Solid-phase synthesis and combinatorial chemistry


Spectroscopy: Workshop 1: Introductory revision problems using 1D NMR (1H, 13C), MS, IR, UV. Use of the coupling constant, Karplus equation, coupling in aromatic systems and long range coupling; Workshop 2: Use of COSY, HSQC, DEPT, HMBC and NOESY spectra in structure determination with worked examples; Workshops 3 & 4: Structural determination of compounds using natural products and synthetic compounds (terpenoids; oxygen heterocyclics (chalcones, flavonoids); alkaloids) as examples


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK (problems) 15
Examination EXAM 1.5 HOURS 70
School-timetabled exam/test IN CLASS TEST (Spectroscopy) 15

Alternative Assessment

Normally none, but a piece of (standard-style) CW might replace the ICT

Assessment Strategy

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

  • Examination and coursework: Assimilation of knowledge and its application to problems in modern organic chemistry [LOs 1-5, a]

  • ICT on spectroscopy: Ability assign structure based on spectra [LOs 4, a]


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 1-3, 5, a]

  • ICT on spectroscopy: (15%,  2 h ICT) [LOs 4, a]

  • Examination: 1.5 hours, closed book [LOs assessed 1-5, a]


Formative assessment Formal formative assessment is in mainly in the spectroscopy workshops.  Formal formative assessment is in the form of example problems posted to SurreyLearn for students to attempt and receive written or verbal feedback; also students can opt for informal informative formative assessment (submission of specimen exams, past papers, etc.) which will be marked and annotated.


Feedback: Occasionally following enquiries during/after lectures.  Feedback is also provided optionally on the formative practice problems.  CW is marked and returned with feedback in time for the revision period


Module aims

  • To provide students with the appropriate advanced material in organic chemistry to allow them to describe and methodically rationalize a representative range of standard reactions/syntheses
  • To identify compounds by spectroscopy.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate a conceptual understanding of modern advanced organic reactions (including their scope), including abstract ones (combinatorial) K
002 Explain chemo-, regio- and stereo-selectivity in given reactions KC
003 Analyse a chemical structure in terms of the retrosynthetic approach to synthesis KC
004 Solve problems of structure using a range of spectroscopic techniques,  particularly NMR KCP
005 Show critical evaluation of different approaches to specific problems in synthesis   C
006 Transferrable Skills developed and included in units of assessment (a. Reviewing, assessing, and critical thinking. T

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

give the student a good high level knowledge base, but also but the analytical and problem-solving skills to solve unseen (but related), and to attempt some new concepts; all within the context of current practice in organic synthesis


The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures (2 per week x 10 = 20 L)

  • Problem-solving CW based on the lectures (18 h over 8 weeks)

  • Spectroscopy workshop (Contact =4 x 2 h over 8 weeks, plus self-study time ca. 18 h, plus ICT/assessed w/shop 2 h)

  • Self-study


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: CHE3043

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 2020/1 academic year.