Surrey University Stag


Module code: CHE1041

Module Overview

This module gives an introduction to organic chemistry based on an orbital approach to structure and bonding, then a structure and bonding approach to reactivity, followed by the application of structure, bonding and reactivity to simple functional group organic chemistry.  A practical component will teach basic organic laboratory skills and allow students real-life experience of carrying out some of the chemistry taught in the lectures. 

Module provider

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Module Leader

CUNNINGHAM Ian (Chst Chm Eng)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: F160

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 58

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 4

Laboratory Hours: 35

Guided Learning: 9

Captured Content: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes: Structure & bonding • Bonding in carbon compounds: the C atom, bonds as MOs, • Energy, electrons and the covalent bond (σ and p bonds) • Bonding in carbon compounds: hybridisation, sp3, sp2, sp, other atoms, polarization, MOs from filled orbitals • Stereochemistry and conformation • Reactivity and mechanism: general types, reaction arrows, stabilization of ions and radicals Aliphatic chemistry • Alkenes: structure and reactivity • Alkenes: additions • Haloalkanes: nucleophilic substitution and elimination • The chemistry of alcohols • Alkanes: free radical halogenation • The carbonyl group in aldehydes and ketones, nucleophilic addition • The carbonyl group, α-carbon reactions • The chemistry of the amines • The chemistry of the carboxylic acids • Carboxylic acid derivatives (esters, amides, acid chlorides, acid anhydrides, nitriles) • The Grignard and related organometallic reactions Bioorganic molecules • Introduction to natural product chemistry (amino acids and carbohydrates)  • Structure and properties of benzene, introduction to aromaticity, nomenclature of aromatic compounds • Electrophilic aromatic substitution • Electrophilic aromatic substitution: directing effects, • Reactions at the benzylic position • Aromatic nucleophilic substitution • Other aromatic systems: naphthalene, heterocyclic aromatic systems, Hückel’s rule • Multistep reaction examples • Problem-solving session •  Practical organic chemistry (Integrated into the module are basics of organic spectroscopy) comprising a selection of 5 experiments

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 1 4
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 2 6
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 3 6
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 4 6
Practical based assessment Laboratory exercise 5 8
Examination Invigilated Closed Book Exam (2 h) 70

Alternative Assessment

For the laboratory exercises an alternative written assessment can be set. This is based on analysing or explaining experimental data, or detailing experimental techniques.

Assessment Strategy

The aim of this introductory module is primarily to ensure that students possess the understanding of basic concepts and have an adequate inherent knowledge base to inform the problem-solving that will be developed to maturity in subsequent organic modules (CHE2044 and CHE3061/M036).  Therefore the appropriate method of assessment is by closed-book invigilated examination which will also test the students’ ability to study effectively and sustainably.  The assessment will be designed to yield a solid mid-range mark for basic understanding and knowledge retention but will include some questions that probe extension of the knowledge and require application of resourcefulness and resilience to problem-solving to obtain a high grade.

The aim of the laboratory practical is to learn, practice and develop the skill required in organic chemistry, but coupled with this is the ability to accurately report, interpret and discuss the experimental work.  Therefore the assessment for each session comprises an assessment of in-lab performance to measure skill level attained (which includes showing resourcefulness and resilience in overcoming problems and is directly relevant to enhancing future employability), and an assessment of the subsequent report (apart from the first report which is formative) to measure the level of reporting skill including format/layout/digital capabilities.  At every stage, whether in the laboratory or on the report the assessment is coupled with extensive guidance before and during, and with feedback after.   

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

 • Examination: Demonstration of knowledge acquisition and understanding of concepts; extension of knowledge to a wider range of organic chemistry and problem-solving [LOs 1-3]

 • Practicals: Ability carry out basic organic chemistry reactions, and to interpret and analyse them in manner appropriate to the discipline [LOs 1, 2, 4]

The summative assessment for this module consists of:

• Laboratory exercises 1-5: Five stand-alone practicals with 6-7 h in the lab (total 30%, 35 h; the associated write-up/reports are expected to take a further ca. 10 h write-up of independent learning time)

• Examination: invigilated closed book (70%, 2 h)

Formative assessment

Tutorials: Ability to explain basic principles and to extend these to a wider range of organic chemistry problems [LOs 1-3].

Online self-tests: Ability to independently apply basic principles to a wider range of organic chemistry problems (with answers) [LOs 1-3]

Feedback: Formal feedback is provided on tutorial work, optionally on student-led work (e.g. past exam papers) and there is a range of self-test Q available with answers and guidance.   Feedback is provided explicitly on all aspects of the practical work.  Post-exam general feedback is provided and optionally student-specific exam feedback.

Module aims

  • This module aims to: Provide the fundamental concepts of organic structure, bonding and reactivity that can be applied generally; Demonstrate the application of these concepts to a range of common functional groups; Train students in the skills and techniques of basic organic chemistry and provide experience of carrying out the chemistry.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Recognise basic concepts of structure, bonding and reactivity K
002 Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts by application to specific problems CK
003 Demonstrate an ability to apply concepts to novel situations C
004 Apply basic laboratory techniques to prepare and analyse organic compounds and to report upon it CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Being focused on providing students with an intrinsic knowledge of essential organic chemistry the methods of learning and teaching are designed primarily to deliver understanding of concepts and to guide assimilation of knowledge.  The former is facilitated by detailed explanatory lectures; the latter by focusing on general approaches to structure, bonding, and (especially) reactivity.   

Motivation and stimulation are important in a module that is content-heavy, intense and intellectually challenging. So the methods (and content where appropriate) will seek to relate to employability, sustainability, resourcefulness/resilience, digital capabilities and global/cultural capabilities.  This last category will include promoting awareness of Athena Swan principles to encourage women to consider a research/academic career in chemistry, something that is clearly also relevant to employability. 

The modern educational environment is a diverse global and cultural one, therefore the module begins from first principles given that students’ prior chemistry knowledge may be from programmes with varying proportions of organic chemistry.   

Students are encouraged to seek alternative and additional explanations to reinforce and expand understanding by use of specific directions (in lecture slides) to the relevant sections in the recommended textbook, available in Bibliu.  Students are also guided to reinforcing concepts and explanations covered earlier in the module. 

An efficient and sustainable learning strategy is important in an information-heavy module and lecture material is presented in a systematic way highlighting common threads and themes, especially in reaction mechanisms, to encourage students to think about planning their learning process.  This is reinforced by a strategic set of self-study problems with model answers.   

The problem-solving skills that foster development of the resourcefulness and resilience that will become increasingly important at higher level modules (CHE2044 and CHE3061/M036), in PTY and for post-graduate research or employment are introduced here in tutorials and the online self-tests, where they also serve to demonstrate understanding and assimilation. 

The primary aim of the laboratory practicals at level HE4 is to develop organic chemistry skills that are used throughout chemistry at all levels, in academic research and that are directly relevant to employability in industry.  The practicals are ‘preparative’ in that real chemicals react and new ones are made.  Being an authentic experience with inevitable glitches, students acquire resourcefulness and resilience to make on-the-spot decisions about how best to proceed.  Safety, including sustainable waste management, are highlighted to students as key aspects for which they share responsibility.  Students are introduced to standard modern equipment and instrumentation and are expected to their digital capabilities and present information digitally. 


The learning and teaching breakdown is: • Formal lectures (22 hours) • Practical sessions (35 hours) • Tutorials (4 hours) • Guided self-study (9 hours) • General self-study (80 hours)

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: CHE1041

Other information

Within the University’s broader education strategy, this module contributes towards development of students’ Digital Capabilities (ChemDraw, digital analysis of data, manipulation of spectra, Word and Excel in the context of scientific reporting); this will provide specific application of what is learned in modules CHE1040 and CHE1044. These will form an important part of a graduate/PTY chemist’s skills toolkit therefore enhancing Employability.

Organic chemistry of necessity requires use of substances that have the potential to be environmentally detrimental and the drive for Sustainability in producing greener and more efficient processes is integral to the material in this module

Laboratory work forms a significant part of this module, aligning with Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) accreditation of the degree programmes. The primary focus is on teaching organic laboratory skills, but being authentic, students will need to make small adaptations and to consult with peers/demonstrators/staff to achieve optimum outcomes which relates to Resourcefulness & Resilience.  Also some practicals will be carried out in pairs and others on an individual basis to reflect the authentic work experience of team work vs. individual work.  Practicals will also familiarize the student with Health & Safety practices and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of instruments in the lab; these relate to Employability skills for graduate/placement chemists.

Global and Cultural Capabilities is a challenging pillar to incorporate into a heavily fact-based module but this will be highlighted where possible, e.g. in the natural products section and in historical perspectives.  This category will also feature by incorporation of Athena Swan principles as part of Chemistry’s Action Plan following its Athena Swan Bronze award; in addition highlighting chemistry research during lectures and practicals as a career pathway for women will enhance Employability

This module supports further learning across all programmes. In addition to the higher-level organic modules (CHE2044, 3061, M036) it supports CHE1038 (Industrial) (and depending on timing could input into CHE1034 (Environmental) and CHE1039 (Forensics)), CHE2037 (Medicinal), CHE2033 (Forensic), CHE3047/M029 (project), CHE3063/M039 (Organometallic), CHE3053 (Modelling), CHE3055/M034 (Forensic), CHE3065 (polymer), CHE3062/M037 (Medicinal), CHE3039 (Spectroscopy).

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry MChem 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Medicinal Chemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Chemistry with Forensic Investigation MChem 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Medicinal Chemistry MChem 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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 2024/5 academic year.