Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Key Skills for Chemists 2B
Code CHEM282
Coordinator Dr GR Darling
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 5 FHEQ Second Semester 7.5

Pre-requisites before taking this module (or general academic requirements):



1. To further develop the quantitative skills of a student, through more advanced skills in the application of mathematics, physics and information technology applicable to the second year of an undergraduate degree in chemistry.
2. To introduce students to the use of Molecular Modelling in Chemistry
3. To further develop a student's general transferable skills in written communication.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) The overarching learning outcome is that students will gain the necessary key skills to perform well in their chemistry degree programmes.

(LO2) Quantitative key skills: By the end of the module a successful student will have improved their ability to:
* perform basic calculus (integral and differential) as applied to kinetics, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics
* apply algebraic manipulation in kinetics, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics
* apply the algebra of complex numbers in quantum mechanics problems
* use basic matrix vector algebra
* use matrices and vectors to represent molecular symmetry

(LO3) Molecular Modelling skills: By the end of this module, a successful student will have gained:
* a qualitative understanding of ab initio, semi-empirical and empirical models, knowing which model is suitable for a particular type of problem.
* the ability to predict the ground state energy and structure of isolated molecules (not too complicated) and estimate equilibrium constants (ΔH = ΔE) for simple reactions
* the ability to rationalise some aspects of reactivity (charge density, frontier orbitals).
* some experience of modelling intermolecular forces and complexes.

(LO4) General key skills: By the end of this module, a successful student will have improved their written communication skills for presenting chemical research.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) Teamwork

(S4) IT skills

(S5) Communication skills

(S6) Students will have further developed their chemistry-related cognitive abilities and skills as highlighted in the QAA Chemistry benchmark statement including (i) the ability to apply such knowledge and understanding to the solution of qualitative and quantitative problems ; (ii) skills in the practical applications of theory using computer software and models; (iii) skills in communicating scientific material and arguments; (iv) information technology and data-processing skills, relating to chemical information and data

(S7) Students will have generic skills developed in the context of chemistry that are of a general nature and applicable in many other contexts as highlighted in the QAA Chemistry benchmark statement including (i)communication skills (written and oral); (ii) problem-solving skills, relating to qualitative and quantitative information; (iii) numeracy and mathematical skills; (iv) information retrieval skills; (v) ICT skills; (vi) interpersonal skills, relating to the ability to interact with other people and to engage in team-working; (viii) time management and organisational skills

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Quantitative Key Skills
This part of the module will be taught in problem solving classes/workshops (5 x 3 hours), using computers where necessary. In most cases, these will start with an introductory lecture.
Due to differing levels of ability and experience in mathematics, the class will be divided into two levels. 2 sets of worksheets, reaching up to different levels, will be produced. The maximum mark that can be achieved for each sheet will reflect the level as described below:
• Level 1, worksheet, maximum mark achievable 80 %.
• Level 2, worksheet, maximum mark achievable 100 %.
BSc students will be able to choose the most appropriate level.
MChem students will be generally expected to attain a higher minimum level of quantitative skills than BSc students. This is required to support MChem modules in Years 2-4 (particularly Physical Chemistry modules CHEM260, CHEM354, CHEM451, CHEM453).

Molecular Modelling Key Skills
Lectures (2) will introduce the concepts practiced in 3 1-hour workshops with associated assignments.

General Key Skills
Students will be required to produce an experimental write-up in the style of a research paper, following a lecture explaing details of this style.

This module will be aiming to follow on from the approach used in the Year One module CHEM180 Key Skills for Chemists 1, with similar teaching and learning strategies, but providing opportunities to develop the key skills of the students to a higher level.
Extensive use of Vital, email and on-line information will be made, with students expected to use Vital to view announcements, obtain information, presentations and tutorial tasks and to submit assessments.
At the end of semester two, a lecture will prepare students for the transfer to Year 3.



Quantitative Key Skills
This section of the module will be the responsibility of Dr George Darling who will ensure that activities build on the quantitative skills developed in Year 1. These skills will involve a selection from the following topics designed specifically to match the requirements of the semester two module CHEM262 Physical Chemistry IIB:
• Revision of re-arrangement algebra, quadratic equations, exponents and logarithms, the exponential function, trigonometric functions
• Revision of basic calculus, rules of differentiation – chain rule etc. - basic integration
• Calculus used in kinetics, thermodynamics and quantum mechanics
• Partial differentiation
• Complex numbers and their use in quantum mechanics
• Basic matrix-vector algebra
• Eigenfunctions, eigenvalues and their relationship to quantum mechanics
• Eigenvectors, eigenva lues, the matrix determinant and matrix inverses

Molecular Modelling Key Skills
This section will be the responsibility of Dr. Richard Bonar Law. The lectures and workshops will cover:
• Introduction: summary of techniques covered in the course, and sources for further reading.
• Molecular Mechanics using force-fields
• Quantum chemical methods 1: HF-SCF, basis sets.
• Quantum chemical methods 2: Geometry optimisation, HF limit, CI, MP2, DFT
• Semi-empirical and empirical methods: AM1, PM3, conformational analysis.
• Modelling non-covalent interactions: van der Waals, electrostatics, aromatic stacking, hydrogen bonding, cooperativity.

General Key Skills
• Write a lab report in the style of a short research paper.

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 4


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 53


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
class test for quantitative skills There is a resit opportunity. Not marked anonymously.  120 minutes    15       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Solutions to Quantitative Key Skills Workshop exercises, submitted during workshop - submission after the workshop is allowed if student misses workshop for good reason. There is a resit opportunity   5 x 3 hour Workshops    30       
2 Molecular Modelling assignment problems + group poster There is no resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is not an anonymous assessment.  3 x 1 hour workshops    40       
Experimental report There is a resit opportunity Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is not an anonymous assessment.  max 1200 words    15