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 CHEM356 - Year 3 Chemistry Project (BSc. Level)
Code CHEM356
Coordinator Dr H Zhang
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 15

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



In this module, students will be assigned an extended experiment or project according to their own interests and abilities. Depending on the exact nature of the project undertaken, the general aims of the module are:
• To give the student a taste of research in a contemporary area of chemistry
• To develop an appropriate experimental technique for the topic undertaken
• To show the use of appropriate characterisation techniques
• To illustrate the use of the library and other information resources as research tools or more generic tools for the appropriation of information
• To familiarise the student with the preparation of written reports
• To teach the skills necessary for the preparation and delivery of a short oral presentation.
• To enable the student to apply web based design and techniques
• To interact with outside bodies (e.g. schools) with the ai m of applying or disseminating chemical based knowledge and fostering cooperation

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Depending on the precise emphasis of the individually tailored project, by the end of the module, students should be able to:

Give a reasoned written exposition of experimental work and achievements;

(LO2) Make valid deductions from acquired data

(LO3) Be capable of giving comprehensible written and oral accounts of experimental work

(LO4) Demonstrate an understanding of shortcomings, experimental errors or weaknesses in data

(LO5) Show that they understand the wider social and/or technological relevance of their work

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module usually consists of extended experiments (‘mini-projects’) or other acceptable project-based work. Practical work will be conducted in either the designated inorganic/organic laboratory (CTL-7) or physical laboratory (CTL-8), or in an appropriate research laboratory (for modelling projects), depending upon topics. All projects run for 9 weeks in the 2nd semester, with the first week used for developing project scripts and completion & sign-off of the COSHH and risk assessment forms. It is expected that a student will spend up to approximately 100 hr in total on project work, in addition to approximately 10 hr for project preparation and completion of brief weekly progress reports.

Progress of the project will be assessed using the weekly progress reports, by weekly meetings between the project tutors and the students (usually during the lab demonstration sessions), by evaluation of the lab books and where appropriate the quality and quantity of data analysis and interpretation.

Subsequently, a period of private study is necessary for the preparation of the written report and the oral presentation.



Students will carry out a three-step target synthesis. They will be given a target molecule, and will then prepare a short report detailing its proposed synthesis; the synthesis will be the subject of a literature search in the Chemistry library, and an introductory course on the use of appropriate sources will be given. This will occupy the first week. Students will then have eight weeks to complete the 3 steps and characterise the compounds using spectroscopic and analytical methods. They will then prepare a written report and present their results

Students will be given one of several extended experiments (only project outlines are available to students at this stage) in transition metal chemistry, silica, polymer chemistry, or other relevant topics. Typical topics might be: ruthenium(II)-phosphine chemistry, nickel-tetra azamacrocycle chemistry and template macrocycle synthesis, nickel-based complex for catalysis, synthesis of silica microspheres, preparation of emulsions and polymer microspheres by emulsion evaporation, self-gelling hydrogels based on oppositely charged microparticles, Co (ll) complex by supramolecular coordination, and other newly developed projects. Initially, the experiments will follow a script (proposed by students via literature search and with help from project tutors), and collaboration may be required, e.g. for the synthesis of the phosphine ligands, or precursor compounds for the macrocycles. Subsequently, there will be the opportunity to carry out new reactions for which the outcome may be unknown. They will then prepare a written report, including an account of previous work in the literature, which will require library work.

Students will be given an extended experiment in an area of physical chemistry, such as the preparation and properties of nanoparticles, TiO2 photochemistry, electrochemistry, or protein adsorption on surfaces. Some degree of collaboration may be required in itially, but students will mostly work independently, with the opportunity to perform experiments for which the outcome is unknown. They will then prepare a written report, including an account of previous work in the literature, which will require library work.

There are 9 weeks in total available to complete the projects in the academic year. Students are expected to finalize project proposals/scripts, and sign off all the required COSHH forms and risk assessment forms by their project tutor in the first week before they can start the projects from the 2nd week. They then have 8 weeks in the lab (5 lab sessions scheduled for each week, more than the required lab hours to complete a project) to perform the experiments and characterisations. Students may have some workshops/tutorials/lectures timetabled in their lab sessions. It is therefore highly important to plan in advance and manage the lab time effectively.

Non-Laboratory Based Projects: subject to the Module Director 's approval, with the project proposals from academic staff, literature-based projects, web design projects, school projects, and development projects of varied nature could be offered. Please note that these projects are not routinely available because they depend on the proposals from academic staff who would like to develop and supervise such projects.

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       100


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 40


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Final written report Exemptions: e-submission 3.2 anonymous marking 4.3b Resit: No    35       
Lab performance Exemptions: e-submission 3.2a anonymous marking 4.3b, 4.3d Resit: No    50       
Oral presentation Exemptions: e-submission 3.2a anonymous marking 4.3e Resit: No  15    15