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 IIA
Code CHEM281
Coordinator Dr SM Barlow
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 Level 5 FHEQ First Semester 7.5

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

Completion of Year 1 of an MChem or BSc(Hons) Chemistry programme  


  • 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. (60% of module)

  • To further broaden a student''s perspective on chemistry and to develop general transferable skills in studying, accessing information, oral and written communication and employability. (40% of module).

  • Learning Outcomes

    The overarching learning outcome is that students will gain the necessary key skills to perform well in their chemistry degree programmes.
    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
    General key skills:
    By the end of this module, a successful student will have gained:
    • knowledge and understanding of a variety of areas of chemical research.
    • knowledge of methods of presenting chemical research.
    • further knowledge of how to conduct chemical experiments in a safe fashion.
    • further awareness of employability issues for chemists.

    Teaching and Learning Strategies

    Lecture -

    Tutorial -

    General Key Skills tutorials

    Workshop -

    Problem lecture/workshops (quantitative skills)


    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 one semester module CHEM261 Physical Chemistry IIA:
    • 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, eigenvalues, the matrix determinant and matrix inverses
    • More analysis with spreadsheet programs

    General Key Skills

    This section of the module will be the responsibility of Dr Susan Barlow who will arrange the lectures and tutorials in conjunction with Year 2 teaching staff and research-active staff as appropriate.

    The planned activities will enab le the Chemistry Department to integrate key skills provision with personal development planning as well as providing an opportunity to demonstrate to students the range of research undertaken.

    Lecture presentations

    The lecture presentations will involve topics such as:

    • Introduction: What we are aiming to do in the General Key Skills part of the module, how it will be taught, what the student needs to do, integration of the tasks with PDP planning. (Dr Barlow)
    • Lectures on research areas within the Chemistry Department at Liverpool not covered in CHEM180. e.g. Synthetic chemistry, biological chemistry, catalysis, materials chemistry, surface and interface chemistry, theoretical/computational chemistry. (Senior members of research groups)
    • Year 2 Safety Lecture. (Professor Jianliang Xiao)
    • Tutorials

      Students will be expected to complete 3 main assessed tasks as part of their tutorials:

      • Review a series of scientific papers and write a summary for different audiences.
      • Find and review material on a area of chemical research (e.g. conducting polymers) and check submitted work for plagiarism.
      • Give a short talk without the use of visual aids

      Further tasks to be covered in tutorials include a short exercise to demonstrate forms of plagiarism and discuss academic integrity.

    Recommended Texts

    Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.
    Explanation of Reading List:

    Teaching Schedule

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



    Timetable (if known)     General Key Skills tutorials
        Problem lecture/workshops (quantitative skills)
    Private Study 50


    EXAM Duration Timing
    % of
    Penalty for late
    CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
    % of
    Penalty for late
    Coursework  6 x 3 hr Quantitativ  Semester 1  60  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 1 
    Coursework  3 x1 hour General Ke  Semester 1  40  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Assessment 2 Notes (applying to all assessments) Quantitative Key Skills (QKS) Workshops: problem based assessments to be completed by end of each workshop with demonstrator assistance. Marked by demonstrators and moderated by staff member in charge of QKS section of module. General Key Skills (GKS) tutorials, exercises and lecture reviews: Written tutorial exercises submitted via Vital and assessed by the tutor. Oral tutorial presentations assessed by the tutor during the tutorial. Lecture review tasks submitted via Vital and marked by Module leader. All GKS marks moderated by staff member in charge of this section of module. Students who fail this module will be given the opportunity to resubmit missing or failed exercises during the summer. Note that it will not be possible to gain any resit marks associated with the oral part of presentations. The nature of this module is such that work cannot be marked anonymously as marking is either done within the timetabled sessions in front of students or via Vital.