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.
Code CHEM480
Coordinator Dr N Berry
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2016-17 Level 7 FHEQ Whole Session 60

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

Completion of Year 3 of an MChem programme 


The aim of this module is to develop the skills necessary to undertake independent research.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module students will have:

  • Acquired advanced laboratory skills.
  • Developed an ability to work independently and be self-critical in the evaluation of risks, experimental procedures and outcomes.
  • Extended their written and oral communication skills.
  • Extended their information-technology skills.
  • Acquired time-management and organisational skills.
  • Acquired competence in the planning, design and execution of experiments.
  • Acquired the ability to use an understanding of the limits of accuracy of experimental data to inform the planning of future work.

Students will

  • Be able to predict the ground s tate energy, structure  and properties of isolated molecules (for relatively simple systems).
  • Be able to estimate equilibrium constants, rate constants and calculate transition states (for simple reactions).
  • Be able to rationalise aspects of reactivity (charge density, frontier orbitals).
  • Have some understanding of intermolecular forces and complexes (pharmacological example)
  • Be able to judiciously apply molecular modelling to their research projects

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Lecture -

Tutorial -

Laboratory Work -



A project will be undertaken in an area of Chemical Research that is presently active in the department. Projects will be available in a wide range of topics including Organic Synthesis, Catalysis, Surface Science, Electrochemistry, Chemical Pharmacology, Medicinal Chemistry, Nanotechnology, Theoretical Chemistry, Co-ordination Chemistry and Bio-organic Chemistry. Previous years research projects have included

  • Synthesis of potential multiferroics
  • Improving processability of metal-organic porous frameworks
  • The suppression of tumourgenicity and metastatic ability of prostate cancer cells by cutaneous fatty acid binding protein inhibition.
  • Studies of soft solids and hybrid materials using gel and solid-state NMR
  • Intercalation of drug molecules into novel layered materials
  • Sy nthesis of novel quinolone anti-malarials. 
  • New “organic double tunnelling barrier” molecules and measurement of their single molecule conductance
  • The bevaviour of ribose on a Cu(110) surface
  • Transition meral catalysed C-H activation in the synthesis of seven-membered rings.

Molecular modelling

Students will be introduced to many of the skills necessary to perform molecular modelling calculations capable of being applied in the students research project.

These include:

Computational Chemistry (Ab initio, semi-empirical, molecular mechanics), Molecular graphics (molecular representations e.g. ball and stick, CPK and property representations, e.g. molecular orbitals, electrostatic potential surface), Solvation models (Explicit and implicit models), Geometry optimisation (Potential energy surface, minima, transition state), Electron correlation (DFT), Molecular mechanics, Conformational searching (Systematic, Monte-Carlo) Non-covalent forces (Electrostatic, Hydrogen bonding, pi-pi stacking, Dispersion, Hydrophobic, Cooperativity).

The assignments contain materials that cover organic, inorganic, physical chemistry and surface science. The students will be required to submit a proposal (maximum 2 pages long) aiming at application of molecular modelling to thier specific research project. This proposal will be assessed within the marks allocated to the molecular modelling component of the module.

Recommended Texts

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

The reading list covers both the research project aspects of this module and the more specific molecualr modelling aspects.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 8



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 334


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Coursework  First half of semest  Semester 1  12  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Molecular Modelling & Employability Skills 
Practical Assessment  Whole 2 semesters  Semester 2  30  Yes  Standard University Policy applies - see Department/School handbook for details.  Lab work 
Coursework  Towards end of semes  Semester 1  10  Following academic year  Standard UoL penalty applies  Introductory essay 
Coursework  End of semester 2  Semester 2  28  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Final dissertation 
Coursework  Towards end of semes  Towards end of semester 2  10  Yes  Standard UoL penalty applies  Research presentation 
Coursework  End of semester 2  Semester 2  10  Yes  n.a.  Viva examinaiton Notes (applying to all assessments) Molecular Modelling Assignments Moderated by Dr Greeves. Introductory Essay including review of current Literature and project proposal - The Supervisor and Co-assessor independently assess the essay (mark allocation 50%:50%). If their marks differ by >7.5%, the Assessment Panel will moderate the final mark. To be handed in by week 10, Semester 1. Interim progress report is an executive summary on the progress achieved in the project. The co-assessor assesses the report. To be handed in by week 2, Semester 2. . The student would have the opportunity to arrange a time (max 15 mins) with the co-assessor for verbal feedback. The students would have to submit the interim report as an appendix to their final dissertation. This report should have been modified in the light of the co-assessors comments and would be assessed along with the rest of the final dissertation. Student Performance in the Laboratory Assessed by Supervisor(s) through a pro-forma evaluation and online assessment. If marks differ by >7.5%, the Assessment Panel will moderate the final mark. Anonymous marking impossible. Assessment end of semester 2. Dissertation Assessed by Co-assessor and Supervisor independently (mark allocation 75% and 25% respectively). If their marks differ by >7.5%, the Assessment Panel will moderate the final mark. As part of the Dissertation, a separate graphical abstract must be produced. To be handed in by week 11, Semester 2. Oral presentation Assessed by Assessment Panel and other staff members. Moderation by module leader. Presentation in week 10, Semester 2. Oral examination Assessed by module leader & Co-assessor. Oral examination in week 12, Semester 2.