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BSc Biotechnology / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Chemistry for Bioscientists 1

Unit code CHEM10021
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


CHEM10021 provides a description of: atomic structure and molecular structure using various models for chemical bonding; the structure and properties of aromatic and heteroaromatic molecules; the phenomena of electron delocalisation (resonance); to explain aspects of conformation, isomerism and chirality within molecules; to provide an introduction to the thermodynamics of solutions; to cover key concepts in chemical reaction kinetics and redox processes.



Students taking this unit should have A-Level Chemistry, or an A-grade in Chemistry at AS level as a minimum.


CHEM10021 aims to outline the basic principles of Chemistry that will be relevant to an understanding of key biological structures and processes.


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students should be able to:

Describe and explain:

  • the nature of matter and the formation of chemical bonds
  • how the nature of molecular and hybrid orbitals in molecules influence the shape and chemical properties of the molecules
  • the significance of the various types of isomerism possible within molecular structures


  • the different models for chemical bonding
  • aromaticity and the properties of aromatic and heteroaromatic compounds
  • and use key kinetic concepts such as reaction rates, rate laws, rate constants and activation energy


  • the significance of electron delocalisation (resonance) on the chemical properties of simple molecules and apply the laws of thermodynamics
  • the significance of oxidation and reduction processes


  • communicate complex information effectively and concisely using the appropriate chemical and biochemical terminology, and chemical structure drawings
  • the ability to use ‘curly’ arrows to indicate the delocalisation of electrons within molecules and generate different resonance forms
  • apply the knowledge gained to deduce the likely electronic properties of a molecule

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Communication skills allowing complex information to be communicated using Chemical and Biochemical terminology and chemical structure drawings.

Problem-solving skills that enable electronic and physical properties of molecules to be deduced using Chemistry and Mathematics.

Technical skills allowing biological molecular structures and processes to be understand and discussed using Chemistry.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback is provided in the workshops, during which there is the opportunity to discuss with tutors the answers you have prepared to problems set the previous week.

Feedback is also provided for online quizzes that will be made available as the unit progresses.


Recommended reading

Recommended course books

P. Y. Bruice, Organic Chemistry, 6th (or 7th) edition, Prentice-Hall, 2011 (2014 for 7th edn.).

P. W. Atkins, J. De Paula, Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2011

Other recommended reading

P. W. Atkins, J. De Paula, Elements of Physical Chemistry, 6th edition, Oxford University Press, 2012.

F. A. Carey, Organic Chemistry, 4th edition, McGraw-Hill, 2000.

M. J. Winter, Chemical Bonding (Oxford Chemistry Primer, no. 15), Oxford University Press, 1994.

W.G. Richards, P.R. Scott, Energy levels in atoms and molecules (Oxford Chemistry Primer, no. 26), Oxford University Press, 1994.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 24
Independent study hours
Independent study 74

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Andrew Almond Unit coordinator

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