MChem Chemistry with International Study / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Organic Synthesis

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEM20411
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Chemistry
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 21/22 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact. 

This unit will comprise of three blocks of lectures which have been selected in order to exemplify how basic concepts relating to structure and bonding can be applied to chemical reactivity.  Each block will consist of seven lectures together with an associated problems class.  The problems classes will illustrate how the basic processes discussed in the lecture material can be applied to unseen problems; students will be encouraged to devise solutions to these problems in collaboration with their peers.  This unit also serves to underscore the synoptic nature of organic chemistry.

The topics covered in this unit include:

i. The exploitation of stabilised carbanions in organic synthesis and an introduction to retrosynthetic analysis (Dr. Peter Quayle)

ii. An introduction to Heterocyclic Chemistry (Dr.Simon Webb)

iii. Structural relationship in Organic Chemistry (Prof. Michael Greaney).





Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Structure and Reactivity CHEM10412 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


This unit will build upon the introduction to the chemistry of carbon compounds developed in CHEM10412. As core organic chemistry, the course unit aims to provide a wide understanding of the occurrence, synthesis and behaviour of organic compounds. 


    Learning outcomes

    • Apply models to describe the electronic structure/bonding in carbonyl-containing and  heteroaromatic compounds
    • Predict the reactivity of carbonyl-containing compounds based on knowledge of structure and bonding
    • Apply spectroscopic techniques to the prediction of constitution of carbonyl compounds
    • Propose methods for the synthesis of heteroaromatics from carbonyl precursors
    • Describe and predict the observed reactivity of heteroaromatics based on knowledge of structure and bonding
    • Propose and evaluate strategies for the synthesis of small molecules containing common functional groups and  heteroaromatic structures
    • Predict/rationalise stereochemical outcome of fundamental organic transformations
    • Apply stereoelectronic arguments to chemical reactivity

    Teaching and learning methods

    • Lectures
    • Workshops
    • Small-group tutorials
    • Online support using Blackboard.

    Transferable skills and personal qualities

    • Problem-solving skills
    • Communication skills
    • Numeracy and Mathematical skills
    • Analytical skills
    • ICT skills
    • Time management and organisational skills

    Assessment methods

    Method Weight
    Written exam 100%

    Feedback methods

    Assessed tutorial work: written feedback. Feedback from tutors during tutorials

    •  Model answers to tutorial questions will be posted on BlackBoard at the end of each unit
    •  Mock paper (with outline solutions) to be posted on BlackBoard
    •  Feedback during examples class and lectures
    •  Feedback on examination performance via tutors


    Recommended reading

    J Clayden, N Greeves, S Warren and P Wothers, Organic Chemistry (Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition 2012), ISBN 978-0-19-927029-3.  Main Library, blue area, floor 3.  547.02 CLA.


    Available online:


    Study hours

    Scheduled activity hours
    Assessment written exam 2
    Lectures 21
    Practical classes & workshops 3
    Tutorials 3
    Independent study hours
    Independent study 71

    Teaching staff

    Staff member Role
    Peter Quayle Unit coordinator

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