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MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Core Chemistry 3

Course unit fact file
Unit code CHEM30211
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
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.  

Knowledge covering the ‘principles of modern physical chemistry’ is presented primarily in lectures.  This material is reinforced in problem-based workshops, in which students are expected to participate and demonstrate their understanding of the topics.


The unit aims to: present core physical chemistry courses on statistical thermodynamics, potential energy surfaces, photochemistry and physical-organic chemistry.


Learning outcomes

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

  • explain the key steps in the derivation of the Boltzmann distribution;
  • select and apply the tools of statistical thermodynamics to predict gaseous properties;
  • apply the concept of potential energy surfaces to explain the basis of chemical reaction dynamics for small molecules;
  • select and apply concepts in transition-state theory and the Eyring equation to predict and explain dynamical and kinetic behaviour in small molecules;
  • explain the intensity of absorption of light and the probability of primary photophysical processes using simple quantum-mechanical arguments and Jablonski diagrams;
  • rationalise simple photochemical processes and reactions in terms of electronic excited states;
  • identify appropriate light sources for spectroscopic and photochemical measurements based on their characteristics and properties;
  • explain the detailed nature of the relationship between free energy, equilibrium constant and reactivity in the context of organic chemistry;
  • design experiments to measure and rationalise chemical reaction mechanisms;
  • apply the principles of physical and physical-organic chemistry explain and rationalise the structure and properties of topical supramolecular materials.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Problem-solving skills, numeracy and mathematical skills, analytical skills

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 100%

Feedback methods

Students will attend three problem-based workshops during the course, at which they will discuss and work on (with supervision) questions based on the taught material.


Recommended reading

  • P Atkins and J de Paula, Atkins’ Physical Chemistry (10th Ed), OUP, 2014
  • A. Maczek, Statistical Thermodynamics Oxford Chemistry Primers, 58, OUP, 1998
  • C.E. Wayne and R.P. Wayne, Photochemistry, Oxford Chemistry Primers, 39, OUP, 1996
  • J.I. Steinfeld, J.S. Francisco & W.L. Hase, Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics, Chapters 7 & 10.
  • H. Maskill, The Physical Basis of Organic Chemistry OUP, 1985. ISBN 9780198551997
  • E V Anslyn and D A Dougherty Modern Physical Organic Chemistry (University Science Books, 2006) ISBN 9781891389319
  • J W Steed and J L Atwood Supramolecular Chemistry (Wiley, 2000) ISBN 0471987918
  • P Beer, P Gale and D K Smith, Supramolecular Chemistry, OUP, 1999. ISBN 9780198504474


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 24
Practical classes & workshops 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 71

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Simon Webb Unit coordinator
Neil Burton Unit coordinator
Frederick Currell Unit coordinator
Andrew Horn Unit coordinator

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