CHEM 3550 - Topics in Chemistry IIIA

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2024

This course covers a range of specialised topics in chemistry, the methods of presentation and assessment of which vary according to the components selected (coursework or practical). Students enrolled in this course select topics in existing chemistry courses offered in the same semester and at the same year level as this course. Topics should be selected in consultation with the Chemistry Level III Coordinator and Head of Discipline.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CHEM 3550
    Course Topics in Chemistry IIIA
    Coordinating Unit Chemistry
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 7 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites CHEM 2545, CHEM 2550
    Course Description This course covers a range of specialised topics in chemistry, the methods of presentation and assessment of which vary according to the components selected (coursework or practical).
    Students enrolled in this course select topics in existing chemistry courses offered in the same semester and at the same year level as this course.
    Topics should be selected in consultation with the Chemistry Level III Coordinator and Head of Discipline.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor David Huang

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    1 conduct, analyse and interpret results of an experiment, and effectively communicate these in written reports;
    2 convey knowledge and understanding of a variety of chemical concepts;
    3 develop solutions to a variety of chemical problems;
    4 critically analyse and evaluate quantitative & qualitative chemical information;
    5 obtain and evaluate information from a variety of sources;
    6 communicate effectively in a variety of forms;
    7 use terminology appropriate to the field of study correctly and contextually;
    8 develop interdisciplinary solutions to a variety of chemical problems identified from an analytical context;
    9 undertake laboratory investigations using appropriate apparatus; make observations and draw appropriate conclusions;
    10 extend knowledge and understanding of a variety of chemical concepts in a range of contexts
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    There is no prescribed text for this course. All required course material will be provided by the course instructor(s).

    Recommended Resources
    • Clayden, Greeves, and Warren, Organic Chemistry (Oxford University Press)
    • Silverstein, Webster, Kiemle, and Bryce, Spectroscopic Identification of Organic Compounds (Wiley)
    • Weller, Overton, Rourke and Armstrong, Inorganic Chemistry (Oxford University Press)
    • Housecroft and Sharpe, Inorganic Chemistry (Pearson)
    • Elschenbroich, Organometallics (Wiley)
    • Crabtree, The Organometallic Chemistry of the Transition Metals (Wiley)
    • Engel and Reid, Physical Chemistry (Pearson)
    • Atkins, Physical Chemistry (Oxford University Press)
    • Harris, Quantitative Chemical Analysis (W.H. Freeman)
    • Baird and Cann, Environmental Chemistry (W.H. Freeman)
    • Miller, Miller, and Miller, Statistics and Chemometrics for Analytical Chemistry (Pearson)

    Maths Resources

    The Maths Learning Centre (MLC) helps all students learn and use the maths they need at uni. The MLC offers seminars, workshops, online, and print resources. It also run a drop-in room in Hub Central from 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday during teaching weeks. For more information, visit

    Online Learning

    Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (

  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    This course is delivered by the following means:


    Students attend timetabled classes of topics chosen as part of the course, as agreed with the Level 3 Chemistry Coordinator and Head of Discipline.


    Format 1 - Experiments

    Practical exercises will provide students with "hands on" experience in the quantitative use of various analytical methods. In addition, students will be involved in the analysis of "real world" chemical samples.

    Format 2 – Laboratory placement

    All practical work will be conducted by lab placement in Research labs of the Chemistry academics. The placement will be conducted during the semester during the practicals


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).

    Learning Activities Summary
    The course content includes a selection of the following topics:
    • Industrial Contamination, Risk Assessment and Remediation
    • Environmental and Human Toxicity of Heavy Metals
    • Nuclear and Radiation Chemistry
    • Chemometrics and Multivariate Statistics in the Context of Environmental Chemistry
    • Inorganic and Organometallic Reaction Mechanisms
    • Advanced Spectroscopy and Magnetism
    • Introduction to X-ray Analysis
    • Spectroscopy & Structure Determination
    • Physical Organic Chemistry
    • Advanced Organic Reactions
    • Strategies and Tactics of Synthesis
    • Electronic and Nuclear Spectroscopy
    • Statistical Mechanics and Kinetics
    • Advanced Quantum Mechanics
    Specific Course Requirements
    Attendance is compulsory at all scheduled chemistry practical sessions. The learning outcomes for this course are substantially dependent on laboratory experience and practice. Therefore, missing any practical class in a semester will result in a grade of FAIL being recorded for the course. Students with medical or compassionate reasons for non-attendance will be given an opportunity to make up missed practical sessions.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment taskType of assessmentPercentage of total assessment for grading purposesHurdle (Yes/No)Outcomes being assessedApprox timing of assessment
    Summative Assignments Formative & Summative 10% No 5,9.13 Weeks 5,9,13
    Practical Formative & Summative 30% No 1-10 Bi-weekly, major reports due every 3 weeks
    Examination Summative 60% Yes (45%) 2-10 Exam period
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Assessment Item % needed to meet course requirement Additional Assessment
    Examination 45% Yes - RAA Exam;
    a grade of at least 45% must obtained
    Practical work is compulsory Satisfactory completion of all practicals, including attendance of ALL practical sessions and reasonable attempt at ALL practical reports Missed practicals can be made up
    Assessment Detail

    Practical reports (30% of total course grade)
    This will come from assessment of experiment reports (major reports and minor reports submitted in the lab session).  In general, each experiment will be assessed on laboratory results (yield, appearance of product, melting point, graphs, quality of data etc.) as well as the laboratory note books and report. 

    Summative Assignments (10% of total course grade)
    Students will complete assignments on the course material.  Each assignment will consist of a series of short-answer and/or multiple-choice questions.

    Examination (60% of total course grade)
    The end-of-semester examination will be based primarily on lecture/tutorial material and will consist of a series of short-answer and/or multiple-choice questions.
    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office or via MyUni as instructed.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from:

    Late Submission of Assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.