CHEM 3550 - Topics in Chemistry IIIA

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

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 3 Coordinator and Head of Discipline.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code CHEM 3550
    Course Topics in Chemistry IIIA
    Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences
    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 2510 & CHEM 2520 or equivalent
    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 3 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)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 4, 5, 9
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 3, 5, 6, 9
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2, 3, 4, 9
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1, 3, 7, 9
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 2, 3, 9
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 2, 3, 4, 9
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 2
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    There is no prescribed text for this course.

    Recommended Resources

    -         Organic Chemistry’ (Bruice, 5th Edition, Pearson Education, 2007)

    -         ‘Organic Chemistry’ (Clayden, Greeves, Warren and Wothers, Oxford University Press, 2001)

    -         ‘Inorganic Chemistry’ (Shriver & Atkins, 4rh Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006)

    -         ‘Physical Chemistry’ (Atkins, 8th Edition, Oxford University Press, 2006)

    -         ‘A Guide to Lasers in Chemistry’ (Van Hecke & Karukstis, Jones & Bartlett, 1998)

    -         'Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds' (Silverstein, 7th Edition, Wiley Press, 2005)

    -         'SI Chemical Data' (Aylward, 6th Edition, Wiley Press, 2007)

    -         ‘Pushing Electrons’ (Weeks, 3rd Edition, Harcourt College Publishers, 1998)

    -         ‘Modern Physical Organic Chemistry’ (Ansyln and Dougherty, University Science Books)

    -           ‘Molecular Spectroscopy’ (Banwell, 4th Ed., McGraw Hill, 1994) out of print

    Online Learning

    MyUni:    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:

    -         Spectroscopy & Structure Determination

    -         Physical Organic Chemistry

    -         Protein Structure Determination

    -         Strategies and Tactics of Synthesis

    -         Supramolecular Chemistry

    -         Statistical Methods

    -         Radiation & Matter

    -         X-ray spectroscopy

    -         Nuclear chemistry

    -         Heavy metal chemistry

    -         Analytical techniques

    -         Spectrophotometric techniques

    -         Advanced topics in current research strengths

  • 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   task *

    Type of assessment

    Percentage of total assessment for grading   purposes #


    Yes or No #

    Objectives   being assessed / achieved

    Practical reports

    Formative & Summative


    Yes (50%)

    1 – 10




    Yes (45%)

    2 – 10

    Assessment Related Requirements

    Practical work is compulsory – This includes attendance, conduct of required experimental work, attendance at demonstrator interviews (as required) and submission of laboratory reports.

    To pass this course students must:

    • Attain a minimum of 50% for the practical report:Students who do not attain this minimum requirement will not be offered an additional assessment.
    • Attain a minimum of 45% for the exam:Students who attain a final course grade of at least 45% but do not attain a minimum of 45% for the exam may be offered an Additional Academic Exam during the Replacement/Additional Assessment period,  in line with the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy.
    Assessment Detail

    Practical reports (30% of total course grade)

    Depending on the topics selected as part of the course, this assessment item will have two formats. Students will complete either Format 1 or Format 2, both worth 30% of the course.

    Format 1 – Experiment reports

    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. Details of practical assessment criteria are available on MyUNI. Attendance at practical sessions is compulsory, and students must achieve a minimum overall mark of 50% for the practical component to pass the course.

    Format 2 – Laboratory placement report

    Each student will complete a laboratory placement and submit a lab book (worth 10% of the final grade) in weeks 4 & 6 and 9 & 11, and an essay-style report (2,000 words maximum) or oral presentation (10 mins) worth 20% of the final grade at the end of the placement. Students will record details of their experimental work and results in the lab book which will be assessed by their supervisor. The report will be read and assessed by two Academics (one of them being the placement host) and a marking rubric will be available on MyUNI.

    An opportunity to make-up a maximum of one missed practical session may be offered during the semester. Students must contact the Course Coordinator as soon as possible if they have missed their practical as practical classes are often full and additional space is often unavailable.

    Examination (70% of total course grade)

    The end-of-semester examination will be based on lecture/tutorial material. Students must sit the exam and achieve a minimum mark of 45% in order to pass the course.


    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.

    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.

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