General and Organic Chemistry

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Autumn & Spring
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 20 March 2020
05 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BSC C700 Biochemistry,
BSC C701 Biochemistry (Including Placement Year),
BSC C703 Biochemistry (Including Year Abroad),
BSC CR00 Biochemistry (Including Foundation Year),
BSC B990 Biomedical Science,
BSC B991 Applied Biomedical Science (NHS placement),
BSC B995 Biomedical Science (Including Year Abroad),
BSC B999 Biomedical Science (Including Placement Year),
BSC BD00 Biomedical Science (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C400 Genetics,
BSC C402 Genetics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C403 Genetics (Including Placement Year),
BSC CK00 Genetics (Including Foundation Year),
BSC C410 Genetics and Genomics,
BSC C411 Genetics and Genomics (Including Placement Year),
BSC C412 Genetics and Genomics (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C200 Human Biology,
BSC C201 Human Biology (Including Year Abroad),
BSC C202 Human Biology (Including Placement Year)

Module description

Part I Autumn Term
In order to fully appreciate the roles of biological molecules it is first necessary to understand how they are formed from individual atoms, and moreover how the properties of these constituent atoms influence molecular structure and reactivity. This part of the module therefore examines in detail fundamental concepts including chemical bonding, electronegativity, acidity, basicity, hydrogen bonding, the range of common organic functional groups and different types of isomerism.

Part II Spring Term
In order to fully understand the complex molecular processes involved in the cell it is first necessary to gain an appreciation of the reactivity of simple organic compounds. This part of the module therefore examines in mechanistic detail a range of reactions that model those commonly occurring in biological systems.

Module aims

The overall aim of this module is to provide a grounding in chemistry suitable for students of the molecular life sciences.

Module learning outcomes

Part I Autumn Term
By the end of this part of the module students should be able to:

1. describe basic chemical principles including the structure of the atom, chemical bonding and layout of the periodic table, and also apply the concept of orbital hybridisation;
2. show how 3 dimensional molecules are represented in 2 dimensions;
3. describe the concept of functional groups and how these groups give rise to characteristic properties including biological activity;
4. describe the nature of stereoisomers and their implications for biological systems.

Part II Spring Term
By the end of this part of the module students should be able to:

1. draw mechanisms for a range of organic reactions;
2. describe how the fundamental principles of electronegativity and polarity underpin organic reactions;
3. describe how the reactivity of organic compounds can be related to Lewis and hybridisation models for bonding;
4. demonstrate competence in experimental practice, written communication, and data analysis & interpretation.

Employability and transferable skills:

preparative and analytical chemistry
retrieval, evaluation and selection of scientific information
problem solving
data analysis and interpretation

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

24 x 1 hour lectures including 1 on directed learning material plus 2 MCQ revision classes [one at end of autumn term and one at end of spring term, i.e. before the two different MCQ exams] and 1 revision class before summer exam; 4 x 3 hour practicals or equivalent


  • Chang, Raymond; Goldsby, Kenneth A. (©2014) General chemistry: the essential concepts, New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • Jones, Maitland; Fleming, Steven A. (©2014) Organic chemistry, New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Practical   Worksheet 1      
Practical   Worksheet 2      
Practical   Worksheet 3     
Practical   Worksheet 4     
Exam  50 minutes during Early Exams (Multiple Choice) 
Exam  60 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
33% 67%


Coursework Exam
33% 67%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Paul Dobbin, email:
Dr Paul Dobbin
School Undergraduate Office, email: bsugoffice (Non essex users should add to create the full email address)



External examiner

Dr Clive Butler
The University of Exeter
Associate Professor of Microbial Biochemistry
Available via Moodle
Of 351 hours, 27 (7.7%) hours available to students:
324 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

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