Inorganic and Physical Chemistry

The details
Life Sciences (School of)
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
13 February 2024


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),
MSCIC098 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Year Abroad),
MSCIC099 Biochemistry and Biotechnology (Including Placement Year),
MSCICZ99 Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Module description

The INORGANIC CHEMISTRY component concentrates firstly on small biochemically pertinent molecules containing the p-block elements oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur & phosphorus. The underlying emphasis is on the importance of electron accountancy in structural representations, which leads to comprehension of the action of redox enzymes in metabolism. Also covered are properties of main-group and transition metal cations, followed by an introduction to their roles in biology.

The PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY component is partly directed towards understanding (bio)chemical kinetics and thermodynamics. Emphasis is on determining reaction mechanisms from experimental kinetic data that inform us on reaction orders, reaction rates (and rate constants) and activation energies, plus assessing to what extent a reaction may proceed based on thermodynamic parameters. Also included is an introduction to several types of spectroscopy, which is centred upon considering the effects of absorption of electromagnetic energy by molecules.

Module aims

This module addresses aspects of inorganic and physical chemistry that are fundamental to an understanding of the function of biological systems.

Module learning outcomes

To pass this module students will need to be able to:
1. describe the structure, bonding & biochemical importance of small molecules containing the p-block elements O, N, S & P;
2. discuss models for structure & bonding of metal ion complexes;
3. describe fundamental thermodynamics and kinetics and perform associated calculations;
4. explain how the absorption of energy by molecules is used as a basis for understanding spectroscopy;
5. demonstrate basic skills in numerical/data analysis & writing chemical formulae & equations
6. show basic practical skills in analytical and preparative chemistry

Module information

Exam assessment: End of module MCQ Exam and 1 hour exam paper in Summer Term; both equally weighted.

Learning and teaching methods

12 x 1 hour workshops; the workshops will be based on 'lectures' delivered by audio-enabled PowerPoint presentations that should be studied in advance of the workshops). 12 x 1 hour lectures including 1 on directed learning material plus 1 revision class before MCQ and 1 revision class before summer exam; 4 x 3 hour practicals or equivalent


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Worksheet 1      
Coursework   Worksheet 2      
Exam  MCQ exam: In-Person, Closed Book, 50 minutes during Early Exams 
Exam  Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 60 minutes during Summer (Main Period) 
Exam  Reassessment Main exam: In-Person, Open Book (Restricted), 60 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 
Exam  Reassessment MCQ exam: In-Person, Closed Book, 50 minutes during September (Reassessment Period) 

Additional coursework information

MCQ Exam: wk 30, Summer Exam: wks 33-36

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
33% 67%


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



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 37 hours, 28 (75.7%) hours available to students:
9 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information
Life Sciences (School of)

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.