CHT232: Key Skills for Postgraduate Chemists

School Cardiff School of Chemistry
Department Code CHEMY
Module Code CHT232
External Subject Code F100
Number of Credits 10
Level L7
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr David Willock
Semester Autumn Semester
Academic Year 2020/1

Outline Description of Module

This module introduces the background knowledge required for an MSc in a chemistry based subject. The course reviews general concepts in Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry to equip students with the basic concepts on which the MSc modules build. The module will begin with a pre-assessment so that students can identify the components of the course most suited to their needs. The choice of components will be made in discussion with student personal tutors who will also act as mentors through the course. A compulsory component of the course will cover research standards and techniques.

On completion of the module a student should be able to


  1. Understand the requirement for independent learning at the MSc level.
  2. Appreciate the main methods for information gathering from literature and internet resources.
  3. Work to bring together concepts from a variety of resources to form an independent opinion without plagiarism.
  4. Appreciate background ideas across the main areas of chemistry of relevance to the MSc programme being studied.


  1. Work within the School of Chemistry, learning methods and establishing communication with personal tutor.
  2. Understand the roles of staff members within the School, reporting procedures and expectations for delivery of assessed work.
  3. Apply general chemical concepts at the MSc level and to make links across sub-disciplines.


  1. Search the literature and collate of information.
  2. Demonstrate basic chemistry skills in the areas of Organic, Inorganic and Physical Chemistry.
  3. Use general concepts of the application of computational methods in chemistry.

How the module will be delivered

A blend of on-line learning activities with face to face small group learning support and feedback.

The module will start with a formative assessment to identify the optimal choice of components for each student. Component selection will be made and recorded in the first personal tutor meeting.

Concepts will be taught via 10 2-hour lectures, with each student attending 5 optional components and the research standards lecture. Each lecture will be accompanied by an assessed workshop in the area. Workshop material will be introduced during the lecture session and relevant reference material identified. Students will then be expected to carry out independent learning in the area and submit their work against a deadline.

Skills that will be practised and developed

  1. Independent learning skills, use of electronic library resources.
  2. Assessment and understanding of chemical data.


How the module will be assessed

The module will be assessed wholly through coursewor.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs)
Written Assessment 100 Coursework N/A

Syllabus content

Research standards and techniques: covering the use of electronic resources for literature and general chemical data.

Standard practices in the production of scientific reports and avoiding plagiarism.

The structure of the School of Chemistry at Cardiff, reporting procedures and methods of assessment. (SEG)


Optional components:

1. Structure and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry

2. Asymmetric Synthesis of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Products

3. Advanced Techniques in Organic and Biological Chemistry

4. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

5. Molecular Modelling

6. Biosynthetic Approach to Natural Products

7. Bioinorganic Chemistry

8. Modern Catalytic Processes

9. Introduction to Statistical Mechanics

Essential Reading and Resource List

Each lecturer will provide details of essential reading.

Background Reading and Resource List

Advanced Organic Chemistry – Reaction Mechanisms and Structure, Smith and March

Advanced Organic Chemistry – Part A: Structure and Mechanisms, Carey and Sundberg

Principles of Biochemistry, 5th Ed., Nelson and Cox, Freeman, ISBN 0-7167-7108-X

Biochemistry, 6th Ed., J. M. Berg, J. L. Tymoczko, L. Stryer, W. H. Freeman, New York.

Homogeneous Catalysis: Understanding the Art, P. W. N. M. van Leeuwen, Kluwer, 2004, ISBN: 1-4020-1999-8

Medicinal Chemistry, an Introduction, G. Thomas, Wiley. ISBN 0470025980

Bioinorganic Chemistry: Inorganic Elements in the Chemistry of Life - An Introduction and Guide, Wolfgang Kaim, Brigitte Schwederski and Axel Klein

Physical Chemistry, Atkins.

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