The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


The first part of the course provides an introduction to the fundamental instrumental methods of chemical analysis commonly used in analytical laboratories. This section will include discussion and examples of techniques used to confirm purity (chromatography) and spectroscopic characterization of compounds (Mass spectrometry, atomic absorption spectrometry etc.).

The second part of the course discusses basic separation and purification techniques including chromatography.

The third aspect of the course introduces advanced concepts and methods employed in organic chemistry, the branch of chemistry that deals with compounds of carbon, studying the functional groups of organic molecules, and their chemical reactions. The students will learn how to make organic compounds (synthesis), how to draw their structure, and how to show that we do have the compound we claim (characterisation). The main spectroscopic techniques (infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy) for the characterisation of organic compounds are taught before the lab sessions start.

The final part of the course introduces students to medicinal chemistry, which is designed to examine chemistry at the interface between the chemical and biological sciences. The basic principles of synthetic and structural chemistry are applied to examination of the synthesis of biologically active molecules and drugs, and the structure, activity and interaction of biomolecules, including metalloproteins and natural products. Close links between the biological and chemical sciences will become apparent.

Theory is brought to practice in the laboratory using a wide range of typical examples.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Understand the range and uses of analytical methods in chemistry

2. Appreciate of the role of chemistry in quantitative analysis

3. Understand chemical methods employed for elemental and compound analysis

4. Have experienced some scientific methods employed in analytical chemistry

5. Understand the range and chemistry of carbon-based compounds

6. Understand chemical methods employed for problem solving involving organic systems

7. Have experienced some scientific methods employed in organic chemistry

8. Understand the range and chemistry of compounds of biological or medicinal relevance

9. Understand the role of the chemist in the development of drugs and pharmaceuticals

10. Understand the principal tasks for the synthesis or isolation and characterization of natural molecules, proto-drugs and drug candidate identification

11. Have experienced the scientific methods employed in natural products, bioinorganic and medicinal chemistry.


1. Spectrophotometry

  • Electromagnetic radiation
  • Atomic and molecular energy levels
  • Absorption and emission of radiation, spectra
  • Beer's law relationship between absorption and concentration
  • Instruments for UV-visible spectrophotometry
  • Choosing a spectrophotometric method
  • Techniques of spectrophotometric determination

2. Electrophoresis

3. Atomic Spectroscopy

  • Atomic absorption spectroscopy
  • Flame emission spectroscopy
  • Plasma and electric discharge spectroscopy

4. Chromatography

  • Principles of chromatography
  • Gas chromatography
  • Liquid chromatography (HPLC)

5. Introduction to structure determination and characterisation of compounds: infrared (IR) spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy.

6. Molecular Structure: Stereochemistry

7. Substituent Group Chemistry:

  • Alcohols and ethers
  • Amines and thiols
  • Alkyl halides
  • Aldehydes and ketones
  • Carboxylic acids, derivatives of carboxylic acids
  • Heterocyclic compounds

8. Natural Compounds:

  • The isolation of compounds from natural organisms such as bacteria, fungi, plants and the marine environment
  • Applications of isolated compounds

9. Medicinal Compounds:

  • The range and role of synthetic molecules in medicine
  • Current approaches to the chemical synthesis of new drugs
  • Current approaches to the rational design and development of new drugs.


Pre-requisite - successful completion of CHEM1010 and CHEM1020

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Written Exam *

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory attendance/Laboratory reports *

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Written assignment

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Laboratory: Attendance Requirement - Students must attend a minimum number of these sessions. - Students must participate in 75% of the laboratory sessions.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Formal Examination: Minimum Grade / Mark Requirement - Students must obtain a specified minimum grade / mark in this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must obtain a minimum passing grade of 40% in the final, end-of-semester examination for the course in order to demonstrate that they have fulfilled course objectives relating to the understanding of the material expounded during lectures and/or described in assigned readings.
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - Students must obtain a passing grade of at least 50% in order to demonstrate that the student has fulfilled course objectives relating to appropriate laboratory skills and professional and safety responsibilities.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 8 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 4 Weeks starting in week 1