The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


Introduces advanced concepts and methods employed in organic chemistry, the branch of chemistry that deals with compounds of carbon. The course covers a core area of the discipline, studying the functional groups of organic molecules, and their chemical reactions. We find out how to make organic compounds (synthesis), how to draw their structure, and how to show that we do have the compound we claim (characterisation). A good understanding of organic chemistry is important for students intending to become chemists (major or minor in Chemistry), and is involved in cross-discipline work with life sciences, biotechnology and engineering.

The main spectroscopic (infrared, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy) techniques for the characterisation of organic compounds are taught separately in the first 3 weeks before the lab sessions start.

The course forms part of the accredited degree program required for Membership of Royal Australian Chemical Institute Inc. and Chartered Chemist qualifications.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

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

1. Developed an expertise relevant to the professional practice of chemistry

2. Developed an understanding of the range and chemistry of carbon-based compounds

3. Established an appreciation of the role of organic chemistry in the chemical sciences

4. Developed an understanding of the role of the chemist in measurement and problem solving in organic chemistry

5. An understanding of chemical methods employed for problem solving involving organic systems

6. Experience in some scientific methods employed in organic chemistry

7. Developed skills in procedures and spectroscopic methods applied in analytical and synthetic tasks of organic chemistry

8. Developed skills in the scientific method of planning, developing, conducting, reviewing and reporting experiments

9. Developed some understanding of the professional and safety responsibilities residing in working with inorganic systems


  1. Introduction to structure determination and characterisation of compounds: infrared (IR) spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy.
  2. Basic Concepts in Organic Chemistry:
  • covalent bonds, electronegativity and molecular shapes
  • acids and bases
  • alkanes and cycloalkanes, alkenes and alkynes
  • aromatics - benzene
  1. Molecular Structure: Stereochemistry
  2. Substituent Group Chemistry:
  • alcohols and ethers
  • amines and thiols
  • alkyl halides
  • aldehydes and ketons
  • carboxylic acids, derivatives of carboxylic acids
  • enolate anions

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Formal exam *

Quiz: Online and in class quizzes

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Laboratory exercises and reports *

In Term Test: Spectroscopy Assessment

* 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. - All Scheduled Laboratory Sessions
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course. - All submitted and overall mark of 50 or more to pass courses
  • Formal Examination: Minimum Grade / Mark Requirement - Students must obtain a specified minimum grade / mark in this assessment item to pass the course. - A mark of 40 or more obtained

Contact hours



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


Face to Face On Campus 30 hour(s) per Term Full Term

4 hours per week for 3 weeks and 2 hours per week for 9 weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 9 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 4 Weeks