The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


This course provides a basic understanding of the core area of physical chemistry, based around the theme of systems, states and processes. Topics covered are chemical thermodynamics and equilibria, and kinetics.

A good understanding of physical chemistry is important to students intending to complete a major or minor study in chemistry, and it lies at the borderline with engineering.

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2019

Learning outcomes

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

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

2. Developed an understanding of the breadth and concepts of physical chemistry;

3. An appreciation of the role of physical chemistry in the chemical sciences and engineering;

4. Developed an understanding of the role of the chemist and chemical engineer in tasks employing physical chemistry

5. An understanding of methods employed for problem solving in physical chemistry;

6. Experience in some scientific methods employed in basic and applied physical chemistry

7. Developed skills in procedures and instrumental methods applied in analytical and practical tasks of physical 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 chemical systems;


The course involves study of:

  1. Molecular Interactions
  2. Materials: Macromelecules & Aggregates
  3. Solid Surfaces:  
  • growth and structure of surfaces  
  • processes at electrodes
  1. Chemical Thermodynamics:  
  • Gibbs free energy  
  • chemical potentials  
  • chemical equilibria
  1. Phase Changes:  
  • phases and components  
  • degrees of freedom
  1. Chemical Kinetics:  
  • first and second order reactions  
  • integrated rate laws  
  • reaction rate theories  
  • steady state approximation  
  • chain reactions  
  • catalysis


Students must have completed MATH1002 or MATH1110 or MATH1120 or MATH01210 or MATH1220 to enrol in this course.

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Formal exam *

Written Assignment: Written assignments

Report: Laboratory reports *

Presentation: Oral Presentation

* 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 attend all scheduled laboratory sessions
  • Laboratory: Induction Requirement - Students must attend and pass the induction requirements before attending these sessions.

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • Report: Attempt / Submission Requirement - Students must attempt/submit this assessment item to pass the course.
  • Report: 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. - Mark of 40 or more

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term