module specification

CH5058 - Synthetic Techniques for Herbal Medicinal Science (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Synthetic Techniques for Herbal Medicinal Science
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School Faculty of Life Sciences and Computing
Total study hours 150
57 hours Placement / study abroad
46 hours Guided independent study
47 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Practical Reports (6 x 500 words)
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module will equip students with experience of a range of synthetic procedures and the purification steps needed to isolate products for testing.

Prior learning requirements

CH4001 or equivalent

Module aims

The module aims to Introduce students to advanced synthetic and purification techniques including fractional, vacuum and steam distillation, solvent extraction, fractional crystallisation and column chromatography. It also aims to reinforce safe and correct laboratory working practices emphasising the need for Risk Assessment and the importance of COSHH.
Students will learn about the planning and costing of synthetic experimental procedures.


Purification methods in the laboratory: distillation (atmospheric pressure and under vacuum), recrystallisation, sublimation, solvent extraction procedures; selection of method(s) as appropriate to physical/chemical properties for yield optimisation. COSHH and safe laboratory working practices, risk assessment. Laboratory practical skills, data recording and handling, record keeping and report writing, and the effect of executing experimental procedures under GLP and GMP conditions, quality and quantity control, cost, environmental considerations. Experimental planning. Selected practical procedures: reflux under inert atmosphere; azeotropic dehydration, chromatography, spectroscopy; synthesis and purification of organic and organometallic compounds.

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching is based on laboratory sessions (32h), lectures (12h) and tutorials (3h). Practical sessions deal with the skills of practical chemistry, the recording, handling and interpretation of data, and the reporting of scientific information. Students will work individually or in pairs. Writing and data handling skills will be enhanced through the production of students' laboratory records and a word-processed report analysing one aspect of the practical work (40 h). Pre-laboratory assignments (46h) are provided to prepare the students for the laboratory sessions. 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the students will be able to:
1. Devise appropriate separation procedures for the purification of an organic reaction product based on consideration of physical structure and properties
2. Perform, record, report and interpret the results of specified synthetic and separation procedures
3. Design a synthetic route to a simple target product 
4. Make an appropriate assessment of chemical and other hazards in a laboratory experiment.

Assessment strategy

The module will be summatively assessed by means of a single coursework component. The coursework comprises six practical reports. Formative assessment of pre-laboratory assignments ensures that students have demonstrated an ability to locate and interpret safety information and have planned their work so that they act appropriately in the laboratory, while that of the notebook records ensures the correct production, recording and interpretation of data. Formative diagnostic assessment will also be provided by assessment of two preliminary practical exercises which will be submitted and assessed and returned to the students prior to submission of the reports forming the basis of the formative assessment.
To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.  There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions. If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.
Practical sessions have an attendance requirement.


Dean, JR. et al., (2002), Practical Skills in Chemistry, Pearson Education Limited
Keese, R., Brandle, M.P., Toube, T.P., (2006), Practical Organic Synthesis – A Student’s Guide, Wiley
Pavia, D.L., et al., (2002), Microscale and Macroscale Techniques in the Organic Laboratory, Harcourt College
McMurry JE. (2008) Organic Chemistry 8th Edn. Brooks/Cole: Cengage learning
Vollhardt P, Schore N (2011) Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function 6th Edn. Freeman
Williams, D. and Fleming, I., (2008), Spectroscopic Methods in Organic Chemistry (6th Edition), McGraw-Hill