module specification

CY5008 - Organic Chemistry (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Organic Chemistry
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
60 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
152 hours Guided independent study
88 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Unseen Examination 20%   Progress test (1 hour)
Coursework 30%   Practical portfolio (2000 words)
Coursework 15%   10-minute presentation
Unseen Examination 35%   Examination (2 hours)
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module relates the physical and chemical behaviour of polyfunctional acyclic and cyclic organic compounds and biomolecules to their structures and electronic properties. Taught classes will be reinforced by practical exercises and spectroscopic problems.

Prior learning requirements



Acidity/Basicity and the comparison with electrophilic and nucleophilic behaviour. The effect of structure on the acidity of carbonyl compounds; tautomerism and enolate anions, carbocation and carbanion chemistry. carbonyl compounds, their chemical behaviour, keto-enol tautomerism. Compounds studied include conjugated dienes, enamines, allylic and benzylic compounds, aromatic and heteroaromatic ring systems, unsaturated carbonyl compounds, diols and hydroxy-carbonyl compounds.
Mechanistic comparisons of the SN1, SN2, E1 and E2 reactions, factors influencing one pathway over another. Mechanistic evaluation of addition and rearrangement reactions, free radical reactions and simple pericyclic reactions. Polyfunctional aliphatic compounds - physical and chemical properties.
Alicyclic chemistry - effect of ring size on the stability of alicyclic compounds; types and causes of strain. Methods for the synthesis of alicyclic compounds with rings of 3-20 carbon atoms: intramolecular carbanion condensation reactions, the acyloin and related reactions. Conformation in alicyclic compounds and carbohydrates: effects of conformation on rate and outcome of reactions in cyclohexane derivatives; differences between reactions of alicyclic compounds and their acyclic counterparts.
The chemistry of aromatic ring systems; electrophilic and nucleophilic substitution reactions. Heterocyclic aromatic systems 5- and 6-membered rings.
Simple MO theory: thermal and excited state reactions of conjugated π-systems. Ethene, butadiene, hexatriene: electrocyclic reactions, the Diels-Alder and higher order cycloadditions,
Spectroscopic characterisation of organic compounds: use of NMR in structure elucidation of complex systems: 1H decoupled spectra, 1H-1H and 1H-13C correlation spectra.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching and learning sessions include lectures/workshops (48 h), tutorials (24 h), practical classes (16 h) with feedback where appropriate.
Tutorials have an emphasis on problem solving based on pre-set work with student participation. Students will be expected to prepare in advance for tutorials to develop problem-solving skills using worksheets provided. Feedback from these sessions facilitates the learning process. Self-managed time and private study (213 hours) should be spread out over the semester and not left until the final weeks.
Lectures are used to set context and to deliver subject material, and are linked to tutorials, practicals and problem sessions.
Students will be expected to reflect on the learning experience and develop their own understanding of the material.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:
1. Classify different organic reactions in terms of their mechanisms and outcomes;
2. Interpret and predict the physical and chemical behaviour of aliphatic compounds containing more than one functional group;
3. Apply simple LCAO and MO theory to predicting the outcome of reactions involving molecules containing conjugated π-systems;
4. Recognise the conformational limitations placed on cyclic structures and thus explain differences in their chemical behaviour with those of their aliphatic counterparts;
5. Perform selected synthetic and purification techniques, and relate to the lecture material
6. Interpret 1H, 13C, and 1H-13C correlation NMR spectra in elucidation of structures of polyfunctional organic compounds.

Assessment strategy

This module will be assessed by: a time-constrained progress test, an end of year examination, a 10-minute powerpoint presentation (on a named organic chemistry reaction) and a portfolio of practical results. The progress test, 10-minute presentation and practical portfolio will provide both formative and summative assessment, the examination summative assessment alone.

The Progress Test (20%) will assess the students’ knowledge of all organic reaction mechanisms covered in the first semester.

A practical portfolio (30%) of three experiments will be submitted to assess the students’ ability to acquire, manipulate and interpret experimental data, and to report the findings in an appropriate scientific manner.

A 10-minute powerpoint presentation (15%) will assess the students’ ability to independently research an organic chemistry reaction, which was not covered in the lectures. They will need to demonstrate clearly that they have understood the detailed mechanisms involved, and give examples of where the reaction has been applied, e.g., to the synthesis of a modern pharmaceutical, or a complex natural product.

An end-of-module examination (35%) will assess the students’ knowledge of organic reaction mechanisms, practical procedures and spectroscopic characterisation. Students will be required to draw on relevant material delivered throughout the course to predict and explain specific outcomes of hitherto unseen reactions.

To pass the module students must 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%.


Core Text: McMurry, J. E. (2016) Organic Chemistry 9th Edition. Brooks/Cole: Cengage learning

Other Texts: Cox, B. G. (2013) Acids and Bases: Solvent Effects on Acid-Base Strength. Oxford University Press.
Vollhardt, P., Schore, N.  (2014) Organic Chemistry:  Structure and Function 7th Edition. Freeman
Clayden, J., Greeves, N., Warren, S. (2012) Organic Chemistry 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press
Grossel M (1997) Alicyclic Chemistry. Oxford Chemistry Primers 54, OUP.
Hornby, M., Peach, J. (2001). Foundations of Organic Chemistry: Worked Examples. Oxford Chemistry Primers 87, OUP.
Maskill, H. (1996) Mechanisms of Organic Reactions. Oxford Chemistry Primers 45, OUP.
Scudder, P. H., (2013) Electron Flow in Organic Chemistry: A Decision-Based Guide to Organic Mechanisms. John Wiley & Sons Inc.