module specification

CY6055 - Natural Products (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Natural Products
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
114 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Practical data sheet (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   End of module unseen examination (1 hour)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Morning

Module summary

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality
Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.
This module aims to enable students to develop an understanding of the chemical components of a range of natural products (e.g. terpenes, plant glycosides, alkaloids, carbohydrates, peptides/proteins and nucleic acids), as well as the methods used for their appropriate extraction and quantitation. It will also show students how to deploy a range of spectroscopic techniques for structure elucidation of some of these vitally important molecules. In addition, the module aims to develop students understanding of both the biosyntheses, and synthetic methodologies, involved in deriving the active constituents of drug-like molecules found in nature (e.g. in pharmacognosy) and provide them with contexts that will allow them to develop problem solving skills in this area. Contemporary topics of importance in natural products such as applications of combinatorial chemistry, photochemistry (industrial-scale) and semi-synthetic drug development will also be introduced via lectures, tutorials and workshops and the
students’ practical skills will be enhanced by exposure to specific techniques from
modern natural product isolation protocols. In addition, the module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment. They will be required to exercise initiative and personal responsibility, as well as decision-making
in complex and unpredictable contexts. Finally, the module aims to provide students with the learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.

Prior learning requirements



Introduction to natural products, classification of natural products, isolation techniques and physicochemical data of biologically active molecules derived from these sources. The acetate pathway (fatty acids and polyketides), the shikimate pathway (aromatic amino acids and phenylpropanoids), the mevalonate pathway (terpenoid and steroids), alkaloids, peptides and amino acid derivatives, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Total syntheses of important natural products (e.g artemisinin and taxol), and parallels with key steps in the biosynthetic pathways to these molecules. Use of sensitive spectroscopic techniques to elucidate these pathways. Laboratory experiments to emphasise relevant aspects of the teaching and learning within the module. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4,LO5,LO6

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module is delivered through a range of different constituents including practical
work, interactive workshops, tutorials, lectures, on-line material and directed course work. Teaching and learning sessions consist of lectures, tutorials and practicals.
Lectures (16h) are used to deliver subject specific material and are linked to tutorials (8h) and practical sessions (12h).  Tutorials are utilized to develop problem solving and discursive skills throughout the module. Students will be expected to reflect on their learning experience and develop their own understanding of the topics covered (114h)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students are expected to:
1. Identify different types of natural products isolated from various sources and their mode of action.
2. Interpret and predict chemical behaviour based on the structures of biologically active compounds found in natural products.
3. Apply logic and heuristics to selected total syntheses of natural products upon which breakthroughs in retrosynthetic and stereoselective strategies are predicated and biomimetic syntheses developed.
4. Develop their recognition of natural products as viable drug candidates and drug leads.
5. Use a variety of laboratory techniques with accuracy, precision and safety, while minimising the environmental impact of such work.
6. Record and handle data in the correct scientific manner and derive inferences from these data, produce acceptable laboratory records and reports using the correct scientific conventions; and develop problem solving and team-work skills in keeping with working in a high-level scientific environment.


Core Text: Dewick, P. M. (2009) Medicinal Natural Products – A Biosynthetic Approach. 3rd Edition, John Wiley and Sons.

Other Texts: Krishnaswamy, N. R. (2010) Chemistry of Natural Products – A Unified Approach. 2nd Edition, Universities Press.
Heinrich, M., Barnes, J., Prieto-Garcia, J., Gibbons, S, Williamson, E. M. (2018) Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. 3rd Edition, Elsevier.

Websites: The Interactive Lab Primer – Royal Society of Chemistry ( chemistry)

Electronic Databases:

Social Media Sources: @londonmetcps @roychemsoc

Other: Weblearn Site