module specification

CY4070 - Introduction to Laboratory Skills (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Introduction to Laboratory Skills
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
24 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
86 hours Guided independent study
40 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Practical portfolio (3000 words).
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

The module will introduce students to safe working practices in the laboratory environment (GLP), simple chemical techniques and laboratory record keeping also in keeping with GLP.

The aim of this module is to ensure that you will develop key skills and knowledge that will enable you:

  1. to be familiar with the laboratory environment and to develop basic lab practice: personal safety, awareness of others;
  2. to familiarise yourself with writing a scientific report: contemporary scientific record keeping, style, recording data, interpreting data and drawing appropriate conclusions from results;
  3. to carry out basic lab procedures safely – handling and assembly of ‘quickfit’ apparatus; handling, purification and routine analysis of chemicals;
  4. to be familiar with the learning resources and support facilities available within the Learning Centre that will assist you with your personal and professional development;
  5. to develop transferable skills that will enable you to derive maximum benefit from  your chosen course of study.

Prior learning requirements

Entry Qualifications
Available for Study Abroad? YES


Introduction to the laboratory; Laboratory safety and practice.  Gravity filtration, determination of % purity.  Separation of mixtures by solvent extraction, preparation of compounds by heating under reflux, recrystallisation and Buchner filtration of a solid sample (e.g. aspirin), calculation of % yield.  IR spectroscopic analysis: functional group recognition in liquid and solid samples.  Volumetric analysis, determination of the concentration of an acidic/basic solution.  Some pathways will also be introduced to microbiological and biomedical techniques. Effective use of information sources: research (location of paper-based and electronic sources of scientific data and information); retrieval (interpretation, abstraction and précis of information).  Attribution of source material: citation of published and unpublished material.  Scientific communication: written and oral formats: data sheets and practical reports. Plagiarism: definition and penalties. (LOs 1-5)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Learning and teaching are based on laboratory sessions (40 h). Practical sessions deal with the basic skills of practical chemistry, the recording, handling and interpretation of data, and the reporting of scientific information. Students writing and data handling skills will be enhanced through the production of students’ laboratory records where feedback will be given to aid development and improvement in a students’ capacity to produce these documents in an approved format (40 h). Students’ will be encouraged to reflect on the significance of tutors’ comments so that they can feed forward to other submissions. Pre-laboratory assignments (46 h) and a selection of online resources (24 h) 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. use the library and on-line sources to access basic information relating to handling chemicals: physical properties, toxicity, manipulation, and utilise a standard format to cite the sources of such material in their own work;
  2. work in a laboratory environment with regard to personal safety and that of others:
  3. design, assemble and use simple chemical apparatus;
  4. handle and use chemical reagents in a manner consistent with safe working practices;
  5. devise methods of collecting data, and record scientific data from an experiment in an appropriate scientific style.

Assessment strategy

The module will be summatively assessed by means of a coursework component (100 % of the overall mark). The coursework comprises pre-lab assignments and student’s Laboratory Notebook Records.  These are appraised on a weekly basis (50 % of the overall mark), and submissions for selected experiments are assessed in detail as laboratory report(s) (50 % of the overall mark). The 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. The assessment of the notebook records and the Laboratory reports ensures the correct production and recording of data, and assesses students’ overall abilities in communicating, handling and interpretation of data and problem solving.  Both coursework components will be used to provide formative feedback. (LOs 1-5).

The students must pass with an overall mark of 40% or over.