Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Chemistry for the Life Sciences
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 2 x 1 hour lectures per week (22 hours)
Other 5 x 4 hour workshops (20 hours)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Workshop One.  10%
Semester Assessment Workshop Two.  15%
Semester Assessment Workshop Three.  15%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   60%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Classify substances as elements, compounds and mixtures

2. Identify the main functional groups in organic compounds.

3. Use equations to show chemical reactions and equilibria.

4. Perform calculations to determine amounts of substances and concentrations.

Brief description

The module aims to introduce students who have little grounding in chemistry to the language and concepts of the subject to give them sufficient background for their studies in biological, environmental and rural sciences.


The course will start with the basic principle that all matter is composed of elements, compounds and mixtures. These in turn are made up of atoms and sub-atomic particles including protons, neutrons and electrons.

Atomic number and electronic configuration will be used to explain the order of the periodic table and the properties of the elements. The concepts of moles and molar concentrations will be introduced together with Avogadro's constant and calculations for making up solutions of known concentration. The bonding of atoms together to form simple molecules will be developed, including a description of ionic and covalent bonding, and the concept of valency.

A section on organic chemistry will introduce the special properties of carbon, hydrocarbons and homologous series. Concepts of isomerism (including chirality) and nomenclature of functional groups will be developed. The carboxyl and amino functional groups will be dealt with in the context of acids, bases and buffers. This will also include the concept of equilibria.

Tutorials will reinforce the material taught in formal lectures ahead of all assessments.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Workshops will involve calculations relevant to the course material including determining amounts, concentrations, volumes and balancing equations
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours students will be expected to practice with directed learning exercises on which feedback will be available.
Information Technology
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving Lectures will introduce problem solving with worked examples and directed study will provide students with an opportunity to practice these skills. Workshops will extend this work and will be assessed.
Research skills
Subject Specific Skills Chemical concepts and terminology will be introduced and developed.
Team work Students will work in pairs/small groups during workshop sessions.


This module is at CQFW Level 3